Using Gesso for Paint by Numbers

What is gesso?

Gesso is the secret sauce to elevating your painting experience. Think of it as the ultimate primer for preparing the canvas before you make your mark. It's designed to prepare the surface of the canvas, creating an even surface that makes your paints glide on smoother. With gesso, you're not just painting, you're giving your artwork a solid foundation. It’s all about setting the stage for your masterpiece. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned painter, a good layer of gesso can make all the difference in your paint by numbers journey.

Difference between clear and white gesso.

Clear Gesso:

Opt for clear gesso to let your canvas's natural look shine through. It's perfect for a more authentic, textured appearance. Artists favor clear gesso when they aim to preserve the canvas's inherent texture while adding a safeguarding coat. Its transparency is also a plus for those looking to experiment with layering hues and materials for unique visual effects.

White Gesso:

Choose white gesso for a clean slate. It's solid and hides any blemishes, making colors pop against its opacity. While it might obscure the canvas's raw texture, white gesso is the go-to for artists who prefer a blank backdrop or wish to achieve a particular shade or special effect atop the base layer.

Keep in mind, if you're working on a paint by numbers project, white gesso will obscure the pre-printed lines and numbers. So, it's best used when you're confident in your ability to reimpose those guides or if you're looking to freestyle your artwork.

Do I Need to Gesso my Paint by Numbers Canvas as it is Pre-Primed?

Your paint by numbers canvas comes pre-primed, sure, but let's chat about taking it to a higher level. Gessoing at least once can transform that woven surface, giving your painting result a better look and feel. It's like upgrading to first class; why not give your masterpiece the best seat in the house? Plus, gessoing can enhance paint adhesion, meaning you might need some more paint by numbers tips to handle all that extra awesomeness. Stay tuned, because a bit of gesso could be the trick to turning your project from 'meh' to 'wow'!

Is it possible to Dilute Gesso with Water?

Absolutely, you can thin out gesso! Since it's water-based, a little H2O can go a long way. But remember, not too much water, or you'll lose that crucial opacity. It's all about balance. Add a few drops at a time until you get the consistency that works for your brush and canvas. Keep it creamy, not runny, to maintain the gesso's purpose. It's like making the perfect latte; the right mix will make all the difference. So go ahead, tweak it, and get that gesso just right for your paint by numbers masterpiece!

How to Apply Gesso to Canvas?

Ready to gesso your canvas? Grab a good quality paintbrush with soft hair to kick things off. A soft brush is key to avoid shedding hairs that could stick to your canvas – nobody wants those little buggers in their art!

Start with a thin layer, brushing it on evenly from one corner to the other. It's like putting on makeup; a smooth base will set you up for a flawless finish. Let it dry completely, then touch it up with a second coat if you're after that extra sleek surface. Now, watch as your canvas goes from plain to perfect!


Diving into the world of paint by numbers reveals a canvas of opportunities, and gesso plays a starring role in elevating your artwork. Whether it's enhancing the texture of your canvas with a layer of gesso, mastering the mix with water for the perfect consistency, or applying it like a pro with a quality brush, these secret tips ensure your painting experience is nothing short of spectacular.

The benefits of paint by numbers extend beyond a relaxing hobby; it's an avenue for creating masterpieces with an extra touch of professionalism and satisfaction.

Ready to take your art to the next level? Shop all the kits and remember, a little gesso goes a long way in transforming your canvas into a work of art.

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