During his days as a shinobi in Iwagakure, Deidara was the student of the Third Tsuchikage. Despite Deidara often annoying his sensei, Ōnoki was still proud of him. He was a member of the Explosion Corps, and possessed the Explosion Release kekkei genkai.Deidara also garnered high praise for his clay sculptures. However, he still desired to reach even greater heights. At first, he simply focused on creating more and more works, but before long, he started craving a kinjutsu that was passed down in Iwagakure: a technique that allows one to knead chakra into substances.
He violated the law and stole the technique, causing him to be pursued. However, as the explosive clay he had used for the first time detonated and took down his pursuers, he saw the art he had desired: the Art of a Single Moment. Whenever he detonates his Explosive Clay, he recalls the process that allowed him to reach this art.
After he fled his village and became a missing-nin, he started helping insurgents in various countries as a terrorist bomber. This is how Akatsuki eventually caught wind of him. Sometime after Orochimaru left Akatsuki, Deidara was located by Itachi Uchiha, Kisame Hoshigaki, and Sasori, who were under the orders of the leader, Pain, to recruit him. Deidara refused at first, resulting in Itachi challenging him, promising to leave him alone if Deidara won. Deidara willingly accepted Itachi's challenge, but was easily defeated by Itachi's Sharingan, and joined the Akatsuki. Deidara, having taken a huge blow to his ego, carried a murderous loathing for Itachi and the Sharingan for the rest of his life, although he was intelligent enough to recognize Itachi as a more powerful opponent. However, he did take steps during his time with Akatsuki to get revenge on Itachi, such as training his left eye to counter genjutsu. He also revealed to Sasuke that he created C4 for the sole purpose of killing Itachi.
Deidara, with Sasori, travelled to Sunagakure, to capture Gaara and extract the Shukaku within him. With the help of Sasori's sleeper agent Yūra, getting past security at the entrance was easy. Taking out the guards watching the sky, Deidara found that the village was artistic in taste, making it worthy of being blown up. Although he attempted a stealthy infiltration of the village, Deidara was quickly confronted by Gaara, who knew he was in the village due to the clay bird he was flying on not matching any species that lived in the Land of Wind. Deidara was then forced into taking up the defensive. Impressed with Gaara's abilities, Deidara saw him as an audience worthy of his artistic ninjutsu. Nearly being trapped in a prison of sand pulled from the surrounding desert, Deidara ended up losing his left arm trapped in some of the sand from Gaara's gourd, forcing Deidara to pull what remained of it off to prevent the sand from crushing the rest of him.
Seeing that he was nearly out of clay, Deidara hatched a plan on how to defeat Gaara; he dropped his C3 bomb on the village, hoping to destroy it. However, this was thwarted by Gaara's Air Sand Protective Wall technique. Deidara was then given enough time to detonate a clay bird bomb close to Gaara. Gaara's sand however rushes in to protect him Deidara was still able to claim victory by mixing some of his clay into Gaara's sand when his left arm was crushed, using Gaara's own weapon against him.
When Kankurō came after them to get Gaara back, Deidara was sent on ahead by Sasori while he dealt with the young puppet master. After waiting for Sasori, Deidara headed out with him to one of their hideouts in the Land of Rivers to extract Shukaku with the rest of the Akatsuki. When Team Kakashi and Team Guy were announced to be on their way to save Gaara, Deidara couldn't help but feel embarrassed about his lack of stealth in capturing Gaara.
When Team Kakashi arrived at their location, Deidara was given a meagre clue from Itachi as to what the jinchūriki of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox is like - the one who barges in and barks first. To test Itachi's clue, he sat on Gaara's corpse while waiting for the team, to see which of the shinobi gave a response first. This worked and Deidara, taking advantage of this, left with Gaara's body in order to lead away the jinchūriki, leaving Sasori to deal with Sakura and Chiyo. He was set on capturing Naruto to help him in his quest for greater stimulation to his art sense as he found Naruto to be "a canvas worthy of my artistry". Deidara noticed that Naruto was an extraordinary jinchūriki and felt more interested in fighting him than Kakashi Hatake. He tried to separate Naruto from Kakashi so he could fight Naruto and capture him with several different tactics, but ended up failing each time.
Kakashi tried decapitating Deidara, but only managed destroying his other arm, giving Naruto a chance to retrieve Gaara and knock Deidara into the forest. Handicapped, Deidara was taken by surprise when Naruto appeared behind him and pushed him to the ground, repeatedly pummelling him without rest. Right before Naruto could kill him with a Rasengan; Deidara managed to switch himself with a clay clone and hid in a near-by bush. He watched in amazement as Naruto's anger caused him to enter a two-tailed form before Kakashi reverted it and Chiyo and Sakura arrived. Knowing Sasori must be dead, Deidara could only get in the last laugh about his partner as he prepared to leave. He was caught by Team Guy and forced to flee as he was now heavily outnumbered. Upon remembering his clay bird was still around, Deidara bit off some of it and used another substitution, allowing a Suicide Bombing Clone to take his place in an attempt to both kill his enemies and flee.
Some time later, he emerged from the ground, battered and weakened, but still alive. Lamenting that even his exploding clone failed, Deidara decided to seek out his severed arm before it began to rot. A bit later, he met Tobi and Zetsu who had found his severed appendage. Though Zetsu wondered why he did not capture Naruto, Deidara defended himself, saying that his quota had been fulfilled. He then comically tried to choke Tobi to death after being accidentally insulted three times by him.
Deidara appeared later, with his arms successfully reattached by Kakuzu. In the anime, he and his new partner, Tobi, found that their next mission was to capture the Three-Tails. Along the way, they took a break at a nearby dango shop. Deidara also showed an interest in what Tobi looked like behind his mask, only for him to be tricked by Tobi to look away for a moment. After a short fight between the two due to Tobi's antics, they split up to seek out the beast.
Later, Deidara snuck up on and killed two Konoha ANBU, who were sending a report on the Three-Tails. Tobi congratulated Deidara, and they headed for the lake. Deidara commented that, since Tobi was a part of Akatsuki, he should be able to capture the beast himself. Tobi ran as it was chasing him, but got tangled up with the three tails. Deidara sent an explosive clay fish into the lake and it detonated, allowing Tobi to capture it. As they both took the Three-Tails away, Tobi gloated that he took it down with a special technique of his, although Deidara believed it was his explosive clay that did it. Tobi later fell asleep while Deidara was talking, which Deidara responded to by exploding more clay next to him.
After sealing the Four-Tails, Deidara learned that Naruto and the Eight-man Squad were searching for Itachi and Sasuke. When Naruto was mentioned, he openly said that he held a grudge against Naruto when he punched him in the face, and for disrespecting his art. He also heard about the death of former Akatsuki member, Orochimaru. Having wanted to kill Orochimaru himself, Deidara and Tobi sought out Orochimaru's killer: Sasuke Uchiha, the younger brother of Itachi Uchiha. When they finally found Sasuke, Tobi assisted in Deidara's assault against him.
Deidara attempted to attack from above using a bomb, but Sasuke used Hidden Shadow Snake Hands to wrap himself with a snake as a shield. Tobi also attempted an attack, but he was scared of Sasuke, and fled from him. Deidara told Tobi he was to handle Sasuke, and tested him with C1 grade fleas. Sasuke used the Chidori Senbon to stop the bombs. He then jumped behind Deidara, who used a bomb to distance himself. But Sasuke managed to avoid the bomb. Realising Sasuke's abilities were great, Deidara used C2 next, and summoned a clay dragon as a battle partner. The dragon then regurgitated a cluster of land mines to which Tobi said they were going with "that". Sasuke attacked with Chidori Sharp Spear, but Deidara was out of range. While Sasuke was busy with Deidara, Tobi planted the latter's mines around the field.
Deidara sent a new C2 bomb after Sasuke, and he activated his Cursed Seal level 2 to block the blast (at the cost of one of his wings). He shot two giant shuriken at Deidara. Deidara avoided them, but Sasuke attached wires to them. They impaled Deidara's arms against the dragon, and Sasuke flew up with his Chidori sword and severed one of the dragon's wings off. Deidara fell to the ground toward his land mines which subsequently destroyed the dragon. Tobi cried out for Deidara, but Deidara (who earlier had dislodged the shuriken and was now safely atop one of his clay birds) told him to be quiet. He looked into Sasuke's Sharingan and remembered when he had first seen them in Itachi.
Angered that Sasuke, like Itachi, is refusing to accept it as an art, Deidara used C4, his most powerful bomb. It exploded, and appeared to have killed Sasuke, but it was simply a Sharingan genjutsu from Sasuke, the same one Itachi had used. Sasuke then appeared to have constricted him with one of his bombs, but the genjutsu was dispelled by Deidara, as he revealed his left eye could dispel genjutsu, and since Sasuke had held back when using the technique, unlike Itachi, Deidara was able to dispel it.