diy disasters

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I wanted to put 3 chrome sconces in our bathroom downstairs, but for some reason, chrome seems to be triple the price of brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze. Soooo, I think, why not just spray paint them, Melissa? I bought this one for $14.99 at the Home Depot ( I actually bought 3, since I was sure they would turn out fabulous)march 2010 006 and spray painted them with spray chrome from the auto section like I had seen Lisa LaPorta do on Designed to Sell once. Sometimes I wonder why they don’t show more close-ups on that show. Hmmm…

Anyway, it didn’t turn out. It looked cheap and plastic-y.march 2010 003And I wasted 14.99 on a sconce + 5.oo for the spray. I hate that. Sometimes ideas work, sometimes they don’t. If I was a clever cat, I would have tried it out on one of my brass fixtures first. But I thought of that afterward. march 2010 005
Another time, I was painting a bookshelf in the driveway and forgot I had put a hammer on top. I was tilting it toward me to move it and the hammer came crashing down onto our van and dented it and chipped the paint. Ouch. I can’t stomach paying to get it fixed, so I remember painting that blasted $10 shelf every time I see it.march 2010 009 Sometimes it looks like everything works out perfectly in DIY and you save tons of $$. In this case it didn’t. Or in the case of the broken plates or the knob through the sink. But sometimes it does! And then it’s all worth it…right?? :)
Please make me feel better: any of your own diy disasters?


  1. Oh' SUCK! major bummer... I HATE THAT TOO, especially the SHOULD a WOULD a... Well' now you know. I hope for your sake and the bathrooms... ha! you figure something out. ;)

    P.S. my hubs and I re-did our dining table a year ago ... you can see a pic. of the chair on my header ( the table top was stained dark walnut, and just under it and the base and chairs a satin black paint... GORG.!!! today... all the chairs and table base are majorally dinged. We need to lightly sand everything... then touch it all up with black satin paint and then seal it with Polyurathane... GRRRRR! good luck, I follow you too.

  2. Melissa about the dent in your van. We had a time where we got a dent and you can use a toilet plunger and pull the dent right out. Sorry about the painting not working, that stinks...

  3. This isn't my personal disaster - it's my sister's. She was painting the trim of her upstairs hallway white, using oil-based paint. After she started, she decided it'd be better to move the whole mess to the garage, so she put the lid on the can, pulled the trim off the walls, and started down the stairs holding the can in one hand and the trim under her other arm. She had three little kids at the time who left toys scattered on the stairs, and she stepped on something and lost her balance - and dropped the can of white oil-based paint. Turns out she didn't hammer the lid on tightly enough, so the lid popped off on the first bounce. It bounced down the stairs and across their entry, and still had enough paint left in it to splatter all four walls of their living room and and create and enormous pool on the carpet. Oil-based paint. She was standing on the bottom stair in shock when her husband walked in the front door from work 15 seconds later. He very wisely just smiled, and asked "So, do you want hardwood or carpet in the living room?"

  4. I spray painted a birdcage for our nursery last week. Thought I took the proper precautions to cover things in the garage. Went outside this weekend, when it was sunny, and saw that the garage floor has a very thin sheen of turquoise. Oops. God bless my hubby for not saying a word; not sure my pregnant hormones could handle even the sweetest scolding. Ooops.

  5. kimbobin~ I could see that happening to ME! (with the paint and tripping on the toys) But oil based?? That makes me want to cry!!

  6. Oh, golly! They never show it when one of Lisa LaPorta's ideas goes awry. . . .

    I'm so glad that the fixture you painted was a $14.99 fixture and not a $34.99 fixture. Why on earth would chrome be more than brushed nickel? That makes no sense to me.

    I can't think of an example right now, but I remember when my husband and I tried to save money by doing something ourselves and ended up spending twice as much as we would have if we'd just hired a professional in the first place. But, oh, when it does work. . . we live for those times, don't we?!

    Can't wait to hear the next installment of The Basement Chronicles!

  7. oh yuck! I hate when things don't come out looking as good as they did in our head!

    I did something similar with trying to paint all the cheap gold fixtures in my bathroom oil-rubbed bronze. They did exactly what yours did... turned out cheap looking. I couldn't stand it. My hubby was sweet enough to go out and buy the fixtures in oil-rubbed bronze for me :) he didn't say a word about having to spend money to bail me out. lol

  8. You do so many other AWESOME projects that there have to be a few duds to learn from. I want to thank you for making this mistake because I was just thinking about doing that myself. Hope you have better luck with the next project. :)

  9. I agree with Kerrie, it all balances out in the end! But I'm sure it ticked you off at the time. I know it would me! Live and learn!

  10. A couple of years ago, I wanted to paint our kitchen cabinets. I was going for a Tuscan, aged sort of look. I was going to paint them that perfect shade of not-too-yellow and then outline the inset pieces in brown for an even more aged look. Instead, I ended up with a horrendous shade of rotten butter yellow and, because I got in too much of a hurry, they didn't dry properly and not the area around all of the knobs is peeling off. And I never got around to outlining them in brown. It would have just made it worse.

    I have a new can of bright white paint sitting in the garage. My husband asked why we hadn't done it yet. I reminded him what happened last time I got in a hurry, so now he's fine with waiting until we have enough time.

    Not a major disaster but I've done a lot of painting so I was just disappointed with my bad choices and wasted time / money.

    The oil based paint on carpet story definitely takes the cake!

  11. How ironic that you posted this today--over at "Centsational Girl", she does a tutorial today about using silver leaf to change a lamp from ORB to silvery/chrome. It looks pretty cool. Maybe you'd like it for your sconces? Good luck!

  12. If you want to try to restore the fixture to it's original store bought finish, try citristrip. I've used it before with success.

  13. yay, you're human and not perfect! Glad you can admit sure makes the rest of us feel "normal"

    hmmm...which story to tell...Several years ago when red was all the rage, I decided to paint a wall in my living room...and it looked good, at least I thought it did!...well, when my husband got home, my little girl ran out to tell him the exciting news...let's just say, he saw red...before he even made it in the house! He was NOT nice, and I burst into tears...I called my mom crying, and she came over and assured me it really did look good. Well, after him not speaking to me for 3 days, he "kind of" got over it. Several months after I had a friend call (who knew what had happened) and just the night before, he was telling her and her gotta come and see what my wife did in our living looks so good!"

    So...needless to say...his new motto for life is, "my happiness is not based on the color of my walls!"

    good thing, cause I like change...a lot!

    Oh, and did I mention he is a BYU fan...RED...oops! haha!

    The oil based paint...definately takes the cake!

  14. I can relate. Some of my failed projects were small, so not much of a big deal. It wounded my ego more than anything!

    Hope you figure something out. Good luck!


  15. Nasty one there, sorry. One of the DIY shows I saw, a tree fell on the guys car, not related to his work, but I bet he thought so the way the job was going! lol
    Loved reading the stories above, especially, hardwood floors? Funny.
    This is just a little thing in the story of life. :)

  16. So sorry to hear about these mishaps. I have had the same thing happen to me and I hate it. I love DIY shows but always question how well they will come out when I do them.

    I have a bathroom fixture we purchased and is rusting so I am going to try and paint it with Rustoleum and see how it goes. I guess it can't get any worse than it already is. Sad part is it's not even 2 years old.

    Hope things are getting better for you.


  17. Bummer about your lighting fixture :(. I guess it's always worth a shot to try to see if something will work though! My personal worst DIY disaster was when I sewed through my finger. Yup. After screaming in shock and an emergency room visit to remove the piece of broken metal stuck deep inside (the needle had broken into 4 pieces), I learned it might be a good idea to actually pay attention to a project I was working on! LOL!!! Hope you get the lighting all worked out!

  18. Oh my gosh - I'm so happy you have your comments turned on.

    I had one week where I had three DIY disasters. Nothing seemed to work out right. So frustrating!

    Can you sand some of that metallic paint off and then go over it with a black glaze? I wonder how that would work?

    I bought some of that metallic paint to try to redo a light fixture in my daughter's bathroom. Of course, I haven't tried it yet and it's been like a year since I bought the spray paint - lol.

    Have a great week Melissa!


  19. Infact I had a disaster yesterday. This is so avoidable too... I primed a night table I want to fix up, but noticed a few spots afterwards and sanded them. Without priming again I painted the colour I wanted. But now all you can see is a patchy paint job:( Sometimes I am just too darn impatient!

    Just think of how much money you've saved on so many other projects!!

  20. I can't believe that knob broke your sink! I wish the painting would have worked out for you! Sometimes I wish they would show close-ups of the final project on some of those shows. I bet a lot of us would not attempt to copy a DIY project if we saw what it really looked like.

  21. You don't have enough room in your comment section for all mine!

    I once dumped an entire expensive gallon of Ralph Lauren GOLD METALLIC paint down my entire newly carpeted stairs. (We called the insurance company!)

  22. Oh what bummers! But just think of all the disaster's you've saved us! I'm plenty accident prone. Sometimes it's just safer for me to buy something rather than DIYing it bc I'm so accident prone.

  23. To fix the paint in your car, you can get a touch up tube of paint usually for $5-10 at most auto part stores. they can give you the exact shade you need, and those paints are usually "idiot proof" (they have to be if someone like me can use them) and almost always turn out perfect without any more work then gently applying the paint to the chipped area.

  24. I don't have any stories that can match the oil based paint story (OUCH!!!), but thanks for keeping it real in this post.

  25. Thanks for sharing some bloopers. Those design shows don't really show the reality part of the process and how many days it takes to plan and execute or the teams of people behind the scenes working as well.

  26. Don't you just hate trying to save money and end up spending more? Our home was 4 months old (we built it ourselves) and I couldn't find the right color green paint for the kitchen so I had the painter paint it gold. I decided that I had found the right paint (after $80) so I started painting it myself. Well, as I was making the rounds and getting the second coat on, I stood on the sink/granite counter and popped the sick out:( It cost me $150.00 to get it fixed. Saving on a painter and broke the sink. I think we all have those stories.

  27. Awww it happens to the best of us! We learn from our mistakes : )

    I'm always overly eager when doing some DIY and on a few occassions it definately goes wrong lol

    Come and visit my new blog if you get a chance...

    Gemma x

  28. Um...just to make you feel better Dan dropped half of the folding trailer we had and it skid, thudded and etched it's way down the backside of my year old van. I was usually calm about it - it's just a car (repeat 50x) After getting a bid for $579 to fix the damage we opted for a $6 bottle of touch up paint and you can hardly even tell it happened unless you are looking for it. Plus Dan owes me a Huge "off the hook" favor whenever I do my next oopsie daisy!

    Sorry about the light - sad.

  29. Yikes. These stories are great! I make plenty of mistakes and pretty close to disasters. I obsess over it for a day or two cause it makes me mad to waste both time and money. But then I remind myself of the successes, and that takes the sting out! Case in point: Stripped the wallpaper, texturized the walls, and used magic eraser to get bathroom ready for painting. Lots of work and everything was going fine. Painted. And oh my gosh is it ever the wrong color. Now, do I re-paint? Live with it a while? I cannot even stomach the smell! On to the next project!!

  30. We have all been there!! Too many times for me it feels like.
    I do have what you need though. I painted an awful chandelier a satin finish for my daughter's room. It looks great and no one would know it didn't start out that way. I used Plasti-Kote Brush On Enamel.
    I think I got it at Michaels a few years back. One small jar lasts forever. I think it was $3-4 for a jar. I used a foam brush and when it dries you can't see a single brush stroke. The "Silver B30" is the perfect satin finish. I LOVE this stuff!!
    I hope this helps!

  31. Oh, I know how that is! I had the brilliant idea to put beadboard wallpaper on my cheap bookcases to make them look a little more upscale. I spent about $20 and a TON of time cutting the paper and applying it. I let it dry over night, came back in the morning and the wallpaper bubbled up like a third degree burn. Ew.

  32. I'm glad you posted that because I was just getting ready to do that with some sconces and now I know not to....thanks for saving me time and money!

  33. It was nice that you are keeping it real by sharing your projects that didn't turn out so well. I think that when we watch those some improvement shows or even read blogs, we think that every project comes out fabulous and then when not all our attempts do we feel bad and get discouraged. Love all your posts and can't wait for more!!

    :) Michelle

  34. I'm glad to here it's not just me...I often wonder what those quick makeover shows look like after a family has lived in them for a week. Thanks for the fun post. Keepin it real...

  35. Thank you SOO much for this post -- like I told you before, I read all you bloggin' ladies and am in TOTAL awe! I've almost always let the hubs do the home repair and stuff because I'm so afraid to make a mistake.

    So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sharing the oops -- and to all the commentors who poster theirs. It makes it A LOT less intimidating to try stuff on my own when the house comes through (hopefully just 2-3 weeks now -- SQUEAL!)

  36. Hey Melissa. I was looking at some of my favorite blogs, one of which is yours, but anyway I was looking at, and she did a post just recently about spray painting her brass door handles. It sounds like it worked for her, not sure what you did, but maybe the way she spray painted her doorknobs may work for you. She thought I would let you know, just in case. Maybe you can still spray paint your light fixtures.

  37. I found an old lamp and was going to get creative (paint, new shade, etc) but decided to check the plug one last time before I started working on it. (This was an old lamp that someone gave me). I plugged it in to the outlet in my garage and pop! Sparks flew! So needless to say that lamp went in to the trash. I was rather disappointed because I was trying to save money by fixing up the old lamp to put in my new house. Well... here's the disaster. The outlet I plugged in to in the garage? Same one that runs our deep freezer. As sparks flew, it tripped the circuit and turned power off to the freezer. How did I find out? 5 days later I went to get chicken for dinner. Lamp: free. Freezer full of meat: $150. And I still needed a lamp!

  38. Nightmare!
    I recently painted my bathroom hot pink and put up tons of round mirrors. I could have bought the double sided tape that was just for hanging pictures, but I thought I'd be smart and spend extra on the super heavy duty tape that is supposed to hold up the weight of SHELVES.
    Imagine my devastation when I heard several crashes overnight and ran through to find most of my beautiful mirrors in a thousand pieces on the floor!
    Those that were still on the wall were chipped from the falling ones, so none survived. So much for spending extra for reassurance!

  39. I have a suggestion. First you might want to scratch them up a bit with some super fine 0000 steel wool and put a primer coat on. But what might really work is to put your own brushed chrome marks on with the steel wool - use fine or superfine - all in the same direction as brushed chrome would appear. Spray another layer of paint on that. You can probably test this on anything you have laying around first!
    Your experience is giving me pause to consider AGAIN whether or not we should hire a professional to clean and whatever the parquet floor of the main floor in the new to us home we're buying. Sigh...

  40. No way!!! I just bought that light for our hallway from HomeDepot this afternoon!!


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