10 DIY Projects We Totally Failed At In 2015

We literally get paid to do this for a living…and yet…

BuzzFeed Life is made up of a team of professionals who genuinely want to help you live your best life.

And even though, for the most part, we do practice what we preach…sometimes we do not live up to these ideals.

In the spirit of all of the “best of” lists that are going around right now, here is our team’s “worst of” list:

1. This attempt at making vodka-infused Gushers:

Natalie Brown

We really wanted to infuse fruit Gushers with vodka, like you would a gummy bear. Seems legit, right? Imagine biting into a Gusher and getting both sugary syrup AND vodka. Well, not so much. After soaking for a few hours, they were just a sloppy, weirdly waxy mess. And the vodka in the bowl had turned brown and tasted (yes, I tasted it) DISGUSTING. —Natalie Brown, associate lifestyle editor

2. The great giant balloon disaster:

Jess Probus

Like all good Instagrammers, the BuzzFeed DIY team is obsessed with these giant balloons that spell things out. Especially when they spell out dirty and/or curse words. There’s just something about a giant metallic FUCK YOU that feels so festive yet unserious. So when our DIY Instagram got 100K followers, we decided to get some celebratory balloons to photograph. But no one told us what a pain in the ass these things are to stage!! For one, they don’t stay together for shit, and even if you can magically get them to stay on the same level for one minute, there’s no way they will be in the right order. And a giant “010” just doesn’t really do it. Cut to an hour and several popped balloons later (which, for the record, are also not cheap), and there’s me crouching on the floor trying to stay out of the frame while keeping these horrible monstrosities in line.

We EVENTUALLY figured it out using the magic of Photoshop and cropping and our top-notch photo team. But if I never see those bullshit word balloons again it will be much too soon. —Jess Probus, DIY editor

3. This nest of cords:

Rachel W. Miller

My husband and I moved from our house in Houston to a lovely brownstone apartment this year… but the way it’s set up doesn’t exactly lend itself to modern technology. So the only place to put Eric’s very large TV was over the mantle in the bedroom. After we mounted the 42-inch beast on the wall, the only place to put the cable box and DVD player was on the mantle…which, at 8 inches deep, was not an ideal spot for a 9-inch cable box. We figured we’d just mount a shelf under the TV, right? But then we realized that the TV sits too low to mount a shelf on the wall under it. So we just lived with the nest of cords.

Rachel W. Miller

After weeks of looking at that mess and bumping into the cable box every time I passed by the mantle, I finally couldn’t stand it anymore. After much research, we ended up getting an above-the-TV mount and using witchcraft and zip ties to corral the cords behind the TV.

Rachel W. Miller

I still don’t love having a huge TV in the bedroom, or the fact that the mount makes it look like a TV in a hospital room, but it’s better than that mess we had before. —Rachel Wilkerson Miller, senior lifestyle editor

4. This:

Emily Fleischaker

When I was working on the recipes for the clean eating challenge…this was supposed to be a frittata. —Emily Fleischaker, creative director of BuzzFeed Life

5. These second-degree burns:

Sarah Kobos

I decided to cook a fancy meal for my boyfriend because I was v. excited about getting collard greens in my CSA share that week. He loves pork chops, but I’d never cooked them and I know it is infamously easy to make them too dry if you aren’t careful. I read that searing them and then putting them in the oven for a few minutes is the key to making them juicy. So I took the pan out of the oven and set it on the stove top, and then took the roasted carrots out and had nowhere to put them, so with my un-oven-mitted hand, I went to move the pork chop pan and…hello, second-degree burns, ER visit, morphine shot, and lobster-claw hand. But at 2 a.m., when we got back from the hospital, we ate my meal and it was delicious. So I did not fail at cooking, just at… Well, yeah. I got an oven mitt in my stocking at Christmas. —Sarah Kobos, associate photo editor

6. Some very sad sweet potatoes:


I tried to make sweet potato noodles with a spiralizer (per Christine’s suggestion), and it basically turned into sweet potato mush. (But fucking delicious sweet potato mush.) —Casey Gueren, health editor

7. The DIY table do-over debacle:

Rachel W. Miller

After our NYC move, Eric and I needed a smaller dining room table, so we decided to DIY ours using tutorials like this and this. The project in itself didn’t go too badly, as you can below.

Rachel W. Miller

Rachel W. Miller


But we used boards that were a little too thin and that led to some problems when we drilled it together, and I didn’t love the final color. So I decided to just buy new wood for the tabletop and paint the new wood (and the bench and the chairs) a different color.

After a monthlong ordeal involving a broken saw at Home Depot, two trips across Brooklyn to see if Lowe’s had a working saw (surprise: they did not!), and a trip to the tool rental shop in our neighborhood, Eric attempted to cut the new boards himself in our very tiny living room, despite having no experience using a circular saw. As I held the wood, hid my eyes, and basically screamed, he cut the first board. After it slammed to the floor, we realized the cut was very crooked and very splintered. After a pissed-off email to Home Depot (Re: YO CAN YOU FIX YOUR BROOKLYN STORE’S SAW AND ALSO IS IT OK FOR ME TO JUST BRING ALL THIS WOOD BACK IN AND HAVE SOMEONE IN THE STORE CUT IT PROPERLY?) and another trip to the store, we finally had the new wood, perfectly cut to the right length.

I was so burned out by the entire experience that I kind of lost momentum and no longer felt like sanding the bench and chairs/painting everything/redoing the tabletop. So the nicely cut boards that took a month and a million headaches to acquire have been stacked neatly behind our living room couch since all this went down…back in July. —RWM

Rachel W. Miller

8. These plastic window coverings:

Alanna Okun

Alanna Okun


My shame w/r/t these insulating window coverings is manifold. First of all, I did not install them myself; I sat on my bed and ate chocolate while my very wonderful and handy mother did so, occasionally looking up from my laptop to issue mild words of encouragement or pass the scissors. Secondly, it turned out we did not really understand how they worked, because even though she measured and cut and taped with painstaking precision, they were still all wrinkly and made my house look Saran-Wrapped. It turns out that you are supposed to use a hair dryer to shrink them, which is made obvious on all packaging (see below) and which never occurred to me to do. Finally we installed them in October and it promptly stayed 60 degrees in New York until last Sunday. —Alanna Okun, senior lifestyle editor

9. Plastic window coverings part 2:

Rachel W. Miller

I ordered these after reading Alanna’s review in…late October. They remain in the box.

Mom…?? —RWM

10. The BuzzFeed DIY closet:

Jess Probus
Jess Probus

The DIY “closet” is actually a room with a bookshelf, all of our craft supplies, and a lot of shame. There are a lot of semi-good reasons it looks the way it does, but the main reason is because we’re all actual monsters. If only we knew of some ways to organize small things, or could figure out how to tackle this mess using Ikea products!!! I…sent an email to management earlier this week asking for a budget to deal with this problem in the new year. Until then… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ —RWM

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