This year, we searched long and hard to bring you the very best gifts for everyone on your list. I was surprised—and delighted—to discover that the most purchased gift from our 2017 Gift Guides was also one of my favorites. If you have not already experienced it, allow me to introduce you to the joy that is Paint by Sticker.
If you were ever a child, you are probably familiar with paint by number (and its sadder cousin, color by number), where one carefully paints shapes inside designated areas on a canvas. The good folks at Workman Publishing have taken the idea of paint by number and innovated it with stickers.
Here's how it works: You start with a blank canvas, which has been separated into many, many tiny geometric shapes. Each one has a letter and a number, say, A2. You see shape A2 on the paper, find sticker A2 on the corresponding sticker sheet, peel it off, and fit the sticker onto the paper.
It all seems a little bit dumb, that is, until you try it, and you begin affixing stickers to a piece of paper and the rest of the world starts to fall away. Finding each piece and placing it on the paper, just so, is weirdly hypnotic and strangely satisfying. In a way that requires almost no setup, Paint by Sticker allows you to experience the joy of craft, that unique sensation where the body and the senses are engaged but the mind is sweetly free.
It can be very satisfying to see your picture slowly take form, and the finished product is nice enough, I suppose, but the finished product isn't even really the point. Paint by Sticker isn't about the product, but the process. If you're anything like me, once you begin, you may not want to stop. You may find yourself sticking much longer than you intended, lost in the quiet pleasure of the moment.
It's almost Christmas, and this is the inevitable point where I interject and say that this is a perfect holiday gift. But honestly, forget about everyone else and buy one for yourself, because the holidays are crazy and nerve-wracking and sometimes, you just need a moment or two to retreat into a quiet place in your own mind. Paint by Sticker will take you there, and while the books can be had for as low as five dollars, the effect is, dare I say, priceless.
Travel lover? Art lover? Bird lover? Pop Culture Icon lover? There's a Paint by Sticker for everyone on your list. See them all here.