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Round vs square diamond painting? And the beloved AB drills.

If you already have heard something about diamond painting, the next question you may have is what drill to choose? Round or square? What is AB drills? The same question you may ask yourself if you already tried diamond painting with only one type of drills – round or square ones. Personally, I love diamond painting covered with square diamond drills. But I will try to be very objective and in this article. I will describe in detail what the pros and the cons each one has. So if you are totally new to this art, this article will be very helpful. If you have already finished one or some paintings, I expect, that you will try to use drills different than you have used to.

What is the difference between 5D and 3D diamond painting?

In diamond painting art, the drill simply refers to the smallest piece of the painting – the rhinestone or the diamond. The drill is made from resin with a special shape.

The shape of the diamond drill defines is the drill is 3D or 5D. The 3D diamond painting drills have 9 total facets – 3 on each side. The 5D Diamond painting drills have 5 facets on each side for a total of 15 facets. Therefore, these drills tend to have more sparkle since there are more facets. It is like a real diamond. More facets it has, more shiness it gives. Every facet reflects the light. So if the diamond drill has more facets, there is a bigger possibility to reflect all the rays of light and give to your artwork eye-catching effect. So if you have a possibility to choose, I strongly recommend buying a kit with 5D diamond painting drills.

Round vs square diamond painting drills

So here you can find the differences between both types of diamond painting drills. It’s up to you which type of drill to choose. Maybe your own experience is different than this, that I wrote below. It would be great if you can share it in the comment section below.

The shape of the diamond isn’t just about the finish. It also alters the entire diamond painting process and complexity along with the end result. This means that the end visual result of your painting and how much effort will it take totally depends on the choice of the diamonds.

​Firstly, the grid patterns of the canvas are different to suit each shape diamond. ​This means you cannot use square diamonds on a canvas printed for round, and vice versa!

Round diamond painting drills:

  • Beginners generally preferer the round diamond painting drills. They are easier and faster to pick up and place on the canvas with the applicator. You do not need to have straight lines. The exact placement of the pieces is a lot more forgiving without needing too much adjustment.
  • do have more of a sparkling effect, especially for large paintings. Round drill tends to have even more facets than the usual square drill. Because, the more facets the drill has, the better the sparkling effect it gives. If I need to describe the sparkling effect, I would name it like glitter.
  • Many users like the round diamond because they don’t pop up like the square diamonds. Thy think that round drills are made in better quality than square ones.
  • The round drill diamond painting tends to be much more calming and relaxing.
  • Users, who have slight hand tremor, find easier to do round diamond painting because the round drills are forgiving when they try to line them up.
  • The secret tip: a round diamond project can be finished off nicely with fine glitter or mica powder to fill in the gaps between drills and simultaneously prevent the exposed glue from getting dust stuck to it.
  • If you do not have a lot of patience, you better work on the round kit. When you refer to sit for a while and just give all your energy and enthusiasm to artwork, go with the squares drills.
  • Since the rounds have no corners, round diamonds can create some visible gaps in the picture. These are most visible for smaller size canvases. However, from a distance, the gaps are compensated by the color of the background and become unnoticeable. The background is the same color as the diamond so it blends in nicely.
  • If you have a dog or a cat at your home, displaying or just keeping your artwork without protection can ruin the painting. The dust and pet hair may stick to the adhesive gaps on the canvas.

Square diamond painting drills:

  • All the diamond painting lovers admit that the picture is better looking with the square diamonds. Though it requires some skills to line up the square diamonds perfectly, the finished artwork can be incredibly rewarding. Users choose the square gems because the shading they give to design is beautiful and it offers more detail. Square diamond painting has such a “mosaic” look.
  • The square diamonds snap closer together then round diamonds do, thus creating a more full looking painting. This type of drill creates sharp lines and a clean picture since the drills fit together very nicely with no gaps.
  • The square diamonds are more difficult to pick up with the pen or tweezers and place down on the canvas. It seems that you need precise hand movements. But with a short time, you get lots of experience and you feel no inconvenience working with the square diamonds.
  • The square diamonds are preferred when creating smaller canvases. It is because it takes a longer time and leaves no gaps between the pieces. But is still a suitable choice up to medium-large size artworks.
  • Many fans of the square drills also find pleasure in how the pieces create a satisfying “snap” sound when they fit into place. Personally I feel like doing a puzzle when you find the fitting piece of the whole painting and it gives a pleasant feeling.
  • The square drill canvas printing may be hard to read if you do not have strong eyes. The colors of the blocks on the canvas are sometimes is not easy to see, hence much more difficult to use the proper diamond. So if the lighting is not perfect at your table it the canvas, you may need additional light resources.
  • The square diamond requires more precise work. If you do not place them in perfectly straight lines with groove alignment, you can result in a finished picture that has less detail and looks “messy”. It’s very hard to straighten out a square drill with a round pen. Usually, you have to remove the diamond and do-over. Users had found if they did not get the diamond in perfectly the first time, it was very difficult to rotate it into the proper place.
  • In this case, many users (also and myself) use tweezers with the square ones and it’s so much better. You can pick up and place 2-3 diamonds at a time. You can also push the diamonds around to get them perfect with the tweezers.
  • Square diamonds are favored by many for the technical challenge they provide. As square diamonds placed perfectly straight with their grooves aligned which can result in greater detail and accuracy in the final picture.
  • Tip: Many painters use a ruler that they then paste against, to ensure a straight line as they work.
  • You can choose the square drills if 1) you don’t care that the round drills can be placed “faster”, 2) if you are not looking for a fast and short way to finish a painting, 3) if you are looking for the best when you are finished. Yes, this painting takes a bit more time, but the finished product looks so much better than round drills!

What are AB drills in diamond painting?

AB drills refer to Aurora Borealis (AB) drills – the round or square diamond painting drills that have the Northern Lights effect. These AB drills are used as an accent to create a glowy effect across the finished painting. These iridescent round drills have a special coating that simulates the colors of the Northern Lights. They’re shimmering, ethereal and completely beautiful. AB drills are not a brand or color, it is the regular color diamond drill just with an opalescent effect. These AB drill diamonds are to replace the regular resin diamonds in a diamond painting kit for an extra sparkly touch. They have the same DMC numbers, so it would be very easy to replace them on the painting.

Where I can buy diamond painting AB drills?

For a while, there are not many suppliers of AB diamond painting drills, try purchasing at Aliexpress. But I believe, as the popularity is increasing, soon there will be many suppliers who suggest AB diamonds drills. Usually, they suggest up to about 23 colors. As a package of regular resin drills contain about 200 pieces, there are about 100 pieces of AB drill diamonds in a bag.

From my experience – do not try to fill all the canvas only with AB diamond drills. An excess of these diamonds ruin the image, the artwork loses its effect. AB diamond painting drills should be used only as an accent of the painting. For example, on the edges of the background of the image, for the special part of the painting that you choose.


If you have read the whole article and you know yourself, you already can choose either round or square diamond painting. To summarize, the round diamond can be easier to handle when getting started. But the square diamonds make a more complete painting even though they do require more effort to place. Depending on your skill level, you may want to choose a drill that’s easiest to work or the most challenging for you. The choice is up to you! Moreover, there is a secret difference between both types of diamonds: the squares seem to “shimmer” whereas the rounds seem to “sparkle”.


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