10 Common Diamond Painting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Just like in any DIY crafting project, a diamond painting kit is rife with possibilities for mistakes, accidents, and faux pas. With so many diamond art tools, tiny rhinestones, and all that adhesive on the canvas, it’s more than understandable that things will sometimes go wrong while you’re working on the next diamond painting kit. Most common mistakes have more to do with some slight short-sightedness before the actual painting begins more than they have to do with a lack of skill or a real shortcoming. There are tons of DMC codes to mistake, rhinestone containers to overturn, adhesive to expose too soon, and a whole host of other common diamond painting mistakes that happen all the time to diamond painters and we’re here to go through them and give some diamond painting tips to help make sure the calming effect of diamond painting won’t be interrupted by an accidental mishap. 

As you can imagine, lots of mistakes are possible when it comes to those little diamonds. They can spill, they can run out, they can stick together, they can be placed in the wrong place on the canvas, and they can be misaligned. Any misplaced drills could ruin the whole picture in the end and it can be hard to know how to improve your ability to keep the drills in line. Storing the drills properly will pretty much solve any spilling issues, but you should also know exactly what to do in case some rhinestones are spilled. There are many crafty ways to get the diamonds up out of the carpet and back into their container that don’t involve painstakingly picking up all the spilled rhinestones with the applicator pen

Similarly, organizing your color system can help prevent misplaced drills. Some DMC codes are rather similar in color and there is no shortage of detail-oriented crafters out there who will never be able to stop noticing a drill if they notice one that’s the wrong color in a finished, sealed diamond painting. Creating a color system that works for you will ensure that you don’t put down the wrong color drill and don’t have to spend lots of downtime looking for the right DMC code when you move on to a new section of the canvas. 

It’s also easier said than done to keep track of all your drills if you have them scattered about or you tend to work in the living room or dining room instead of in a dedicated space for your diamond painting. Mischievous cats, kids, or spouses can often mislay rhinestones when playing with them or trying to tidy up a space unbidden. 

There are some common mistakes that have to do exclusively with the canvas. Most crafters who travel with their diamond art or stow it away my rolling it up might find that it refuses to uncurl and remain flat after it has been rolled up. There are more than a few strategies to make it stay flat, but you have to be careful not to damage the finished diamond painting while you’re trying to straighten everything out. It’s also fairly common to make mistakes in the sealing process when you’re ready to put the finishing touches on a diamond art piece. Reviewing the whole process, right down to dusting off the rhinestones beforehand, can help avoid such a mistake. 

Still more frequent than some of the common mistakes that come from a lack of knowledge or experience are the ones that happen during moments when your brain just gets away from you. Maybe you’re so engrossed in the diamond paint by numbers at hand that you forget there’s food or drink next to you or you’re in such a rush to get those drill with the right DMC that you lay your arm across the whole of your unfinished diamond painting. Perhaps you just got overexcited and removed the whole protective sheet off of the diamond painting kit before you could even get started. 

Whatever the cause and however severe the results, there are tons of common diamond painting mistakes that can seem like the end of the world when they first happen. Luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to prevent these solutions and plenty more crafty ways to do some damage control in the event that one of the mistakes are committed. Read on for the top 10 common diamond painting mistakes and find out how to avoid them to save yourself some strife on your next diamond project

A diamond painting of Spiderman and the Hulk.

1. When your Rhinestones Spill

Gasp-rendering and possibly heart-attack inducing, there are few things as exasperating as spilling a ton (or even a few) rhinestones on the floor. That goes double if your workspace has thick carpet or there are many places where the drills can run off to hide. It can happen for any reason. Perhaps a pet jumped up on the counter or another person was attempting to display interest in diamond painting when they carelessly knocked over a storage container. Maybe it was the diamond painter themselves who accidentally brought the rhinestones tumbling to the ground. In any case, since ‘be more aware of your surroundings’ is hardly a diamond painting tip, we’d like to focus more on some preventative measures and then talk about what to do when it’s too late. 

Prevention: The first thing about your diamond storage system should be the lids on your rhinestone containers. If they have lids, then make sure you have the kind with screw-lids that will not come off by themselves if you knock one to the ground. If you want to use plastic baggies instead, they work just as well and actually take up less space when you aren’t using them. However, make sure you seal them back when they aren’t in use or you’ll find that rhinestones tumble out from plastic baggies just as well as they do from jars without lids. 

Solution: Okay, so let’s say the diamonds are dispersed despite your best preventative measures. Don’t bother trying to get down with tweezers or that applicator pen to pick up every single rhinestone. Picking up rhinestones is the opposite of what diamond painting is supposed to be. The best way to get up a large number of spilled drills is to put some pantyhose on the end of a vacuum cleaner nozzle, secure it with a rubber band or something similar, and then suck those puppies up, dumping them back into their proper containers by turning off the vacuum while the nozzle is over the place you wish to deposit the rhinestones.  

2. When your Canvas Won't Stay Flat

Sometimes when you want to transport an unfinished diamond art canvas or store a completed one, it’s simplest to roll it up and stow it in a case or carry it in a bag. That’s all good and well, but every now and again, the canvas gets stubborn and just doesn’t want to unroll and lay flat like it was when you got it. Never fret because this is a problem with an easy solution. All you need to do is concentrate on not damaging the diamond painting while you try to straighten it out.

Prevention: While rolling them up is a perfectly fine way to stow and transport diamond paintings, the only surefire way to prevent them from curling is to store them flat. We recommend an artist’s portfolio or the DIY variety made from cardboard to protect completed diamond art paintings and a more temporary variety of attached cardboard to cover up incomplete work. There are also many different kinds of transport bags like laptop cases that can be readily converted into diamond painting storage without having to roll canvases up. 

Solution: Let’s say you had never heard of an artist’s portfolio and didn’t think of the laptop bag idea. That’s alright, there’s an easy way to flatten a canvas. But before you try it, use either the protective film that came in the diamond painting kit or some kind of film, cheesecloth or towel to protect the painting. Just cover everything up. Next, get either your roller that you use to seal diamond paintings or else a rolling pin from the kitchen. Whichever one you have on hand, you’re going to do the same thing with them. Roll over the diamond painting ever so gently, not to crush or move the rhinestones but to get the canvas to flatten out. If it isn’t working, cover the corners of the canvas with heavy items such as books and leave it stretched that way overnight. 

3. When you Place the Wrong Rhinestones on the Canvas

An extremely common mistake, especially when DMC colors are very close to one another or the numbers on the grid of a diamond painting kit are too small. Hopefully, you placed it somewhere kind of close to where it was supposed to go on the canvas. That will make correcting the mistake much easier. If your problem was not that you placed the right rhinestone in the wrong space but rather the wrong rhinestone in the right place, then it could be more difficult, but not impossible to correct. There are also a few ways you can prevent this from happening in the future. 

Prevention: If you’re picking up the wrong drills then the only solution is to update your drill storage system. Use stickers or a marker to make sure that the DMC of each color is clear. Place a sample drill next to the DMC code on the canvas itself. Don’t pour more than one color into the drill tray at a time. Work your way through each section of the canvas and then switch colors only when you’ve finished that color in each section. 

Solution: The adhesive on the canvas isn’t going to hold a drill in place immediately. You can use tweezers or sometimes even the applicator pen to slide a drill into the place where it belongs. If you’ve placed a drill somewhere it doesn’t belong and nowhere near a place where it does, get those tweezers out and take it off. Try and place the correct drill straight away before the exposed adhesive dries.

4. When you Remove the Whole Film Sheet at Once

This one is more of a rookie mistake, although we can understand being so excited to start a new project that you just remove the whole sheet without thinking. Removing the whole sheet exposes the adhesive and allows dust and dirt to stick to it, reducing the likelihood that the drills will stick. The adhesive will also start to dry out as soon as you expose it to air. This common mistake is a little bit harder to solve once you’ve done it but the preventative measures are really simple. It’s probably just about reached the level of being common knowledge in the diamond painting community, but it never hurts to repeat the basics. 

Prevention: Only remove one small section of the film at a time. Work in that section until it’s complete. Move to another section of the same size and repeat until the diamond painting is finished. 

Solution: Here’s where it gets a little bit like tough love: there isn’t really much you can do if you rip off the whole sheet at once. The only thing you can attempt is to recover the majority of the adhesive and try to finish that diamond painting kit as quickly as possible. Prevention is the key to correcting this common diamond painting mistake.

A diamond painting of insects.

5. When you Accidentally Touch Exposed Adhesive

Even if you are working section by section to finish your diamond painting, you may find yourself leaning to get to some drills and inadvertently placing your arm or hand on some exposed adhesive. Now, we all know it’s not going to stick there forever, but it can reduce the efficacy of the adhesive in addition to making your skin feel a bit sticky for a while. It’s definitely not one of the more serious of the common diamond painting mistakes, but it’s still annoying and still something to avoid doing. 

Prevention: Wear something on your forearm or create some kind of a cover with fabric, parchment paper, or long gloves. Maybe owning diamond painting gloves sounds a bit like overkill to you, but going with a simpler option like cutting a different material out can protect you from touching exposed adhesive. Make sure the material you use won’t stick to the adhesive, though!

Solution: This one will be quick. If you touch some adhesive, get unstuck from it and make sure you didn’t take too much of the adhesive with you. Try to place drills there to make sure the adhesive will still hold them. 

6. When the Adhesive Dries Out

However the adhesive became exposed, or even if it was through a manufacturer’s mistake, a dry adhesive is one of the biggest annoyances in diamond painting. Luckily, some of the materials used to seal a diamond painting can also be used to act as a kind of second-chance adhesive if there is nothing on the canvas anymore. Now, be aware that this isn’t guaranteed. But it’s worthwhile to try to prevent your new diamond art from looking like it has gaps in its teeth. 

Prevention: As we mentioned before, don’t expose and of the adhesive on the canvas until you’re ready to work on it and can fill it out with rhinestones in one sitting. Now, we know life calls sometimes and you may have to leave before you anticipated. Consider covering the exposed adhesive with a lint-free towel of some kind that will protect the canvas from the open-air without leaving any remains behind on the adhesive. 

Solution: Try using a sealing product to make the rhinestones stick. Spraynet is one such product that works pretty well for this purpose. If it won’t stick to the canvas, try to fill in the rest of your diamond painting and then fill in the remaining drills right before you seal the whole thing up. Hopefully, the sealant will hold the errant rhinestones in alongside the others that are stuck on with adhesive.

7. When you Place Your Diamonds in a Crooked Line

With square drills, anything but a straight line on the canvas will stick out like a sore thumb in the finished product. To get a straight line out of the drills, there are a few different tools you can use. There are some that are designed for just this purpose, but you can find something lying around the house just as easily. Learning how your applicator pen picks up and places both square and round drills by practice over time will also reduce this mistake with each new 5d diamond painting. 

Prevention: When you cut off small sections of the protective sheet, make sure you do it in a straight line. If you’re really having trouble placing a straight line, work from the borders inward, using each new progressive row of drills to keep the next on straight. Alternatively, start from the center with a square. If you’re having problems mixing up drills, this might not be the best strategy for you since it requires working with multiple colors at a given time. However, even if this prevention strategy is too much for you, the solution is easy enough. 

Solution: Use a knife or a ruler to make sure all the drills are aligned. This is easier with square drills than with round drills, but the square diamonds are more important to have lined up in the finished product anyway. 

8. When your Sealant Doesn't Apply Correctly

At the finishing stages of a diamond painting kit, there’s nothing more annoying that ruining your hard work with a less-than-ideal seal. Sealing a diamond painting is fairly easy but it also takes some minute attention to detail. Make sure you follow the steps for sealing a diamond painting and don’t be afraid to get down low to the rhinestones. Inspect that sucker on a molecular level to get a faultless seal at the end. 

Prevention: One of the first things you should do when you seal a diamond painting is to go over the thing with a brush. Sweep it free of dust and debris. If you don’t it’s going to get trapped in the sealant and make a mess out of it. Make sure there aren’t significant gaps in the drills or uneven bumps on the surface because the sealant will bring those out in the finished product. Once you’re sure it’s clean and even, spray or paint on your sealant and let it dry. Really let it dry, though. Coming back too soon to apply more sealant can botch the job. Make sure you store the painting in an enclosed place with no dust and debris flying around while the sealant is drying. 

Solution: If the problem is sealant gooping up in between the drills, you can usually dig some of it out with a toothpick since it should be the last of the sealant to dry. Check the drying process regularly to make sure there are no opaque spots that are going to be there in the finished product. You have to know how much is too much sealant and that mostly comes with time. In the beginning, don’t put on too much. If you do see imperfections in the final product, you can wait till the sealant is dry to try and correct them. Cover the diamond painting and go over the whole thing with a rolling pin if its uneven. If you have significant debris trapped in a dry sealant, you may just have to describe it as a design quark and make peace with it. 

9. When you Have Trouble Reading the Canvas

This is a common mistake for everyone and it can lead to other mistakes like placing the wrong drill or not making a straight line. Since diamond painting takes so much attention to detail, it’s important that you can see in detail. There are some easy solutions to this problem, fortunately for us. 

Prevention: Work in plenty of light and make sure you have proper eyeglasses if that’s what you need. If it’s an issue of small print on the canvas, let the manufacturer know. If you find that you can’t make out what’s on the canvas, the important thing to do is stop working until you get one of the solutions below. Otherwise, you risk straining your eyes, which can cause damage in the long run. 

Solution: The best solution to this problem may not be overhead light but rather light underneath the canvas. Try out a simple light pad that’s designed for this purpose. It will illustrate all the details of the canvas, bringing everything into high relief so you don’t have to strain to read or make sure the right drill is there. And before we move on, let’s just say that there are tons of small numbers on a diamond painting kit and this ninth common mistake is universal, even for people with good eyes. It’s especially common with people who spend long periods of time working on their diamond painting kits. 

10. When your Custom Diamond Painting Kit Isn't Working Out

Custom diamond painting kits can be difficult to get used to. There’s much more involved in the very early stages when compared to normal mail order diamond painting kits, but that’s part of the appeal of making a custom one. They are great for adding personal touches to your diamond painting projects and tailoring a rhinestoned gift for its intended recipient. However, there are some common mistakes with custom canvases that can be easily avoided with forethought. 

Prevention: The key to a good custom diamond painting kit is a high-quality source image. A high-quality image means one that is large enough and one with correct exposure, meaning an even layer of light, dark, and shadow. Make sure there aren’t areas of the picture that are in direct sunlight while others are in the shade. Make sure there isn’t an unfavorable tint to the whole picture. The nature of diamond painting makes it impossible to bring out real-life imagines past a certain threshold of detail. They’re still completely worthwhile, but don’t choose the most ornate, detailed photograph you can find for a source image and expect it to come out just the same in rhinestones. 

Solution: Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if a custom canvas starts to go worse than your liking. Short of scrapping it or turning it into a more experimental piece by swapping darker colors for neon ones, you’re kind of stuck if you get most of the way through a canvas frame. You might move on or you might try to salvage it, but if the problem is with the source image then there’s not much to do about it. The best you can do is take precautions with your source image before the fact. 

It's all a learning process

Diamond painting is a soothing and stress-relieving craft and it’s always a shame when that building a sense of easiness is jarringly interrupted by a sudden mistake. Luckily, most of these are common diamond painting mistakes and so the wider community of diamond painters have come up with some neat solutions. Preparation is always key in avoiding these errors; the good news is now that you’ve read through this post you’re aware of the majority of accidents and mistakes that can strike a diamond painting project. 

As you can see from most of the solutions, there’s often either a very simple one or none at all. The best thing to do if you’re just starting diamond painting it to recognize for yourself that there are, eventually, going to be some kits that just don’t work out. If you’re working with custom diamond painting kits for the first time, be ready for an even lower success rate. But not to worry, you’ll be humming along with painting with diamonds perfectly well with a little practice. The important thing is to work on your preventative measures and also, when something goes wrong, don’t let it get to you too much. The worst mistake in diamond painting is to get discouraged and lose the calming benefits of this brilliant craft. 

Bonus tip: Watch this helpful hint for repairing a dry canvas from a fellow diamond painter!