How to Choose a Picture for Your Diamond Painting

One of the most pleasant things about diamond painting is the ability to craft a bedazzled rhinestone version of a cherished photo or favorite piece of art. In addition to the wide variety of diamond painting kits depicting famous cartoon characters, nature scenes, and courageous heroes, custom diamond painting kits allow crafters to personalize the art form with old memories or world-class images with an additional shine that the originals don’t display. As nice as these custom kits are when they’re all finished, framed, and hung up on the wall, it’s always a shame when they don’t really work out. There are quite a few common mistakes that often lead to diamond art that is not detailed enough or doesn’t have the same effect as the original image. 

One of the most important things to consider about custom diamond painting kits is the detail of the image. Whether you’re using round diamonds or square drills, trying to build an image with rhinestones relies on the correct ratio of the number of diamonds to the canvas size. If you’re familiar with digital photography at all, this problem is the same that you see with low-resolution photographs when you try to enlarge them. The small squares, or pixels, begin to show when you zoom in; with diamond painting kits, the drills would be the pixels. If the original image has lots of detail or sharp shadows, they won’t come across in the finished diamond painting. 

The selection of the photo for your next diamond painting kit is a difficult one sometimes because it’s hard to turn away from a particularly cherished photo. If you paint with diamonds regularly, though, then you already know that some images just look better than others when they’ve been rhinestone-ized. In terms of the ‘resolution’ of the finished diamond painting, the canvas size can help bring the original image out in more detail in the diamonds. Just be careful not to pick out a canvas so large that you don’t have time to finish it. Sometimes the same incomplete canvas greeting you on the light pad day after day can be discouraging and dampen the will to finish it. Everyone knows the feeling of biting off more than they can chew. 

Most diamond painting kits that are based on a custom image are usually full drill diamond painting kits, which means the whole adhesive canvas has to be filled in with diamonds. In a partial drill kit, some of the canvas has been colored in and doesn’t need rhinestones like the rest of the pasting area. There are many people who prefer to get a partial drill custom diamond painting kit so that they can use the diamond pen to highlight or otherwise accentuate a certain part of the original image. Think of a flower on a favorite shirt or some running water in the background of a scenic painting. It’s really up to personal preference and the amount of time you have to commit to a project which of the two kinds of custom kits you choose to undertake. 

The original image should be high-quality as well. If you choose a low-resolution image like one taken from a cheap cell phone or one that has been downsized to transmit via email, then the diamonds aren’t going to be able to show the depicted object in detail. You may wind up with a more abstract piece of diamond art than you wanted, and if the original image is a human it can be very disappointing indeed not to be able to recognize a friend or family member you expected to come out in the finished product. 

It may seem like a foregone conclusion, but there are a few really important things to consider when you select an image for a custom piece of diamond art. Read on for a full rundown of what you need to keep in mind and a few problems that can come up if you choose the wrong picture for your diamond painting. It’ll help you avoid that letdown feeling after a long time spent working on a custom kit that doesn’t work out in the end.

A diamond painting of a rose.

The original image for custom kits

To make the process of crafting a custom piece of diamond embroidery lots easier, starting with the right image from the outset is essential. As we mentioned earlier, getting a finished diamond painting with detail is the only way you’ll be able to make out what’s being depicted. If you think of the rhinestones you use when you paint with diamonds that same way a paintbrush can make a single mark or dot and the proper addition of more paint will create more detail, then it’s easy to picture how the detail will really come out with the addition of more rhinestones in your diamond painting kit. This won’t solve every problem resolution-wise, but it will help if you want to be able to make out the features of a human face or a beloved pet. 

Of course, crafters can become overwhelmed if there are seemingly infinite rhinestones in their custom kit when it arrives. Getting started and staying motivated to finish can be difficult if the task seems too large. So when you choose your original image, try to go for something that doesn’t have tons and tons of small detail. Many people enjoy ordering custom kits of famous paintings for this reason, but even in that scenario, an abstract or impressionist piece will usually come out better than a lifelike realist painting. 

The original image should also be well exposed. Even though it may seem like a good idea to get a shadowy, dark diamond painting for Halloween or a horror film aficionado friend, sharp contrasts between light and dark don’t always come out in a finished diamond painting. That isn’t to say there aren’t great diamond painting kits that only have a few different colors, but a face obscured in shadow or a photograph lit from only one light source will come out looking much different in diamond drills. There just isn’t a great way to translate the millions of shades of real-life images into DMC codes to get them on a diamond painting canvas. 

The best image will be really high-quality. Most of what you see on the internet is designed to fit on a webpage and it doesn’t have to be high-quality to do that necessarily, so be wary if you’re sourcing a photo from a web source. Look at the size of the downloaded image not only in terms of file size but also in terms of the canvas’ aspect ratio. 

The aspect ratio for custom diamond art

The aspect ratio is just the length and width of an image, usually expressed as “500 x 1000” or something similar. The thing about aspect ratios in terms of diamond painting kits is that the original image can be distorted if the aspect ratio of the canvas isn’t the same as the aspect ratio of the original image. In order to fit the new canvas, the photo will have to be scaled, either stretched or shrunken. If you adjust the size of the height in the same proportion as you do with the width, then the aspect ratio will be preserved and the original image can be scaled. If you try to move only one or the other, though, then the whole image will look off. Faces will become longer or fatter, skyscapes will be filled with ovals instead of planets, and favorite characters will look like knockoff counterparts trying to avoid copyright infringement. 

Luckily, there are plenty of sizes available in custom diamond painting kits. Here’s how many you can find in one of our custom diamond art kits:

  • 25x25 cm
  • 20x30 cm
  • 30x30 cm
  • 30x40 cm
  • 40x40 cm
  • 40x50 cm
  • 50x50 cm
  • 50x60 cm
  • 60x60 cm
  • 60x70 cm
  • 70x70 cm
  • 70x80 cm
  • 80x100 cm
  • 80x120 cm

With so many options available, just about any image can be glamorized in a custom diamond painting kit. It’s just important to make sure that the original image is in the correct aspect ratio and that ratio is preserved when it’s turned into an adhesive canvas. 

Rhinestones in a custom diamond painting kit

DMC codes for different colors aren’t the only characteristic of diamond drills that need to be considered when ordering a custom kit. The shape of the drill can create different effects on the finished product just like they can with pre-fabricated diamond painting kits. Square drills often look neater because they’re easier to put on the pasting area in a straight line. However, in a diamond painting kit where the original image has lots of curvy lines, round drills might be more aesthetically pleasing. 

Depending on what kind of painting tools you use in your diamond embroidery, you may find one type of rhinestone easier to use than others. Many long-time diamond artists switch to tweezers from the standard applicator included in diamond painting kits. Some customize their applicators or even make their own DIY version. In any case, round drills can seem a bit harder to grasp for some people, while others don’t notice any difference at all. If you’re making your own diamond painting, then you should consider whether you want square drills or round diamond drills. 

Color in the original image

The best results in a custom diamond painting kit will come from an original image that doesn’t have a zany or detailed mix of different colors. Of course, there are plenty of colors of rhinestones that can accommodate just about any color, but when you select your original image make sure it’s one that can easily make the transformation. Rainbows will work but all the beautiful colors of a sunset on a lake aren’t going to come across exactly the way you want them to in the finished diamond painting. One of the largest appeals of diamond painting is the wonderful colors and the shine in the finished product, but sometimes it’s just not possible to match the real world for beauty when you’re working on a 5d diamond painting. 

Shading is another thing to think about. Often the best photographs are of unique plays of light on someone’s face or across a landscape. The shading of the shadow of a tree, for example, is unlikely to come across exactly right in rhinestones. The detail just doesn’t lend itself to the art form. Just like when you cross-stitch, there’s a tradeoff in the transformation of real original images into dazzling, sparkling diamond painting. 

Picking canvases for custom diamond art

We already mentioned all the various sizes of canvases that are available in custom diamond painting kits, but there are a few other details that are important to consider as well. The canvas size is important to consider because it affects how many rhinestones will have to be placed on the pasting area to complete the project and it also affects the level of detail possible in the finished diamond art painting. If it’s your first diamond painting, you may not want to leap into the biggest canvas you can find, but rather start small and work your way up to the larger size over time. Then again, if you’re looking for something to occupy your time during bad weather or some downtime, the larger size may appeal. 

You can also select a partial drill diamond painting that’s already part-way filled in with colors. Custom kits that are meant to highlight just one aspect of a photo often surprise new visitors when used as home decor, and they are often easier to finish in a shorter amount of time than full-drill canvases. Depending on the original photo, you should also decide whether you want the finished diamond art painting to be landscape or portrait. If you already know where you’ll hang the finished product, even better. Make sure you have enough room for a longer landscape or taller portrait canvas before you click the checkout button. 

A diamond painting of a turtle.

The perfect diamond painting for you

Custom DIY diamond paintings are great fun because of the added personal appeal. They should be on every serious diamond painter’s wishlist since they enable diamond artists to emulate famous artists that worked in different mediums. A framed Van Gogh in dazzling rhinestones makes for excellent home decor. If you want to give a diamond painting away as a gift, what better way to make sure it’s exactly what they want than to order a custom kit of a favorite photo or painting? 

To make sure you have the highest quality possible in the finished product, make sure you choose the right size canvas and the right shape of drills. Diamond painting canvases are fairly forgiving in terms of looking great no matter what, but the details that make us so attached to a preferred original image can be lost in the translation into the adhesive canvas of a DIY diamond painting kit. There are some tricks of the light or subtle different colors that won’t make it exactly right into diamonds due to limitations in DMC codes and the human eye’s astounding ability to take in millions of nuances in color and shading. 

When you choose an original image, the aspect ratio should be on your mind all the time. It’s very easy to accidentally size an image with an anchor that adjusts only the height or the width. Not changing both in tandem with each other will cause the image to become distorted. It’s entirely possible to scale an original image to fit a canvas of the desired size, but if you don’t make sure the original aspect ration is scalable as well then you could end up with annoying blank space on your finished canvas or the image itself could be too flat or too wide. 

There are some differences in the type of rhinestone you want to have on your custom kit. The biggest difference is that square drills go onto the canvas in a straight line much more easily than round diamond drills. Round diamonds have to be placed in a straight line because unintentional curves will be visible in the finished product. If you plan on sealing your finished diamond painting, which we strongly recommend every diamond artist do to preserve their work, then you should think ahead whether you want to risk getting a buildup of the sealant in the spaces between round diamonds. It doesn’t happen often or all the time, but if it’s going to be your first time sealing a diamond painting, then you may want to start with square drills. 

Overall, custom 5D diamond painting kits add a considerable additional appeal to a diamond painting. Having the ability to emblazon a t-shirt or a nature scene with rhinestones on a partial drill diamond painting kit or recreate an entire classical painting in shiny diamonds makes holidays and home decor both much easier. There’s nothing better than having a DIY alternative, and these custom kits offer just that. With a little thought when choosing your original image, you can have a great time the whole time you’re creating a diamond painting just looks just as beautiful as you envisioned it. 

Bonus tip: Take a look at a custom diamond painting with a classic art theme in this brief video!