Friday, August 3, 2018

The Diamond Painting Dictionary

Like many hobbies, diamond painting has developed its own set of terms and abbreviations that can leave newbies and outsiders scratching their heads. This post will act as a handy reference for those looking to understand what diamond painters are saying.

Centimeters: Okay, you probably know what a centimeter is. But I include it here because most sellers measure their diamond paintings in centimeters-- and that can be a little confusing if you're an American. An easy way to convert centimeters to inches is to multiply by 4, then divide by 10. So if something is 30 centimeters... 30 x 4 = 120, 120/10 = 12... it's approximately 12 inches.

Checkerboard: When working on a large area of the same color, many diamond painters like to create a checkerboard pattern with their diamonds first, then fill in the gaps. This makes the task less monotonous, can create the coveted "click" (see below), and seems to help with making straight rows and columns. Checkerboard can be used as both a noun (the pattern) and a verb (the act of creating the pattern).

China Mail: Because many diamond paintings are manufactured and shipped from China, diamond painters will often refer to diamond painting kits received in the mail as "China mail".

Click: The sound (and sensation) often created when placing a diamond, especially a square, snugly into a spot already surrounded by other diamonds. Also called a "snap," many diamond painters find this very satisfying.

Confetti: This term is used to describe an area of a diamond painting where there are many different colors. These can seem random and chaotic (like confetti) up close, but when viewed from a distance often help to add depth, detail, and shading to the picture.

Crystal/Rhinestone: Crystal or rhinestone diamonds (also referred to as crystal rhinestone) have a more jewel-like or metallic appearance than regular drills. Many kits using these types of drills are partials, but they can be used in full-drill kits as well.

Custom: Many sellers offer an option to create a custom diamond painting kit, using photos or other images you provide.

DAC: Acronym for Diamond Art Club, a popular seller of diamond paintings, which ships from the U.S.

Diamond Cross Stitch: This is just another term for diamond painting, used because of the similarity between the cross-stitching and diamond painting crafts.

DMC: DMC is actually a brand that sells embroidery floss and other products. Different colored DMC flosses are identified by different numbers, and most diamond painting products use these same numbers to denote the colors of their diamonds. So in diamond painting, DMC refers to the number that corresponds to a particular diamond color, such as 310 for black (see below). You can download a DMC color chart here.

Diamond Pox: A funny term invented by diamond painters to describe the condition when you start to randomly find stray diamonds on your body.

DP: Acronym for Diamond Painting (both a noun and a verb)

Drill(s): Another name for the resin "diamonds" that are used to create a diamond painting. Drill can also be used as a verb, describing the action of placing diamonds on the canvas (so "to drill" and "to diamond paint" are synonymous).

Drill Pen: The stylus that is used to pick up drills and place them on a canvas

5D/3D: You will often see reference to 5D diamond paintings, or to a lesser extent 3D diamond paintings. When asked about the difference, some claim that 5D diamonds have more facets than 3D, but the author of this blog is not convinced of this. PWD says 5D is just a "marketing buzzword." More than likely, if you see one DP labeled as "5D" and another as "3D," there is no real difference other than the marketing terms the seller has chosen to use-- but you can always ask them to clarify.

Full Drill/Full: A "full drill" diamond painting is one in which the entire canvas is covered with diamonds. Fulls are generally preferred by most experienced diamond painters.

Inventory: When you receive a new diamond painting kit in the mail, it's a good idea to "do inventory." This means checking the inventory list provided by the seller (this may be a separate piece of paper or may be printed on the side of the canvas itself) to make sure that all of the packets of diamonds necessary for your kit to be completed were received. If anything is missing, contact the seller right away to get it resolved.

Junk/Trash: This refers to misshapen drills and any other stray, unusable pieces of resin that end up in a bag of diamonds.

Kit Up: Kitting up refers to the process of getting ready to start on a new diamond painting kit. Usually this means getting your diamonds into new containers (as opposed to the bags they come in) and labeling them.

Lightpad: A lightpad is probably the most frequently recommended tool for diamond painters (besides those like the drill pen and tray that come with every kit). These thin LED lights can be placed behind a diamond painting canvas to make it easier to read the symbols on it. Sizes range from A4 (approximately 9x12 inches) to A1 (26x36 inches). 

Partial Drill/Partial: A "partial drill" diamond painting is one in which only part of the canvas is covered with diamonds. Partials can be good for beginners or those looking for a smaller or easier project.

Popping: Popping drills have unfortunately become a not uncommon problem for diamond painters recently. This is when drills that have been placed on the canvas buckle, come loose, or completely pop off of the canvas. It can be due to oversized or poorly formed diamonds, weak adhesive, bubbles or creases in the adhesive or canvas, or a combination of factors.

PWD: Acronym for Paint With Diamonds, one of the most popular places to buy diamond paintings

Round/Round Drill: One of two shapes that diamonds come in is round. Round drills are known for being easier to place than square drills, and can also create a shinier painting.

Sealing: Some diamond painters like to seal their finished diamond paintings with a glue or spray-on sealer. There are many different sealers to choose from, all with their own pros and cons (and advocates and detractors). Not everyone sees sealing as necessary, especially if diamond paintings are being framed behind glass, but it may be needful to seal even while your diamond painting is in progress if you experience popping drills.

Special/Special Shape: Drills or kits can be referred to as "special" or "special shape". Special shape kits (usually partials) use drills that are not just the standard square or round, but of varying shapes and sizes. These drills are usually crystal/rhinestone drills.

Stash: Any unfinished diamond painting kits you have stored up for future projects.

Square/Square Drill: One of two shapes that diamonds come in is square. Square drills can be more challenging to place than round drills, but result in a more full and detailed-looking painting.

310: The DMC number for the color black. Black drills (310s) often make up a large portion of a diamond painting and also tend to contain more low-quality drills and debris-- perhaps because they are manufactured in larger quantities-- than other colors, and consequently inspire a lot of dread and/or complaining in diamond painters.

Tray: Most diamond painting kits include a slotted plastic tray. Diamonds are poured into this tray, and by shaking the tray from side to side, most of them can be flipped so that they are flat-side-down (faceted-side-up) and ready to be picked up with the drill pen.

"Trust The Process": This has become a common phrase in the diamond painting world to reassure people who are working on their diamond painting and feel uncertain about how it is going to turn out. Working up close on something that is supposed to be viewed from far away and that is still incomplete can cause people to worry, but usually if they "trust the process", keep going until the whole picture is completed, and step back, they will be happy with the results.

Wax: A pink wax that, when inserted into drill pens, allows them to pick up diamonds

WIP: Acronym for Work In Progress-- a diamond painting that is in the process of being completed

So, fellow diamond painters, what do you think? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments! This page will continue to be added to as needed in order to be as valuable a resource as possible.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through these links do not cost you anything extra, but the author receives a commission on them, which helps to support this blog. 


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  13. How do you label the crystal rhinestone colors that you get from "special" kits? Do they follow the same DMC charts? Where do you get replacement crystal rhinestones, shaped and all? It's hard to look for something if you can't name or identify it.

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  15. I'm mesmerized by the background.

  16. The oval diamonds are one of the fancy diamond shapes that is very susceptible to the bow-tie effect. The presence of this effect in the diamond is a big disadvantage to the diamond as it reduces the beauty and attractiveness of the diamond, especially if it is very obvious.

  17. You might have heard about the fact that the exact diamond proportions determine the cut of a diamond.

  18. I have a question, I have colors that arent on your color board and they are numbered 8001 and up. How do I find out what these colors would be considered?

    1. those sound like Diamond Dotz colors. They do NOT have DMC numbers, although there are conversion charts to give you a general DMC number close to the Diamond Dotz number.

  19. Don't we all love Diamond Paintings... I think so :-)

  20. I tried Diamond Paintings a few days ago for the first time. I have to admit that I really dig it. Your dictionary of the same subject was very helpful. Thank you. /Camilla from Denmark

  21. DP are for sure very popular now a days. My kids and I love it aswell. Time consuming in a good way! :-)

  22. This is a perfect dictionary. Thank you for that. We're ready to go painting.

  23. I do love the post just as Christina.

  24. I have a question. I started Diamond Painting way back when the stones were REAL rhinestones as opposed to the resin drills. My question is, are the color numbers of the real rhinestones the same as the resins? and can the real rhinestones be substituted for the resins?

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