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Who Invented Paint By Numbers?

Posted by raena moralidad on

Who Invented Paint By Numbers?

You might be curious about who invented paint by numbers and where this marvelous creation came from.


Paint by numbers is a craft that allows absolutely anyone to create beautiful art, and it’s brought decades of enjoyment to millions of people.


In this post, you’ll find out about the paint by numbers creator, and how this addictive craft came to be in the hands of so many folks across the globe.


Who Invented Paint By Numbers?


The inventor of paint by numbers was Dan Robbins, an artist from Detroit.


In 1950, he was hired by Max Klein, the President of the Palmer Paint Company, to come up with a craft that could make anyone a painter.


Because Dan was already creating washable paint sets for kids, he decided to take Max up on the challenge.


After months of developing ideas, Dan remembered Leonardo da Vinci’s methods of teaching students to paint by sectioning and numbering parts of the art.


It was then that Dan decided to create an outline and provide the corresponding numbered colors to people so they could easily replicate art without having to spend years developing talent or skill.


Dan focused on packaging the right types of canvas and paint while he also considered art pieces adults would enjoy.


They called the brand “Craft Master” and offered the first six designs to American households.


It took a few marketing attempts for baby boomers to “get it”, but it wasn’t long before paint by numbers kits gained fame across the United States.


When Was Paint By Numbers Invented?


Paint by numbers was invented in 1950 by Dan Robbins in Detroit while he was working for Max Klein of Palmer Paint Company.


The very first paint by numbers design was called ABSTRACT NO. 1 and was an impressionist painting of tempera colors.


When Max saw the first painting Dan had created, he decided the masses needed more popular and appealing designs that were not so abstract.


So, Dan designed six more paint by numbers kits and the Craft Master brand became a hit with the public.


By 1954, Dan Robbins’ paint by numbers had sold $20 million worth of kits and the Palmer Paint company had 1,200 employees.


Because paint by numbers was so popular and people could easily create masterpieces with no prior artistry skill, Dan faced criticism from critics.


In his book, Whatever Happened to Paint By Numbers - A Humorous Personal Account of What it Took to Make Anyone an Artist, he responds to critics with a well-put statement.


“I never claim that painting by numbers is art,” he wrote. “But it is the experience of art, and it brings that experience to the individual who would normally not pick up a brush, not dip it in paint. That’s what it does.”


Though Dan Robbins died recently in 2019, he will be remembered forever for having brought joy to people for a span of several decades. His wonderful creation continues to live in our hearts forever.



Paint by numbers was invented in 1950 by Dan Robbins and it is still enjoyed across the globe many years later.


Are you a paint by numbers fan? Paint Craftology is dedicated to carrying on the paint by numbers tradition by bringing the highest quality kits to households across the globe. To try a kit out for yourself, go here: Paint Craftology.