Last week I shared a project I was working on, which was to do a pixel canvas painting of Jackie O. This is a great DIY project for anyone that wants a unique art piece in their home. I will say that it requires a little time planning and some patience while you’re painting, but the end result makes it all worth it. Here’s how I did it.
1. Select an image online (it can be in color). Note: I like to do these in black/white so my instructions will be for that type of an image. You can do this in color, but matching the paint colors to the photo will be a little trickier.
2. Save image on your computer. Crop the selected area you want to paint. Instead of doing the whole face, I like to cut it in half and do one side for a unique perspective. Once you’ve finalized it, click save.
3. Go to www.heavymural.com. In the upper left corner, click “Choose Your Image” and upload your photo. If your photo is in color, select grayscale. As you can see in the lower left hand corner, you can select how many pixels to have in the image. The more pixels, the more in focus the image will be. Now, depending on the size of your canvas, I like to go with numbers that are divisible or close to the dimensions of the canvas. For example, the canvas I used for the Jackie painting is 12 x 24. The pixel dimensions I chose for this one were 41 x 84. Not quite an exact number, but close enough. Once you have finished determining how many pixels, save the image to your computer.
4. Grid the image. The picture you’ve finished pixelating is going to be your paint-by-number guide. Here’s how you do it. The grid is already created for you by the HeavyMural software. All you have to do is define the lines in word/adobe acrobat by drawing more distinct lines to grid it. The easiest way to do this is to copy/paste the image in a word file and stretch it to fit on one page. Zoom into the document. Under “Insert” click “lines” and draw a line from top to bottom/left to right of the image. Now, reference back to the dimensions you selected in heavymural (if you don’t remember you can count the number of pixels from top-bottom/ left-right to figure this out). This is to help you assess how many pixels to fit into your 1’’ x 1’’ square when you paint. For the Jackie painting, it was 3 pixels by 3 1/3. You don’t have to be perfect, just close. Once you’re done, print the image a couple of times to reference while you’re painting. After you’re done this is how it’ll look:
5. Next you’ll want to gradient the colors. On one of the print out grids, you’re going to label each pixel square with a number (I counted about nine different shades when I went through and looked at how many shades are in my image). Start from one end and label each with a number 1-9. This is tedious and took me at least an hour to do. Once you do this though, the hard part is over!
6. Take your grid map with the numbers and apply it to your canvas. With a ruler I drew lines to make the canvas a 1 x 1 grid. The next step is to break that down further and put in the numbers for your paint-by-number painting. This process ended up taking me about 1 1/2 hours.
7. Begin painting! I bought 3-4 paint colors (white, black, and a few shades of grey in between). Mix your colors 1 through 9 and start your paint-by-number! This is what she looked like about half way through. As you can see, it requires a bit of patience. When you’re so close to it, it’s hard to see it looking like anything but squares of paint.
After 3 hours of painting, this is how she turned out:
I really am pleased with how it looks! I sort of think it’s hard to tell if it’s Katie Holmes or Jackie O. so I’ll probably do a painting of JFK just to make sure there’s no confusion!
So there you have it. Your very own step-by-step instructions on how to create a paint-by-numbers painting!