The Classic History of Paint by Numbers

Do you, as an adult, buy paint by numbers because you feel nostalgic of good old times when you felt you’ll end up as Michelangelo when you would grow up. Well, reality is this classic art of painting by numbers is, in fact, the invention of the greatest Michelangelo. So, while you might not have grown as an artist, you are being one of his students if you are painting by numbers for whatever reason.

While Michelangelo, of course, did not end up with making a kit of paint by number, it was Dan Robbin who liked the idea so much that in 1949, he introduced paint by numbers kit. The man was no ordinary artist himself, he has a record of most exhibited artist of the world!

How Did It Happen:

As a worker of the company, Dan Robbin was assigned a task to come up with an idea strong enough to grab everyone’s attention. It was year 1950 and company’s president wanted something original to get him more customers. That is when it clicked to Dan Robbin to start something that can make everyone an artist but the task was way too daunting to be appreciated initially.

People were not willing to start a new hobby and therefore, at first company was not happy to go for it. But even then, Dan Robbin was not willing to give up and thus he came up with brilliant marketing strategies which did the trick. One of the cleverest one was stocking the kits at Macy’s by promising the toy shop owner to take back all the unsold kits. Company then awarded $250 to all the employees and requested them to ask their friends, family and relatives to buy the kit for just $2.50! During holiday season this idea worked brilliantly as people got curious to see so many customers buying the paint by number kits that they started buying too!

Not only that, but a huge billboard was set up with a print of paint-by-numbers. Each day a new color was added to the picture while people watched it, intriguing them enough to buy the kits for themselves too. The result was like a dream come true because by 1954, the company was making $20 million just by a sale of the Craft Master Kit-The Paint by Numbers!

Everyone was happiest with the idea that they could relive their memories from the childhood and initiate drawing again. Painting was never so simpler and thus it made everyone felt like an artist. While all of this happened because of a marketing stunt, what is precious to observe from the history of this great art activity is that it revived the classic exercise to de-stress - that is the art of Painting.