The Free Trick for How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers

July 13, 2017 separator DIY Tutorial

The Free Trick for How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers

Remember my paint by numbers pillows?

When I made those many of you wanted to know how to turn a photo into paint by numbers. I used Photoshop and Illustrator for that, which worked fine, but most of you probably don’t have access to that software.

Fortunately, I found a free tool online!

So today I’m going to show you how you can create your own paint by numbers with your favorite image featuring DecoArt Americana Premium acrylics.

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers - Final Painting

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers

Paint by Numbers Original Photo

1. Start with a photo that’s as simple as possible and has good contrast. I used this pretty flower from Jeon Sang but changed it from lavender to more of a pink coral. Upload it to PBNify.

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers With PBNify 1

2. Click around with your mouse to select different colors.

The more colors you pick, the more detail your paint by numbers template will have. But each click is a new color you have to paint, so find a happy medium.

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers With PBNify

3. Click the PBNify button, and wait awhile for it to convert your image.

Once it’s converted, you can click back and forth between “filled” and “outline” to see what the template looks like.

Free Printable Paint By Numbers Template - How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers With PBNify - Outline

4. Click “save” to save a copy of the filled version (for reference), the outline, and the palette. Definitely don’t skip the palette because you’ll use it later to mix your paint colors!

Supplies

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers - Supplies

Instructions

1. If you’re using my painting instead of creating your own from a photo, download and print your free template. If you’re painting directly on the paper, print it on a nice, thick paper, and move on to Step 3.

Otherwise, you can print it on any old paper; trim the edges; and move on to Step 2.

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers - Step 1

2. If you’re going to paint on canvas, brush a thin coat of matte medium all over the canvas, and carefully apply your printout, beginning at one corner and working toward the opposite corner, smoothing out any wrinkles and bubbles as you go.

Once it dries, paint over it with another coat of matte medium, and let it dry thoroughly before moving onto Step 3.

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers - Step 2

3. Now it’s time to mix your first color. For my template, print out this color palette.

If you’re using your own photo, use the palette you generated with PBNify as a guide.

Tip: Mixing one color at a time to keep others from drying out while you paint a section. You can mix them in a lidded container to keep them from drying out as you work. That way, you’re not having to try to remix a matching color because it has dried out.

4. Paint all sections of your first color before moving on.

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers - Step 3

5. Continue by mixing one color at a time and painting that entire section, until you’ve finished the whole thing.

Tip: Start with the largest sections and then the lightest colors.

How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers - Step 4The Free Trick for How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers Wall ArtThe Free Trick for How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers Wall Art

This project and post were created in partnership with DecoArt, but all opinions, ideas and photography are my original creations. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help me keep Shrimp Salad Circus up and running!

20 comments

  1. I really love this. You did a beautiful job. I was wondering though, do I see wrinkles in the paper over the canvas? If so, is there a way to eliminate that?

  2. Woah that is so cool! I had no idea there was a site you could do that! And such a clever way to adhere the paint by number to the canvas. Pinning this now!

  3. Is there a chance you could show us how to convert a photo to paint by numbers in Photoshop? This way is cool, but I try to learn new things about Photoshop and it would be great to learn a new skill.

    1. Hi Paulina! Thanks so much for your interest. I actually use Illustrator and then Photoshop when creating these from scratch, so it’s a pretty elaborate process. I will certainly try to get a tutorial together one day soon, but probably not before my baby is due next month. Stay tuned! :)

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