How to Frame Diamond Paintings
So, your full drill is full? Square diamonds squared away? Is your 5D diamond painting popping off the canvas as a complete picture in brilliant full color?
Great news! Congratulations on your latest chef d’oeuvre. No matter whether the fresh diamond painting is a gift, for sale, for personal use, or for home decor. The best way to protect it, keep it together, display it, and transport it is to put the complete diamond painting canvas in a nice frame. It’s a simple process with many advantages, and some diamond painters view the framing process as the final stage in crafting a diamond painting. Maybe your finished diamond painting features a mandala, or more than one. That doesn’t mean you should just sweep it away as Tibetan monks do. Keep your mandala design framed and displayed in your favorite gallery (ok, on the fridge maybe) for a long time.
This is a super straightforward process but there are a few things you really need to look out for to make sure your masterpiece isn’t ruined during the final stages of production. There are many varieties of material used to frame diamond art, as many as there are for other types of displayable craftwork like drawings and paintings. A few key finishing steps need to be taken care of on the canvas before you fit it into the frame. Crafters of drill diamond paintings deserve to have their work admired and protected and a frame is the best way to do that. So put down the drill applicator, the tweezers, the red wax, and all your other diamond painting tools. You’re nearly at the end of the diamond painting process, there’s just one more DIY element left for you to do.
First steps to frame diamond paintings
Just to make sure all the square drills or round drills are really stuck soundly to the adhesive on the canvas, take a standard kitchen rolling pin and roll from one edge of the canvas to the other. Don’t use too much pressure because you don’t want to damage any of the diamond enamels, but push down hard enough to make sure they stick. Roll over the diamonds slowly with even pressure for a minute or two. Don’t worry if you hear a slight popping or clicking noise, it’s just the diamonds going into place.
Run from the edges of the canvas, then go from the top of the canvas to the bottom. Take a close look at the canvas and make sure no foreign debris has landed among the diamonds. This will be more of a concern with round diamonds than with square diamonds since round diamonds tend to have more space between them than square diamonds.
If you spot any debris, just take an old toothbrush or hairbrush and lightly go over the finished diamond painting. The debris will come out easily assuming it hasn’t somehow stuck to some exposed adhesive. If it has, pick the tweezers back up and get that debris out of there. If you were working on your diamond painting in the right environment, on a flat surface in a fairly clean area, then it’s unlikely much debris has fallen in.
Look closely, though, because you don’t want to complete this framing process just to notice weeks later that a small fly or piece of dust has stuck to your masterwork. To get a good view, try using an LED light to examine the gaps between the diamonds carefully. Don’t stress so much during this examination that phantom particulate begins to appear before your straining wearied eyes. Loose debris should be fairly easy to spot and almost always brushes away with ease.
Selecting a frame
Most diamond art kits don’t include a frame, but you can generally find a nice enough selection at your local craft store. Wooden frames are always a good bet because the soft color of the wood won’t clash with the vibrant colors of the diamond art itself. A wood frame is the most common and most inexpensive option to frame diamond paintings. Black plastic frames are also widely available and won’t stand out against the diamond art either, but it depends on the color theme of your existing home decor as well as personal preference whether or not you want to use a plastic frame or a wooden one. Consider what is depicted in the artwork itself too. A multi-colored unicorn will probably look more charming in a wood frame while an abstract mandala may be best suited to a minimalist black plastic frame.
Metal frames and cloth padded frames also exist if you want to match a specific theme or if you’re such a prolific diamond painter that you already have dozens framed and you want variety in the frames. Metal frames can be minimalist and are more rugged than some other frame types, but they can also look a bit cold and foreboding. Imagine a silver metal frame bordering the depiction of a sweet unicorn and turning the mythical creature into a hostile symbol. On the other hand, colored metal can be a wiser investment than cheap plastic frames that may deteriorate after a while. Cloth padded frames can add colorful charm to the edges of the canvas, but make sure the colors don’t clash with one another! There are many ways you can even make your own DIY frame, even a cloth padded one.
Sealing a diamond painting
Once you have your frame selected and at the ready and the diamond art has been well-pressed and checked for errant debris, the next step is to seal it. Sealing material is available at just about any craft store. There are aerosol varieties as well as a product called mod podge, a material used for “découpage” (oui, it’s French). Découpage is the art of decorating objects with paper cutouts, which may be an imaginative idea to use as additional decoration on your diamond painting frame in fact. Mod podge is more like household glue so beginners and impatient crafters may find it easier to just stick to the aerosol variety to seal the diamond painting.
If you’re using the aerosol variety, make sure you apply it in a garage or outdoors where there is plenty of room and ventilation. You won’t be spraying that much of the product, but it’s harmful to inhale it so better safe than sorry. If you begin to feel light-headed while you’re spraying, it’s alright to take a break. The seal can dry at different rates without issue as long as the entire canvas is completely dry before you move on to the framing process. Crafters looking to extend their wide arsenal of diamond painting tools may want to invest in face masks to wear during the sealing process if they choose to use the aerosol variety of seal.
The first step in sealing the diamond painting is to lay it out on a flat surface. A picnic table or bench will do just fine, and some crafters even lay their diamond art out on paint buckets or trash cans. Any flat surface works as long as there’s ample space around the edges of the canvas so it won’t fall or wrinkle. Spray the aerosol lightly in horizontal lines across the surface of the diamond art, then back. Move up and spray another horizontal line across and back, and so on like that until you’ve covered the whole diamond painting with the seal.
Each spray from the aerosol should be very brief. Try counting to 3 while you spray and move horizontally. For good measure, you can spray a few times vertically from the top of the canvas as well. Make sure you let the sealed diamond art air dry for about an hour after a coating. You can apply as many coats of the seal as you want, just keep letting the canvas dry between coats. Aerosol may not be for the detail-oriented diamond painter who prefers to get up close and personal with their diamond art and fill in the gaps one at a time. But either way of applying the coating can be used to fill little imperfections in the diamonds like pits and “cavities”.
If you decided to go with mod podge, you don’t need to be outdoors which makes it ideal for colder environments. The first thing you need to do is get a paintbrush and a small glass of water to dilute the mod podge. Rather than mixing the two together to create a new solution, it’s easier to dip a paintbrush into the mod podge and then into the water. This makes the mod podge a little more fluid to fill in gaps between round diamonds and cover square drills more effectively. Lightly but evenly brush the diluted mod podge onto the diamond art. The product will look white when you first apply it but don’t panic because it will dry clear.
You can apply the mod podge as thick or thin as you want to, but the thinner you apply it the faster it will dry. Mod podge comes in a few varieties, so if you’re a real die-hard glitter fanatic, try their glitter mod podge and really make your diamond art pop off the wall. One advantage of using mod podge over aerosol is that you get a hands-on, definite assurance that you are sealing exactly where you put the paintbrush. Let the mod podge dry for at least an hour before you continue with the framing process.
Framing your diamond painting
Once your seal has completely dried, you’re ready to put your diamond art into the frame. To check the dryness of the seal, just lightly run your hand over the diamond painting. It should be dry to the touch, not sticky, and the seal should be clear. Add extra seal if you see any pock-marks or “cavities” in the individual drills. When everything is dry, take your frame and line up all the drills within the frame. You’ll want to put the frame face-down on a flat surface and then place the finished diamond embroidery into face-down across the open section of the frame. Don’t worry if a row or two of diamonds is hidden behind part of the frame.
Check with the craft store where you purchase your frame that you are buying the appropriately-sized frame and make sure the frame has stretcher bars to keep the edges of the canvas and the top of the canvas in the frame and the diamond painting taut. When you’re fitting the finished canvas inside the frame, make sure it’s even on all sides. If two rows of diamonds are covered by the frame on one side, make sure two rows are covered on the opposite side as well. Keep an eye on the front of the diamond painting to make sure nothing important is being covered up.
To affix the diamond painting canvas to the frame, a staple gun works best. A hammer and very small nails will do in a fix as well, or if you’re particularly handy with such tools, but maybe too much trouble for novices or those who aren’t very gifted with things of that ilk. Start with one of the edges of the canvas and staple it. Check the front to make sure nothing has been covered up that you didn’t want to be. With one of the edges of the canvas stapled, pull the opposite edge to make sure it’s completely taut. When you think it’s tight enough, staple that edge of the canvas to the frame as well. Move around all the edges of the canvas and the bottom and top of the canvas, pulling it to make sure it’s taut and tacking it to the frame with the staple gun.
One pro tip in case the canvas has some extra material behind the frame that is peeking around the outside edge of the frame: don’t staple too close to the outer edge of the frame or the edges of the canvas, that way you can cut away from the canvas any of that extra material as you see fit. If you prefer not to use sharp objects or you’re a clumsy person by nature and don’t want to risk a cut on your finger, you can also fold the edge of the canvas and staple it over itself. Cutting with the knife will always look more professional if you cut against a ruler or straight-edge, although few of your artistic admirers are probably likely to ever look at this part of the finished product so don’t fret about it too much.
Once the canvas is fixed to the frame with staples, it’s technically finished. If you like, you can buy a frame with a glass front that will function as a kind of storage box for the diamond painting. Bear in mind that folks may want to reach out and touch your diamond art when they take a look at it, so it may be best to leave a glass front off. For a real professional framing job, make sure you have an X-Acto knife or something similar to cut away the extra edges of the canvas. If you like you can also fashion a DIY backing for the frame to make sure the diamond painting stays flush and doesn’t take any damage from the wall behind it if you’re putting it up for display.
The framed diamond painting
You’re finally at the end of the enriching process of constructing a diy diamond painting. It’s framed and looking great, perhaps with extra glitter from the seal, in a nice wooden frame if you’ve chosen that material. Feel free now to sell it, wrap it up and give it as a gift, display it as home decor, or ship it on off to you contact at The Louvre, especially if you’ve used that fancy French technique called découpage to decorate your frame. Once your diamond painting is framed and hung up or gifted away or fixed up next to the Mona Lisa in old Paris, take a minute to bask in the satisfaction of a job well done. Rest your hands and eyes for a while and take a deep breath.
There’s only one thing left for you to do at the end of this long DIY project, and that’s to get a brand new diamond painting kit and start the whole wonderful thing over again. Never be afraid to experiment with your DIY diamond painting projects because it’s a forgiving medium with loads of room for creative expression. Try a full drill diamond painting kit if you started with a half-drill, or move from round drills to square drills. Somehow the satisfaction of this rhinestone handiwork never gets old and never decreases. There’s always another beautiful scene to fill in with diamonds and never enough that shines in the world, so keep up the good work and shine on you crazy diamond painter.