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Got a Pinterest Fail? Yeah, me too

I have a love hate relationship with Pinterest.

Even though I pin stuff for myself and share other pretty photos with other pinners, most of them are of unrealistic things that will most likely never be a part of our home decor/work for our lifestyle in our home/own in our home until our kids move out. I like looking at these inspiring photos but make no mistake the probability of me, for example, having a gorgeous front entry way with the beam board white walls and wooden bench remain that clean and pristine looking after one Canadian winter is completely absurd and the reason contractors and BEHR stay in business.

Our tiny tiled square entry way is approximately two steps and then you’re standing on our main floor. During winter that little pocket of 6 feet x 6 feet of tiles has several shoe racks, snowsuits, winter coats, hats, mittens, scarves, wet socks drying on vent and the false hope the snow doesn’t pool into a well before it melts and attempts to seep towards our hardwood floors (which for the record installing engineered hardwood was the stupidest decision we have ever made for our home for a variety of reasons). Oh and usually all of us walk into the house at the same time.

This is why my husband just spent this past month building desperately needed front closet storage. It’s literally a survival thing for our sanity getting out the door to school on time. So every time I show him my Pinterest account with all the pretty little shots of the white wall spaces with perfectly staged antiqued wood benches with two coats and a bag hung on a vintage rack along with the manditory pair of Hunter boots on the non-existent floor mat (we have 4 floor mats during winter in the front entry way), he looks at me and goes “Really? How long do you think that’s going to last in our house? Stop looking at impractical photos.”

Damn the voice of reason.

And that’s just the Home Decor section of Pinterest.

The DIY & Crafts section of Pinterest however, has probably created an epidemic in it’s ability to cause the average sane person to think they can be the next Martha Stewart. And there’s a lot of women who probably can. Are they the majority? Not a chance in hell. That one pin that you came across that’s been pinned say 1564 times could be the one craft that that blogger has done that entire year and done to perfection. And yet because most people do not click on the link from the photo in Pinterest that contains that craft (especially if all the instructions are written underneath the photo), they will never know that maybe there were 50 other crafts that didn’t work and they will compare their work at home to that and say “Oh, if she can do it and make it easily I totally can”. Let me just get the ‘get out of jail free card’ out of the way right now and state I am fully aware that for the record having pinned various crafts I’ve done on here myself, I contribute to this. Guilty as charged.

All of these Pinterest experiments of sorts have spawned a whole other entity. Craft Fails and Pinterest Fails. I’ve talked about my love for CraftFail because it shows a lot of peoples craft attempts gone wrong. We all secretly feel better when we see them because everyone has had them. Don’t even pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s not about celebrating in other peoples mishaps gone wrong, it’s about celebrating that there’s someone out there just like us. By us I mean me. Because for every great project that works out, there’s a whole bunch of others that you stare at and go “What the fresh hell was I thinking?”

So when my friend Erika emailed me this link to the article 17 Pinterest Fails, I swear by the time I got to the end of it I was in tears. That led me to the sites Epic Pinterest Fail and Pinstrosity where I thought where have you been all this year? It finally made me realize me sharing this epic fail was far beyond overdue. It’s almost as bad as the Rainbow Party birthday cake disaster only with the cake I could salvage that. This. This just was like a never ending craft fail.

I had tried to make my husband an Anniversary present back in September. I thought how nice it would be to make him a painted t-shirt with our kids birthdays on them in roman numerals as I had been seeing a lot of DIY stenciled t-shirts on Pinterest and various blogs. So I thought I’d take a crack at it.

Here’s how it went.

Attempt # 1 

Trace out stencils on parchment paper thinking it would just as good of a job as a freezer paper stencil. I cannot for the life of me find freezer paper in our pocket of the woods in Canada.


Attempt # 2

Use actual stencils to attempt to paint on a new t-shirt vs the super dumb move of using parchment paper. Test out the stencils on the ruined shirt first to ensure this can be done.

Have paint bleed through anyway. FAIL before I even started again with just the first letter.

Attempt # 3

Re-do stencil. Buy a can of Elmer’s Craft Bond Spray Adhesive to help the stencil stick to the t-shirt and not let the paint bleed through. The adhesive works so that it can be a permanent bond or a temporary bond based on when you adhere/join the item sprayed with the adhesive. Instructions per the bottle are as follows.

– For a temporary bond, spray a light coat and allow to dry for 3-5 minutes before joining.

– For permanent bonds, join surfaces within 15 seconds while adhesive is still tacky.

I even did a test patch with the paper and the spray on the previous t-shirt to ensure this would work as a temporary bond spray. It did. So I went ahead and used it on the big final stencil.

All looked hopeful and positive.

Then I peeled off the stencil.

The spray adhesive that I tested out first and whose instructions I followed for a temporary bond turned permanent instead. All the glue stayed on the shirt. I couldn’t scrub it off or peel it off whatsoever.


If you’re keeping score, that’s three wasted t-shirts, a newly purchased can of spray adhesive, two very time consuming stencils cut out and my pride destroyed. For that money spent on that attempted DIY, I could have custom ordered a t-shirt in a laser print store online somewhere and gotten a matching toque. I cried. No really I did. Because this was not the moment I needed a craft to fail.

I made him what I do best which was a card with some stamped washers for a keychain.

Next time, if there is a next time I try this, I am using contact paper. Or having someone on ETSY to do one for me.

In the meantime, when your next craft project winds up as a Pinterest Fail Candidate, just remember…

Photo from my new favourite site Epic Pinterest Fail.

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  • Reply
    Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
    December 5, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Ok… that smore cookie? On the fail page is hysterical. But also still delicious-looking. Your t-shirts, not so much. Did you give them to him anyway? Kind of like you intended to made him “work” clothes… you know, the pants from the nineties that you wouldn’t actually leave the house in, but are fine for painting in.

    That card you made him is incredibly sweet… he probably liked it just as well as a t-shirt. Plus, the keychain washers he will use everyday…

    I think I have an entire pin board of broad-beamed ceilinged rooms. With thick plaster walls. And rustic floors. Because, you know… any minute I am moving to a lodge in Aspen and will need design-tips.

    p.s.-Damn the voice of reason. Amen.
    p.p.s.- “nailed it” is possibly the best caption ever.

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      December 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

      You should have seen the shirt after I washed it to ‘try’ to get the glue off. The paint washed off b/c I didn’t get a chance to heat press it to stay put. And it’s amazing to me considering the amount of times I have tried to get paint out of clothes to no avail. It was just one snowball…

      That’s my theory too. There’s some Scandinavian farmhouse in Ontario with my name on it probably 5 hours away from where I can afford to buy it and be able to commute to work in the City down the line. I do love Aspen. When some unknown rich Aunt leaves me her fortune I’ll go take you on a trip there so you can blog about how you’ve moved in and they just don’t know it yet.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 9:25 am

    OMG I laughed so hard all the way through this – and those fails; just brilliant. I have so many projects I could contribute to those sites which makes me feel a little bit better 🙂 I admire your persistence with your husband’s shirt, and in resisting the temptation to tear it to shreds and storm back to the DIY store, crap glue in hand; you obviously have grace as well as style! Brilliant post…

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      December 6, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Oh. Let me tell you there’s a reason it took me this long to write about it seeing as I did it back in Sept. I was livid. I had read tutorials and positive reviews of the glue (which I have used on other projects) so I was like really, you needed to fail now after I cut out yet another stencil? It took all I had not to write them a customer email. Then I calmed down and thought next time I am going to ask relatives in the US to get me some freezer paper.

      • Reply
        December 7, 2012 at 5:36 am

        I have to just tell you, I shared your post on my iPhone at a ladies’ pottery painting night last night where we were all messing up decorative mugs and platters to put at the back of the cupboard to gather dust – people were CRYING with laughter 😉 you’ve struck a chord with everyone whoever even attempted something crafty x

        • Reply
          [email protected]
          December 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm

          If I made you and them laugh my job here is done!! 🙂 Glad to hear it. No really, I love that people can relate to this.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Oh how much I agree to know I’m not the only one failing at crafts 😉 It’s like a breath of fresh air! I’m really glad you decided to share this – I had the same issues with wine bottles I was trying to etch. Epic failures..

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      December 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Etched wine bottles? Oh you must do a write up! I am all for encouraging bloggers to share their mishaps because honestly writing this up for me was way more fun than an average craft tutorial. This is where you get to go full on with the sarcasm and animosity at inanimate objects and other people will totally understand.

      • Reply
        December 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

        Haha it does sound like fun! I’ll have to pull out my failed attempts (yes I still have them!)

  • Reply
    the home tome
    December 5, 2012 at 10:08 am

    SO FUNNY – but that T-shirt is such a good idea! You are so ambitious to keep trying (and to attempt it at all in the first place…)

    I love pinterest and collecting photos on there but I can honestly say I have never tried any crafts or recipes on there! Yet.

    I know what you mean about front entrances. We don’t have a mud room, a garage, or even a back door so, our front entrance gets all the traffic and all the junk, which does get especially crazy in the winter…

    Great post! 🙂

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      December 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Ambitious or….Oh I have other words for myself. Naive. Idiotic. 1-800-Etsy.

      Front entrances drive me nuts. There’s a couple of bloggers whose homes I came across who have 4 kids and pets and relatives galore whose homes I drool over and think when did you take this photo? Did you layer the room in plastic sheeting? I also want to start a Pinterest Challenge called Show me your painted Erslev Ikea rug a year later.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    OMG I’m roaring with laughter (and empathy! I feel your fail!) And best ending ever

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      December 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

      I’m telling you I don’t care if the Keep Calm posters are “over”. I want that framed and enlarged and on my wall.

  • Reply
    now at home mom
    December 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    after I read this, I pulled my hubby to the dining room to show him why I was laughing so hard! 🙂 this is too funny! 🙂 I should start a “Pinterest fail by nowathomemom”, you should see my attempts from the crafts I see and end up looking a lot like those pics! 🙂 too funny! btw, last month my hubby absolutely wanted a smore cookie, he got all the ingredients and we tried it … our version was worst than the 1st one shown there 🙂 last week I tried to do a wreath … it looked nothing like a wreath 🙂 your attempts are funny 🙂 I really like the card and keyholder 🙂 thanks for sharing this site ” Epic Pinterest Fail” 🙂

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      December 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

      I’m glad it made you laugh! That’s the whole point. I want people to feel like just because I show some ones that work, that not everything I do does. I still haven’t done a post about the terrible home made stamps I tried to make. Oh man.

      Listen wreaths, for every wreath I make, I also go to the clearance aisles after the holidays and go wicked $5 and my sanity. This is why I thrift so much. Because sometimes it’s way easier to buy an already made item and repurpose it vs killing yourself to do one.

      I’ll bet the smores tasted good though!

      • Reply
        now at home mom
        December 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        yes, you are right, the smores were delicious but looked awful (no posting that), as for the wreath, like you I will wait for them to be on sale in January! (u should’ve seen mine: awful) :-), at least we can laugh at this! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    you get so many points for trying again and again and…again.

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      December 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

      You know the moment where you should quit while you’re ahead? Yeah I need to clue in.

  • Reply
    December 6, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Oh my goodness… I totally laughed when I got to Fail #3. I’ve SO been there. I’m not sure if it’s a Pinterest thing, but there are some DIY that just doesn’t work for me no matter what.

    Last fall, I went to a Design Sponge book signing and they had a stenciled craft similar to your shirt idea. While everyone around me was creating these cute patterns and chevrons, mine was a complete disaster. My girlfriend got snarked at for not handling the paint right and by the end of it, we just wanted our books and to go grab coffee. My project went immediately into the laundry when I got home. A total fail and there wasn’t even wine!

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      December 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

      It’s true. It’s not just a Pinterest thing. I have cooking fails that happen almost daily. My smoke alarm works more than our computer. I think Pinterest has just taken crafting to this whole new level b/c suddenly instead of searching for them on blogs, you get pages and pages of instant crafts. I won’t even get into CraftGawker. They’re killing me.

      Not handling paint right? Oh you mean like me above? Man I’d get a huge lecture. This is why you sneak a flask in wherever you go. I talk way too much about alcohol on here. I am willing to bet people expect a huge liquor cabinet at our place but we don’t even have a bar cart. So not AT friendly of us.

  • Reply
    Roar Sweetly
    December 9, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Looked at the links and laughed till I cried.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I’m impressed with your persistence!

    • Reply
      Ale[email protected]
      December 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Looking back I think at some point maybe after the second t-shirt I should have found cafepress and called it a day. I still stare at the Elmer’s though and think you finicky friend.

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