Diamond Painting vs. Oil Painting

Although diamond painting is a relatively new hobby, diamond painting kits have captured the imagination and expanded the scope of creative expression for crafters and artists the world over in the same way that cross-stitch patterns, paint-by-number palettes, and other guided DIY art kits have. 

Since 5D diamond painting blends crafting with creative artistry, let’s explore the world of diamond art as compared to the ancient art of painting with oils. This post on diamond painting vs. oil painting will explore the merits and drawbacks of each of these art forms. 

How Will Your Chosen Pastime Affect Your Wallet?

As we compare diamond painting to other forms of creative expression, one of the first factors to consider is the price. Regardless of whether you use round drills or square drills, each 5D diamond painting kit includes all you need to complete the diamond painting. Diamond art kits prices range from $30 to $50 (especially since you can often find online sales or coupon codes), and the art kits come in sizes from 20 x 20 centimeters (8 x 8 inches) to some as wide as 90 centimeters (36 inches). 

Every art kit includes all the diamond painting supplies required to complete your diamond painting -- 5D diamond drills in individually labeled bags, a DMC coded canvas with an image you have selected, pointed super-sharp tweezers, a diamond drill pen with a comfort grip (the drill pin is also called an applicator tool), a wax pad for picking up the diamonds, and extra diamond storage bags. 

Diamond artists may find some additional tools are helpful for completing their diamond art project, such as a dimmable light pad or a storage tray to sort accumulated diamond drills, but those tools are optional. Sealing, framing, and display options abound for completed diamond paintings, and many of these include inexpensive DIY options

Paint-by-numbers kits and other arts and DIY craft kits come in similar sizes and prices, but there are very few paint-by-number options that use oil paints since acrylic paints have long been favored by nascent artists due to their lower cost, ease of use, quick-drying nature, and range of colors available without mixing. Although there are some oil painting sets available for purchase, they do not typically include a labeled canvas like the kind you would find in an acrylic paint kit or a diamond painting kit. 

A basic set of oil paints can cost anywhere from $20 to $200, depending on the quantity and quality of oil paint that is included. Brushes are typically purchased separately, as are pre-stretched canvases, easels, and protective sheeting for surfaces. Additional oil paints, cleaning solutions, palette knives, palettes, liners, specialty brushes, paint thinner, and other materials must be acquired before the would-be oil painter can begin their work, so getting started in this medium is one of the more expensive options for those who are looking at ways to bring their own creations into their home. 

Bob Ross Did It, So How Hard Can It Be? 

With a myriad of options, including round diamond kits that will resemble a dazzling art piece that looks a bit like cross-stitch or diamond embroidery, as well as square diamond kits that look more like a mosaic, diamond art offers crafters a choice in images, sizes, and themes. Even the least experienced crafter or the aspiring young artist will be able to find a full drill diamond art kit that will pique their interest, no matter what their skill set. 

As diamond artists become more advanced in skill and technique, which generally occurs after they have completed only a handful of diamond art projects, they can easily branch out into more complex or custom pieces. Diamond artists can evolve their artform until they are designing their very own diamond art canvases or adding personal touches to their diamond paintings, and they will find that they can use diamond painting tools and techniques to create other types of craft projects.

Oil paints, on the other hand, are harder to use since they require mixing, prepping the canvas, extended dry time between painting sessions, and more advanced training to master basic techniques. There are multiple levels of thickness, viscosity, and shades available in oil paints, and which specific paints you should choose can vary based on what technique you use. 

If you compare the skills required not only in creating an oil painting, but also in acquiring and preparing the materials for oil painting, with the skills and materials required for diamond art, you will note immediately that oil painting is best taught by experts to the most artistically included, while diamond painting can be mastered by any dedicated crafter. 

Although Bob Ross may have made oil painting look easy, even the most basic scene -- such as willowy trees leaning over a babbling brook -- requires many sessions to master. More elaborate depictions, such as city scenes, animals, or characters, require even longer to get right when oil painting. Most people find that they are better off shopping for a completed oil painting than attempting to create one. 

Prep and Clean Up of Your Creative Space

To prepare a spot for creating diamond art, one must simply have a clean, flat surface. The diamond painting hobbyist sets out the materials included with the full drill diamond painting kit, peels back a section of the protective film, and then she is ready to begin working. The diamond painter can use choose any style, color scheme, size, or image they want, and they can be assured that the tools they need will be at their fingertips as they begin working on their diamond art project. 

When diamond artists are done for the day, they simply replace the protective film over any exposed parts of the adhesive canvas and gather up their materials. The work in progress can be left as is, or rolled up and stored for work in the future. 

To set up an oil painting station, oil painters must prep the area so that it is protected from drips, spatters, and spills, and they would be wise to protect their hair and clothing as well. With oil painting, lighting is also crucial as the quality of the light can affect how the colors are perceived when blended. Although oil painting can incur inside or outdoors, when painting with oils inside one also needs to allow for proper ventilation. These considerations are especially important when artists are working around children, pets, or in smaller spaces.

When preparing to start oil painting, colors must be selected and mixed, canvases must be prepped and placed upright (usually on an easel), and brushes must be cleaned and dried. As they work, artists using oil paint must ensure that paints are capped to prevent drying out, paints must be re-mixed as needed, and that brushes are exchanged for fresh, dry brushes based on the type of effect or color needed. 

Oil painters must also choose whether they will use a wet-on-wet technique or a technique that will require adequate drying time between sessions since the chosen technique dictates the types of brushes and oil paint they should use as well as the amount of time they can devote to each session. 

When done for the day, regardless of whether the oil painter worked for one hour or four hours, the oil painting must be left to dry in an area free from hands, floating pet fur, heat, humidity, and other elements. Even with the proper chemicals, oil paints are difficult to clean from brushes, as well as from hair, floors, skin, and clothing. 

Displaying Your Completed Art Piece 

Oil paintings, being a traditional medium, are typically painted on pre-stretched canvas or they may be painted on a hard, non-porous surface. Completed oil paintings are then framed or prepped for hanging. Although an oil painting can be hung anywhere, they are typically reserved for walls and open shelves. You can hang the painting in a customized frame, or you can display it without a frame, but that’s about it for display options. Oil paintings are beautiful, but they have historically been regarded as a more labored, formal creative expression and, as such, are usually treated with appropriate dignity.

Diamond art, on the other hand, is meant to be an expression of brightness -- intense sparkle, glittering diamond drills, and themes that capture the imagination of young and old alike. With canvases that include quaint cottages, extensive portrayals of animals and nature, or even one of Van Gogh’s most famous pieces, diamond art is a modern take on what home decor and crafting can be. Wall hangings are only one of the ways to display diamond art, and diamond paintings make great additions to nurseries, offices, and other places that would benefit from the texture and glitter only a diamond painting can provide. 

Psychological and Health Benefits of Artistic Expression

Creating art or crafting is often a solitary activity, and many of us enjoy our hobbies for exactly that reason. Our chosen pastimes can give us a break from the myriad other activities and

responsibilities that clutter our day with demands for attention and fires that need to be put out. As such, our hobbies provide a natural respite from our day-to-day lives.

Many health practitioners have studied the effects of art therapy, and they can confirm that creating art is a good way to manage stress, improve focus, improve self-esteem, and even deal with past trauma. 

Diamond painting provides a way to be mindfully mindless, similar to the way a meditation practice or a yoga stretching exercise frees up part of your mind while engaging your focus on other actions. When creating diamond art using a full drill diamond art kit, you can let your mind go as you focus on picking up diamonds and placing them in their corresponding spot on the adhesive canvas. A little background music, a mug of steaming jasmine tea, your canvas spread before you, and a diamond applicator pen in your hand means you are on your way to recovering from a stressful day or week. 

Although no one claims that diamond art can fully replace therapy or medication, psychologists have noted the therapeutic effects people experience from crocheting, and similar benefits hold true for diamond painters since the same process applies, namely keeping your hands occupied on a repetitive task that requires focus and attention to detail.  Even when the diamond artist has progressed to a more advanced level of this art form, you have the opportunity to balance your creativity with the restful aspect of “filling in the blanks” on your canvas or whatever medium you choose. 

Likewise, oil painting can help allow artists to become lost in their own world, where it is just them and the painting. Although most art therapy focuses on sculpting, watercolors, and acrylics, other forms of artistic expressions -- like oil painting, craft projects, and diamond painting -- are also encouraged. Therapeutic benefits can also be gained from oil painting, provided the novice artist is not overly concerned with precision and execution. 

Friends, Family, and other Social Networks

Diamond painting is easy to pick up, so working with family or friends to produce diamond artwork is a great way to gather everyone together around this activity for a night or an afternoon. Crafters of all skill levels can pick up the tips and techniques needed to produce a glittery work of diamond art, and tons of social circles and diamond painting groups are out there equipped with diamond painting tips, examples, and stories. 

Check out some of the Pinterest and Facebook pages that have sprung up when you want to find guidance for your first or your next diamond painting project. You may also consider joining a diamond painting forum so that you can talk shop with other diamond art crafter, trade leftover diamonds, or show off your own diamond art. 

With the prep and clean up required as well as the skills and expensive materials needed, oil painting is, by its very nature, a solitary activity. Unless you are somewhat of an expert yourself, you cannot teach a child how to create a realistic oil painting using the standard tools available to the would-be oil painter. The paint-and-sip parties that are springing up all across the U.S. use acrylic paints and a guided instructor (and cost a bit every time you want to do it). 

A person diamond painting.

How Creative Are You Feeling? 

As you may have deduced by now, diamond art is not limited to those who are naturally creative or those who are trained artists. What is noteworthy, however, is that diamond painting pinpoints the parts of your mind from which creativity springs. While diamond art is considered a creative endeavor on its own, studies show that engaging in meditative activities like diamond painting sparks other creative notions. When you give your brain the freedom to relax while also giving your hands and mind something concrete to focus on, you are engaging in an active rest state so that your dormant, creative side can come out of hiding. This process is different from using up a whole weekend to play an app or binge-watch TV programs -- no judgment implied; diamond painting is just a different type of activity than vegging out completely.  

Contrast this with oil painting, and you will note that oil painting requires your total focus, and, while many artists find the work rewarding, they also find the effort and skill required to produce even a basic scene to be frustrating as well. Many beginning oil painters find that the investment of time, space, and money required to try their hand at oil painting outweighs the benefits derived from working with this age-old medium.  

Crafters Just Wanna Have Fun

Regardless of which avenue you take to pursue your creative endeavors, remember that part of the point of choosing a new hobby is to choose something you will enjoy -- both as you create it as well as once it is finished. Whether you decide to take up knitting, cross-stitch, crocheting or some other sewing project, begin the long journey into oil painting, delve into woodworking or paint-by-numbers, or try your hand at diamond painting, you should select a hobby that is right for you. And if you are looking for a gift, a diamond painting art kit can be tailored to the skill level, interests, and personality of the recipient. 

As you weigh the various benefits of diamond painting -- including ease of learning, social aspects, low cost, not to mention psychological and health benefits -- you can rest assured that this modern new art form has already captured the notice of crafters the world over, and there are lots of articles and tutorials that will walk you through the process of creating your diamond art, no matter if you are a beginner who is new to the world of diamond crafting or an experienced diamond painter who is looking for ways to push the boundaries of this art form.