DIY, The Conclusion

Remember that time I decided to revamp a bookshelf I bought from Craigslist, and it took me approximately three months to finish? Alas--and I knew this was a distinct possibility--it did not turn out as I had hoped. And it's time to own up to it. No more hiding in shame. No more keeping you in suspense. (What's that? You had forgotten about this altogether--or didn't even know about it to begin with? Fair enough.)

I was doing so well up until the very last step, which was also the most ambitious step: glazing.

I even followed a tutorial. Really, I did. But either I bought some sort of ACME fast-drying paint or did not understand the directions, because I'm pretty sure it ended up looking like I took my perfectly pristine white bookshelf and rode it down a slippery mudhill in the rain. And then attempted to wipe it off. With paper towels.

By the time I finished, I was sort of getting the hang of it, so the left side looks a lot better than the top. The top looks like I thought to myself, "hm, what could I do to this bookshelf to completely negate the coat of white paint I slaved over three weeks ago?" Really? Why did I start with the most conspicuous part?

As a warning for future first-time DIY-ers, I present to you the top 3 things I'm pretty sure I did wrong:

  1. Started with the top of the bookshelf. Really, this was a rookie mistake. I'm pretty sure even an amateur bookshelf-painter would have suggested practicing on the inside first. But no---not I. Instead, I dove brush-first into a world of too much glaze and not enough hands.
  2. Misunderstood the meaning of "small." I say this because in what we in the biz (and everyone else) call "the glazing technique," you are supposed to paint on small sections of glaze with one hand, then wipe it off with the other. In case you were wondering, the entire top of the bookshelf is not considered a "small section." Trust me.
  3. Let the glaze sit for approximately 10 seconds. I would consider 10 seconds a short period of time. Wouldn't you? But not in glazing. In glazing, 10 seconds translates into "holy crap, this stuff is not coming off," and a lot of wet paper towels. And scrubbing. Lots and lots of scrubbing. What the tutorial should have said is "immediately." Wipe it off immediately. Was that so hard? I blame the blogosphere.
This is a picture of the last panel I glazed, which looks slightly more intentional than the top.


I tried to convince myself that the bookshelf could actually be conceived as cool if I had been going for a more vintage look, but I couldn't bring myself to believe it. It just looks like a mistake. I actually think it looks slightly better in the pictures, if that gives you a better idea of what it looks like in person.
Have you ever had a DIY project go terribly wrong?
Also, any suggestions on making this bookshelf look awesome again (that don't require painting over it) are more than welcome.
Check out the first three chapters of this saga here: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3