Diamond Painting Instructions

 Converting Cross Stitch Patterns into Diamond Paintings © 2021


Tracey M. Kramer 


Here at Sunrays Creations Needlearts, we like to keep up with the latest additions to the craft of cross stitch. Diamond painting is a fun alternative to cross stitch and can be used sparingly to create something new. It involves using tiny drills to create a mosaic picture effect using one of our cross-stitch patterns. Turning one of our beautiful patterns into a diamond painting can be your next challenging project made easy. I created this stunning picture from one of our patterns entitled “Pink Mums” that is currently in our Black Collection category. If you’re unfamiliar with diamond painting, you could start out with one of our smaller, less complicated patterns and then work your way up. All you would need to do is just order one of our patterns and indicate to us in the “notes section when you order to include a Usage Summary with your pattern and the rest is explanatory from reading our instructions. The following are detailed instructions on how to do just that.

  1. Pattern Choice: Pick out a pattern you would like to convert into a diamond painting. If you’ve never done diamond painting from a pattern before, I would suggest you pick something simple at first, then graduate onto more challenging projects. However, if you choose a pattern that is already very large, make sure you have a big enough work surface to work on it, and it may take a while to receive the canvas depending on the size required for your pattern.
  1. Supplies: Gather the following supplies: scissors, calculator, adhesive diamond painting embroidery canvas (aka gridded sticky canvas), drills, DMC floss number stickers, drill multicompartment containers (3), drill stylus for placement of drills, wax, highlighters, OR a 22-piece diamond painting accessory kit that includes many of the things I’ve listed, masking tape or Washi tape , card table or workable space. The sticky grid paper in large sizes used to be available on Amazon, but no longer is, and you will have to go to specialized shops on the Internet that carry diamond painting canvas for medium to large size projects like Stitches to Stones, Paint with Diamonds
  2. Calculating Canvas Size: The first thing you must do is calculate how large of a sticky grid canvas you will need. Sticky grid paper is measured in centimeters. There are two types of canvases. One for square drills and one for round drills. I like to use square drills myself as they fit better together without showing white spaces in between the drills and, provide a more finished look. To calculate and convert your stitch count to centimeters, you simply look go to your “Pattern Information” sheet that comes with your pattern, look at the stitch count on the sheet. For example, on the “pink Mums” pattern, the stitch count is 216w X 308h. Since the width is 216, multiply it by 0.25 (216 x 0.25) = 74 cm in width. Now go back to the height in the stitch count which is 308. Take 308 and multiply it by 0.25. (308 x 0.25) = 97 cm in height. Since sticky grid paper is measured in standard measurements, you will have to round up to choose the correct size of canvas. Since you now have computed 74 cm for width and 97 cm for height, you are not going to find canvas with those specific measurements, so you will have to round up and choose the correct size for your canvas which would be a canvas that is 80 cm x 100 cm in width and height. This should give you plenty of room to stitch your picture.

  3. Calculating the Number of Drills to Buy: Luckily, most drills come in colors that correspond to DMC colors.You will need a Floss Usage Summary page which can be provided to you upon request. This page is necessary as it contains the floss number and total length of flossed used. Locate the first number under the column marked “Full.” Since drills usually come 200 drills per bag, you can easily calculate how many drills to purchase by taking the usage length divided by 200 which would tell you how many bags of each color to get. For instance, for DMC 152, the usage amount for full cross stitch is 1157. Take 1157 and divide it by 200. 1157/200 = 5.785. Round this figure up to a whole number which is “6.” Using the blank column to the right, write the number 6 which tells you how many bags to buy for that color. Now you’ve just calculated that you will need 6 bags of drills for DMC 152. Write that number in the blank column next to the usage figure on the usage summary for DMC 152. Now you will need to continue to go down the list and calculate each color to determine how many bags for each one. Let’s say you come across a DMC color on your list that is smaller or less than 200. There is no need to do any calculation and you would simply mark “1” bag for that color (which contains 200 drills). *Please note, if you choose a pattern that does not have a background, if you want to apply drills to the background like I did in Pink Mums pattern, you will have to go sheet by sheet and count each 10-count grid square to come up with an estimate of how many drills to buy to fill in the background.  

  4. Ordering Supplies: The best place to get your sticky grid canvas is at Paint with Diamonds. Or for even larger sizes, Stitches to Stones carries large sticky grid canvases going all the way up to 177 to 127 cm., but it could take from 21 to 35 days to receive your canvas. A good place to order your drills is Paint with Diamonds.

  5. Getting Started on Creating your Beaded Masterpiece: This next part is the easiest part and a lot more fun. Set up your supplies on your table by placing them along the margins of your table and use the middle of the table for your canvas area. If you notice, your canvas has a cover sheet over it to protect the sticky surface underneath, and there are margins alongside the canvas that are unprotected with the cover sheet. Using your masking or decorative tape, tape the margins of the canvas where the sticky paper is showing so that your arms or sleeves don’t get stuck while you are placing your drills. Now, slide the bottom of the canvas down so that the majority of the canvas is hanging in front of your legs leaving 8 to 10 inches of the top of the canvas on the table to work on. DO NOT REMOVE ALL OF THE COVER PAPER ALL AT ONCE! If you do, the sticky paper underneath will dry up and your drills will not stick very well to the canvas. You will want to work with a small section of the canvas at a time. You will start working at the top left corner of the canvas. At the top left-hand corner, peel back just a small section approximately four 10 x 10 squares across and 4 squares down of the cover paper and slowly pull the paper down revealing sticky paper underneath. Now, fold it down to form a flap and crease it so it will stay down. This will be your first work space. (Do not be tempted to cut the flap off just yet because this flap will protect your canvas in case you have to pull the flap up for protections when you temporarily leave your project to go to the bathroom, the kitchen, etc., and will prevent the canvas from drying out. Look at the first page of your pattern and start placing the drills at the top left side of the canvas filling in each 10 x 10 square. When you finish this small work area, take your scissors and cut along the crease of the flap so that the area you just finished is fully visible. Now move to the right of that area and peel back another area about the same size as the first work area and start filling that section with drills. When you’ve filled in all of the drill areas in the 10-inches area, you can just slide the canvas upward another 10 inches and continue to work your way down. Continue until you are finished. (Some people like to start beading at the bottom of the canvas, but I caution you about starting at the bottom because as you finish a section at the bottom and start to work upward, you could dislodge some of the beading as you lean forward, and fibers from your clothes could start to stick to the beading). 

  6. Progress While You Are Working: As you are working, remember to highlight all 10 x 10 blocks on your printed pattern sheets as you finish them with your highlighter. Take time to straighten any crooked drills and use your roller to smooth down your drills so that everything looks neat. 

  7. Getting Project Ready for Finishing: When you are finished placing all of the drills on the canvas, you can use your roller (which usually comes with a paint with diamonds accessory package) and using the roller allows you to push the diamonds into their place firmly on the sticky paper. You don’t have to wait until you’re completely done to do this and you can do it periodically while you are placing your drills. After you are done using the roller, it’s time to put a protective coat of glue over the entire picture. I use a special glue called Tombow MONO Aqua Liquid Glue. This glue is special because it allows the brilliancy of the drills to shine through instead of leaving an ugly opaque film over the picture which will cloud the shine like Mod Podge often does.

  8. Getting Your Picture Framed: Now it’s time to take your picture to the framers. I use the Hobby Lobby framing department for all of my framing needs. They have experts who really know what they’re doing and handle my projects with kid gloves. I opted for regular glass to cover my picture for protection. They offer museum quality protection (which is very expensive and outside my budget), but the regular glass protection is better than no protection at all. They also have anti-glare protection if your picture is going to be hanging in an area where the sun’s glare from a window could possibly ruin the display of diamond painting. It’s your choice. 

  9. Placement of Your Masterpiece: Now you’re ready to hang your prized piece. Place it in an area where it will get noticed and will be admired. Consider the subject matter. If your picture has to do with sports, place it in a rec room or basement. Even an office will do if you’re a sports buff. On the other hand, if your picture has to do with landscapes, flowers, portraits, etc., place it in an area of formal distinction where others are likely to admire it. I placed mine in my dining room where it is visible as soon as guests walk through the door. They will be greeted by a stunning picture that I created myself, and hopefully will last for generations to come.