The Project That Almost Was

I wanted it to work.

I mean….I’ve seen it done before.

After all….I’ve seen it on pinterest (that alone should have guaranteed success).

And after it worked, I was going to post about it.  And you would leave rave reviews and wonderful comments telling me how you always wanted to make a project just like this.

And then, you would make the project.  And we would become best project friends forever.

When I planned this spectacular project, I started by covering all my books with brown craft paper.

Next, I planned to take these labels….

….and trace them onto my newly covered books with this graphite paper.

Sounds easy.

Sounds brilliant.

Actually, it sounded easy and brilliant and classic and rave-review worthy.

But somehow….along the way….my easy, brilliant, classic, rave-review project turned into….

….something that I might have done in high school English class in my notebook when we were supposed to be copying down prepositional phrases.


I know.


My favorite part is where you can see the tracing from the graphite paper.


It’s like I was so close…..and yet so far.

So, if at first you don’t succeed, go to Hobby Lobby and purchase some of these.

Tags.  Pre-printed with numbers.

Take your pre-printed Hobby Lobby tags and print the titles of the books on them.

And glue dot them onto the books, so they look like this.

Not like this.

I know it’s not a fancy schmancy graphite project.

I know it’s printed labels on craft paper covered books.

Not exactly ground-breaking.

Not exactly what I was going for in my efforts to make us project BFF’s.

But it’s legible.

And after the prepositional phrase graphite debacle,

….legible works for me.

48 thoughts on “The Project That Almost Was

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, right? Thanks for keeping it real. Question: how did you feed your individual HL tags through your printer without them sliding all over the place, as well as know where to line up your title so that it would print perfectly centered within the “box?” Thanks a bunch!

  2. it really does quite often seem as if the simplest, easiest projects turn out to be the hardest! When I used to sew a lot it seems my greatest successes were with the Vogue patterns ….. not Simplicity. Go figure! Have a Happy Day xoxo

  3. I love the fact that you shared your “fail” with us. I so often think I am the only one tossing things that just didn’t work out. I love the labels on the kraft paper.

  4. I am always drawn to the look of the covered books. Please share a photo of the placed books. Great job!

    I have just never been able to take the final steps. I am also uncertain about not seeing the book covers. I know – i’m slow.

  5. OK…what’s that saying…When life gives you lemons..make lemonade…so, the first attempt at your project “turned out sour”, then it came out “saaweet”..Then again, when the pitcher throws you a curve ball, “you hit it out of the park”…(did I just make that up??)…anyway, your project threw you a curve, and with your impeccable creativity and tenacity…YOU HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK!!!…I actually like “YOUR” project better..It’s YOU, being YOU…never give up!…

  6. I don’t think they looked bad first time around- your handwriting is so much better than mine! Did you try erasing the graphite? Kneaded erasers are pretty good about removing graphite without smearing it. I love the labels, though. How on earth did you print on them???

  7. I didn’t think the first project turned out so bad. Just thickening up the writing probably would’ve done the trick. However, I know how it is when you’re feeling like it’s not turning out the way you expected and it just makes you feel like starting over. I like your new version just fine. That was a great idea.

  8. Oh my goodness it didn’t work out and you actually told us the whole messed up process? I love that you are real. And I have had that happen tons- my paint marker post attests to the best laid plans going awry. shoot.

  9. Ah, Kari. My life is a series of almost was. Well, at least when it comes to crafty projects. And if I had to choose what’s almost was, I’d choose crafts over bigger things. Like, love, and friendship. You got it going on where it really counts. (And the crafty thing, too.) What’s that poster say? Yeah, this: The only shot you’ll always miss is the one you never take. (Or something like that.) 🙂

  10. I was sent here by Linda at It All Started With Paint. She said you were funny. I agree. I like funny. You’re also very talented. I like. I follow 😉

  11. so close…yet so far!
    now i have that song stuck in my head. 🙂
    and i think your project turned out wonderful.
    some of my favorite projects have come out of situations where it didn’t work the first time around and i had to get, errrrr…..creative.
    nice save!{and for the record, they didn’t look horrible the first time all!}

  12. I like the pre-printed labels. It gives them all that uniform look that you’re trying to achieve with the kraft paper covers anyway. I think it’s a great solution! Thanks for keeping it real with the craft fail, but perfect solution.

  13. I had “one of these projects” just last week and it involved a paint marker, a two-year old, and the finished product looking like my six-year old drew it. It was frustrating that something so simple turns out not looking so great, but we live and learn… Glad you shared that not all of our crafty projects don’t work the first time and your books look awesome. I’ve been wanting to recover mine for a while and I’ll have to try those Hobby Lobby tags.

  14. So we are not organizing our books by color order anymore? Man, I am always behind. I once told my husband that I wanted all our books arranged by height on the shelf instead of alphabetical. He looked at me and said “So I need to know how tall ‘the rise and fall of Soviet Russia’ is before I can find it?”

  15. How is it that your worst day “project – ing” looks better than my best? 😀 I could do an entire serious of craft and organizing ‘fails’ – ha! Maybe I should start a second blog, I’m sure it would have people rolling!

    Thanks for sharing (it really did turn out well) ~Lori

  16. And what works for you, is simply fine!

    I get very tired of there being any *Rules* in “Craft Land.” Things *have* to be this way or that way or something else. Who sezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz? Bahhh-humbug. :-)))))))))))

    HEY, why doesn;t your blog recognize me, anymore? Why do I have to type in a line of email addy and name????????????????? WHAT??????

  17. “Almost was” can still be attractive – like your books are! Glad mine aren’t the only craftsy projects that go in a “little different direction” than I’d planned for them to! One of mine that “almost was” is a salt-dough Christmas ornament that bloopered (is that even a word?) – so I repainted it, wrote “Oops!” on it – and now it’s a cute conversation piece that brings a smile in my kitchen!

  18. Great recovery! Ha! No pun intended!! 🙂 I think the labels you wound up with were a nice happy accident. In fact, some of our best things come from our mistakes! You came back strong, girl! Love that you shared a triumph over an “almost”.

  19. I never ever attempt a project that involves freehand writing, even over existing lines. I’d make a mess of it! I thought yours looked nice. So what are you going to do with your newly-recovered books? I’ve been trying to think of a way to make our bookshelf look more cohesive…but I’m probably too lazy to do anything other than turn them backward again 😉

  20. I think they look beautiful! I do know how you feel though when you see something in your head and you just can’t seem to pull it off on paper.

  21. Well at least you didn’t go with if at first you fail throw a tantrum and give up……….lol
    No you a bigger than that and you found a way to make it work way to go girl…………
    I like the way the books look

  22. Well I like both versions….and I think that you did a great job of them. I kind of like the way the letters, and the graphite show also.

    So no fail there.

    Thanks for being so brave, and showing us what you have been working on.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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