I would consider myself a somewhat experienced DIYer.  
When we bought our first home, we tackled many of the projects ourselves.  
Most of them turned out okay.  A few were complete failures and a handful were very successful.  

When we bought "The Money Pit", we knew this would most likely be our "forever" house and we wanted to leave most of the renovations to the professionals.  
Since the major work on our home is complete, 
I have decided in the past year or so to take on a few projects myself.  
My husband's DIY days are over.  He would much rather get out his checkbook than his hammer.  
Me, I'm a bit on the frugal side and if the project involves skills I think I possess, I forge ahead.

Here's the problem, I think I possess a few more skills than I actually do.  
Take for instance, the skill of painting.  It appears easy enough and I have done 
it on numerous occasions.  Each and every time I delve into a painting project, 
I swear it will be my last.  Next time, I will make note of this!  I am not a painter.  
I can stencil a wall like nobody's business, 
but painting an entire room (or closet wall with stripes) is not my cup of tea.  
There, I admit it, I suck at painting.  How's that for authentic?

For my most recent DIY project, the closet makeover, I made several major mistakes. 

Mistake #1:  Ruining perfectly good clothes due to my lack of patience
I get so eager to start projects, I often don't take the time to properly prepare. 
This time, I didn't even prepare myself. 
I'll spare you the picture of my ruined workout pants. 

Mistake #2:  Not paying enough attention in third grade math class

To get started on painting the stripes, 

I calculated how wide I wanted my stripes 

and how far apart I wanted them to be.  

I made a mark every 8", drew a level line, applied my tape and started painting.  
It really is simple math.  If you want your stripes to each be 8" wide, 
then you can't add a strip of 1" wide masking tape every 8 inches down the wall.  
You will end up with uneven stripes, TRUST ME!

Case in point....

Mistake #3:  Being Lazy
My husband was out of town when I started this project and I couldn't move the dresser out of the closet by myself.  So what's a girl to do, a lazy girl that is?  Why not just paint half the wall?  
I'll tell you why, because some day you may decide to permanently move that dresser
out of the closet and then you will be left with a half painted, ridiculous looking wall. 
I ended up painting the entire wall again and starting from scratch with the stripes. 
Before I began round two, the dresser was moved out of the closet.

Mistake #4:  Being Cheap
You may remember from this post, my disdain for sanding and priming.  
I thought it would be cheap financially responsible to make my own chalk paint. 
I also thought it would be a good way for me to skip the ever dreaded steps of sanding and priming. 
I was planning on using Carmel's instructions for making the chalk paint, 
but since I'm lazy AND cheap, I used the only ingredient I had on hand, un-sanded grout.  
I mixed it with regular latex paint, added a little water and went to town on the dresser. 
The paint was thick, clumpy and hard to work with.  I'm sure it had something to do with my formula, 
but after two coats and a light sanding, I felt completely defeated.  I was ready to scrap the whole project, move the dresser to the furniture graveyard (aka the garage) and make a made dash to Ikea to purchase a new white dresser.  After my husband talked me down from the ledge, I came to my senses, sanded and scraped the heck out of the dresser and started from scratch.  
When I realized we didn't have any primer in the house, 
I actually contemplated making my own primer.  
I even did a search on-line for instructions.  My husband was watching in horror as this was happening.  Fortunately, he came to the rescue, made a quick trip to Lowe's and returned with a quart of primer, before I could start mixing concoctions.  See, he's not lazy or cheap!  
Yes, I sanded AND primed and then I used regular latex paint to finish it off. 

 I could have saved myself about six hours of time, my sanity 
and a nice pair of work out pants had I done things right from the beginning.  
But hey, you live and you learn.  The lesson I learned, leave these types of projects to the professionals.

I'll leave you with this image since it all turned out nice and pretty.

How about you, made any major DIY blunders?  


  1. Andrea your closet is lovely and the tales of how it got there are a total hoot! I can SO relate, everything from ruining clothing, to skipping steps (sanding), and being cheap! Thanks for keeping it real for the DIY-ADD folks out there like me!


  2. I've made the same mistakes and I can add "not completing the project". I always leave the touch up painting undone, next thing I know it's been a couple of years and I still need to do touch ups.

  3. How do I post a comment when I am cracking up!!! In 1993, Larry and I decided to update our little house. I was 36 and Larry was 40. We thought we could tackle anything...tile, hardwood flooring, electrical...and we did. Until, I was changing out the light fixture in my hobby room. Half of the house, it seemed, went dark!! Well, in the end, I had not done anything wrong. We called an electrician out.

    It seemed that on the outside of our home, under the siding, there were electrical wires that had been joined together with tape more than 20 years ago. We had just replaced a lot of the siding and had built a new deck.

    We covered up the wires that were joined together!!!! They had come apart :(

    My hobby room electrical work was just a coincidence!!!

    There were two electrical outlets on the back of our house...the electrician found only one to work...then he knew.

    Part of our new deck came down and the new siding on the house!!!

    Never, ever cover up wires that have been taped together. Put a little cover over it, so you can go back to it should something go wrong. In fact, it is against all building codes to cover it up permanently. It was a big DUH moment for us.

    I am so sorry my comment was so long, however I totally forgot about this!!! I can laugh about it today...19 years ago, I was in tears.

    Yes, DIY'ers can get into a LOT of trouble! Excellent, excellent post.


  4. This was hilarious and I think you might be a little hard on yourself. or maybe you sound like me and I dont think of myself as lazy or cheap so instead of admitting I choose to think that you are not lazy and cheap... you and I are frugal with our resources including energy. :-)

  5. You are too funny! First of all half my wardrobe are clothes that weren't meant to be painting clothes, but I've messed up along the way. I've definitely had mishaps mostly from not wanting to go to the hardware store AGAIN!
    Well your end result came out great so I think you can count this as a successful project!!!

  6. I feel your pain! I just painted stripes on a rug, but luckily realized that I needed to account for the tape once I had started taping! (Hope that makes sense!)

    I can't tell you how many times I have ruined or had to do things over because I am both cheap & lazy!!

    Your closet turned out fabulous though, so it's all good!

  7. Oh Andrea, I can SO relate! I am a habitual go cheap even though I know it will bit me in the rear kind of girl, and my husband (after rolling his eyes) comes to the rescue. I keep doing it though because sometimes it totally works out in the end and I can show off to him about how little I spent :) Your stripes and the dresser look awesome though!

  8. You are totally talking about me in this post, right??? I'm exactly the same. I suck at painting and have so many projects around the house that still need to be finished because of my poor painting skills, lack of patience and inadequate knowledge of math! My husband and I do not work well on painting projects, he will take an entire day just to prep, drives me nuts! I am very frugal but anymore, I'm all about getting a professional to do the job!

  9. Oh my gosh we are the same person!!! I always try to take "short cuts" which always end up costing me in the end!!!! Love your honesty!!!

  10. Well, for a bad painter - you did pretty darn good! I need new workout clothes too - all of mine have paint on them ;) Except for the pants I'm wearing today.

  11. ok, let me just say that most of my painting clothes were once nice clothes. that is all i need to say about that. and like carmel they were once nice workout clothes. i actually am so cheap that i colored the paint on one pair that wasn't too bad (i had just brushed some paint with my knee) with a sharpie and still wore them to teach class.

  12. DIY Blunders? Oh, let me count the ways. I too, am guilty of ruining perfectly good comfy/workout pants with paint splatters, and it's probably an even bigger faux pas when I WEAR them as if they were still paint-free. Not in public so much, but to drop my kids off at basketball practice, wear them around the house - see my neighbors who must think I'm the biggest slob around...

    We all have our DIY/DI-Why moments don't we? I had an extension ladder in my great room for months because I was painting the room myself and had to keep repainting one particularly precarious area since the paint I bought didn't match the rest of the room. Note to self - don't finish painting a wall in the MIDDLE of the wall. Or, get all of your paint mixed at the same time. I could go on for hours. But you are not alone!

  13. Oh yes, we can all relate! I think blunders just come with the job description! The trick is to keep your sense of humor in the process!


I love reading each and every one of your comments!