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The Worst Project Made with Leaves Ever

Hi everyone,  I am joining a group of really talented bloggers today to share with you some amazing projects made with leaves. I’m going to tell you. This isn’t one of them. It’s like they stuck a mule with the racehorses. I was going to scramble to re-do my project, but then I decided to  share with you that sometimes, things don’t always turn out in the land of DIYing, and that’s ok. In fact, I’m laughing as I type this because it is so bad. I think sometimes  as bloggers, we make all of this how-to look so simple and easy and really, we just don’t share the flops with you. I wanted to share this as the WORST PROJECT EVER MADE WITH LEAVES, and Imma gonna own it.  I should really get a medal. This experience almost topped my day of macrame hell.

Creating a mold by decoupaging leaves

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good leaf project. They are so readily available, and free. I’ve made table place cards,wreaths, art and more with leaves.

This project I am presenting to you today was going to be the ultimate leaf project. I wanted to make a concrete bowl imprinted with oak leaves. The inside would be painted gold. In my head it could be a vase, or a planter or a candle holder! It was going to be so high end, it would look like something right out of Anthropologie. They might even want me to make some for them when they saw it on Pinterest and sell them in their stores. I was so excited. Joanna was going to feature it on her IG page too.  It was going to be THAT GOOD.

I love working with concrete, and have made dozens of projects so this would be a snap. NO PROBLEM. I first made a mold out of leaves by decoupaging them inside a bowl covered in plastic wrap. I thought about just gluing them in, but I wanted to make sure the concrete didn’t get under the leaves.

Adding concrete to leaf bowl

I let that part of the project dry completely. It was going pretty well. I should have known when I started it was already going bad. It hadn’t rained in weeks. It was so dry out the grass crunched under my feet. I started mixing the concrete when I heard the first crack of thunder and had a strange sense of foreboding as the humidity rose. This is when I should have started drinking.

Add concrete to a leaf mold to make a bowl

I ended up creating my mold, getting the mixed concrete into it, and ran out the door to meet with a client while it cured. Perfect, I would get back, unmold it, let it cure  a bit more, and paint it. I had it all worked out.

Removing leaves from concrete

I got home, unmolded it , started removing the leaves, and as it crumbled, I noticed it didn’t really have the oak leaf pattern I wanted on it. I thought, we’ll maybe I can painting it and do a little distressing and they will show up a bit more, I turned it over to see the bottom and it promptly cracked in half as if it was mocking me. With the humidity, it really needed a full day or two to cure, and the bottle I used had ridges, so it created weaknesses. I almost chucked it and gave up, but I’m no quitter. When I was in second grade, if you gave up, Mrs. Kurtz would pull the baby hairs on the back of your neck. That life lesson still sticks with me today. I thought at the time it was because she was a strict teacher. I realize now it was because she was a miserable person who hated kids, and probably went home to her apartment full of 50 cats and ate TV dinners by herself while she watched Fantasy Island reruns. It would explain a lot.

So,baby hairs intact, I sighed , glued it back together and waited.

Once the glue set, I started painting it, and some areas started crumbling. I sighed again and waited.

Determined, I started painting again. And I added more color and didn’t like that. Then I tried another color and that looked bad. I should have stopped, but oh no. I kept on going like the true craft ninja I am.

Wrong choice.

After a while it was just a hot mess of muddy paint and disappointment. There was no oak leaf pattern, and it literally looked like something that one of my kids would bring home, and I would say “I love it so much!” and then stick it in a drawer to give back to them when they were a grown adult, and then they would ask me, “Why did you keep that?!”

Leaf impression on side of bowl

So what do you do when a project goes totally south? Add some damn gold leaf, that’s what! I mean at this point, it’s so bad, it’s funny, and there’s always a shred of hope you are going to do something to a project that’s going to being a miracle. I was laughing to myself. So I added the damn gold leaf.

The worst project made with leaves ever

Friends. I even had the audacity to put a flipping candle in the thing and light it and hope for the best. I can’t believe with all of that paint it didn’t go up in flames. Now I started drinking. I thought, maybe it will look better if I take a picture of it in the daylight, because it was certainly looking better after a few drinks.

Concrete bowl with leaves

NOPE. I don’t know how it could be worse, but it’s even worse in the light. It’s the worst project made with leaves ever. Someone please give me an award for that. There has to be a trophy or something like this ugly sweater trophy, right?

The worst project made with leaves ever

So please, enjoy my blogging friends amazing leaf projects. I am going to sit here with worst project made with leaves ever as a reminder; Sometimes projects fail. That’s ok because it the creative world, there are do over’s , and redo’s. Maybe I’ll try it again, maybe I’ll go buy something similar at Anthropologie. As long as Mrs.Kurtz isn’t there.

THe Pumpkin and KIlim Collection by Jennifer Rizzo Fall Pillows

And if you haven’t seen it, make sure you check out my new fall pillow collection in the shop. It’s much better than my leaf project, I promise!

13 Fall Leaf Project Ideas

Gold Dipped Leaf Place Cards – Modern Glam

How to Make a Paper Quilt Leaf – Happy Happy Nester

Fall Craft Ideas – Jennifer Maune

DIY Gilded Leaf Pumpkins – Tatertots & Jello

Watercolour Fall Leaf Free Printable Series – The Happy Housie

Fall Craft Ideas for Your Table – My 100 Year Old Home

Pressed Botanical Art – Craftberry Bush

Outdoor Fall Tablescape with Leaves – Hallstrom Home

Fall Wood Bead Garland – Lolly Jane

DIY Leaf Pillow – Thistlewood Farms

Dinner Rolls with a Cut Leaf Design – Twelve On Main

DIY Leaf Trivet – My Sweet Savannah

The Worst Project Made with Leaves Ever – Jennifer Rizzo


  1. BEST POST EVER!!! Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. I am a blogger, too, and have many step-by-step instruction photos of projects that never came out as I had planned and were never shared on the blog.
    Your post not only made me smile but encouraged me, because if Jen can laugh off her creative project “fails”, then I shouldn’t sweat it and keep on keepin’ on! Thanks again and have a great day!

    1. Thank you Kristi! The struggle is so real. I have had so many fails I’ve never shared! We just keep on keepin’ on! 🙂

  2. You absolutely made my day! I am so use to seeing all the perfect projects from bloggers who seem to have perfect homes, perfect recipes, and all the time in the world to share their perfect ideas! Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming, and I want to scream. You just brought it all back into perspective, that life isn’t always perfect. Your determination is wonderful, and your sense of humor is sparkling. And by the way, I’ve seen a mule race and even though they are quite amusing, they are pretty darn quick!

    1. Ha ha! Thank you Joan. We try so hard to make it glossy, when really, it’s not always that way. I hope you are well!

  3. I’m still laughing. It made by day as well. This is ME. I read the blogs, and the creative ideas and the final projects are oh soooo perfect. And, yes, we never get to see the perfect fails – like mine usually are.

  4. Jennifer,

    I LOVE your post! And to think that this blog post idea was mine! I struggled too and I only had myself to blame. In my mind, my project was going to be so cool. And it turned out just a touch off from something a kid would make! Thanks for keeping our project so real and yet fun! And thanks for joining us, your a crafting ninja!

  5. After a tense day, I really needed to laugh. Thanks for your honesty and humor!
    I can see that candle on your patio as you tell future company about your hits and misses. It’ll be like the end of A Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Your friends will say,” It’s not a bad little candle, Jennifer. It just needs some love, like we all do.” And you’ll all spontaneously break into song. Lol

  6. Bwahaha I love it – your post is awesome. I’m sure the candle glow it casts would be very pleasant after a few drinks on a cozy fall evening 😉

  7. OMG! I promise I’m not laughing at you; I am chuckling with you since I, too, have worked on” that project” with such high expectations the outcome would surely exceed – but alas, no. And, what a wonderful idea for a project! When I try a concrete project I’ll make sure I’ve got some gold leaf on hand, just in case. Your creativity is fabulous!

  8. Your self-proclaimed worst ever project earns the trophy for funniest post ever! We’ve all experienced these – minus the pressure of publishing to the www! It actually reminds me of an alabaster ashtray we bought our mother in Germany as children (that’s why you don’t let young children shop for Mother’s Day by themselves)!,

  9. Jen, you are hilarious! Looking at your step by step photos while reading your narrative had me laughing out loud. This post is priceless! Thank you!

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