Nowadays, finding someone who doesn’t have a clue about paint by numbers or has never gone for paint by numbers custom is hard. But some time back, nobody knew that paint by numbers existed. In today’s world, paint by numbers has become a household name, and mentioning the name brings with it a lot of fun and art which is creative to the forefront of the mind.

The history of paint by numbers shows that, it was harder to get off the ground that you could imagine of. There were years of tribulations and trials which it passed through, but not most people knew about that. From the first idea about marketing, to the person who invented the paint by numbers and where they got the idea from, it is a long history. It has an interesting backstory which you need to know about.

To appreciate the art of paint by numbers custom, it is important that you know from where it all began. Although the paint by number seems to be a household name, and something that is recognized worldwide, it was not always like that. But because of the tenacity of the man who is behind it all, it has become one of the most recognized hobby for a majority.

History of paint by numbers

Just like with any other good business, the beginning of the kits for paint by numbers was not easy to sell. Dan Robbins made several attempts in marketing the home painting kits to retailers which were referred to as Craft Masters Kits. But the buyers felt that people are likely to find the whole concept to be basic or that they will not understand the point or logic behind it all.

After trying for several years, he sold the idea to S.S. Krege, the store that later became K-Mart. They made a large order initially and filled their store with them, but it did not last long. An issue regarding packaging meant that the colors for Bullfighter were mixed with the ones for the Fisherman. After several complaints and making several refunds, S.S.Krege decided to pull them from the shelves.

Determined and not ready to give up, Robbins and Palmer reached to Macy with an offer of an in-store demonstration for customers.  It was under the proviso that, anything which wasn’t sold could be returned without charge and that was the agreement. With such a cunning plan, they advised the sales people to give money to friends and family members. They went to the stores to purchase the painting kit. The plan worked well. From that point, the kits were a sell out and by 1954, the Palmer Paints and the Dan Robbins had made over 20 million dollars from their success.

Paint by numbers today

Nowadays, paint by numbers is sold by various manufacturers. Although the Craft Master were the first ones, it is rare to find the originals. The brand still makes some of their own kits, one which was made in remembrance of the September 11 attack and another one about the Last Supper; both kits are known to be quite popular

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