Colour and Calm: The Growing Trend of Paint by Numbers in the UK

In recent years, the UK has seen a resurgence of a classic pastime that marries creativity with mindfulness: Paint by Numbers. This activity, originally developed in the 1950s as a learning tool for aspiring artists, has transformed into a popular hobby for people of all ages and skill levels seeking relaxation and a creative outlet. Here, we delve into the reasons behind its popularity, the benefits it offers, and how it has adapted to modern tastes and technologies.

The Allure of Simplicity

One of the key attractions of Paint by Numbers is its simplicity. Each kit comes with a pre-outlined canvas where each section is marked with a number that corresponds to a specific color. Painters simply follow the numbers to complete the artwork. This straightforward approach removes the intimidation factor of staring at a blank canvas, making art creation accessible to everyone. Whether you are a busy professional seeking a stress-relief activity or a retiree looking to occupy your time with a rewarding project, Paint by Numbers offers a way to achieve beautiful results without the need for prior art training.

A Diverse Range of Options

The variety of Paint by Numbers kits available today is astounding. From serene landscapes and vibrant cityscapes to portraits of famous figures and beloved pets, there is something for every taste. This diversity has helped widen its appeal, drawing in a broader audience who might not have considered themselves artistically inclined. Retailers and online stores in the UK have capitalized on this trend, offering customized options where you can send in a photograph and receive a personalized canvas, making the painting experience even more special and unique.

Therapeutic Benefits

Another significant draw of Paint by Numbers is its therapeutic benefits. Engaging in a structured artistic activity can be incredibly soothing. The act of painting can help reduce stress, improve mental health, and even decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. The repetitive nature of filling in colors focuses the mind and helps to keep it away from stressful thoughts. This mindfulness aspect has made Paint by Numbers a recommended activity by some mental health professionals.

Social Painting: A Community Activity

Paint by Numbers has also fostered a sense of community among its enthusiasts. In the UK, there are numerous groups and online forums where individuals share their completed works, offer tips, and even organize meet-ups. This social component adds a layer of enjoyment, providing a platform for interaction and friendship over shared interests. During the recent lockdowns, many found these communities to be vital for maintaining social connections when physical gatherings were limited.

Adapting to Digital Advances

With technological advancements, Paint by Numbers has embraced digital innovations. Digital versions now allow users to enjoy painting on tablets or smartphones, using apps that simulate the experience with virtual paint and brushes. These digital options cater to the on-the-go lifestyle, allowing people to engage in painting whenever and wherever they like, further broadening its appeal and accessibility.


Environmental Considerations and Sustainability

As the popularity of Paint by Numbers grows, so does the awareness around the environmental impact of the kits. Many manufacturers are now moving towards sustainable practices, using eco-friendly paints and recycled materials for canvases and packaging. This shift is particularly appealing to the environmentally conscious demographic, ensuring that their creative pursuits do not come at an ecological cost.

Looking to the Future

The future of Paint by Numbers in the UK looks bright. As people continue to seek out activities that offer both relaxation and a creative outlet, the demand for these kits is likely to grow. Innovations such as augmented reality experiences, where painters can see their work come to life through special apps, are on the horizon, promising to make Paint by Numbers an even more immersive and appealing experience.


Paint by Numbers has successfully transitioned from a simple children’s activity to a sophisticated hobby that offers numerous benefits, from reducing stress and improving mental health to fostering community and embracing technological advancements. Its simplicity, combined with the profound satisfaction of creating something beautiful, ensures that this trend will continue to captivate the hearts and minds of the UK’s burgeoning artist community. Whether as a solitary pursuit or a shared endeavor, Paint by Numbers remains a gateway to creativity, offering a peaceful refuge in our busy lives.

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