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How I Overcame a DIY Fail and Learned to Fix It

I’ve always been a little intimidated by people who look like they “have it all together.”  You know what I mean, like everything they touch turns to gold.  On this little website it might look like I know what I’m doing, but to any skilled craftsman who might look around my site, they would think, “nothing here is that great, just a lot of easy projects and sub par ideas.”  Guess what, that’s totally right.  Also, there are so many projects I start that end up being a total mess, most of which I never share. This little project is one of those! Except this time I’m sharing it. Deep breath, here we go; my experience with Crackle medium and how I overcame a crackle paint fail and learned to fix it.

How I overcame a DIY Fail

I want to be totally honest, the crackle medium I’m sure isn’t the problem, but rather me not using it correctly (or so I think).  The bottle said to paint the product, use the crackle paint, and then use a top coat of paint. 

Instead of using this particular crackle medium’s products, I used a similar chalk style paint, then this particular crackle medium, and then a top coat of another type of chalk paint. I’m wondering if this is where I  went wrong (not using all of their products).

I assumed that using a similar chalk paint would work the same and have the same results as using their particular chalk paint.  This little DIY fail has reminded me of this quote; Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUMEyou make an ASS of U and ME.  LOL, yep, I do this too much.

In my haste, and not having all the right materials, I began the project knowing full and well in the back of my head this might not turn out.  But yet I began anyway— head smack! Anyone else do this?

So let’s start with what the corbel looked like before I got my hands on it;

corbel before the chippy paint

These corbels were big, and when I say big I mean thick! I decided to use a band saw and saw them in half because I wanted two corbels. I would have purchased two but my Hobby Lobby only had one of these “antique” corbels.

After I sawed them in half, it was time to do a little “antiquing” with crackle medium.

Using Crackle Paint

I’ll show you my progress with a few videos below:

  • I painted the first coat with chalk paint
  • After the first coat dried, I painted a thin layer of the crackle medium on the corbel
  • After the crackle medium dried, I  painted a top layer of chalk paint. I decided to use a soft blue color for the top of the corbel. I was hoping this layer would “crackle” immediately.

My crackle paint fail

To my dismay there is no chippy paint, peeling edges or “crackle” anywhere on my corbel. Basically the crackle paint failed.

I’m not exactly sure what I did wrong, but I do know that when you’re trying to complete a DIY, and things don’t work out like you want them to, there is always a way to overcome a DIY fail.

Just because I didn’t get the crackle or chippy paint effect that I wanted, didn’t mean I couldn’t create it with a little sanding. I’ve learned that you can always fix a failed DIY (like this crackle medium fail) if you keep working at it.

You are probably wondering why I wiped the corbel down with a baby wipe before I started sanding. I’ve learned over the years that if you want to sand a big piece of paint off of the piece, that sanding works better with a slightly wet object.  I use the baby wipes because it creates less lent than say, a paper towel.

Here are a few after shots of my “DIY fail” turned masterpiece!

DIY antique corbels with antique window
DIY antique corbels with antique window
DIY antique corbels with antique window

It might seem hard to recover from a project you feel like you’ve ruined, but if you keep working at it you will eventually turn a lemon into lemonade! {Advice from the person that has created a lot of lemons!}

If you want to see more Mason Jar Decor and how I made these check out my post HERE.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ve been inspired to create lemonade. 🙂


DIY World Map Art on Wood

Friday 10th of August 2018

[…] Honestly, about 40% of the time I start a project I have to “regroup” in the middle of it because I’m not happy with the direction it’s going. You can see an earlier post where I shared all about how I overcame a DIY fail and learned to fix it. […]

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Tuesday 21st of November 2017

Thank you and you are so right!


Monday 20th of November 2017

They looks pretty good now. Do you have a bandsaw or table saw. My wife wants one but I don't have the room for it. #kcacols

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Monday 20th of November 2017

I borrowed the band saw from a neighbor actually. Thanks for stopping by. Lindsey

Mary-The Boondocks Blog

Friday 17th of November 2017

Your corbels are beautiful Lindsey and I believe there is always more than one way to get a certain technique.

Jane Ali

Friday 17th of November 2017

Wonderful colours! ANd it doesn't look like a fail at me at all. Thank you for sharing this - you should never give up on your projects.