When Good Projects Go Bad

One of my best girlfriends told me on the phone a couple of days ago that all my projects turn out perfect and that I’ve never had one fail.  I had to laugh out loud at that one.  That is far from the truth.  In fact, with most of my projects, I usually reach a point where things just don’t go the way I planned them, and I have to regroup and figure out how go from there.

If you have seen a few of my projects, you know I love chalkboard paint.  I made this snack tray for our game room…

…and this floor desk for my niece…

…but before I made those projects, I had made a huge chalkboard for our game room.

We use it for to keep score, play school, and we also decorate it up for the seasons.  We’re big Nightmare Before Christmas fans over here.  We’ve used the chalkboard for about a year now, and it’s holding up fabulously.

I even took an Ikea frame and made a chalkboard for Tatertot’s room.  I love to write her little notes and inspirational quotes to read when she comes home from school.

So you can see that I had already made several chalkboards when I attempted my snack tray.  I should know what I’m doing, right?  Well, it didn’t go as smoothly as I thought it would.  I attempted the chalkboard surface the exact same way I painted my other two chalkboards.  I gave them a coat of primer and followed up with two coats of Rustoleum chalkboard paint, which I used a dense sponge roller to apply.

After the last coat of chalkboard paint was mostly dry, I started taking off the tape.  This is what happened…

I could take a corner of the paint and peel it like you would an orange–primer and all.  Ugh!  I was so disappointed.  I was seriously thinking about hiding this little table in a corner of the garage and giving up.  As I was planning where to put it, I started picking at the paint.

After a few minutes, this was what I was left with.  These parts had adhered to the wood for whatever reason.  They would not peel up for anything.  I seriously considered leaving it like this. It started to look a little like Pangea breaking up when you looked at it from the side.  Maybe the kids would like it like that.  It was kind of artsy.  But, I bit the bullet and pulled out the paint scraper.  It took me an hour to get it all up.

Eventually, I was left with a clean, somewhat smooth surface.  On my other chalkboards, I’d used raw MDF, which I primed and then painted.  With this one, I think that years of oil-based cleaners must have left a residue on the cabinet door.  I thought I sanded it well enough, but apparently not.

So I pulled out my sander and sanded the heck out of it this time.  You could really see the water damage, but sanding and a new primer coat helped to minimize it in the end.

After it was all sanded and primed, I decided to spray the chalkboard paint on instead of rolling it on.  I gave it several light coats.  I did not want it peeling up again–and it didn’t!

So there you have it!  I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this project when it didn’t go as planned.  We love this little piece–and I learned a lot about chalkboard paint.  Once I figured out my mistake, I was able to avoid it when I made my floor desk.

i just love it when I’m able to turn a major project fail into a win!

4 Responses to “When Good Projects Go Bad”

  1. Nichols says:

    Yay persistence! And yay for thinking that one pic looks like Pangea (I thought the same thing). Kinda like the Europe part, methinks…

  2. Tobey says:

    I love the little snack tray and plan on making some for my grandchildren when they come to visit. I have had my problems with chalk paint too. I was painting a mirror for a menu board for a wedding. I had to scrape it off twice till I got it to adhere, was not fun. But like you persistence does pay off.

  3. Kristen says:

    You made it work! But I laughed at your Pangea comment, because that is what I actually thought it was, a map of some ancient continent! Funny.

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