When you are a DIY blogger, there is a little pressure to produce original and unique ideas. But, they also need to be simple…because people like simple projects. So what happens when you have a great unique, original, simple idea…that totally flops? Sure, you could sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. Who would ever know? Or you could share your project failure on the blog to show you readers that DIY isn’t always easy and doesn’t always work out. That is what I am going to do today.
I originally wrote this post right after completing the last step of this project. It was upbeat and positive. Surely a project my readers will love. Then, before ever hitting publish on the tutorial, I began to watch my project fall apart before my very eyes. Instead of fall apart, it might be more appropriate to say drip away.
So the story goes something like this…
I had this genius idea to make finials. When I discovered these hollow glass candlesticks, I couldn’t help but daydream of painting their insides and not using them as candlesticks. A while back I tinkered with back painted glass and was eager to try it on another project.
So why make my own finials? Decorative finials just seem so pricey for a non-functional decorative object. I’d rather spend my money on functional decorative objects like vases or decorative boxes. But, I am drawn to finials. I made a trio of wooden finials for my dining room. This time I wanted a glossier look.
The hollow glass candlesticks were my inspiration to make my own finials. I just needed a top. I recalled CB2 carries these gorgeous glass balls. They have one tiny hole, so their insides could be painted too. The plan was to top my candlesticks with the glass balls.
I almost left them as clear glass finials…how cool, right? Sadly, the glass did not match. The candlesticks were a thicker glass and not as clear as the balls. I did not like the difference.
Instead, I tried back-painting my glass finials. It was an opportunity to add color and keep a glossy glass look. Since this project ultimately failed, I will spare you the tutorial and details. Basically, I poured paint into the candlesticks and balls (using a tiny funnel), let them drip dry upside down for one day, and then turned them over and waited more than 3 days for them to dry completely. Or, so I thought.
Once I felt the paint coating was dry, I used E6000 to glue the glass balls, hole side down, to the tops of the candlesticks.
I was pretty proud of my DIY finials, which cost about $38 for the pair. Not cheap, but most decorative finials of this size are sold for more than that price individually.
Normally this is the part where I profess my undying love for my new creation, but not today. The finials have a great shape, I loved the color I chose, but then something went horribly wrong.
Oh my! This is no good. All the paint is dripping right out of the balls!!! I guess they weren’t dry after all. I let them dry for days, but who knows how long the dry time is with only one tiny opening. I think the culprit was the flow medium I added to the paint to help it spread more easily in the glass. It must have a crazy long dry time. I am so bummed.
So there you go, I don’t love very project I do. They don’t always turn out the way I want. I always weigh my decision to spend money on a DIY project against how I will feel about the cost if the project does not turn out. I never spend any money I don’t have or an amount I will regret if the project fails. Luckily 99% of the time my projects work out great, and For the other 1% I usually find a way to fix it.
I don’t think the finials are beyond repair, but I certainly won’t end up with the back painted glass effect I was hoping for. At this point I think my best option is to use a nice glossy spray paint. But I am open to suggestion if you have other ideas…
If you can repaint the candlesticks, try using large Christmas ornaments for the top balls and back painting those instead. They have a larger opening to allow better drying. Hobby Lobby has their Christmas stuff out already and they had glass balls in all different sizes. Turned upside down, they would like like the glass balls you already used.
Also check out Hobby Lobby’s clearance section if you have one nearby. I saw some great finials and other home decor items there for 90% off. I picked up a orange-red vase for 90 cents yesterday.
I hate when projects go sideways. Boo! Thank you for sharing your mistake. It makes me feel better about my DIY projects not always going so well.
You know, at least in the picture, the dripping looks kind of cool!
I see even the base where it did not stick. Oh and I sooo love them. I don’t want them in the recycle bin. Spray paint followed by clear high gloss?? Does Martha Stewart have that color for its the color that just looks so good too. Actually we are learning from your error(? ??Experiment ?) so I’m more empowered and remember YOU CAN’T MESS UP IN ART!! Please fix it soon and show us your fix.
I suppose they’ll keep getting worse, but I kind of like the drip effect!
Sorry to disappoint guys, but the dripping doesn’t look as good as it does in the pictures. And, it continues to get worse. It is starting to pool in pool in the bottom of the candlesticks :( And, for whatever reason it is dripping more on one side than the other.
You know what Jackie? Thanks for keepin’ it real :) It helps those of us (like me) that aren’t as handy and crafty to know that even the pros have off days! Thanks for sharing.
Chris, Your welcome! It is a lot of trial and error around here!
This happened to me when I used a small amount of glitter paint to decorate clear ornaments a few years ago. Despite drying for days (and, for a few of them, a few weeks!), I ended up with an uneven and goopy mess. I couldn’t figure out a solution but I’m sure you’ll find a way to make them look marvelous. :)
Why not leave them as is? I think they’re more interesting looking as they are now. The balls sort of look like filigreed glass. Before, there was not much interest to them. They looked nice, sure, but they were just a colored shape. Now they have a nice lacey look to the balls, giving them not only color but also texture.
Oh no! They were so cute!! Have you considered trying to spray paint the outsides? Surely you can’t just throw them away? Oh I’m so sad for you…please keep us posted. They were beautiful!!
Call me crazy, it wouldn’t be the first time, but I actually like them all drippy! Thanks for sharing and “keeping it real”. I’m glad I’m not the only one with projects that go awry.
Anna @BarnLightElectrc says
Do you think you could work with the drip? Perhaps adding a darker shade of teal in a faster drying paint would help… When all else fails, spray paint is cheap and easy!
Heart and Haven says
I actually kinda like the balls better with the dripping/opaque look. Can you add more paint to the base and try letting them dry completely again? Have you tried placing them in the oven on low heat to set the paint?
Laura M says
What a wonderful idea. I did copy your fabric covered embroidery hoop project pictured in front of your finials. I love the idea and it looks great. I’ve always baked my glass at very low heats after painting because gravity can be our enemy sometimes.
maureen m. says
I LOVED the pre-drip picture…very cool look! I have been looking for a way to color clear glass to make it look amber and slightly opaque (for the globe of a light fixture). The one thing I have read that may be worth trying in some form is food coloring in Mod-Podge. I was thinking of test driving it in a jar first. Not the same look but might be something to try. And I do think you are right about the medium/glaze. It seems to do weird things to paint :/
Pam Zirbel says
Awesome!!! Even WITH the whoopsie! LOL the balls look cool and weird that it did that! My walls in a closet did that last year! Why? Who knows!! But I left it cuz y ou werent going to see it! LOL….surprised you didnt use that cool mirror looking thing I think you did once, on the balls! Thanks for sharing and a giggle and btw…that SHIP and whale are awesome….back to look at THAT one again!!
They truly looked stunning. Thanks for keeping it real and we look forward to seeing what you ended up doing with them. ;)
i love the THIS IS MY PLACE sign! where can i get one?
Aima, Thank you! The sign was an easy DIY project. All the details are here: http://www.tealandlime.com/2013/03/this-is-my-happy-place-diy-serving-tray-art/