If you have been working at the exciting new craft of diamond painting for a while, you may have worked with diamond painting art kits from various manufacturers and discovered that there is a distinct difference in the quality of some kits.
Whether you have worked with a kit with a flimsy canvas that resembled cheesecloth or opened a package of diamond drills only to find many of them were lacking luster or broken, you may have discovered that with diamond painting, as with other arts and crafts forms, the end result of your DIY creative endeavor is heavily influenced by the consistency and quality of materials used as much as it is about the skills and dedication of the artist.
To that end, this post delves into how diamond painting kits are made with a little history about how the art of full drill diamond painting came into existence and made such a colorful splash in the world of arts and crafts.
When and Where Was the Art of Diamond Painting Conceived?
The first patent filed for the art form known as diamond painting, diamond embroidery, or diamond cross-stitch was in 2010 from a Chinese laser technology company. By 2015, the art form was exploding across China and parts of Asia, and by 2017 individuals across Europe and Russia were discovering the joys of painting with diamonds. Today, diamond painting is enjoyed by Americans as well as by people in many nations around the world, and thriving diamond painting groups and internet communities have sprung on social media and in other forums.
The basic design of the patent filing still holds true today in the way paint with diamond art kits are manufactured. Using customized production technology, coded images (also called maps) are rendered on a computer screen, then the colors are separated into tiny dots. This is also called pixelation, and the process is kind of the opposite of the type of pointillism typically seen in a painting by Georges Seurat.
After the image is rendered and converted to pixel dots with color codes (rather than the color itself), the images are printed on a base substrate (which has evolved over the years from velvet, flannelette, or paper to the heavy, durable canvas that comes in most high-quality diamond painting arts kits today) by specialized laser printers.
Retailers like VizuArts take pride in providing their customers with clear, detailed images by working with graphic artists and designers to create templates that are easy to read and precisely matched DMC codes and symbols. Printed images use ink and laser printing technology to produce images that are scratch resistant, and the non-toxic materials are also designed to resist fading. Taking a cue from cross stitch methodology, each canvas has also been printed with DMC symbols that correspond to labeled bags of diamond beads.
Let’s Stick to It: What Comes Next?
After an image is rendered onto its canvas backing, the image is then coated with a double-sided adhesive to form a sticky layer of the top of the image before being covered with a thin plastic film or non-adhesive paper that can be peeled off without removing any of the adhesive material that covers the image. From there, the adhesive, coated substrate (or canvas) is cut by hand or by a precision laser cutter into individual sections.
VizuArts uses a clear film to cover the adhesive so that the diamond painting can see the entire image that is waiting to be filled with diamonds, though some manufacturers use opaque paper to cover the adhesive. In addition, VizuArts uses an advanced formula developed exclusively for its use to ensure that the adhesive provides for easy application and durability in extreme temperatures.
Tell Me More About the Canvas
Each printed canvas image has been measured out in a grid pattern, and the number of diamond drills that fit into each inch (or centimeter) of a diamond painting will always be the same, regardless of canvas size or gridded pattern. Each centimeter of the diamond drill canvas can accommodate 2.5 drills (10 drills per inch), and this ratio is the same as 10 ADA canvas in a cross-stitch pattern. Since the aspect ratio is always the same in a diamond painting, it is important that the level of detail in the original work not be so precise and minute that it cannot be captured by the size of the grid and the drills.
Canvases typically range in size from 20 x 20 centimeters (8 x 8 inches) to some as wide as 90 centimeters (36 inches), so the diamond artist can choose exactly the right size for their space. Smaller canvases are often chosen by those who are new to diamond art, though larger canvases allow for higher levels of pixelation and detail. Over recent years, diamond artists have found that they are no longer limited by the images available, and they can even choose to have a custom piece made from one of their own photographs.
Although most diamond painting kits now include a woven, polyester canvas, it is important to note that canvases can come in all sorts of quality levels. Canvases from respected retailers like VizuArts can be counted on to be heavy-duty, weather-resistant, and waterproof. This level of quality is critical in the prevention of creasing and wrinkling, and the thickness of the canvas also helps to ensure that the finished diamond art piece will be able to stand up to variations in temperature while providing a base that makes the completed diamond art piece perfect for framing.
Canvases also come in full drill and partial drill, which means that the canvas is either entirely printed with DMC coding for full bling coverage (full drill), or that part of the background of the canvas is already colored in (partial drill). Consumers would be aware that when they see discounted diamond art kits on third party retail sites that the canvas may only be a partial drill. Note also that canvases from VizuArts are rolled rather than folded, so the chance of receiving a creased canvas is lower when ordering from an established company that manufactures and sells diamond art kits.
If you do choose to order a diamond painting kit from Amazon or another aggregate retailer, be sure to read the contents and description carefully so that you do not end up with, for example, a partial drill canvas when you were seeking a full drill painting. Be sure to read the comments as well, especially about the quality of the materials, the shipping method, and the packaging.
I Don’t Do Cross Stitch, So What Is This DMC Coding You Keep Mentioning?
Although many cross-stitchers and crafters are familiar with the concept of DMC coding or a DMC color chart, this terminology may be confusing to other would-be diamond painters. DMC is a French company that built a name for itself by making embroidery floss and other textiles since 1746. This company set the standard for labeling colors and grouping them into color families for sewing and needlework projects involving multiple variations in color. Diamond painting manufacturers borrowed DMC color-coding methodology for labeling canvases, only in the case of diamond painting, the markings correspond to bags of diamonds rather than packets of embroidery floss.
Now, About Those Diamonds
Just like the variation in the quality of the canvases included in a diamond painting art kit, there is a distinct and noticeable variation in the color and durability of the types of diamonds that are created. Programmed machines recreate the precise color from the original artwork or image, similar to the way paint is matched in a paint store based on a sample or chip. The machines are also calibrated to produce the diamonds in individually packaged and labeled baggies with all the diamond drills needed for each painting. As a bonus, most quality diamond art kits include 10% to 20% more diamonds than needed to allow for loss and to make up for any beads that are damaged.
The diamonds themselves are made from epoxy resin and are 2.8 mm in size, though some budget manufacturers use lower grade plastic or recycled materials. Diamond drills come in either a round or a square shape. The round drills are easier to pick up with the applicator tool and apply them to the canvas, and the end result resembles an elaborate diamond mosaic. Round diamonds reflect and refract light more brilliantly, just like a solitaire diamond. Square diamond drills are a popular choice for more experienced diamond crafters, and they can be placed on the canvas with either the applicator tool or tweezers. The end result of a square drill diamond painting can be described as something akin to an elaborate piece of embroidery.
Like actual diamonds, the polyresin is shaped to allow for maximum brilliance. Most diamond painting kits are made up of 5D drills, which means that each side has 5 facets. Many different kinds of 3D diamond painting kits also exist, but they are less common (and less glittery) than 5D diamond painting kits. Diamond drills, regardless of whether they are 3D or 5D, square or round, are called by many different names, including diamonds, crystals, rhinestones, diamond beads, or diamond dots, but no matter what they are called, they are designed with the same size specifications in mind.
What Else Comes In a Diamond Painting Kit?
In addition to the pre-printed, DMC coded adhesive canvas and corresponding diamond drills, most diamond painting art kits also come with the rest of the tools needed to complete a diamond painting from start to finish. Below are the other tools that you can expect to see when unboxing your diamond painting kit.
Diamond Applicator Tool with Comfort Grip
The diamond applicator tool is exactly what it sounds like -- a tool to pick up diamonds and apply them to the canvas. This tool may also be called a diamond drill pen or a stylus, and it is a hollow pen that the artist can dip into the wax, then pick up the diamond with the just-sticky-enough wax. Most applicator tools come with a comfort grip, and experienced diamond painters may even wish to upgrade to a two-side diamond drill pen with removable wax tips.
Waxing Eloquent on Wax
The small pink square that is included in each diamond painting art kit is the wax pad, and it works in conjunction with the hollow applicator pen. The crafter simply dips the pen into the wax before picking up and placing the diamonds on their corresponding spot on the canvas.
Super Sharp Tweezers, Not Just for Splinters
The stainless steel, pointed tweezers that come in the diamond painting art kit can be used in lieu of or in concert with the applicator tool/wax pad combination. Tweezers are good for detail and edge work, adjusting misplaced diamonds, and some users prefer them as their applicator tool of choice.
Get in the Tray Groove
All of the diamond painting kits from VizuArts include a small grooved tray that can be held in the palm of the diamond painter’s hand, and it is very useful to work with the selected beads. The tray’s arrow shape and grooved surface help the diamonds settle into the tray with their flat side down so that they can be picked up and placed appropriately (with the glittering, faceted side facing up).
Diamond Storage Bags, Because Sometimes Being Extra is Good
In addition to the extra diamonds included with each diamond painting art kit, there are also extra diamond storage bags to keep the diamond drills sorted and separated. The extra storage bags can be used to collect the leftover diamonds that always seem to exist after each diamond painting has been completed, and the leftover diamond beads can be used to create a number of other crafts or activities.
Each diamond painting art kit also includes a set of printed instructions to help you transform your fill in the blank canvas into a custom work of art. The instructions are typically printed in English as well as several other languages to ensure the diamond artist, no matter what their native tongue is, will have all that they need to enjoy and understand their craft. More detailed instructions and tips are available on VizuArts’ news blog.
From the Factory to Your Doorstep
No matter how well a product is designed and manufactured, the quality means nothing if the product is not packed with care and shipped on time. Diamond art canvases are rolled (not folded, as that would encourage creasing) into a tube, just like fine art canvases or blueprints (which, in a way, they are). Neatly rolled inside the tube are all of the tools and supplies that come standard in any diamond art kit, and the whole kit is slipped into a sturdy cardboard box for shipping.
Since most diamond art kits are manufactured in China, it is important to order from retailers who are willing and able to ship around the world in a way that is both cost-effective and expedient. At VizuArts, standard orders are shipped within 24 hours, and custom image orders are shipped within 7 business days of order placement.
Delivery times may vary based on what part of the world they are shipping to, but express shipping to the United States takes 2 to 6 business days while standard shipping to the U.S. takes between 8 and 24 days. When VizuArts ships a diamond painting kit, they provide tracking information as well as 24/7 customer support before, during, and after shipping. They also offer a full money-back guarantee on the cost of the kit if the customer is not satisfied with their purchase.
It’s Time to Start Your Diamond Painting Experience!
The history of diamond painting is relatively limited, but the long tradition of creating art from new materials and objects is still applicable to this new art form. When you select a diamond art kit from the hundreds of designs available, you will receive everything you need to create a one of a kind work of art that speaks to your unique sensibilities and sense of style. Whether you are seeking diamond art for a gift (for someone else’s wishlist or your own), as a way to spruce up your home decor, or simply as a way to while away the time, you are sure to find an image that appeals to you.
When you work on your diamond art, you will also reap the mental and physical benefits of this mindfully mindless hobby, including improving fine motor skills, reducing stress, and improving focus and concentration. Working with high-quality materials and a respected retailer only improves the diamond painting experience, so take the time you need to browse through your options, make sure you have all the accessories you need, and get started on your very own diamond painting project.