How to frame a paint by numbers

Anyone starting to paint almost always uses a paint by numbers kit. Paint by number kits have areas marked with slightly visible numbers; this makes it very easy for anyone to start painting complex images, most people have no idea where to start painting, because of which they end up ruining their painting.

Even though this makes painting easy and fun to learn, there are always some problems that can arise. One of the most important things to do to your canvas is to frame it, also known as stretching a canvas. To many, this seems like a tedious task, and discourages them from painting, some people even take their paint by number canvases to be framed by professionals, but this is very time consuming and expensive. Therefore, the best solution to this problem is to frame your paint by numbers canvas yourself, instead of wasting money on professionals. To make your masterpiece look perfect, learn how to frame a paint by numbers, and see how quick and easy it is to do.

First things first

The first thing that would come to anyone’s mind about framing a paint by numbers canvas would be to do it before or after completing your masterpiece. This can turn out to be a very confusing question at times, as no one would want their painting to be ruined because of this. That’s why you should be wise with deciding on whether to frame the canvas before or after. The best recommendation is to do it before you start. This is for several reasons.

If you have stretched your canvas before painting, the risk of your painting getting dirty or ruined can be avoided. As scissors are also used in this process, with a pre-framed paint by numbers canvas, you will be able to avoid cutting your painting. It will be more comfortable for you to paint, as the area on which to draw on will be clear and outlined, due to the canvas edges and bars. The frame is the foundation of the painting.

However, if you still think that framing a paint by numbers canvas will be easier if to do after painting, it is always your choice. Select whichever option you are comfortable with. We will explain both ways.

What you need

To start with framing or stretching your paint by numbers canvas, you will need what to start in the first place. These items are the same for both pre and post canvas framing.

You will need to get four wooden stretcher bars, which will be needed to make up your frame. To join your canvas onto the back of the frame, thumbtacks are required. Although it is recommended to use a staple gun to ensure that the canvas holds onto the frame firmly. A T-square or tape measure is also recommended to be used, to guarantee your canvas frame a perfect square shape. Get sharp scissors to smoothly and evenly cut the excess of your canvas. Lastly, you will also need a clean and even surface to work and stretch your canvas on. These items are affordable and easily available from your nearest local store.

paint by number kit framing

Choosing the right items

You will easily find where to get these things, but you have to be able to pick the best of these items, with the finest quality and perfect size, as quality matters a lot when it comes to framing your canvas. So, remember to choose wisely. 

Out of all the things needed to build the foundations of your paint by numbers canvas, stretcher bars require the most attention, as they are what makes up the frame after all. These bars should not be flexible to keep your canvas in a perfect square shape at all times. The best stretcher bars available, which contain this quality, are kiln dried bars. It is best to look for this type when buying stretcher bars. 

The size of your stretcher bars can be chosen as desired. Choose whatever fits your paint by numbers canvas best. 

Now that we know everything about what we need to work with. It’s time to get started with the real work.

paint by numbers kit framing

Pre-Painting framing

After getting all the items, you need to work with, place them close to your working area, and start by spreading your canvas on a clean and even area, with the numbered side of the canvas facing downwards. The stretcher bars which you have bought or gotten with your kit, have to be assembled to create the frame before you join your canvas with it. To do this, place all four stretcher bars in front of you and correctly join them to create a square canvas, you can use the T-square at the edges to see if the bars make an angle of 90 degrees with each other. The bars will have slots in them, which can be easily joined together, just like the pieces of a puzzle, it is obvious and doesn’t require any thinking. 

After joining the bars quickly to create the frame, place it on your evenly spread out canvas. When you have placed the frame on top of the canvas, make sure that the frame is held firmly on a fixed position by your hand or something alike, as we don’t want the frame to move while joining it to your canvas, this might make your canvas join to it disproportionately. You will also have to make sure that you have at least 1 ½” of material left on each side of the frame. Otherwise, your canvas won’t be able to connect with the frame tightly. So, it is best to measure canvas on each side of the frame, to ensure that you have enough canvas to keep it taut afterward. 

Cutting the canvas

However, if your canvas is large, and you have a lot of excess canvas on the sides, then you will need to cut it. The reason you need to do this is that having a surplus of your canvas makes it difficult to pin it down into the frame later on, even if you use a staple gun, you don’t want your painting to fall off someday. Even if you manage to pin it to the frame somehow, the excess will create bulk when you try to hang your masterpiece to the wall. Therefore, it is very important to cut this excess off. You might be hesitant to cut it, thinking that you will end up cutting more than what is required, but don’t worry, cutting a canvas is very easy if you read carefully. To cut your excess canvas, you need to fold it on to your frame and mark the excess canvas. Then release the canvas and start cutting the bulk, or you can place a ruler where the excess canvas starts, and then pull the canvas from the corner as fast as you can to rip it off.

Moving on

The next step to framing your paint by numbers canvas is to fold your evenly cut canvas onto the frame. Make sure that you pull it evenly from all edges and ensure that it is taut. When you have achieved this, pin the canvas down onto the frame by using thumbtacks or a staple gun. Keep adding thumbtacks until it is taut. You can check if your canvas has been tightly joined to the frame by touching the front of the canvas.

Now it is time to flip your paint by numbers canvas and see how it looks. An important thing to remember when framing paint by numbers canvases is to not spray it with hot water to remove wrinkles or loose spots; this may remove the numbers written on it, if you want to make your canvas tauter, you can always repeat the process. 

Post-painting framing

If, for some reason, you did not frame your paint by numbers canvas, and now you think what to do, then don’t worry, as the process for post and pre-painting framing is the same, except the fact that you will have to be more careful when framing after painting. You will also have to ensure that the painting is completely dry before framing it. The area you will use to stretch your canvas on should not be rough or wet; you don’t want your effort to be lost. 

Attaching hooks

If you are eager to sit back and look at your paint numbers masterpiece, then you’ll first have to learn how to attach hooks to your frame. The screws and hooks are provided in the paint by numbers kit, all you have to do is, use an appropriate screwdriver and fix the screws into the middle of any of the stretcher bars. Make sure that the screw is firmly fixed in so that your painting doe not fall off; another thing you will need to take care of is the visibility of the hook, ensure it is not visible. 

Once you have attached the screws and hooks, just hang it to your wall and admire your masterpiece.