What Is Diamond Painting?

Diamond painting has gained popularity in the crafting world over the past decade largely because it’s beginner-friendly; can be a therapeutic, calming hobby; and yields impressive results. Similar to a paint-by-number, diamond painting utilizes a pre-printed, gridded and coded canvas as a template for the artwork. Where diamond painting diverts, however, is that in place of liquid paint and a brush, the crafter places small plastic diamonds, or drills, to fill each labeled space. The drills are small and shiny, with one faceted side and one completely flat side; they resemble beads but don’t have any holes. After filling each space with its corresponding colored diamonds and completely covering the canvas, each finished diamond painting has a shiny, textured, mosaic quality that is ready for framing and displaying.

How Does Diamond Painting Work?

Each diamond painting kit contains an adhesive-coated canvas covered in a protective layer of paper or plastic. By folding back a section of the cover, the artist reveals the sticky canvas and can begin to drop diamonds into their corresponding slots. Most kits also come with a diamond painting pen, which when dipped into soft wax, picks up and deposits diamonds precisely and easily. In addition to the pre-printed and adhesive canvas, colored diamonds, and specialized pen, many diamond painting kits also include handy slotted trays, making pickup even easier.

While the canvas is sticky enough to lock diamonds in place, if one is mislaid, it’s possible to pry it up and relay it with a pair of tweezers. Once you’ve laid all your diamonds, apply light pressure with a rolling pin to ensure they’re all properly adhered to the canvas. Many artists like to keep their finished diamond paintings in plastic sleeves and three-ring binders, but you can also apply a glossy sealant to prepare a diamond painting for display, too. After your clear sealer is completely dry, fit a finished painting to a frame and hang as you would any other artwork. For bonus points, upcycle an old frame and customize it to your DIY artwork with a little paint.

Who Can Create Diamond Paintings? 

There is not a lot of knowledge needed or skill to master to begin diamond painting, so it’s a great craft option for those eager to jump into a new hobby. Even the most amateur crafters can be well suited to diamond painting, but be aware that the teeny drills make this activity better for older kids and up.

While there is no messy media or advanced technique to master with diamond painting, it does require careful, methodical work and repetitive movement, so it’s important to work consciously of your wrist movements and body posture. In addition, working over a lightboard will help ease any eye strain. 

Where Can You Find Diamond Painting Kits? 

Diamond painting kits are widely available, and can be sourced at craft and hobby stores as well as online. In addition to pre-produced kits, you can also order customized diamond painting canvases from multiple online creators by sending in a photo, which will be digitized and printed onto a gridded adhesive canvas and accompanied by plenty of plastic drills. The resulting artwork will be a mosaic, pixel-like version of your selected photo.

How to Get Started With Diamond Painting

While diamond painting canvases come in a variety of sizes, it’s a good idea to begin with a smaller project until you feel comfortable with the craft. Most kits include everything you need to get started (sticky canvas, diamonds, applicator pen, wax, and drill trays), but it’s a good idea to invest in extra drill storage baggies or plastic containers if diamond painting is a craft you’ll continue.

Save and store any leftover diamonds similar to how you would store beads just in case you’re missing a few from a future project, or put them to use in a different craft (try layering them in a clear glass vase and adding some faux greenery for a chic centerpiece). Another smart investment as a diamond painting beginner: an ergonomic applicator pen with a comfortable grip. With thousands of diamonds necessary for each painting, an upgraded pen for a less strenuous craft time is a good idea.

Finally, consider dedicating an out-of-the-way craft table in your home to diamond painting, and be sure it’s kept clear of pets and little ones for whom the teeny drills might be dangerous.