“All men make mistakes, only fools repeat them.” – Ancient Proverb
There are countless proverbs warning you of the perils of not learning from past mistakes. Because I’m feeling extra proverbial today, I thought I’d offer a defense:
“The first step in learning from your mistakes is actually remembering your mistakes. And remembering things is really hard.” – Me
While I don’t like to make excuses, I believe my cripplingly short memory gives me a free pass. About three years ago I developed an obsession with epoxy. (You don’t know what epoxy is? Read on! It will change your life.) My obsession started simple with trays and picture frames, and it eventually culminated in the form of a pub table commemorating the trials of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. I saved newspaper articles from throughout the post season, clipping photos and scores and stories–in hopes of one day creating the most magnificant craft known to man. Those of you familar with Philadelphia sports will understand how precious those clippings were to me–especially once my beloved Phillies secured their first World Series trophy since 1980. I filed the clippings away in a folder, waiting until inspiration struck.
Six months later, it hit me. My boyfriend was moving into his new house, and I knew that a pub table with newspaper clippings tracking the Phils progress through the post season would be the best housewarming gift known to man. (Yes, it did come with a pre-nup)
I needed a way to make sure that the newspaper wouldn’t get damaged: Epoxy. So for those of you unfamiliar with epoxy, it is the clear coating that is used on bar and counter tops to make them water resistant and protect the surface underneath. I bought a gallon of epoxy online for this particular project, but for smaller projects (like cake stands…see i’m getting there) you can find small bottles of epoxy at craft stores.
I agonized for hours over the perfect layout of the table. Once all of the clippings were in their right place, I poured the epoxy. And in that moment, I realized my error. When using epoxy over paper, you need to coat the paper with a glue mixture or ModPodge to make sure the paper doesnt absorb the expoxy. I didn’t seal the newspaper well enough and the epoxy left wet stains in the newspaper, allowing the text on the reverse side to show through. My images of Philadelphia triumph were faded into the background of mirrored male enhancement ads. My newspaper clippings were ruined, and I almost fell into a deep depression.
But alas. Ebay came to my rescue. Turns out I wasn’t the only shmo saving those precious newspaper clippings, and one week later (and for a hell of a premium) more newspaper clippings arrived on my doorstep and I tried again. This time, it was a success! The experience was emotionally draining, and while I knew it would be my last epoxy project for some time, I vowed to never forget the precious piece of wisdom I gathered.
It’s been over 3 years since I last touched epoxy. But I really really wanted to start making custom cake stands, and once again epoxy was the answer. It wasn’t long until I found myself making the same mistakes of my past: improperly sealed paper. And with remorse and shame, I created this:
See the water marks? Ahhh. But always determined to correct my mistakes. I started over. And with a little extra ModPodge and time, I present you with this DIY cake stand. These are cheap and easy to make, and the possibilities are endless for customization. They also make wonderful house warming gifts! (Though hardly hold a candle to pub tables)