Schipper Taj Mahal Paint By Number Kit
Pros: With some patience and a steady hand you can have a gorgeous outcome
Cons: Only one brush provided, and not a very good one
I love tigers. I love crafts. When I saw the Schipper Taj Mahal Paint By Number Kit, it was a no-brainer. A beautiful depiction of the Taj Mahal, with reflecting water, guarded by two gorgeous tigers. How could I not buy it???
Thus, for the past 6 months, my hobby has been painting. Well, painting-by-number, that is. Sure, as kids you probably did craft sets of this type. But I’m thrilled to say that thanks to brands like Schipper, the craft can now be enjoyed by adults. Adults with steady hands and a lot of patience, that is.
This particular set is a “triptych” – that is – a 3-part set. The small pieces on the right and left are 19.5″ tall x 8″ wide. The large piece in the middle is the same height, but nearly 16″ wide. Put together, it’s quite a large painting!
How many different colors do you see? Well, there are supposed to be 42 different colors, but my painting only has 41. Why? Because I had some trouble with the paints. My own fault, because I bought the kit a few months before I actually started it. Acrylic paints are wonderful to work with – when they are fresh. They mix easily, spread easily, can be blended, and wash off with just a touch of water. But once they get old and dried out, they can be a pain. As long as you catch them “in time” they can be rehydrated with water. In my case, when I opened the kit, about half of the paints were dried out and needed rehydrating. Luckily, most of them were able to be saved by watering, and mixing, over the course of a few days. However, two of them were beyond help. Basically, the paint was one gelatinous mass – think “gummy bear” – and simply wouldn’t take the water. One of the colors was vital but I was able to substitute it with a color from another kit I had done earlier. The replacement color being ‘close enough’. The other color was not vital, so I simply eliminated it. Wherever that color was called for, I simply substituted a different color. Since this color appeared only in the sky, and there were so many different shades of blue/purple to choose from, I don’t feel my picture has suffered.
But the point I’m trying to make is – buy the kit when you know you’ll have time to work on it. Don’t buy it then stick it in a closet for 6 months or the paints will give you trouble. (Note: you could order replacement paints from Schipper, if you need to).
So – you’ve bought your kit, and you’re ready to go. What do you need to know?
- Schipper paint canisters come un-numbered. The first thing you’ll need to do is apply little numbered stickers (provided) to the tops of the paint canisters. Not a huge deal, but take care to number them in the correct order!
- Paints work best when they’re thinned with water and a bit drippy. So keep clean water nearby, and use toothpicks as stirrers.
- Remember that the point is to cover the numbers completely as well as the lines separating the different spots. In other words, despite your childhood memories of coloring, you’re not trying to “stay within the lines” this time; instead you need to paint over the lines. This frequently requires multiple coats, especially with the light-colored paints. Whites and yellows take 4 or 5 coats to completely cover the numbers and the lines.
- Certain areas of the picture lend themselves to “fuzzy borders”. By this I mean that it doesn’t much matter if the borders of the trees, skies, and fur are perfect or not. Feel free to get loose with the brush and improvise a bit. But other areas should be outlined perfectly, like the sides of buildings and columns. For these areas, you want a steady hand, a slow pace, and very small paintbrush. I even use a toothpick at times for extreme details.
- Schipper provides only one paint brush, and it’s not the best quality. You’ll want to buy a few good-quality brushes, in several different thicknesses. Trust me, for large areas of sky, you’ll want to nice, thick brush. But for most of the detailed work, you’ll want a thin brush, and I also use a “dotter” which is a brush with just a few small strands, great for teeny little dots of color.
- The Schipper canvas is very high-quality – coated in such a way that helps deliver smooth coverage. Just make sure you put enough paint on the brush. You want the paint to glide over the surface. If your brush is too dry, you won’t get a smooth finish.
- Schipper provides a paper template – and this is vital. Because once you cover a spot on the canvas, you won’t know what number it was, if you need to make corrections or provide additional coverage. If you buy a kit that does not provide a paper template, make your own by photocopying the canvas before you get started.
- My board had no errors that I noticed. What do I mean by error – a spot with no number, a spot with an illegible number, or a spot with two numbers. I’ve seen those types of errors before but not in this kit. If you do find an error, just take a look at the picture on the box’s cover to try to figure out what color is called for.
- Schipper does a great job with the instructions. They come in multiple languages. The English instructions are clear and comprehensive. And they provide contact information in case you have any questions or run into any problems.
- If you decide to purchase a paint by number kit, make sure it’s a picture you love. It’s a lot of fun to work on a project you really like, and watch the picture “come alive” as you move forward. I am happy to report that Schipper kits come out exactly like the photo on the box cover. So choose one you adore, and have fun!
Considering buying a kit for kids? I would suggest that this particular kit might be too big, and too detailed with too many teeny tiny spots for kids. Unless you’ve got a kid who is very patient, stick with kits designed for kids – they have much larger spots and fewer colors.
To give you some idea of the detail – take a look at this picture – it shows the middle section in progress:
Check online before buying as the same kit will go for a wide range of prices. This kit is currently listed on Amazon for over $100, but I paid about $50 for it from an online crafts store. Check places like oakridgehobbies.com and ebay before shelling out big bucks!
So how did mine come out?
Other paint by number kits: