The result? Visually dazzling, mosaic artworks that sparkle, shimmer, and shine.

By Alexa Erickson
July 29, 2020
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Courtesy of Meian

Looking for a new hobby to hone? Try your hand at diamond painting. Having originated in Asia a decade ago, the unique art form has picked up steam among crafters looking for a creative outlet, especially during the pandemic. It's a stress-free activity that puts your mind at ease. "It requires minimal effort and can be extremely addictive as this creative outlet is great for relaxation, stress relief, and overall mental health," says Jennifer Chu, director of sales and e-commerce for Diamond Art Club. Despite its name, however, diamond painting has nothing to do with your average brush stroke.

What Is Diamond Painting?

According to Chu, diamond painting is a combination of cross-stitch and paint-by-numbers. "You use an applicator to apply hundreds of sparkling resin rhinestones, one-by-one, on an adhesive color-coded canvas painting," she explains. The end result is a vivid, shimmering work of art. Each piece can be framed and hung in your office, gifted to a loved one, or kept for yourself to enjoy.

Tools and Materials

Various companies offer kits that contain everything you need to get started. Here's what you'll find inside a Diamond Art Club kit (from $10, diamondartclub.com): canvas, adhesive, an applicator pen, tray, paddy wax, and colorful resin drills. "Diamond painting is similar to working with beads; however, you are working with drills," says Debbie Mergy, who sells her diamond painting creations on her Etsy shop NeedleworkbyGiGi. The drills are the formal name for the rhinestone diamonds; they're flat on one side and rounded on top.

"Additional diamond art painting accessories include a great light pad to help ease any eye strain, a great diamond organizer to store and keep track of all your colored diamonds, and some washi tape to help prevent any dust or lint from getting on your adhesive during application," says Chu. Diamond painting crafters may also prefer using several stylish multi-applicator pens and an ergonomically designed area for crafting.

Choosing the Best Kit for Your Skill Level

Companies like Diamond Art Club offer round diamond kits, which are great for beginners. More advanced crafters will enjoy larger square canvases, such as the Danilena Supplies Peacock Diamond Painting Kit ($16.45, etsy.com) pictured here. "Round diamonds are easier and faster to place on the canvas, while square diamonds have a snap feature which allows the diamonds to fit together neatly with no gaps," says Chu.

You can also purchase a kit with a theme that speaks to you. "Diamond Art Club offers tons of themes for everyone to explore!" says Chu. "We have anything from classic landscape artwork to inspirational quotes to abstract art pieces to portraits and a variety of eclectic visuals that span multiple categories." Plus, there are many accessories to personalize. "You can diamond paint notebooks, hair clips, bookmarks, pictures, night lights, bracelets, stickers, key chains, and so on," says Mergy.

How to Diamond Paint

To start, open up your canvas and put it under something heavy, such as a stack of books, for a couple hours to overnight. This will help straighten it out, according to Mergy. Once straightened, lay out your canvas (preferably on an LED light pad), then peel back a small part of the plastic covering to work on a small area. Be mindful not to take it all the way off, as this protects the sticky canvas. Now, you'll begin to work with the drills. "Use the coded chart on the canvas to match a symbol with the corresponding diamond color code, then find the respective diamond bag," explains Chu. You can pick any single-color drill to get started. Pour some of the drills into the tray, then gently shake the tray back and forth so the drills settle right side up. "It will be easier for you to pick the diamonds with the applicator pen this way," says Chu.

Next, take your diamond painting pen and dip it in wax a couple times. "Do this until the tip has a little wax on it," says Mergy. "Use your pen to pick up a diamond drill and place the drill on the appropriate symbol and keep adding the color you are working with onto the canvas. There is no need to dip the pen in the wax with each drill, as it will pick up drills for quite a while before you need to dip in wax again." When you finish your first section, pull another section of covering off and move onto that section until you're finished. All that's left is to frame and display your artwork at home.

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