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What are Paint-By-Number Murals?

B. Miller
B. Miller

Paint-by-number murals are a type of do-it-yourself wall decor that is often used in children's bedrooms or nursery rooms to add color and interest to the walls. Typically, a paint-by-number mural will come in a kit with the pattern, instructions and tools for transferring the pattern onto the wall, and a color guide for completing the mural. Paint-by-number murals typically do not come with the paints; this will be up to the homeowner to purchase. They come in a number of different sizes, from small images that only take up a small space on the wall, to larger murals that will take up the whole wall or even go around the entire room.

Paint-by-number murals are popular for children's rooms because pleasant scenes can be painted onto the walls, giving the room a more artistic look without really requiring much artistic ability. Once the pattern is transferred onto the wall, each area of the mural will be numbered, and the number will correspond to a specific paint color. Simply paint within the areas of the number using the correct paint color, and the mural will begin to take shape. Some people use painter's tape to mark off specific areas of the mural to ensure that the paint color for a certain number does not bleed into any of the other areas.

Paint-by-numbers murals are popular for children's rooms.
Paint-by-numbers murals are popular for children's rooms.

For more complex paint-by-number murals, stencils may be provided; this may be necessary if the mural has a lot of small areas that would be difficult to paint without making a mistake. It is important to purchase a number of paintbrushes of different sizes for painting a more complex mural. Most people find paint-by-number murals much easier than making a freehand design on the wall, unless one has very strong artistic ability. In addition, the mural can simply be painted over once the child outgrows it, or if one simply wants to redesign the decor of the room.

Stencils are often provided in paint-by-number kits.
Stencils are often provided in paint-by-number kits.

Woodland scenes, animal scenes, or characters and themes from popular children's books are all popular for paint-by-number murals. These are especially good choices for nursery rooms. Some people will also simply paint nature scenes such as trees, clouds, and birds, which can more easily grow with the child. In addition, wall decals are excellent options that can be used in addition to, or in lieu of a wall mural; these can simply be affixed to the wall, and are generally able to be removed without damaging the paint.

Discussion Comments


I think when picking out a paint-by-number mural, or any mural, it is important to pick out one that you will enjoy having as your backdrop for a year or longer. Unless you are an artist/painter, you probably aren't going to be changing a room's mural more than every year, and in most people's case, more than every few years.

What I mean is, I would not pick a background that is particularly seasonal, unless you enjoy that season all year-round. For instance, if you love the majesty of snow, but only enjoy it's majesty in the winter, it would not be a good idea to have a mural with snow in it.

Also, if you enjoy Thanksgiving, but not to the extent that you would enjoy it every day of the year, you should not get a Thanksgiving-inspired mural. This goes for other holiday themes as well.

I think it is a safe bet to go with things that make people happy on a regular basis, like flowers, sunshine, a cross, certain colors, animals, etc. There are other things we may enjoy for a period of time, but not as an everyday thing.

Another thing people should consider before purchasing a mural is to get whatever mural they or who they are buying for would like, not what a certain friend/neighbor/family member would like. You are the one who is going to have to stay in the house with the mural in it, so you should decide what the mural is going to be and what colors to use.


I live in an apartment where they will not let anyone paint the walls. It is so frustrating to not even have the option to paint the walls the way you want to.

If I ever get to live at a place where they let me paint the walls, I am probably at least going to paint a border on my room. I may use one of those paint by number mural kits, so that the drawing will be precise. I think I would end up choosing my own colors to paint with, that way I would make the mural more unique and more "me".

I think paint-by-numbers are fun, but for me, it is more fun to choose what colors I am going to use. Even if it is just to change one or two colors in one spot, it can give the whole painting a new look. The good thing about painting is, you can usually always paint over it if you end up not liking what you see.

If there is like one color portion you want to change, you can usually go over it with a darker color without too much of a hassle sometimes. Sometimes if you step back and look at it from afar, or don't look at the painting for a few days and then look at it again, you will begin to find more you appreciate in it.


I love painting, I especially loved painting paint-by-numbers when I was a child. I am sure I would still like doing them today too though.

I actually had a fun experience painting a couple murals for a daycare I used to work for. I luckily had help from a few other co-workers, and one was very artistic and had experience doing murals, so that obviously helped a lot.

Even with having an experienced artistic person, it still took a lot longer than we expected it would. It took us like ten hours on a Saturday to paint these morals. One mural took up the majority of a wall, but another only took up like half of a wall. We also had to draw some of the pictures on the wall before painting them, so that took a lot of time to get it as close as perfect as we could.

The finished product was amazing though! I thought it was well worth the time and effort we put into it, although it would have been nice if we would have got paid some money for using our free time to paint those murals for so long. But at least all the supplies were paid for by our boss.

We ended up with a "Lion King" themed mural and a "Finding Nemo" themed mural, and the parents and our co-workers and employer's acted like they were impressed with the final outcome, so that was nice. The coolest response was from the children though, most of them looked and acted happy, which is always good!


My first experience at completing a paint-by- number mural didn't go so well. It ended up looking OK, but took way longer than I thought it would.

It didn't look as professional as I would have liked it to, but I didn't want to paint over it after I spent so much time on it.

When my son was born, instead of going with a paint-by-number, I put up wall murals wallpaper.

This was so much faster and easier, and I like the finished result much better too.


I know paint by number murals are really popular for kids rooms, but I tried this in my home office.

I am not naturally artistic, so thought this would be a great way for me to add something unique to the wall.

I choose a cherry tree that was in bloom and looked like spring any time of the year. What I liked about this kit is it included absolutely everything I needed - even the paint!

This worked great for me since I am not the best at coordinating colors for something like this. I was able to finish this in a weekend, and must say, have been very pleased with the results.

This is something I enjoy much more than looking at a framed print.


My wife and I just finished up a paint by the numbers mural in our new son's room. It features a lot of the most popular Disney characters from the princes and princesses all the way down to Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

It was not hard to paint but it was time consuming. Neither my wife or I are particularly artistically inclined but we thought the project might be fun and could end up being something meaningful for our son.

I'm happy with the result, but in the future I would probably hire a professional painter to do the job


@Sara007 - You can probably do your paint by number mural in a weekend, though if it calls for certain areas to dry first, you may need to wait to finish it up. We had a paint by number murals that ended up taking us almost a month to finish because certain portions took a lot longer to paint than we had originally thought.

If you haven't started yet, I would honestly just go back and buy one of those wallpaper murals that they sell. They are so much easier to put up and don't cause have the headaches. We wish we had done that, as you'll eventually have to paint over your mural anyway. Especially when your daughter gets a bit older.


My family and I are thinking about redoing my daughters room and were wondering how long it would take to complete one of those paint by numbers sets? The mural we picked is about 11 feet long and 9 feet high, and should pretty much fit the entire wall perfectly.

We are not sure whether we should set aside an entire weekend, or if it could be completed in a day. We're looking forward to having everyone help us out so we should have at least five people on hand to paint. We figure one of those paint by number kits for adults can't be too hard.


When I was a kid I had a paint by number set that was pretty big. It wasn't a mural, but it was especially a big thing to fill in for someone aged five or so, which is what I was. I don't think I ever finished it, unfortunately. I would love to do one again sometime, though, if I had the time. Coloring can be really therapeutic.


@DentalFloss- I think a paint by number wall mural sounds great if you want to decorate and don't think you can come up with a good design free hand. I mean, people use stencils a lot. If you pick something good, it could be a really nice touch to your home.


I used to love paint by number kits as a kid, and am tempted to try one of the murals in my house. I think it could be kind of a fun, novel way to decorate. Is it silly to consider using paint by numbers for adults?

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    • Paint-by-numbers murals are popular for children's rooms.
      By: Petro Feketa
      Paint-by-numbers murals are popular for children's rooms.
    • Stencils are often provided in paint-by-number kits.
      By: Shirley Hirst
      Stencils are often provided in paint-by-number kits.
    • Most people find paint-by-number murals much easier than making a freehand design on the wall, unless one has very strong artistic ability.
      By: mrallen
      Most people find paint-by-number murals much easier than making a freehand design on the wall, unless one has very strong artistic ability.
    • Glow-in-the-dark paint may be used to create paint-by-number murals.
      By: angellodeco
      Glow-in-the-dark paint may be used to create paint-by-number murals.