Learn about some common crafting mistakes that can make your projects fail and get tips & tricks to turn those craft fails into successes!
Ok, so we’ve all been there (even me), you get super excited to start a new craft project, you buy all the supplies, you get it going…and then somewhere along the line it turns into a total disaster. It’s a complete craft fail. This happens to people all the time! There are even websites completely devoted to making fun of people’s craft fails (we don’t do that around here, friends!)
I have had peeling paint, I have had cracked clay, I have had curling edges, I have cut things the wrong size, I have even spilled an entire container of hot beeswax on the kitchen floor. Trust me when I say, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to craft mistakes!
The good news is, there are a lot of common crafting mistakes that crafters make that can cause your craft projects to fail that are actually avoidable and today we’re going to talk about them. Plus I’ll give you some tips & tricks for success and go over what to do with a craft fail project that can’t be fixed. Doesn’t this sound awesome?! Let’s go!
I think most crafting mistakes can be divided into one of three categories and we’ll talk about them each one at a time:
- Instructional crafting mistakes
- Craft supply mistakes
- Execution/technique crafting mistakes
Instructional Crafting Mistakes
Craft Mistake #1: Not reading the instructions
Reading ALL of the instructions BEFORE you even start will prevent a lot of problems. You can make sure you have all of the supplies you need. You can make sure you understand how to do the project. And you can see if the person who wrote the craft tutorial or craft book has any tips or tricks or areas that were tricky for them when they made that craft. Seriously, read the instructions
Craft Mistake #2: Not following the instructions
Craft projects are like recipes, just the same as how if you don’t follow the recipe, you won’t have a delicious meal at the end, if you don’t follow the craft project instructions, your finished craft project probably won’t turn out like the example. Simple changes like choosing a different color paint are fine, but changes like choosing a different material, not applying glue the same way they did or not following drying or curing instructions are sure to not end well.
Craft Supply Mistakes
Craft Mistake #3: Using a different craft supply
If the project tells you to use Mod Podge and you use school glue, or the project tells you to use acrylic paint and you use watercolors, it’s not going to go well. Not only might your project look different, but it’s possible that if you choose a different craft supply for one part of your project, it might not interact well with another supply. The paint could crack or the glue might not stick to the project. Using another brand of the same thing is usually ok, but don’t make big supply substitutions. If you don’t have what you need at home, it’s better to wait until you can get the right craft supply rather than try and make do!
Craft Mistake #4: Using old craft supplies
Not all craft supplies last forever. If you’ve had acrylic paints in your closet for 10 years and then decide to use them on your newest project, the potential for failure is great. Some craft supplies can get old and need to be replaced. I wrote about how to know if when to replace your craft supplies here!
Execution / Technique Craft Mistakes
Execution or technique mistakes are probably the most likely reason to have a craft fail. If you’ve got a problem with your craft project, be sure to read this section!
Craft Mistake #5: Not following drying/curing instructions
Always, always, always follow drying instructions on the craft supplies that you’re using. Let that air dry clay completely dry all the way through. Let your spray paint cure for the recommended time for before adding another coat. Leave your polymer clay or shrink plastic in the oven for as long as it tells you to and at the correct temperature. Don’t apply paint in a 100 degree heat wave or below freezing weather. Let your chalk paint dry as instructed before adding wax. I could go on, but hopefully you get the point, it’s important to not only read the project instructions, but to also read the instructions ON your supplies, ESPECIALLY when it comes to drying time.
Craft Mistake #6: Applying thick coats of anything
Repeat after me, “multiple thin coats are better than one thick coat.” Seriously, this applies to pretty much all craft supplies from craft paint to spray paint to waxes, to protective coatings. Dripping, cracking or peeling resulting from a too thick application can ruin your craft project faster than anything!
Craft Mistake #7: Dull Blades
If I could only give one crafting tip to vastly improve people’s crafting results, it would be to make sure you have a sharp blade. This applies to a craft knife, to a cutting machine like a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut, to your fabric scissors or rotary cutter, to a paper trimmer and it even applies to a wood saw. Dull blades not only ruin projects, they are much more dangerous!
Just as an example, you should change the blade on your craft knife before every project (at least), and more often if you’re cutting something dulling like foam board. Did you know that? Or have you been using the same blade for much longer? If you see any tearing, shredding or uneven cuts, you may simply need a sharper blade!
Craft Mistake #8: Not cleaning surfaces
Make sure your craft project base (if you have one) is clean before you start. It should be free of dust, hair, grease or any other loose old paint. If you have to wet it to clean it, wait for it to fully dry before you move on.
Craft Mistake #9: Skipping sanding
Ok, look, I know there are lots of craft supplies out there that say you don’t have to sand before you apply them. Here’s what I think: I have never regretted sanding something before I started, but have OFTEN regretted not sanding.
Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure if you can skip sanding is to apply your paint or coating and then see if it peels or cracks. And then at that point, if it does peel or crack, it’s so much more work to go back and fix it than it would have been if you had just lightly sanded it with a high grit sandpaper to begin with. Sanding is not only helpful on wood surfaces, if you’re going to apply paint to anything with a glossy or shiny surface, it’s a good idea to rough that up with sandpaper too!
Craft Mistake #10: Not measuring
I think measurement failures are pretty self explanatory but still this is something that we all mess up all the time. The old saying, “measure twice, cut once” is popular for a reason! Nothing is worse than messing up a measurement and then realizing that you don’t have enough extra craft materials to finish your project.
Tips & Tricks for Craft Success
- Read & follow the instructions
- Don’t rush
- Measure carefully
- Sand first
- Use a sharp blade
- Apply multiple thin coats
- Let things dry fully
What to Do if Your Craft Project is a Total Fail?
Sometimes a craft fail can’t be fixed. If that happens, here’s how you can recover from a crafting mistake:
- Ask yourself if it is REALLY a failure or if it’s only a failure to you? We’re often harder on ourselves than other people would be and what might look like a glaring mistake to you, might not be very noticeable to someone else.
- Figure out what went wrong and then learn from your craft mistakes.
- Laugh about it and display it anyway (this works best for things that are only slightly imperfect), most people won’t look at it as critically as you.
- If it’s not worth saving, salvage any reusable materials for your next craft adventure!
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