DIY & Crafts

Our favourite craft bloggers share their crafting disasters

Author: Canadian Living

DIY & Crafts

Our favourite craft bloggers share their crafting disasters

We've all been there: dropped stitches, disastrous decoupage, X-Acto knife-induced cuts. Frustrating craft bloopers can have you running for the hills, vowing that you'll never pick up a set of knitting needles again. But most of us, for the love of crafting, will be right back at it the next day.

Below, some of our favourite craft bloggers share their worst crafting disasters. Take a moment to check out their blogs for amazing crafting inspiration.

Lotion explosion
"When I was in my last year of college I got the idea to make body lotion. I had taken a class about making body products and it seemed so easy when the teacher did it. So, in our very small kitchen I proceeded to melt beeswax, oils, and other slimy ingredients on a 103-degree day and use almost every bowl in our little apartment and our only blender to make this concoction. The lotion didn't emulsify and oil and wax got everywhere – and it had a strong scent. It was a failed mess. When I tried to clean it up after tears of frustration and sweat from the incredibly hot summer day, the water and soap was useless. Nothing was taking off all the slimy greasy oil and wax – the apartment smelled like a horrible perfume factory. We went out for dinner, and then after a failed second attempt at cleaning – my then boyfriend (now husband) relegated all the tainted supplies and our only working blender to 'craft use only.' We had no blender after that (we were so poor!) and we were short of kitchen bowls for a long time. I still have the 'craft blender' and it still has oil on it, I swear!"

Amy Karol is the author of Bend the Rules Sewing and Bend the Rules with Fabric. Check out her inspirational blog, angry chicken – and be sure to watch her amazing tutorial videos.

Page 1 of 6 – Discover more hilarious tales of craft mishaps on page 2!Franken-slippers
"My worst crafting disaster would have to be a pair of slippers I tried to make recently for my aunt. I was using a pattern that I'd been admiring from one of my gazillion Japanese craft books. As anyone who's ever used one of these books knows, the patterns are usually pretty easy to follow. Despite them being written entirely in Japanese, they have really wonderfully detailed illustrations to accompany the instructions. I just assumed this pattern would be just as easy to follow as any of the others."

"Wrong! By the time I was through tracing, cutting, pinning, sewing and turning inside out, I had a lovely pair of Franken-slippers in front of me! My aunt thought it was hilarious and decided to take them anyway. She put them on and her toe was sticking out of one, and the other looked like a puppy had chewed it up! She even laughed and said she wouldn't tell anyone I made them so as not to tarnish my reputation as a published crafty author. I'm not sure where I went wrong, but the wrong side looked right to me! I'll definitely try them again one day, but I'll have one of my friends translate for me first."

Rashida Coleman-Hale
writes the creative blog I heart linen and is the author of I Heart Patchwork.

Late penalty
"In college I was cutting some board for a project that was due in class an hour later. My professor came over to talk and I tried to be nonchalant, hoping he wouldn't notice that my model wasn't ready. I was so distracted that I slipped and cut my finger, nothing too bad but I bled all over my fresh white board while my professor rushed off to grab the first aid kit. Needless to say, I didn't finish my project in time."

Megan Reardon
is the gal behind the quirky blog not martha. My favourite blog post is about DIY gin.

Page 2 of 6 - Pets get involved with crafting mishaps on page 3.

All tied up
"The crafting disaster comes to mind is when our first corgi, Audrey, was a little puppy. Sometime in the early morning, she snuck downstairs and found a huge ball of really fluffy pink yarn, and went on a tear with it in her mouth. The end got stuck on something and the yarn started pulling out, and she kept running – zig-zagging around dining room chairs and table legs, up and down stairs, from room to room. When we came down, it looked like someone had Silly Stringed the entire house, and she was sitting on the biggest, fluffiest tangle, exhausted – but very proud of herself. I wish I had a picture of it."

Alicia Paulson
is the author of Stitched In Time. You're bound to find lots of crafting (and baking) inspiration on her blog Posie Gets Cozy.

Crooked quilt
"I have many crafting disasters to choose from since I am definitely a jump-right-in-without-reading-directions type. My most disastrous project would probably be my most ambitious, which was a full size quilt I was making for a friend's birthday. I thought it'd be quick and easy to slap something cool together, Gee's Bend style, by buying a bunch of oversized men's shirts at the thrift store and cutting them up to make a quilt. Things went off track fast – I didn't have enough shirts, or a big enough piece of batting, my quilting was a wreck and it puffed up so unevenly and crazy that after all that cutting, piecing and quilting it ended up looking just like it had in the beginning – a big rumpled pile of shirts from the thrift store. It was so disastrous that I turned it into a learning experience and titled it the 'heed my warning quilt.' I printed up little warnings and how-tos onto fabric and sewed them right onto the quilt. In the end it was quirky, fun, totally unique and my friend loved it!" Read more in Hillary's post about her disastrous quilt.

Hillary Lang
writes the blog Wee Wonderfuls and has a book of the same name featuring 24 beautiful doll patterns.

Page 3 of 6 - Does quilting have you stumped? You're not alone! Another crafter shares her misadventures in quilting on page 4.

Sloppy quilt
"OK, worst crafting disaster in recent years would probably have to be the first quilt I ever made, pre-blog, and it will never be shown on my blog (or maybe it should be). It was inspired by a Denyse Schmidt design I'd seen. Since I am very much a just jump-in-and-do-it-crafter, I bought the materials and started cutting and piecing away, not knowing much about any basic technique or whether what I was doing was right, wrong or passable. What a rag it turned out to be! The binding is falling off because it was never sewn on right. I did not hand baste the quilt sandwich (I barely pinned it together) before I sewed it, so the straight quilting lines I sewed look so sloppy that I'm afraid to let anyone see it (and did I mention the exposed quilt batting?!). Because I am reluctant to give away or donate something I've made, even if it's a mess, it stays folded at the bottom of our stack of quilts in the family room. I cringe when I walk in to see someone has pulled it out and is using it.

I think that quilt was something I just had to make. I had to experience the process of quilt making in that really crude, simplified way to appreciate all that goes into making a quilt. It gave me such an appreciation for the process, and the results."

Blair Stocker, crafter extraordinaire, writes the blog wise craft. Check out her post on do-it-yourself printed curtains for a fabulous way to spruce up any room in the house.

Page 4 of 6 - Read the tales of the (glue) gun on page 5.

Clothes call
"Most crafting mishaps are a combination of blistering over-confidence and lack of planning (and occasionally hot glue). I have created countless disasters resulting in clothes that I could not wrestle off my body without help, a prom dress made for a friend after we traced her body onto the fabric itself, and hours worth of hand-sewing that I mistakenly also adhered to the clothes I was wearing. None worse, however, was the time I shaved the side of my pointer finger off with a rotary cutter. I was blissfully cutting strips of fabric and (not surprisingly) chattering to myself, when I paused to look up mid-slice. The piece of finger lay on the cutting mat like something from Twin Peaks, as I walked over to sit down clutching my finger over my head while trying not to pass out.

The worst part of this kind of disaster is that it prevented crafting of all kinds while I waited for it to heal. Two years later, that part of my finger is still a little sensitive and as it happens, extra pointy."

Melissa Frantz
is the face behind the blog all buttoned up. Though there are lots of awesome crafty posts worth visiting, don't miss her Food and Drink section for some great photos.

Page 5 of 6 – Canadian Living's craft guru Austen Gilliland shares her worst craft disaster. Find out what it is on page 6.
Shrinky-dink disaster
"About a year ago I was trying desperately to come up with a fun, easy idea for a back-to-school craft for kids. As the deadline approached, I wracked my brain, finally settling on the idea of making shrinky-dink backpack tags. I remembered spending hours making shrinky-dinks when I was a kid – they combined the fun of drawing, colouring and cutting out with the 'magic' of watching the plastic shrink and harden when it was heated briefly in the oven. It seemed like an ideal way for kids to have some crafty fun and to personalize their backpacks with mementoes of their summer.

So the day before the story was due, I headed to the art-supply store and bought the only package of shrinky-dink type material I could find. I mustered my inner child and spent hours working on the drawings and cutting shapes out of plastic, filling my apartment with the fumes of countless permanent markers and with tiny pointed scraps of plastic, until finally, it was time for the magic! I laid the shapes out on a cookie sheet and, barely containing my excitement, slid them into the oven.

I hovered by the oven door, watching as the plastic heated up. It rippled and crumpled and started to shrink. Sort of. The directions on the package had said this would happen. But they'd also said that the plastic would smooth itself out toward the end of the heating time, and that was definitely not happening. At all. Even a little bit.

By the time I was finished (I ended up trying three times, and was still working at midnight), I had a handful of rigid plastic failures. Some were shaped like tiny cigars, others like deformed Frisbees, but not a single one of them was usable. The only thing they were good for was a hearty laugh at my own expense – and an extension on my deadline."

Austen Gilliland
is an associate editor at Canadian Living magazine. Her craft blog will give you plenty of crafting ideas.

Page 6 of 6 – Think it's easy to make scented body lotion? Don't miss the funny, cautionary tale on page 1.
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Our favourite craft bloggers share their crafting disasters

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