What exactly is diamond painting? When I first heard the term, I pictured something like painting in miniature or adhering Swarovski crystals to a painting as a unique touch. Turns out, it’s more similar to mosaics and cross stitch than anything else. It’s a relatively new art form in the West, and seems to have originated in China, although the origin story is quite bereft of details regarding how long diamond painting has been around. Recently there has been an uptick in interest, as the process of creating these works of art is simple and relaxing, and the kits themselves are priced to appeal to a mass audience rather than an elite group of artists.
You can now find kits all across the world and online, including popular shopping sites like Amazon, and craft stores like Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s. Prices range from $5.99 and up, but of course with store coupons you can score a larger project for less. You can often sign up for a store’s e-mail newsletter and receive 40% coupons regularly. If you’re interested in picking a diamond kit painting up, however, you will want to start with a smaller project, like the Diamond Dotz Patchwork Heart Kit from Michael’s, which can be purchased for $5.99. Once you get the hang of diamond painting, it’s easy to graduate up to larger projects.
What materials do you need for diamond painting? Everything is included in the kit, but there are a few unique tools that are used to put the painting together. In each kit you’ll receive the following items: Cloth (it comes pre-stamped with the design), an applicator, wax, and the diamonds themselves, which are actually beads shaped like diamonds (they’re also very sparkly). The applicator is used to pick up the diamonds and transfer them to the fabric, with the wax being used to hold them in place. Fine motor skills are required, so if you, like me, experience small tremors now and again, you may want to prop your hand or arm on something (a small book works well) so that steady application is possible.
The applicator grabs the pointed part of the diamond, which allows you to place them individually on the fabric. Each set comes with a plastic protective sheet over the fabric, both of which are sticky. The diamonds will stick to the fabric surface and once complete, the plastic goes back over the project. You’ll want a rolling pin or something similar to ensure the entire project is adhering properly and stays sealed.
This is a great craft when you have some spare time at home, but it is not recommended as a travel project. You will often get a container for beads, but the process takes time, heat (to melt the wax), and space, so it’s optimized for a stay-at-home afternoon project, or even over the weekend project. The beads typically come in separate bags so you can do the design in stages if you have other things you need to do around the house.
There are also a few things to know about the types of diamond paintings. There are two, the mosaic and cross-stitch diamond paintings, and it all has to do with the fabric and finished look of the project. You will want to look at each project individually and see which one suits you best. Just remember that upon completion, these paintings cannot be washed. If something happens to the fabric, clean with a damp cloth prior to attaching the diamonds. Once the diamonds are stuck onto the fabric, it cannot be washed (This is also why you want to retain the plastic protector sheet, as the painting will also gather dust unless covered).
Once you’ve completed your diamond painting, you may want to dress it up a little and put it on display. They can be modified with a frame, or it can be inserted into another craft project, like throw pillows, holiday ornaments, bookmarks, luggage tags, brooches, patches for your favorite purse or backpack, or even coasters. They would also make great gifts, particularly if you matched a person’s interests with a project (There are all sorts of animal kits featuring tigers, wolves, bears, etc.). People of all ages enjoy these sparkly creations, including teachers, co-workers, friends, family members, and kids. If you enjoy the idea but don’t want to make them alone, you could also utilize them in the classroom, host a craft night, or use them as birthday “favors” at a party.
Interested in trying out diamond painting? You can find diamond painting kits at your local craft store (check here for Michael’s and here for Jo-Ann’s) or online (Amazon or Etsy). You can also purchase diamond paintings that have already been completed, if you’d prefer to enjoy the sparkles without having to go through the process. You can also read up on diamond painting at sites like Herrschner’s, which has an excellent tutorial as well as tips and tricks for how to make the most out of your diamond painting project.