Who knew 2020 would bring me back to my crafting roots with paint by number projects! As a kid I always tried and gave up on these kits because I was too much of a perfectionist. elle crée makes the paint by number process incredibly easy and enjoyable.
Paint by number kits have grown in popularity like many other childhood past-times due to so many people staying at home during the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I too was starting to receive advertisements for these kits, but nothing really struck me as different than the ones I tried as a kid.
Until I went down the subscription box rabbit hole and saw an example of elle crée products and immediately wanted to try them!
elle crée — or “she creates” in French — produces artist quality paint-by-number kits designed and made in Portland, Oregon by illustrator Rachel Austen. Featuring a diverse array of illustrations, including still lifes and iconic historical figures, each kit includes non-toxic hand-mixed acrylic paints and minimal, eco-friendly packaging. elle crée uses locally sourced components and USA made materials whenever possible; ideal for the conscious-consumer.elle crée
Owner Austen was kind enough to send me a kit to review and I’m excited to say that I actually really loved painting this. I thought I would start and end like every past attempt, in frustration and annoyance that I couldn’t get the brush strokes right or mess up, which was not the case. Considering the whole reason people have picked these back up is that they’re meant to be relaxing and soothing, I was very glad to find out that I could actually paint without getting stressed.
These canvases come preprinted with the background so you’re only painting part of the canvas and everything you need comes with the kit except for water and a tissue or paper towel for mistakes. The kit suggests to use q-tips to remove mistakes which works very well.
I used the cardboard in the kit as the easel and popped the paints out of their cardboard side area because I prefer moving them around instead of having everything in front of me, lest I accidentally knock something over.
Of course, me being me, I painted the vase first for some immediate satisfaction, and then followed the instructions which say to go in number order. This is because the color order makes it easier to go back to the earliest colors while the latest colors dry and vice versa. The lighter colors definitely need three or four layers, but the vase was fine with two.
This paint by number kit really challenged me to not get stuck in making every brush stroke perfect or redoing a petal if I thought it didn’t “look right.” In the end, what I got was a beautiful 8′ by 10″ canvas to frame and place on my dresser.
Unlike most kits on the market for younger audiences and even sometimes adults, which have thinner canvases or are made from paper (maybe what also caused me grief), these canvases have a weight to them because they’re artist quality and absolutely worth the $30-$35 price tag.
elle crée also donates 5% of proceeds to various charities and has an entire “Shero” painting line along with the floral, art deco inspired, and other prints that make up the nearly 40 kits on offer.
Images and product courtesy of elle crée.
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