I’ve done a couple of paint by numbers (PBN) kits in the past, once spending a whole Saturday completing a 30x40cm one last year. My first kit was a shared project with my sister that we never completed due to its large canvas size of 40x50cm—it just took too long.
Nonetheless, it’s a relaxing activity that I don’t mind doing every now and then… If not for the fact that every design looks similar, and can even get repetitive. I’m usually met with the same kinds of sceneries, colour splashes of an abstract flamingo, or cartoon characters.
Noticing this, Crystal, who founded The Paint Project, decided to change things up in the market by selling customisable PBN kits.
Repainting A Memory
After the MCO last year, she left her job in search of a passion project. Her sister, Giselle, advised her to pursue an interest, hence why she started a business that makes her daily work fun.
Coupled with the idea of bringing something unique to each customer, the sisters were inspired to convert memories and portraits into canvases. Painting them would also heighten the sentiment for customers who could relive a memory with each stroke of a brush.
To get photos converted into a bespoke PBN kit, customers have to send their image to The Paint Project. With free online software like PBNfy, for example, its team can easily determine the colour palettes of each photo and transform them into outline paint maps.
It’s then printed on a canvas at a relative’s printing factory, which also has a specific machine to mix the paints’ colours to match the codes provided by the team. The whole creation process takes up to 2 weeks, and is highly dependent on the volume of orders as well.
As mentioned before, I never got around to finishing my first PBN kit; its map was too big and too overwhelming which made me brush it aside, leaving the paint to dry up.
“The consistency of acrylic paints usually lasts for up to a month before it starts to dry out. But as they’re water-soluble, 1-2 drops of water would usually moisten the paints to be used again,” advised Crystal in fixing the problem. It’s also what she tells customers who are hesitant to take on this hobby.
Furthermore, the team also sells their canvases in smaller sizes than those on the market, recognising that most would neglect their kit if it took too long to complete. “Most people have work in the day and only have the time to paint during the night or weekends, so the smaller canvas can be finished in a shorter time,” she said.
The Paint Project’s kits come in 3 sizes:
- 30x40cm for RM89;
- 30x30cm for RM79;
- 20x25cm for RM74.
Compared to non-customisable PBN kits, the prices are steeper. But The Paint Project isn’t the only one doing customisable PBN kits either. MeTime Art Malaysia is another Malaysian startup that creates customisable ones, alongside the standard designs.
However, their customisable kits start at RM159 and can go up to RM179 if you want 36 colours over the standard 24. Their canvas is also fixed at 40x50cm.
A Piece Of Work
Starting this business was a big achievement for the sisters, but it did come with some challenges along the way, since they had to handle everything themselves due to a lack of capital to outsource help.
All of their operations from customer service, producing, packaging, marketing, accounting, design, logistics, etc. are done in-house. “It’s really tiring, but yes, we enjoy every process with passion,” Crystal chimed.
Since launching The Paint Project on March 8 this year, Crystal and Giselle have sold a total of 53 kits. Their goal is to sell a total of 2,500 kits by the end of this year.
In the future, they plan to open a studio where customers can paint their bespoke PBN projects together with their friends and family, offering Malaysians a different PBN experience.
Featured Image Credit: The Paint Project