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Tag: DIY project fail

Lessons Learned from a Failed DIY Project

My blog is based on sharing DIY projects and creative decorating solutions.  I document and share many of my do-it-yourself creations / projects from around my homestead in hopes to inspire and empower YOU!  But let me set reality straight… not every project is a success.  And to be 100% honest, many projects along the way have been failures.  A few I’ve shared, but most I just walk away from in complete annoyance – the sooner I forget, the better…

Yes, the failures are frustrating – time + money + energy are wasted!  And I won’t even disclose to you the choice words I’ve used when something doesn’t result how I intended…  BUT, with every fail is a learning experience.  AND with every fail, in some way, a success is the result.  Maybe not the successful result of a great project, but the success from trying something new and the knowledge gained.  The true outcome more often than not, is something even better!  In the moment it’s difficult to comprehend and deal with, but it’s important to remember without trying there is nothing gained.

Hence a DIY project I tackled a few months ago… An amazing, genius wallpaper idea that developed into a project and resulted in a complete FAIL, with a capital F.

Learning from a Project FAIL!  Not every project will have an amazing result, but without the risk, there can't be a reward!

Who records pulling off wallpaper? I do (raising my hand in embarassment)…   Seems silly, I know, but at least it felt liberating.  So what am I referring to?  Let me take a step back and start from the beginning.

When I was in the midst of revamping the living room earlier this year and had finally decided to add built-in bookcases flanking the fireplace, I thought it would be a very smart idea to add the wallpaper to the backs of the built-in BEFORE installing them.  At the time, I thought it would save time and be easy to do before it was all in place.

So I got this pretty grasscloth paper and adhered it to the back of the laminate bookcase using wallpaper paste. Basically, gluing paper on paper. Perfect! I’ve wallpapered before, it shouldn’t be too difficult.  The result has always been great and so will this project (NOT I found out later)…

Learning from a Project FAIL!  Not every project will have an amazing result, but without the risk, there can't be a reward! As it started drying, the paper started to buckle, but I still went with it (no one would be able to see the bubbles).  I finished putting the laminate bookcases together and installed the newly wallpapered back, then installed the new permanent built-in to the wall.

A few days later as the wallpaper cured onto the bookcase back, the center seam (the only seam where the two widths joined together) started to separate A LOT. Yikes.  So the white beyond was very apparent.  Again, ignorance is bliss and I tried to ignore it.

A few more days went by and the seam space was really bugging me.  Thinking about ways to fix it, I realized the wallpaper wasn’t even adhered to the backing anymore.  WHAT?!  How?!  Glue on paper to paper, why wouldn’t it stick? Anyway, long story short, one day I just pulled off all the wallpaper.

Now if you remember back, I adhered the paper BEFORE installing the back panel, so not-so-smart me had to use an sharp blade to get all the wallpaper pieces off.  IT WAS A MESS. And especially since they were BUILT-IN, yes permanent!

Thankfully the back panel is just a backdrop and many books + accessories are layered in front.

A frustrating learned lesson, absolutely!  BUT it could have also been a really good idea if I did it different.

THE TAKEAWAY?  No reward without the risk. I get myself backed into a corner many times with do it yourself projects and have to think of savvy solutions to get the result I had hoped for.

After thinking about my wallpaper project gone wrong, it really was a foolish endeavour from the beginning.  Not every project is picture-perfect worthy.  And for all the beauty that’s out there on the web, in magazines, and in friends homes, it couldn’t have been achieved without thinking outside the box and encountering failures along the way.  No one or nothing is perfect and we all need WHAT WAS I THINKING? moments in our lives!

My friend Melissa wrote about a project failure awhile back and I loved these words…

No one can be skilled in everything, but all of us can be pretty good at what we need to do or choose to do — and what we put our minds to. You can achieve your goals and enjoy almost every hardworking minute of it, as long as you are going after goals you are passionate about.

Yes, love that! If you have the drive + passion, you can get it done somehow, someway.

I’ve marked this project in the books as a fail and I am moving on to bigger and better.  Tomorrow, I am going to show you the result of my built-in bookcases and I can confidently say I am in love with them.  Again without the attempt, I’d still only be dreaming about them.  Be sure to come back to check out how I made laminate bookcases into built-in bookshelves –  a $1000 look for just about $100!

Have you ever had a DIY fail?