Diamond Painting WIP

At some point, my obsession with diamond painting will wane.

Not today, though. 😛

I’ve started a huge project, and even though the sheer size of the canvas is a little daunting, I am excited to get it done. With diamond painting, the bigger the canvas, the better the finished painting looks, because the more detail it has.

I think of the diamond drills like pixels. The smaller canvases have less pixels, so they don’t look as good as the ones with a large number of drills. So bigger is definitely better in the diamond painting world. The downside of this is that the larger the canvas, the longer it takes to finish.

The peacock diamond painting I did took me about 34-35 hours to complete. It was 45x75cm. The painting I am working on currently is called Grandios Greece and is a kit I had forgotten I ordered before Black Friday. It is a Diamond Art Club kit and it is 98x70cm. At the rate I’m going, I figure it will take me about 120+ hours to finish.

Doing a canvas this big has already changed how I diamond paint, even though I only have about 20 hours of work done so far. For one thing, in a canvas this large, there are large sections of one color, so I have learned to make the multi-placer tool my friend. I didn’t use them on any of my previous paintings, because I couldn’t figure them out.

I have now. 😀

The multi-placer tools let me place multiple drills at once, speeding up large one color sections. I have ordered a few more tools to help with placement, including a wheel multi-placer and two straighteners. The straighteners help keep the rows of drills straight and so far are fairly easy to use. The wheeled multi-placers haven’t arrived yet, so I will see how they work when I get them.

I did also order some Blue-Tac to see if it worked better than the wax provided to place the drills. It was a bit fiddly at first, but it definitely lasts longer than the wax. I’ve got about 7 hours of working with it and I haven’t had to refill the drill pen yet.

I’ve found some like minded diamond painters on Twitch to follow and I am having fun diamond painting and chatting with others who are as obsessed as I am. 🙂

ToCare Peacock Diamond Painting Review

You may have read that I am currently obsessed with diamond painting. 😛

I hadn’t realized how much I missed cross-stitch until I started diamond painting. I gave up cross-stitch years ago, both because I didn’t have much time and because my carpal tunnel and bad eyesight made it too difficult to get any enjoyment out of it. I’m not quite sure why my diamond painting doesn’t bother my carpal tunnel like cross-stitching, but it doesn’t, so I’m calling it a win.

Because I’m me, once I discovered diamond painting, I had to try everything. All. The. Things. I’ve bought paintings from several different companies so I can compare them and find out which one I like the best. I posted about the first small canvas I bought to try here. It was a small “snack-size” painting, so I could do it quickly while waiting for other purchases to show.

I also bought a pretty peacock painting, although I didn’t realize at the time it was from the same company as the rainbow horse. This canvas was bigger and I wanted to see if the somewhat limited color palette would be something I liked or not. It had 36 different colors, which I thought would be challenging, though it wasn’t as many colors as the wolf painting I did for my eldest.

Peacock Legend
Peacock Canvas

The canvas itself was stiff, with some creases and curling from shipping that I’m still trying to get out. Just putting the drills on helped with some of that.

The drill field was clear and the labels were mostly good, though there were a few symbols that were similar enough it was hard to tell what symbol it was sometimes. Again, something I wanted to see for myself – it was a bit annoying sometimes, but nothing so bad that it kept me from finishing the piece.

The drills themselves were mostly good, with some cupping and some slag. It seemed like I had a lot of trash as I was working, but when I finished, the trash pile wasn’t huge, considering the size of the painting. I also had quite a few drills left after I finished, so I added those to my “extra drills” stash.

Drill Trash
Leftover Drills

I have quite the drill stash going right now, even after only completing 5 paintings. I have drills of all shapes and sizes, though they are mostly round and square leftovers from finished pieces. One of the YouTubers I watch said that there are some online social groups where you can donate your leftovers to people who need them – I may look into that, because it seems silly to keep so many when I likely will never use them for anything. If someone else can use them, that seems like a win-win to me. 😀

The wax from this kit seemed a little better (thicker) than the other kit. I only used about half of it doing the painting. So now I’m arguing with myself over whether or not I should keep it, or just throw the rest away. In fact, I am probably going to order some specialty wax on Etsy, so I should just throw it away. I’m gonna go do that right now.

There. Done. 😛

Halfway there
Finished!

It took me over 30 hours to complete the peacock, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to do with it now that it’s done. I don’t have a good way to make sure that the painting stays flat until I figure out what to do with it.

Although I liked both of the kits from ToCare and they were enjoyable, I don’t know that I will be purchasing anymore from them. Because I can’t find any information on the company, I have no idea how they handle licensing the artwork they use, or even if they do.

I like ordering through Amazon because I know the kits will get here quickly and I can get working. There are others companies on Amazon popping up all the time, so I will likely be trying other ones. I’ve found several new-to-me companies while watching YouTube, so I want to try some of them and see. Next I will be working on the large painting I got from Diamond Art Club. I’ve had to move my workspace because the painting is so big, so we’ll see how long it takes me to complete it.

I’ve already got 5 more paintings waiting for me to open, and 2 more still on the way. (Apparently one of the companies I ordered from on Black Friday is located in Australia, something I didn’t know until the currency exchange charges showed up on my bank account!) So, while I wait for them to arrive, I have plenty to keep me busy. I am debating whether I want to continue talking about diamond painting here, or whether I want to branch off into another blog or possibly a YouTube channel for it. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my time off work, the holidays, and spend a big chunk of it diamond painting!

Rainbow Horse – ToCare DP Review

I’m still obsessed with diamond painting. I’ve been searching all the socials trying to find more people to follow who share my newfound obsession. I mentioned in a previous post that I went a little crazy buying kits on Black Friday. I knew it would take those packages a while to get here, so I bought a couple of smaller kits on Amazon just to keep my hands busy. They arrived in just a couple of days, so I broke the smallest one out and got to work.

I want to try out a variety of kits, styles, and companies to see who makes the best product. So far, the kits I’ve purchased on Amazon have been okay, but they are definitely not as high quality as the one Diamond Art Club kit I’ve purchased. To be fair, the kits I’ve ordered on Amazon are much cheaper, so the quality is on par with the cost.

The small canvas I started with was from a company called ToCare. I have no idea what or who this company is, other than they are likely Chinese. Which isn’t surprising, given that most companies, even those in the US, seem to get their supply of diamond drills (the little plastic pieces you place on the canvas) from China. They sell on Amazon, but there’s no info on the company to be found, only their products. Their info also listed a Facebook page, but again, not much beyond a link to their Amazon store and an email address. I tried looking up info on their email address, but they are apparently using an email service (163.com) that is (surprise!) in Chinese, so I’m glad I didn’t have any issues I needed to contact them about. 😛

The kit included this info page, which I am grateful for, because the legend key on the canvas itself was small and hard for my old eyes to read. You can tell that whatever translation service they are using (probably Google) doesn’t do a great job. While I understand the gist, no native English speaker would ask, “Have words for team ToCare?” or say, “We are social.” They misspelled Rainbow as Rainhow, something that spell check should have caught. Also, the Amazon listing says this is a unicorn, not a horse, so I was bit confused when the kit arrived. Although, the picture does match, so my own fault for not realizing there was no horn. 😀

The kit came with the standard items – drill pen, wax, tray, tweezers, and of course, the diamonds and canvas. The kit is $10.98 USD – I get free shipping as a Prime member. I sorted out the diamonds into containers (called kitting up) and got to work. The first day went pretty smooth, although there was a LOT of white. The first day I worked on it was a Sunday, so I made a lot of good progress while my hubby watched football.

I had to work the next couple of days, so I worked in smaller spurts. This canvas was round drills, which was a change, because I’d been working with square drills previously. There was a note at the bottom of the canvas that said, “Please the complete the torn part in time.” I had no idea what this meant until I was searching around on their Amazon page. Apparently, this is another lost in translation thing. Most DP kits come with some kind of cover, either paper or transparent plastic like you see here. This is to protect the adhesive that holds the diamonds while you work, covering the parts that you aren’t working on yet. So the note was meant to advise you to tear off/cut the film cover as you work.

I did have a bit of trouble getting the canvas to lay flat. It is currently still under some heavy books, as I’m hoping the weight will flatten it out, since the diamonds didn’t. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try ironing it. Hoping I don’t have to, since that gets a bit tricky with the diamonds already attached.

The diamond drills themselves were mostly okay, though there was some slag (misshapen pieces). I did have extras left over, which I will add to my stash of extras. Most people keep their leftovers on hand to use in case other kits are missing diamonds or they run out of a color. These are my ‘tic tac’ storage boxes. They work fine, but I upgraded to some different storage that I like much better.

I bought this particular kit because I wanted to try round drills again to see how they compared with the square. The round drills are definitely much more forgiving and easier to move around than the square. However, the square ones cover more of the canvas, which I like better. The round drills leave some of the background exposed and sometimes that means you can see the symbols through the diamonds. I also wanted to try something with bright colors, and this kit certainly fit the bill.

The listing says the canvas is 30cmX40cm, which is 12″X16″. However, keep in mind that this is the size of the entire canvas, not the drill field itself. After measuring, the canvas I received is actually 12 1/4″ X 15 1/2″. The drill field measures 9 1/2″ X 13 1/4″, which is roughly 24.1cmX33.6xm. So it’s a little smaller than usual – with most kits you can subtract about 5cm (~2″) from the size and get a rough estimate of the size of the drill field.

It took me 4 days to complete the canvas, though that is probably only about 8 hours of actual painting time. I’m going to start keeping better track of my painting time, so I can compare them as well as the kits and companies. I’ve created a spreadsheet to track orders, times, and completion dates, so we’ll see how I organized I can keep it. 🙂

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this canvas, as I just bought it to keep busy rather than with a recipient in mind. I have another canvas from this same company which is a peacock. It’s larger than this canvas, and it’s a lot of blue and white, so I’m curious to see how it compares to this kit. I need to get started on it, since I just received notification that two of my Black Friday kits have shipped.

The kits from ToCare are okay, but I’m not sure if I will buy any more from them. The canvas material is stiff and it’s difficult to get the creases out. It’s also somewhat shiny, which made reading the symbol key difficult. The drill quality is ok, but not great. I prefer the paper cover rather than the plastic film, but the adhesive is good. I’m curious to see how the peacock kit compares. I haven’t opened it yet, so maybe I’ll do one of those ‘unboxing’ videos. 😀

Diamond Painting Addiction

I’m so excited, y’all!

I finished my last diamond painting project – a gift for my oldest – and I’ve been jonesing to start working on another piece. I started out with diamond painting with some mandalas (because of course I did!) and then moved on to a Marvel one for my nephew. After completing both of those, I still wasn’t sure if it was something I’d keep doing.

So I purchased a few more kits to try. The owl (which you can see partial pics of in the link above) was fun and when I finished it, my sister claimed it. I didn’t get any pics of the completed canvas, unfortunately. Then I finished the wolves and am currently waiting on the frame so I can frame it and wrap it for Christmas.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished it and my idle hands have been driving me crazy. So when Black Friday rolled around, I thought I would try out a couple of new (to me) diamond painting companies and see how they compared to the kits I was buying on Amazon.

I was sure they’d likely be of better quality. I bought the kits I did on Amazon because I wanted some inexpensive ones to try before I dove in to diamond painting. Some of these kits can be very expensive, especially for something that’s just a hobby. But with the Black Friday sales and my surety that I actually indeed love diamond painting, I decided to buy a few kits.

Diamond Art Club is one of the more popular diamond painting companies. I’ve seen many a YouTuber unboxing their kits and extolling their virtues, so I thought I’d see if they lived up to the hype. They are also one of the more expensive stores. They sell out of items frequently and due to COVID-19, this has been happening on a regular basis. I ordered two different kits from them. I’m not sure when they’ll get here, but I’m so excited to get them!

I also ordered some kits from Treasure Studios Art. They are another company that is recommended. There is a nice focus in the diamond painting community on buying licensed art kits rather than knock-offs, even if that means paying a bit more. I have always been a big proponent of respecting copyrights (due to my teaching background), so I like that these companies pay the artists whose work they are using. They were having a ‘Buy 2 Get One Free’ sale, so I did. I bought 3 kits. This is another company who has shipping delays due to COVID, so I’m not sure when those will get here, either.

After a few days, I was still trying to find something to do with my hands. With no clear idea of when my Black Friday purchases would arrive, I decided to hop on Amazon and find a couple of inexpensive, small kits that I could work on and possibly complete before my larger paintings arrived. I found two, a pretty peacock and a rainbow unicorn. They are on the way and should be here by Friday.

Yesterday, after getting home from work, I found a couple of packages waiting. I assumed they were Christmas presents I had ordered, so I opened the boxes to see what had arrived. Imagine my surprise when I found one of the boxes was from Diamond Art Club! I opened the package to find one boxed kit, but it was huge – much larger than I was expecting. I opened the kit and started laughing.

I forgot that I had ordered a kit from DAC the week before! Isn’t getting old wonderful? It makes for so many nice surprises! 😛 Anyhoo, I opened the kit to find a huge (98cm X 70cm/38.6″ X 27.6″) painting. It’s so big the only place I have to lay it out flat at the moment is on top of my bed. I was so stoked to get it, though, that I kitted up the drills (got all the drills opened and into containers) so I can get started on it. I need to rework a few things to find a big enough space to work on it comfortably, but I’m so excited!

I can say that, even though I haven’t actually started the painting yet, Diamond Art Club is definitely living up to all the hype. The canvas is buttery soft and has scallops around the edges. Those will likely get cut off when it’s framed, but it still looks nice while you’re working on it.

The drill field is nice and colorful and the symbols for the diamond placement are nice and clear. All my previous kits have been double-sided adhesive on the canvas, but this one is poured glue, so I’m curious to see the difference once I start the project.

I was also curious to see the drill quality. The wolf kit that I worked on had quite a number of drills that were misshapen or had weird knobby bits that meant that they wouldn’t lay flat on the canvas. Again, DAC is a company that has gotten raves about their drill quality. So far, I’ve not been disappointed.

The kit included a diamond boat, tweezers, some small baggies, a drill pen, a squishy wrap for the drill pen, and two heart-shaped wax pieces. The diamonds themselves do indeed seem to be high quality – not a misshapen one in sight as I kitted them up into containers. And DAC includes a sticker with the colors and symbols that you can cut up and use on your containers while you paint. The only negative so far has been that the painting has so many colors that I ran out of containers. So, I’ll be buying some more containers, because I love the ones I’ve been using. Once I have those and a place to work, my hands will certainly be busy again!

Diamond Painting Mandalas

I mentioned in a previous post that I had discovered some new art forms for mandalas.  I’ve already posted about my experience with dot mandalas and making them in Procreate.  I loved creating the dot mandalas that way, and I will be making more of them in the future.

Diamond Painting

During one of my YouTube forays, I came across people who were ‘diamond painting.’  I had no idea what it was and I fell down a YouTube hole learning all about it.  Essentially, it is like cross-stitch, but instead of a needle and embroidery floss, you use small gems (diamonds) called drills and create a canvas using them.

I loved cross-stitching, but my eyes and my carpal tunnel keep me from it these days.  After looking at a LOT of videos about diamond painting, I decided I would try it and see if I liked it.  I hopped online and started looking.  I found some simple ones that were mandalas and ordered them, thinking that they would be a good way to find out if I wanted to stick with diamond painting and order more.

I ordered them in April, and thanks to the pandemic, it took until the middle of June for them to arrive.  There were 4 mandalas in the package and each canvas was 30 cm X 30 cm.  Not huge, but big enough for me to see if I liked it.

Diamond Painting Mandalas

I opened the first one and got started.  At first glance, there were a few surprises.  The size was fine, but I had expected the design to be ‘full drill’ – ie, every piece of the design would be filled in with a drill.  Not so.  And all of the mandalas had differently shaped gems, rather than all being round or square.

DP Mandala 1

This particular mandala was annoying, because as you can see, I was short two gems to finish the design.  Not the end of the world, but aggravating.  It did give me an introduction to diamond painting, though – and the was the point.  If I really cared, I could source some extra gems to finish, but I’m fine calling this an experiment.

After finishing the first one, I moved quickly on to the second one.  It went a bit quicker, now that I had an idea of what I was doing.  This one was a bit more fun, as there were more drills and the pattern matched up with the printed design, something that was lacking on the first mandala.

DP Mandala 2

Each canvas has a key on it that tells you which color/shape drills to use on the corresponding grid on the design.  The painting is covered with an adhesive which the drills stick to as you place them.

I was on a roll, so I moved on to the third mandala.  Thankfully, none of them were missing drills or had the designs offset like the first one.  This design looked more intimidating than the first two.

DP Mandala 3

After working on it, I realized it wasn’t really that much more complicated than the two I had already completed, which was a bit disappointing.  I wanted a challenge.  Some of the drills were very small and placing them often resulted in me dropping them on the floor, followed by lots of cursing. 😛

By the time I got to the fourth one, I knew I was hooked.  Diamond painting is a nice, relaxing craft that I can do while my husband and I watch TV of an evening.  The final mandala had a lot more drills, so it took a while longer to complete than the first three.

DP Mandala 4

Ready for More

After finishing up the fourth one, I decided I wanted to try a ‘full drill’ painting, and I also wanted to try using the square drills instead of the round.  I ordered one to make for my nephew, but when it arrived, it had round rather than square drills.  I must have not paid enough attention when I was ordering it.

So I ordered another painting, making sure that it was square drills.  I also ordered a storage kit for all the extra gems from the mandalas, thinking that I could store those and the extras from the next painting in it.

It was smaller than I realized, and after sorting and storing all the extras from the 4 mandala kits, it is now full. :/

I ordered another (larger) storage kit this time.  I’ve already started on the diamond painting for my nephew, so we’ll see how quickly I can get it done.  I’m trying really hard not to just go out and ‘buy ALL the things’ for diamond painting.  I still need to see what options are out there, and what I really NEED.  I am excited to have discovered a new (to me) crafting hobby!