Diamond Art Basics for Beginners: Diamond Painting Tools You'll Need & How to Do Diamond Art Kits by Jennifer Roberts
Many crafters are familiar with cross-stitch and its ability to combine small dots of color and create masterpieces. Although completing a cross-stitch pattern may not take as long as painting the Sistine Chapel, it is not unusual for a detailed project to take years.
This is one reason why, in 2015, diamond painting became a popular crafting trend. “Diamond Painting was designed as an easier, faster and more therapeutic alternative to cross-stitch,” explained the popular diamond painting company, Paint with Diamonds.
And while diamond painting has cross-stitch at its core, it utilizes multiple craft mediums, including paint by numbers and mosaic tiling. While each company decides what tools it offers, the following are mandatory:
- Canvas with pre-laid adhesive.
- Key for color (connecting symbols to color palate).
- Application tool (to place diamonds on to canvas area).
- Set of diamonds labeled with color key.
- Tray to hold diamonds to be placed.
- Sticking agent, usually referred to as wax, to use with the application tool.
Other tools in the kit may include:
- Plastic bags for storage.
- Tweezers for different way of placement or removal as needed.
- Wax container.
- Higher-quality tray.
- Inventory page for quick review of color key.
- Stickers or gift from company as a thank you.
- Different placers to use with the applicator tool.
- Foam squishy for applicator to help ease strain on hand when holding.
- Canvas sheet protectors.
The list continues to grow and change as companies explore new ways to improve their customers’ experience.
How to Diamond Paint
Step 1: Selecting a Diamond Painting
While people often choose paintings based on colors, designs, subject matters, size and types of diamonds included (specialty diamonds), the most important criteria is to select a painting that will bring you joy. Once you’ve decided on a painting, be sure to research the company selling it to ensure it is really the one you want – the photos used are oftentimes misleading. I have learned to read the fine print when searching for round drills vs. square, full vs. partial, rhinestones vs. regular, etc. As you continue reading, these terms will hold more meaning in your diamond painting journey.
In terms of size, larger is usually better (see the section on canvas sizing). Since diamond painting creates a picture from small dots, the larger the canvas, the more detailed – and less pixelated – your painting will be.
Balance your size selection; you don’t have to choose a large painting each time. Experiment and find your sweet size. My favorite is the 40x50 cm, as my arms can reach every part of the canvas, the details are easy to see, and it’s an inexpensive size to frame and still be a statement piece.
Check out Facebook groups, YouTube channels and reviews when seeking reputable companies. Sometimes cheaper is not always better. See the resource section for some of my favorite companies and stores if you need a place to start.
Step 2: Order, Receive and Inventory
Once a painting is ordered, keep your confirmation and tracking numbers. When the diamond painting arrives, take inventory. Check the canvas for damage, the diamonds for any missing colors and evaluate if the painting is indeed what you ordered. Hopefully, you have a great experience, but in the rare case that your painting is not satisfactory, contact the company’s customer service for assistance. If ordering from certain Chinese companies, you will be asked to verify receipt. WARNING: Do not verify unless you have checked out your canvas, as verification shuts the door on possible customer service assistance if anything needs addressed.
Pro tip: If you are ordering from overseas, be prepared to wait three to eight weeks for it to arrive. Monitor the tracking number, follow the policies of the websites you are ordering from and if you have questions, ask.
Remember, if you are ordering from overseas the customer service representative may not speak English. Use short, simple phrases, only ask one question at a time, and know you may not get an answer for up to 24 hours or over a weekend due to the time difference.
Step 3: Kitting Up
This is a term universally used by diamond painters when speaking about assembling their next project. Kitting up involves organizing your diamonds how you desire, labeling storage and clearing a crafting space for diamond painting. For the avid painter, there could be multiple paintings kitted up at any given time. (See storage section for further details.)
When kitting up, it is important to label how you as the crafter think. Options available are to label using the DMC number (if provided), the symbol/schematic or the number order of the color. In the picture provided, you see the package of the diamonds and the key with the #12 highlighted. In this example, you could use #12, H or the DMC code 809 on your storage. I prefer to make a photocopy of my canvas key and inventory sheet, which I then cut up and tape onto my storage box.
Pro tip: Invest in a sticker-making machine (Xyron is a good brand) and make your own stickers by running a cut-to-size strip of the key through it, therefore bypassing the need to use tape.
Step 4: Diamond Painting
A. The painting is laid out, the diamonds are organized, the popcorn is popped and your favorite YouTube creator is playing on your tablet. Now it is time to peel back a corner of the canvas cover (do not remove cover completely) and reveal the symbols and paint.
B. Select a symbol, compare it to your color key, find the correct diamond color and pour an appropriate amount into a tray. Shake the tray gently to help the diamonds lay flat. The sparkle side should be facing up.
C. Pick up your diamond painting pen and push the tip into the wax. Next, gently place the pen tip on a diamond and allow the wax to adhere.
D. Lift the diamond from the tray and navigate it over to the correct corresponding symbol; press pen and diamond to the symbol. The canvas glue will be stronger than the wax and will take the diamond from the pen.
Strategies for diamond painting are as individual as the artist working. Some diamond paint one color at a time across the whole canvas, others choose section by section. Some paint one diamond at a time, others use multiplacers. Pens, trays, wax, glue and other accessories also vary from crafter to crafter. This book will explore a few unique strategies while encouraging you to find what is right for you.
Pro tip: When you have completed your diamond painting for the day, re-cover your canvas to protect unfinished and exposed areas. This will keep dust, fuzz, paper or accidental spills from marring your painting.
Step 5: Finishing a Diamond Painting
There is a sense of satisfaction when the last diamond is placed. (If you are like me, you may already have your next kit/painting selected and ready to go.) However, what to do with the one just completed is the urgent question of the day.
A. First, take a roller and roll over the painting. This presses the diamonds into the canvas glue and continues the adhering process.
B. Pass a scrub brush gently over the diamonds to help remove any dirt and waxy residue (or grease from the popcorn you ate). Some people use a toothbrush, but I find them too soft. I use a small-handled bristle brush, like the kind you might use to scrub your sink. Be gentle when “scrubbing” your canvas clean.
C. Decide if you are going to seal or leave your painting natural. I seal paintings I store in my artist portfolio or they will be open to the elements. If I am framing, I will bypass the sealant as the glass provides the needed protection. Sealant protects diamonds from flaking off from a variety of reasons, and I would rather be better safe than sorry if it’s a painting with meaning.
My hope is for your journey to be as inspirational and soul searching as mine has been. Since discovering diamond painting I have found myself more patient, self-assured and open to new possibilities. My depression and anxiety have substantially lowered, and my self-esteem continues to increase with each masterpiece. If a painting is causing stress, I have become decisive and throw the painting away without guilt. I have found the ability to control my decisions, be proud of my accomplishments, and find peace in seeing the chaos of color become complete, organized and whole. Diamond painting (or any craft of your choice) should bring you on a journey of rest and renewal. May you find the restoration and renewal you deserve as you embark on your crafting journey.
Excerpted from The Diamond Painting Guide and Logbook by Jennifer Roberts Copyright © 2020 Rocky Nook, Inc. Reprinted with permission from Rocky Nook, Inc. All rights reserved.
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