Growing Pains: 7 Mistakes I Have Made “On The Upcycle”

Tonight I thought I would, share with you all a few things I have learned the hard way through crafting, decoupaging, upcycling, and blogging.  It is certainly not as easy as it looks and I have acquired quite a few bumps and bruises along the way!

1. High Temperature hot glue guns are as advertised: 

For many years, I used a small low temperature glue gun.  As many of you already know these do not adhere as well as the high temp guns.  I thought I would treat myself, to a newer glue gun.  When I used it for the first time, I inadvertently stuck my hand into the hot  gooiness and boy did I regret it.  It didn’t just burn a little it burned A LOT, and  I adhered two of my fingers together!

High Temp Hot Glue Gun by Ad Tech

2. Mod Podge + Mod Podge =DISASTER:  Mod Podge is a magical substance, but at the end of the day it is simply a glue and adhesive.  When storing furniture made with Mod Podge it is important to not allow two pieces of furniture to be stored in such a way that they “lean” up against each other.  I once had a TV tray that was stuck to a chair, and rip!  Thanks goodness I was able to re-paint and repair the damaged tv tray! Lesson learned!

3. Decoupage over Decoupage = DISASTER:  When decoupaging, always make sure you are adhering to the “flat” original surface of a project and that the material you are using, fabric, paper, ect does not overlap with the same. This creates a uneven surface prone to wrinkles and air bubbles.  If you are decoupaging a material like paper onto a brightly colored surface be sure the material is think enough to prevent the color from “bleeding through.”

4. Treat your paint brushes as you would want to be treated:  There is nothing worse than projects ruined or further complicated by poorly cared for paint brushes with loose bristles that find their way forever embedded in a project, Or the poorly rinsed brush that streaks the wrong color across the face of a project.  Be sure and keep these clean and inspect occasionally for loose bristles. I use the method to clean my brushes illustrated here on Wiki How.

Paint Brush Cleaning

5. Have a “Crafting Happy Place”:  If possible, I have found it best to have a separate crafting space or at the very least a piece of furniture for crafting you wouldn’t mind getting a few globules of paint on.  No matter how many drop cloths, wipes and sponges you have handy accidents happen and you may not always see a paint splatter or glue glob right away.  I single-handedly over time ruined the surface of our kitchen table.  The bright side you ask? I am planning to cover it with fabric can you say a project? Stay tuned! Ok my craft room looks nothing like these, but a Upcycling Mom can have a dream right?

6.  Thinking about taking the easy way out?  Don’t do it!  Crafting may appear fun, but much of it is hard work:  sawing, cleaning, sanding, priming.  For me this is all preparation and no reward.  I want to see the finished item I envisioned; However these things are important steps often times when creating a quality project that lasts.  Not all items will require the same preparation, but one of the most important and simple steps before painting or decoupage is removing dust and dirt.

7. If at first you don’t succeed: Keep trying!  As much as the cyber blogging world is filled with wonderful people, there are also haters out there that are cruel instead of encouraging.  Always stay true to yourself and believe in what you are doing even if others don’t necessarily approve. Stay positive and don’t let a project fail stop you in your tracks! Don’t be too hard on yourself (So far this has been the toughest lesson of all, but like I said keep trying right?)


Philadelphia Phillies Phanatic Painted Wall Mural

Before our daughter was born, my husband had the ultimate sports man room.  It was filled with sports memorabilia, and a fully stocked bar.  We hung out in there regularly  watched movies laughed and joked and even kicked back a few drinks.  Now, a new kind of laughter fills this room. It is no longer the ultimate man room, but it IS the ultimate little girl’s playroom.  My husband and I discussed doing something special in the family room for our daughter Erin. We both liked the nursery wall mural and how it turned out.   Sure, we could have decided on a mural of  princess’s and castles, but I wanted to do something different and also keep true to the original theme of  the room which was sports.  One of her favorite toys is her Phillie Phanatic Pillow Pet, which ultimately gave me the idea.  I also wanted to do something for the hubby.  He was more than happy to give up his room for his daughter, but I wanted to thank him too, after all he is a huge Phillies fan!

I searched the internet for a good example of a Phanatic image I wanted to use as a visual.  I often draw through visually studying a picture before I begin.  I usually use a pencil to outline where I am going to paint.  I found it easier this time to simply draw the lines with a fine brush and black paint onto the wall.  If I made a mistake, I used a magic eraser to wipe away the paint.  (Magic Eraser does not work on a flat painted wall) I thought it would be cute to have him holding a pennant with ” Go Erin” on it.  I used acrylic paints and applied about 3 coats total.    The mural measures a little over 5 feet tall.  Hopefully, it will be a good luck charm this season and beyond!

Some Phillie Phanatic trivia:

The Phanatic replaced “Philadelphia Phil” and “Philadelphia Phillis”, a pair of siblings dressed in 18th-century dress.

During the winter after the 1977 season, Dennis Lehman, thought that the team needed a mascot similar to San Diego’s Famous Chicken created the Phanatic with the help of Acme Mascots

The Phanatic debuted on April 25, 1978, at The Veterans Stadium, when the Phillies played the Chicago Cubs.

His mother, Phoebe Phanatic, occasionally appears with the Phanatic.

Phillie Phanatic Painted Wall Mural

Full lengths shot of Phillie Phanatic Wall mural