How to Travel with Your Diamond Painting

Whether you’re looking to make better use of some downtime away from home or you’re such a big fan of diamond painting that you can’t bear to stop in the middle of your latest opus, knowing how to pack up your diamond painting tools, canvas, drills, and light pad so you can continue a work in progress is a great skill to have. It will keep you engaged with diamond painting, help make sure you can complete a given diamond paint by number kit, and allow you to fill in the time that might otherwise be spent idly watching television or listening to the car radio. There are many neat tricks to help make transporting a diamond painting kit and working on it on the move really easy. 

If the thought of transporting tons of rhinestones or inadvertently ruining a nearly complete full drill diamond painting canvas worries you, it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. In fact, once you know how to properly roll up an incomplete canvas and prevent the rhinestones you’ve already placed from falling off or adjusting in transit, the rest of transporting your diamond painting kit revolves around finding the right resealable container for the drills. There are various ways that painters have thought up to transport the rest of their diamond painting tools like applicators and rotate rollers or other similar tools designed to pick up multiple drills at once. 

While some diamond painters buy ready-made storage and transport cases for their diamond painting tools and canvases, others prefer DIY methods. Even if it’s as simple as grabbing some Tupperware from the kitchen, you can usually work out a successful solution for traveling with your diamond painting with common household items. If you know anything about diamond painting storage once the kit is complete, then you already know a little bit about how to travel with a diamond painting kit. There isn’t too much that’s different between the two, and the central goals of protecting the rhinestones and the canvas remain the same either way. 

Depending on the reason for your taking a diamond painting kit with you while traveling, you might want to consider bringing a smaller-sized canvas. If you’re tagging along on a business trip and don’t plan on doing much while a significant other is working during the day, then sure, you can probably bring a regular or even large size diamond painting kit. But if you’re going on vacation or to visit friends and relatives and just want to have something to do in brief amounts of downtime, then it might be more sensible to bring a smaller canvas. It will be easier to transport and doesn’t require taking as many drills with you or dedicating as much time to crafting while you’re away.

Airplane travel can be a bit more tricky because of security concerns and the bulkiness of some of the carry cases you might consider using for a larger canvas. Some folks don’t bother taking their 5d DIY diamond painting kits with them on trips that require airplane travel because it’s simply too much hassle. However, it is more than possible to get a work in progress through airport security if you know what you should check and what the best way to pack your canvas is. 

Read on for the full rundown on traveling with a diamond painting kit so you can keep cracking away at that work in progress or fill in some downtime on your next long trip. 

A diamond painting.

Manufactured or DIY?

This is one of the main questions you should ask yourself when it comes to developing your system from traveling with a diamond painting kit. The reason we bring it up now before we get into all the various parts of that traveling kit is so that you can have it on your mind as we explain how best to travel with a diamond painting kit. 

The difference between DIY equipment and the storebought stuff is not only aesthetic. You may find one ie legitimately more effective than the other. DIY may have an element of upcycling old materials which is always a good thing. However, many manufactured varieties are integrated with one another, so that a roll-up carry case will be designed to work well with a carry case, storage pouch, or storage bins for drills. It may not seem like a huge deal but for those who are not the best at DIY stuff, the storebought will get the job done. 

Rolling up a canvas for travel

This is the most fear-inducing part of the process for many painters because that’s the result of all their hard work. Manufacturers have designed roll-up pads onto which the unfinished diamond painting can be placed and then rolled up in much the same way a roll of sushi is made. These rolls are super handy to have if you want to travel, although when a larger diamond art piece is rolled up it will naturally be much longer than a smaller canvas. For this additional reason, it may be simpler for you to choose a smaller canvas, especially if you’re planning on attempting that impossible ringer that is the modern airport with a diamond painting kit in tow.

Rolling up your diamond art is a great way to store it and protect the rhinestones from falling off or getting damaged, but it is possible that the canvas can be curved when you open it up. This is more likely the longer you leave the piece rolled up and the more tightly you roll it up when you do so. Many crafters find that either rolling up a work in progress or stowing a finished 5d diamond painting in a rolled-up form will cause the canvas to be curled when unrolled. If your canvas doesn’t want to unfurl, you can usually rectify the problem with a few weights and a nice flat surface.  Anything heavy will do, just make sure you’ve left on the protective sheet or have some other alternative to protect the rhinestones from whatever heavy thing you’re about to put on top of them.

It may be possible to get the canvas to fully unfurl with a rolling pin or even the roller that you use to fix all the rhinestones in place when you’ve finished a project. Make sure to find a nice, flat surface and then roll over the whole piece with the protective sheet still down. The rolling pin might work better for flattening-out purposes since its additional length will cover more area. If the roller and rolling pin don’t work, try weighing down the corners with books or something of similar weight. Use anything you like, even a framed piece of diamond art or another painting of a similar size. As long as it has some weight to it, it should keep the work in progress flat long enough to beat its unwillingness to unfurl. If they’re similar sizes, try using your light pad to flatten that canvas out. 

Traveling with rhinestones

Of course, one of the most essential parts to safely bringing your diamond painting kit along with you on your next journey is bringing along all the hundreds or thousands of square diamonds or round drills. It can seem overwhelming and the idea of a possible spill likely haunts anyone who has ever had a pet or a moment of clumsiness cause a massive spill of rhinestones on the floor. If you’re one of the crafters who dares to diamond paint when riding in the car, it’s probably doubly scary. Imagine all those rhinestones in the floorboard, between the seats, or filling one of the cupholders! 

The only way you’re going to be able to get this unfinished diamond painting with you is to find a secure, portable, and accessible storage containers for all of those shiny rhinestones. Options for storage containers abound. Some crafters like to repurpose pillboxes for their workstations at home, but that might not be the best option if you’ll be carrying everything along with your luggage and especially if you’ll try to access the rhinestones in an unusual place like the car. Pillboxes are great for crafters who are always in the same place when they work on their diamond art, but they aren’t the best guarantee against a spill when you’re on the move. 

The best containers have screw-top lids that fasten all the way down and won’t come undone on accident. Snap-top containers will probably work most of the time, but for the minimal risk, you should find small containers that close all the way and have no chance of opening on their own. Screw-top lids are the best for this. It’s obvious that the container should be spill-proof, much like the ones in our 30- and 60-vial travel cases. But if you’re going to try and repurpose other containers for this purpose, then remember that you’re going to be dipping into them to pull out rhinestones or else pouring the rhinestones out into a drill tray. Not every container will lend itself to either pouring or directly accessing drills. 

Just like you would if you’re designing a storage system for your home base, the vials you use for stowing rhinestones on the go can be labeled by DMC code. You can continue to move along at your regular pace by pouring out only a small amount of each color rhinestone at a time as you move across different areas of the canvas. Label the vials with a marker if you’re sure you’ll always use them for the same colors or try labeling with a sticker system if you think you may want to be able to use vials for a new color when their current one runs out. Many people tend to label the DMC codes they know they’ll always have with marker and use a sticker for less common colors. 

One other thing to remember about rhinestones is that they do tend to try and stick together. While we may admire this band-of-brothers sense of camaraderie, it can be pretty annoying when you’re trying to get to your rhinestones in a space that might be more cramped than the one you’re used to. Remember that a dryer sheet or a scrap of dryer sheet can help prevent the static clinging together of rhinestones if you toss it in the vials alongside your drills!

Transporting a light pad while traveling

Now we come to one of the more difficult things to transport and use when you leave your regular workshop for some well-deserved respite somewhere else. The light pad is a must-have tool for many crafters and transporting it is a bit more difficult. It can’t be rolled up in a puzzle kit like the canvas can. It’s just going to have to sit there at its full size while you carry it around. Luckily, they aren’t too bulky and usually pretty thin. That means you can stow it in a tote bag or slide it in with a computer if you’re also bringing one of those along in your luggage. 

Transporting the light pad itself is unlikely to present any problems, but if you are going to put it in a suitcase with all of your other belongings then it’s smart to wrap it in a shirt or a sweater to protect it in transit. It’s a little impractical to bring a light pad through security at an airport and may not be worthwhile to try and set the thing up in a car with a car adapter, so the key thing about transporting the light pad is to make sure it is protected and snugly packed away somewhere where it won’t shift. 

While we’re on the topic, an additional piece of equipment you should always have in your diamond painting travel kit is a dependable extension cord that is long enough to make any outlet convenient for your light pad. All too often there just isn’t an outlet close enough to use the light pad in a comfortable way, especially if you’re traveling somewhere that isn’t designed for use by diamond painters. If you have the right extension cable, it’ll be more likely that you can turn basically any couch or table into a comfy temporary diamond art workshop. 

Carrying case for traveling crafters

The last but certainly not least important question about traveling with your diamond art is what to carry all of it in. Many options are used by crafters all over the United States. Some use artist’s portfolios for their canvases. A great many people use these portfolios for their finished canvases and they definitely work great for that purpose. But if you’re traveling light and want to be able to roll the canvases up to get them to fit in the back of the car better, then perhaps a sturdy tote bag or thick plastic would work better. Depending on how many canvases you plan to bring with you, a dedicated duffel bag may be appropriate. However, now seems a good time to hazard crafters going on vacation to leave some time to actually enjoy the vacation! Don’t bring so many diamond painting kits with you that you forget to enjoy your new location. 

If you aren’t bringing many canvases and they are relatively smaller in size, one of the best options for carrying your diamond art is going to be a laptop bag, especially one with a dedicated or padded slot for a laptop. Not only are laptop bags great for safely carrying unrolled canvases, but the light pad, extension cable, and all your diamond painting tools can also fit in the same bag. If you manage to find vials that aren’t too tall for the purpose, you can even put your rhinestones in a laptop bag with everything else. That way all your diamond painting equipment is together, easy to pack with other bags, and portable enough to be carried on one shoulder. 

A diamond painting of a ship on the water.

Taking your diamond art through the airport

If you’re really courageous enough to try it, bringing your whole kit through the airport to a vacation destination or on a business trip isn’t actually nearly as bad as it sounds. If you take our advice and try to outfit a laptop case or a similar kind of bag into a diamond art transport case, then it will become even easier. There really isn’t much that will set off any alarms at the security checkpoint. The light pad is no different than a laptop and the extension cable is just the same as a laptop charger. With everything packed away in a single case, it looks no different than any other kind of visual artist traveling with their work. 

We do recommend that you find some way to transport your canvases flat and not rolled up in tube form. It’s more of a preference in the end, but if you can make your carry case into a conventional shape it’s more likely that your trip through airport security will go much faster. Additionally, if you can pack everything into a laptop case or a more streamlined bag like that, then it will easily count as carry on luggage and you can easily stow it in an overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you on the plane. No need to worry about the anonymous baggage handlers inadvertently crushing your canvases as they move your luggage along. 

One thing it is important to remember is that, while there aren’t many things in a diamond painting kit that would set off any sensors or be perceived as any kind of threat by security, you may have some reason to worry if you prefer to use tweezers instead of the default applicator. Many crafters have had their tweezers confiscated by airport security for being too sharp. Whatever your opinion on that is, it’s wiser not to risk losing a pair of tweezers. If you plan on going through the airport with all your diamond painting tools, either pack them in checked luggage or leave them at home. You can probably find another pair wherever you’re off to, anyway! 

Take your diamond paintings anywhere

If you want to bring all the comfort, relaxation, and easy concentration that diamond art brings you at home along with you on your next trip, it can be really easy to do so. All you need to do is decide how you want to protect those canvases, transport those pesky rhinestones, lug that light pad, and carry all your diamond painting tools. A lot of your transport process will depend on your personal preference. Some crafters prefer to roll up their canvases and carry them in a tube while others will carry everything in an artist’s portfolio. Our humble opinion is that a bag designed to transport lots of different things, like a laptop bag, can be easily converted into a diamond art carrying case without any alterations at all. 

Whatever way you decide to carry everything, the most important thing is going to be convenience. That’s why we recommend something with a shoulder strap. Whether you roll your canvases up or not, being able to carry them on one shoulder will save you stress or even additional trips to the car when you have to take your suitcase and additional baggage as well. 

Moving through the airport may seem scary if you’re imagining airport workers accidentally dropping your canvases or throwing them under heavier luggage in the hold, but it’s actually very simple. You can turn your diamond art carrying case into carry-on luggage as long as you have the right size bag and leave those tweezers out. 

One thing many people say about bringing diamond art out into the world is that they frequently have loads of people stopping by to ask what diamond painting is. The shine of the colorful rhinestones is bound to bring a few people by to inquire if you’re ever diamond painting in a public place, so be ready. And always remember to take a break sometimes. Even if you’re an absolute diamond art fanatic, you should rest from it now and then. Now that you know everything you need to know about traveling with your diamond painting, you might never stop unless you pull yourself away!

Bonus tip: See how this diamond artist brings her diamond embroidery projects with her on her husband’s business trips!