14 Diamond Painting Tips to Help You Make a Masterpiece

DIY diamond painting is growing in popularity and new diamond painters are beginning their first canvases on a daily basis.

With this new influx of novice enthusiasts, diamond painting tips are becoming about a dime a dozen, but that doesn’t mean each piece of advice is the best or most convenient way to accomplish the various stages of filling in a diamond painting kit.

There are some considerations to take into account before you select a diamond painting kit for your wishlist, from the size of the canvas to the type of diamond drills you want to use. What sort of photo you want, whether you want a custom kit or a ready-made one, whether it’s a full drill or partial drill, and whether you what square drills or round drills are all things to consider before you can even get a diamond painting kit in your hands.

That’s not to say that diamond art is excessively complicated or that you should be scared to start. Diamond painting is a fun way to stay actively relaxed and there are plenty of tips that will make the process that much more convenient from beginning to end. Just about every diamond painting kit is constructed in the same way so there are some initial steps you should take and others you should take when you’re adding the finishing touches.

Helpful hints to stay organized will prevent losing materials if you have to stop work and pick it up again later and there are a few clever ways to store diamond painting kits whether they’ve been finished or not. 

Once you get started with this fun DIY activity, you’re sure to come up with your own unique methodologies for completing your diamond art in a way that makes sense to you.

But since diamond art already has a community of enthusiasts who frequently post on crafting forums and document their own process on video for their personal YouTube channels, there’s no sense going into 5D diamond painting blindly. We’ve collected the most helpful tips to make sure your introduction to diamond art is enjoyable and simple enough that you’ll be encouraged to stick with it and move on to your second, third, and many more future diamond painting kits. 

Taking a diamond painting kit out of the box

It can be hard to suss out exactly what’s inside a diamond painting kit if you’ve never seen one before. Generally speaking, they all come with the same essential things. An applicator, wax, the canvas, a drill tray, and the drills should all be included. That’s the bare minimum you’ll need to complete a diamond art kit.

As you continue to work on diamond art, you’ll start to see some of these tools start to stack up, which is great since it means you’ll always have some extra drills, drill trays, wax, and applicators lying around in case you need them in the future. We’ll go over some diamond painting tips that have specifically to do with how you can organize your diamond painting tools later on in this blog post. 

For now, here's the first tip:

Tip #1: Make sure you unbox your diamond painting kit on a flat surface and layout your drills and drill tray in an easily reachable position.

Before you start filling in the canvas, there are some helpful diamond painting tools you should think about procuring if you plan to keep this hobby up beyond one or two small projects. 

A diamond painting.

Essential diamond painting tools

The things that come inside a diamond painting kit are enough to get the job done project-by-project. But there are some really helpful tools that can ease eye strain and prevent massive messes that come from spilling hundreds of tiny rhinestones onto a rug or carpet and having to pick them up. There are also some handy ways to make sure you seal your diamond painting well and make sure the drills are going to stay even and stuck to the canvas for a long time to come. Make sure you know the overall process before you take in these helpful hints so that they make sense to you in the abstract. 

The standard diamond applicator and wax works for most people, but there are also lots of wax alternatives you can consider as well. There are some DIY applicators you can fashion yourself if you want to add some comfort to the handle or pick up drills more securely. In terms of household items you probably already have laying around that can come in handy for your diamond art as well, try some of these neat hacks:

Tip #2: Cut up standard dryer sheets to stop static cling between your diamond drills and everything else. Whatever you store your drills in, be it plastic bags, egg cartons, or pillboxes, adding in a bit of dryer sheet can solve the clinging problem very easily.

Tip #3: Use a cutting board to stay organized. If you want a flat surface on which you can assemble your diamond painting kit, a cutting board can be the perfect solution. If you have a table but don’t trust its surface or the legs that support it, try using a cutting board to get some added support for when you add some pressure with the applicator to place a drill or use a rolling pin to even out all the drills on your canvas.

Tip #3: Make sure you have a damp cloth ready. You’ll definitely want to have one of these around to help pick up scattered drills or to wipe off excess sealant that’s spread somewhere you don’t want it. It hopefully won’t be needed throughout the entire process, but keep a dry cloth around somewhere that you can dampen when you need it to pick up drills or clean up some sealant.

Tip #4: Use a rolling pin (lightly) on your finished masterpiece. Once you finish a diamond painting kit, you’ll want to even out all the drills and make sure there are no air bubbles left underneath them that will make the surface of your diamond art uneven. One great way to do this is to cover the surface of the painting with some sort of protective cloth and then go over the whole thing with a rolling pin. Use light pressure to make sure you’re just pushing the drills into the adhesive side of the canvas and not accidentally loosening them in a way that will cause them to fall off later on.

Tip #5: Bring extra tweezers. Many diamond painting kits come with tweezers inside, but it can’t hurt to have some handy anyway. They can be used for difficult sections of canvases where the color code switches frequently. 

Storage for diamond painting drills

There are a few great ways to store the drills you have left over from old kits or the ones that you’re using for your current project. Diamond artists make their own DIY storage solutions or buy ready-made ones. Some items can be repurposed for storing drills without much more than a marker or label maker. Here are some of the best ways to organize your rhinestones for storage when you aren’t using them and easy access when you want to resume work on your current project:

Tip #6: Make storage boxes from egg cartons. This can be as DIY as you want to make it. Label egg cups with stickers or a black marker and keep the drills inside until you need them. Make sure to use the DMC code as well as the symbol, if there is one in the kit, for each color. The last thing you want to do is try to save yourself some time by storing your drills in a smart way only to ruin your chances at completing your diamond painting kit by failing to correctly label which drills are meant to be which colors in the kit.

Tip #7: Use plastic bags and clothes hangers. The drills come with the diamond painting kit in little plastic bags, but you can also use larger bags to store the most common colors that always come in numbers larger than needed in diamond art kits. Puncture the bag near the top and slip it over a coat hanger for a simple DIY solution to storing and sorting the various colors of the rhinestones you have the most of. They can be stored in a regular closet when you’re not actively working on your diamond embroidery and brought closer to your work station when you are. 

Tips for selecting which shape of drill to use

There’s no definite way to say which type of rhinestone is the perfect fit for every single person, but there are some definite generalities that can be stated surely. Diamond art kits come with two types of rhinestones by and large. The drills are either square-shaped or round and each of them has its own advantage. The main thing you should consider if you aren’t sure is your own skill level with diamond embroidery.

Square pegs are a little more difficult than round drills because they have to be placed in a specific way to make sure they aren’t crooked. Crooked square drills are visible from a distance and make the finished product look sloppy. There’s a chance the final depiction could be indistinguishable from the picture you thought you were building. Round drills are easier because they can be placed without being exactly straight. 

Tip #8: Begin your diamond art hobby with round drills (which are a bit easier) and then move on to square drills. Of course, you may find that you’re fine enough with round drills and not want to switch, which is fine. Either way, round drills are advisable for newcomers. 

A desk with a plant and computer on it.

Tips for your diamond painting work station

Tip #9: Make sure your work station is well-lit.

A proper workstation will have some conveniences that can save eye strain or frustration when looking for the right drill color or diamond painting tool. The best thing you can have if you plan to do tons of diamond embroidery is an LED light above the station and a light pad to place underneath your diamond painting canvases. The LED light overhead will help to keep you from straining your eyes to see the small symbols and DMC codes. The light pad will help similarly and also help discern where the placement indicators are on the diamond painting canvases by adding some contrast between the symbols and borders and the empty parts of the canvas. 

Tip #10: Make sure you have plenty of drawers and try to put some storage containers inside of them for all the various diamond painting tools you’re going to use at your new hobby. A pencil case or even a silverware-drawer style plastic holder is ideal for tweezers, applicators, spare wax, and small amounts of extra drills. If you can find a desk or drawers with enough room to keep egg cartons or pillboxes in, more power to you. There’s never enough storage when it comes to crafts! 

Filling in your canvases

When you first start a diamond painting kit, you’ll notice that there is a plastic protective film covering the whole canvas. This protective film peels pack to reveal an adhesive. The stickiness of this side of the canvas is what will help keep the rhinestones in place once you place them.

Tip #11: If you accidentally misplace a rhinestone or don’t put it in exactly the right place, you can still quickly correct your mistake. You can still use the applicator tool to slightly budge the drill into a new spot without messing up the stickiness or causing the drill to fall off. 

Tip #12: Make sure you don’t peel back the whole protective film at the same time. Since the adhesive will begin to dry out if it’s left exposed to the open air, it’s best to only uncover one small area of the canvas at a time. Don’t peel back more of the protective film than you can finish in that sitting or else you’ll run the risk of letting the adhesive dry out, which will mean you won’t be able to place any rhinestones on that section of the canvas.

Tip #13: If you see that you have a canvas with a wide expanse of one color, like green to represent grass or blue to represent the sea, then you can try using a multi-diamond applicator. These are usually not included in a diamond painting kit but is a handy tool for placing around 9 drills at a time.

A diamond painting.

Dropping rhinestones

There are many ways people have found they can pick up drills that have been spilled on a counter or dropped onto the floor or into a rug.

Tip #14: The best way we know pick up spilled drills is to take a standard vacuum cleaner with a hose, attach a leg of pantyhose or some similar DIY household filter to the hose with a rubber band or hair tie, and then turn on the vacuum.

This will enable you to quickly and efficiently pick up spilled diamond painting rhinestones without risking the drills getting sucked up into the vacuum where they’ll be useless to you. A wet rag will work if there are only a few dropped rhinestones, but the pantyhose on the vacuum trick is the best for larger numbers of dropped drills. 

Time to put your tips to the test

Diamond painting is great fun and the more you do it the more tips and tricks you’ll invent for yourself. There are some tried and true tips that have come from the minds of those who are already diamond painting enthusiasts, mostly stemming from annoyances like spilled drills and lost stickiness on the adhesive side of the canvas.

DIY solutions are quite popular with diamond painters since they usually have lots of interest in crafting solutions to their problems. Upcycling items from around the house can be very handy and also keep some otherwise unusable items out of a landfill for a short while at least. 

Storage solutions for drills and picking up rhinestones that have been spilled on the floor are easily the most prevalent problems for diamond painters. The solutions are very simple and various. Egg cartons make great storage containers as do old coat hangers and plastic bags.

Make sure you organize well and use plenty of stickers and markers to properly label all your rhinestones. If you mix up the DMC code, you could run the risk of not being able to tell what’s depicted on your completed canvas because the colors on the canvas won’t match the picture on the box. 

Plenty of household items you don’t use for much else will have a great application in crafting diamond paintings. You’ll love the tranquility of filling in a canvas and the ability to listen to the radio or television while you do so. Start with some of these super helpful tips and soon you’ll be adding some variations of your own to diamond painting.