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Big Fat DIY Chandelier FAIL.

Sometimes DIYs go swimmingly, your whole world is rocked and you develop a false confidence that if you can make lights like this
DIY geometric hanging light!
You can do ANYTHING!

“Bring it on, world!,” you shout from rooftops!

And sometimes, you think you have a brilliant idea and this happens.
DIY chandelier FAIL. Womp-womp.

That was supposed to be the DIY chandy for my closet reno.

It all seemed so promising in the beginning. I found these interesting garland chandeliers by designer Tord Boontje, and thought they looked pretty DIY-able. It’s just a garland, right? On a bulb? How hard can THAT be? (Cue knowing laughter of studio audience.)

I was going for a little more of a tailored look than the inspiration photo – kind of a combination of the garland light and this look:
Vine chandelier


I hopped online and found this pretty metal leaf garland.
metal leaf garland
It wasn’t cheap – $19 for the large version – but I thought the pretty gilded leaves, combined with the wallpaper I’m putting up in the closet, would be so girly-glam it would send me into a blissful decor-coma.

I needed was some way to attach the garland to the bulb. I’ve seen lots of DIY chandeliers that use hanging plant holders as a base to attach crystals and things, like these:
diy capiz chandelier
Smart Girl Style

diy wood beaded chandelier
My Simple Obsession

So I grabbed this green plant holder from Goodwill, intending to spray paint it so the “cage” part disappears and all you notice is that gorgeous garland.
plans for a DIY garland chandelier
But alas.
Idea to make a DIY garland chandelier light
It was pretty clearly not happening.

Andy and I stood over it in silent thought for a while. I kept trying to make it be awesome, but Andy kept bringing me back to earth.
Me: It’s not exactly what I was expecting, but maybe I can–
Andy: No.
Me: Yeah. It’s kinda weird, right? But maybe it just needs–
Andy: No.
Me: If you squint, though–
Andy: Nope.
Me: Not even after I spray paint–
Andy: Shakes head silently.

Chalk it up to false-optimism or stubborn-refusal-to-quit, but Andy and I both think it could almost work. It would need either more of the wire garland (but at $20 a pop, it was not a risk I was willing to take) or a different kind of garland made of crystals and/or mirrors, like this:
crystal garland for a chandelier


With a crystal or mirrored garland, you can wrap the bulb in a WHOLE MESS OF GARLAND, and the light can still bounce around. You might not even need the plant holder — you might be able to just wrap the garland around the bulb.

See? I don’t know why I’m trying to talk you into trying it and vindicating this mess. This is not your responsibility. (But don’t you kinda want to be the one to make it work? Do it for DIYers everywhere!)

Still, in its current state, this is a bonafide, honest-to-goodness, made-in-America DIY fail. I didn’t actually plan to blog about this sad excuse for a DIY, but it’s just a reality of trying new things: sometimes you fall flat on your face and are stuck with some random garland and a plant holder from the ’80s.

I think when you read a lot of DIY blogs, you can start to think that everything should just turn out right the first time. And who knows, maybe it should. But that’s not what happens around here. I fail. A lot. A whole lot. A whole whole lot.

But here’s the good news!

I went back to the drawing board and come up with a light I think I’ll end up loving even more than this. If you follow me on instagram, you already saw some sneak peeks!

And Y’ALL.

The closet is looking SOOOO-hawt-right-now! (*Suppressing the squeals.*) Want a little peek?
Oh dang! Why is it so blurry and out of focus?! #MeanBloggerTricks #Muahahaha!

The ONLY thing we have left to do in there is add the closet rods and various hanging gadgets, and move in all my junk. That’s IT! The wallpaper is up, the new chandy is up, the under-cabinet lighting is installed, and I’m hoping to have the big reveal for you next week! *Tiny excitement explosions are happening all over my brain!*

Tell me about your DIY fails! Anyone willing to rescue this project idea and make it awesome?

Let's connect


  1. I’ve always wanted a Tord Boontje light. I saw them in person in Germany and they were actually affordable too. The key is using non-burnable material LOL
    Can’t wait to see the closet seriously!

  2. oooh can’t wait to see what you come up with! love the conversation between you and andy! maybe…no.

  3. Ha, I’ve had that conversation before. And then I sometimes wonder if Nate lets things slide during the convo and let’s me present crap to the world.

    I can’t wait to see this closet! The squinty version is looking mighty awesome!

    • Stephanie says:

      Kelly-you are so awesome for posting this!!! This is why I LOVE following you–YOU ARE REAL and you don’t pretend everything is rainbows and sunshine….well, not that there’s anything wrong with it…rainbows and sunshine that is! Thanks for always making me smile girlfriend!! You rock on and can’t WAIT TO SEE THAT CLOSET!! 😉

  4. hahahah. Awwww. Poor garland-light. But now! Now, you have supplies for something else! Garland! Basket-y thing! Imagine the possibilities!

  5. You are totally mean! But I’m pretty sure I know what that light looks like and it’ll look very glam in your dressing room, so I can maybe forgive you.

  6. I’m just going to admit it, and I don’t care who knows, but I like (really liked) the picture of “then this happens”! There I said it! Sure hope you get your camera settings squared away so that I can see it better! LoL St. Patrick’s day is over and you’ve still got a bit of the evil leprechaun in ya don’t ya?

  7. ha ha ha I applaud you for your efforts! Awesome post! Can’t wait to see the closet!

  8. Sorry, count me out from making that light work, I’ve got enough DIY fails of my own and have no problem discussing them.

  9. DIY fails…so once I “carpeted” my daughters’ room with canvas drop cloths. We were trying to save money over buying carpet or hardwood. The hot glue in the doorways held up beautifully. BUT, the fabric sucked up 3 gallons of poly ($150) plus the cost of the cloths. And the fabric became so rough that if you tripped, kiss all the skin on your body goodbye. They lived with it for a year while we saved up money for carpet. From a distance it looked ok, but now I look at the pinterest homemade canvas floor mats with skepticism. There ARE things they are not telling you. We would have been ahead to buy plywood, rip it into boards and face nail it down. Add some stain, poly–gorgeous, smooth. Next time.

  10. haha sometimes you just have to chalk it up and say OK. this is UGLY.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you came up with in the end. I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful and girly and glam!

  11. I tried to reproduce a Martha Stewart craft project one time that, on tv, looked so easy and beautiful. My project ended up being a sticky pile of glue and string. Every time someone mentions attempting to recreate a Martha Stewart project, I can’t help but laugh. I love your “nailed it” photo. Thanks for sharing the successes AND the failures of DIY. That’s the reality (and the fun)!

  12. Man, I hear you on the DIY fail party. I can’t even use stain. STAIN. It always gets way too dark and/or somehow turns into zebra stripes. I don’t even know, but it’s secretly why I just paint everything.

  13. I’ll tackle that project for you! Just send me your supplies!

  14. Thanks for sharing that some things don’t go as expected. It’s nice to know I can relate to someone as I have had many pinterest fails! Sometimes, it just isn’t meant to be!

  15. Thanks for sharing the good and bad! It happens to all of us. And projects I have little hope for usually end up being my favorite!

  16. Oh I know how frustrating a DIY light fail can be. I had a major fail when doing Evelyn’s room. I’m excited to see the juiciness of your closet!

  17. Those string balls you see on Pinterest all the time. We huffed & puffed & blew up balloons. We lovingly dipped the yarn into the sticky mixture & wrapped the balloons. They looked great when we checked on them at bedtime. In the am we all ran to see them dry & just about cried when we saw all but one with a caved in side distorting them 🙁 Pinterest fail!

  18. I actually have the garland light and I had quite a bit of difficulty with it. I think it would be much easier if there was a frame for draping, instead of just using the cord and light bulb. And I’m not really happy with the light it casts (I use a crystal bulb), but for now it hangs in my tv room until I come up with something better to do with it, or a better light solution.

  19. You might want to still wrap it around a cage and not just a bulb so you can change the bulb if if burns out.

  20. I’m thinking of a pretty gold leaf crown for you to wear whenever you hang out in your fancy new closet! Perfect, right? Too bad you cut up that velvet dress, or you could wear it, too, and feel like a PRINCESS. Somehow I missed my sneak peak in instagram….off to scroll furiously through old posts!

  21. Kelly, I can’t wait. I’m like a child at Christmas!

  22. Some people have x-ray vision. I have de-blurrifying vision (you didn’t know that did you?). So I just saw your closet and it is AMAZING!!! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your fails as well as your successes! 🙂

  23. Hahahahaha!!!! NICE sneak peek!!!! {insert laughing emoji with tears} 😉

  24. My projects hardly ever turn out the way they started in my head, but most of the time they end up better! You meanie with that tricky tease…can’t wait to see the big reveal!

  25. Ahh! Mean blogger! Can’t wait to see the reveal!!! 🙂

  26. Ha! I love that you shared your temporary fail. I’m sure you’ll have something adorable and sweet soon enough 🙂

  27. So while I don’t ever wish for others to fail, it always makes me feel a teensy better to know I am not the only person who tries these things and comes up short!

  28. Kelly! This may be the hardest I have laughed at one of your posts EVER. Bless your heart, that was a pretty epic fail! I have had worse, I just haven’t had the guts to blog about them. So happy you did. That’s why I love your blog so much. YOU KEEP IT REAL! I look forward to a less blurry sneak peek soon 🙂

  29. Keeping it real 🙂 This is a very good thing. Makes all of us less handy types feel better about our failures. We can’t all make iconic diy chandeliers everyday. Only some days. Looking forward to the closet reveal next week.

  30. Can’t wait to see! And AMEN to failed projects! If I blogged all my fails I’d have a post almost every day haha.

  31. Aw man… it was a good idea though!

  32. haha. Well, it was worth a try, right? I’m sure you will do something even better with that garland!

  33. My guess for the new light is that you sewed something out of that leftover Minnie Mouse fabric. It would be stunning.

  34. Caitlin L. says:

    LOL! It really seemed like that should have worked. I still believe in you, and your random garland and plant holder from the ’80s.

  35. Oh I love the fails! I do!! 😉 I have so many and lots of “oopsies” I have posted about myself…it’s good to keep it real! 😉 And well, it’s just fun to laugh about some of them!
    But you have way more “passes” than you do fails!! I am loving what I’ve seen of your light (on IG) so far! Can’t wait to see your finished closet.

  36. You crack me up. I love the conversation outline between you and Andy, too. Shakes head silently. Hahahaha been there.

  37. Karen Linarez says:

    I like the idea of the “garland with crystals & mirrors” and think if you spray painted the 80’s thingy silver and wrapped each of the spokes with the garland and maybe hang some of it too from different places all over the framework that would dangle below (or maybe just separate crystals & mirror pieces dangling down) that you could come up with quite an impressive piece from what I’ve seen of your creativity before. Come on, you can make it amazing! 🙂 Now get busy, so we can see how beautiful it turns out, soon! 🙂

  38. Hahaha “nailed it!”. To be fair, it was a very, very good idea and had great potential if those metal leaves were bigger or longer or something…I have diy fails all. the. time. It’s all part of the fun, right? 😀

  39. Amanda Kope says:
  40. Haha, I can totally relate to this!
    Can’t wait for the reveal 🙂

  41. Haha. Too funny! It’s great to see that you’ve had some failures too. Definitely makes me feel better!

  42. Hahaha!! Oh god, *wipes tears from eyes* that is just so much fail!! But I love it because we all know you guys are like the masters of DIY and so one little failure – pfft… so what.

    Although it did remind me of this…

    Mwah!! Ok, off to read the reveal now! *squeal!!*


  43. Erin Robison says:

    Kelly – that is about the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Not your pain, of course. Thanks for sharing! “nailed it!” 🙂


  1. […] one chandelier attempt fail, we emerged victorious with this guy: It all started when I found these crystal ball chandeliers […]

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