Setting up the canvas
Understand how to read the canvas. The canvas is composed of tiny boxes that are colored and labeled with numbers, much like a cross-stitch canvas. Each number corresponds to a diamond color. The numbers are written on a chart, with the corresponding bag and diamond color written below or next to it. The chart is printed on the side of the canvas.
Unroll the canvas and tape it down onto a flat surface. If the canvas won’t lay flat, roll it back the other way, then unroll it. Spread it down onto a flat surface, then secure the edges with masking tape.
Peel back part of the plastic covering on the canvas. Do not peel all of the plastic away; 1 to 2 inches will be plenty. Run your fingernail along the plastic to crease it so that it doesn’t roll forwards.
Pour out your first crystal color into the tray. Take a look at the patch of canvas you just exposed. Choose a box to start with, and note the number in it. Look the number up on the chart, then find the bag with the same number. Open up the bag, and pour out some of the crystals onto the tray that came with your kit.
Applying the diamonds
Dip your pen tool into the gel or wax that came with your kit or use the tweezers. Open up the packet of gel that came with your kit. Dip the narrow end of the pen into the gel/wax to pick some up. This will make it possible for the pen to pick up the crystals.
Use the pen to pick up a crystal. Gently press the tip of the pen against the top, faceted part of the crystal. Lift the pen away from the tray; the crystal should be stuck to it.
Gently press the crystal against the corresponding square. Pull the pen away; the crystal should be stuck against the canvas. If you are just starting out, it might be a good idea to press lightly at first. This way, if the crystal is off-set, you can nudge it back into place, then press down on it to secure it. This is exactly like painting by number, except that you are using crystals instead.
Fill the rest of the squares in that section. Work one color at a time and refill the pen with gel as needed. When you finish filling in all the squares with the same number code, move onto the next color. This will help you work faster and stay organized. Avoid resting your hand against the canvas; the more you touch the sticky surface, the less tacky it will become.
Peel away more of the plastic covering, and fill in more squares. Continue filling the canvas in using the same technique as before. Work in 1 to 2-inch wide sections, one color at a time. When you completely fill in a section, move onto the next one. Do not peel the entire plastic covering away, or the adhesive on the canvas will get dirty and lose its tack.
Finishing your work
Cover the canvas with the plastic sheet that it came with. If you discarded the sheet, you can cover it with a piece of paper or parchment paper; avoid using wax paper.
Go over the canvas with a rolling pin. This will press down any loose diamonds and secure them. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a can or jar. You can also gently rub the canvas with your hands.
Stack some heavy books on top of the canvas overnight. This will help further adhere the diamonds to the canvas and ensure that they bond properly. If you don’t have any books large enough to cover the canvas, you can use another flat, heavy object, such as a box or cutting board.
Peel the tape away. Lift the books off first, then peel the plastic covering off. Peel the tape from the corners of the canvas. Do not trim the excess canvas way, as this may cause the fabric to fray.
Frame the canvas. Remove the glass from the frame first, then insert the canvas into the frame. Fold the excess edges down, then place the backing into place. Leave the glass out, as it will only dull down the diamonds’ sparkle. For a fancier touch, place the canvas behind a mat first; this will give the canvas an additional border within the frame. Choose a color that complements the diamonds.