Diamond Painting vs. Paint by Numbers: A Helpful Guide


April 12, 2024

Time reading

4 minutes
castle beach diamond art

In today’s fast-paced world, many people are looking for creative hobbies to help them unwind and express themselves. Two popular options many have found especially accessible are diamond painting and paint by numbers. While both offer a relaxing and rewarding artistic experience, their creative processes and finished products differ. Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Diamond Painting?

So, what is diamond painting, anyway? Also known as diamond art or painting with diamonds, this DIY craft hobby is a captivating art form that lets you create stunning mosaics using tiny, multi-faceted “diamonds” made of resin or acrylic. Like paint-by-number kits, each diamond painting kit includes a canvas with a coded design printed on it and a step-by-step guide to help you complete the artwork. However, instead of using brushes to paint color on it, you place sparkling diamond drills onto the adhesive canvas with an applicator tool, creating vibrant and textured artwork.

Diamond Art Club®'s diamond painting kits come with everything you need to get started: a soft, self-flattening, patented canvas made with proprietary poured-glue adhesive; an easy-to-read coded design with clear symbols and numbers; an up-graded applicator tool with multi-placer and wax for picking up the diamond drills; a tray for holding the diamonds you are working with, and, of course, the dazzling gems themselves. The process is delightfully straightforward. You use the applicator tool to pick up a sparkling drill and then place it onto the corresponding numbered or coded symbol on the canvas. As you carefully set each tiny diamond, the design comes alive before your very eyes!

Check Out Our Step-By-Step Instructions for Diamond Painting

colorful gouache paints brushes

Source: Ivan Serebryannikov/Shutterstock.com

What Is Paint by Numbers?

Painting by numbers, a cherished pastime for generations, offers a slightly different approach to creating art. Picture a pre-printed canvas with a design divided into sections, each labeled with a number. These numbers correspond to individual paints included in the kit.

To paint by numbers, match the numbered paint pot to the corresponding numbered section on the canvas and begin filling it in. The paints are typically pre-mixed to the perfect shade, eliminating the need for messy color mixing. As you fill in each section, the artwork gradually takes form.

Similarities and Differences

Despite their distinct creative processes, diamond painting and paint by numbers share several advantages that have contributed to their rising popularity. Both activities provide relaxation and stress relief. The repetitive nature of placing diamonds or applying paint can also serve as meditative art, allowing you to unwind and declutter your mind. And the sense of accomplishment upon completing a beautiful piece of art is truly rewarding. 

butterfly diamond art

Both hobbies cater to a broad spectrum of skill levels. Diamond painting kits range from small, beginner-friendly designs with fewer colors to larger designs featuring intricate patterns that are more challenging for experienced crafters. You can also select kits with either round diamonds, which are the easiest to work with, or square diamonds, which require greater accuracy when placing. Similarly, paint-by-numbers kits offer varying levels of complexity, from simpler designs featuring larger sections and fewer colors to detailed artwork with numerous small sections and a wider color palette. Both diamond art and paint by numbers offer a structured approach to creating art, allowing anyone to unleash their creativity and create a stunning piece, regardless of prior experience.

However, beneath these similarities lie some fundamental differences. For instance, while both crafts give a textured look to the finished artwork, diamond painting is most known for its brilliant sparkle and refined mosaic look. Paint by numbers, on the other hand, normally has a matte finish to your final project based on the paint type used. Between the two crafts, the most notable distinction lies in the creative process itself. Diamond painting involves placing tiny resin rhinestones onto an adhesive canvas, while paint by numbers utilizes traditional brushwork and blending techniques to create more conventional art.

Another area in which the crafts differ is portability. Diamond painting kits condense fairly easily and can be taken with you for crafting on the go. Paint by numbers can be a bit trickier due to drying demands, washing-up requirements, and canvas size constraints. 

While paint-by-number kits allow you to custom-mix colors, this can quickly get messy. Paint can easily be spilled on many surfaces, including your clothes and carpet. Incorrectly mixing too many paint colors can also result in a murky hue, which is hard to undo. With diamond art, you can easily change out drill colors if you want to add your own unique spin. And Diamond Art Club® follows the DMC Color Chart, so you know our drills are true to the timeless colors of the industry’s gold standards. No mixing necessary equals no mess! 

Why You Should Try Diamond Painting If You Like Paint by Numbers

If you’re already a fan of paint by numbers and want to expand your creative horizons, diamond painting is your perfect next step! Both hobbies share the same concept — following a numbered or coded design to create a beautiful piece of art. Your familiarity with the general process will make transitioning to diamond painting smooth and enjoyable. Simply select between round (simpler) or square (challenging) drill kits and start creating–there’s no need to prep the canvas. And you’ll still experience the satisfaction of watching your artwork come to life section by section as you follow the coded symbols.

One of the most captivating aspects of diamond painting is the finished product. The tiny facets on the drills catch the light, creating a mesmerizing sparkle that adds a whole new dimension to your artwork. Whether you’re a seasoned paint-by-numbers enthusiast or simply looking for a new and relaxing creative pursuit, diamond painting offers a compelling combination of familiarity, innovation, and dazzling results. So, why not give it a try and discover the joy of creating art that really shines?

Browse Our Collection of Diamond Art Kits Here

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Ultimately, choosing between these two creative hobbies boils down to personal preference. Whichever path you choose, both diamond painting and paint by numbers offer a rewarding escape from the every day, allowing you to create beautiful artwork that brings joy and a sense of accomplishment.