DIY Disasters Challenge

Check out the Destination DIY segment featuring Depotdevoid and Aerospaced here: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/destination-diy/id266173213


We’re excited to announce the winners of the DIY Disasters challenge! Depotdevoid won for his story about a disastrous home plumbing repair and Aerospaced won for his story about a thermite reaction gone wrong. Both of the winners’ stories will be featured on an upcoming episode of Destination DIY. To keep up with show production and air times, please visit http://destinationdiy.org, where you can sign up on the mailing list (http://www.destinationdiy.org/joinmailinglist.html). You can also follow along on Facebook (http://facebook.com/DestinationDIY) or twitter (http://twitter.com/DIYgirl). 


Destination DIY is a public radio show and podcast based in the creative hub of Portland, Oregon. This hour-long, documentary-style show includes stories from around the country about innovative, creative people. Our last season of shows included themes such as “DIY Economy,” “DIY Rituals,” and “Representing Yourself.” For more information or to listen to some of our past shows, please visit http://destinationdiy.org

To kick off our next season of shows, we’re putting together an episode called “DIY Disasters”. Here’s where you come in. We want to hear your best DIY disaster story. Did you have a project that went wrong in more ways than you thought possible? Did you start something and realize you were in way over your head? When did you realize you had a DIY disaster on your hands? Have you ever sustained an injury while attempting a DIY project? These can be funny stories or scary ones or even sad ones. For the purposes of our show, a DIY project is pretty much anything that someone does without the help of a large institution. We’ll choose the best stories to be featured on Destination DIY later this year. Featured stories will be produced by a radio professional, who will interview you and help to tell your story on the air. You’ll also get some sweet Destination DIY swag like buttons and stickers along with bragging rights.  

DEADLINE: July 10, 2011
ENTRY RULES: your story in 300 words or less - include images if you like.  The more evidence the better!!
- Your entry should be a comment on this post.  Click the orange ADD COMMENT button at the bottom of the post to enter.  Commenting on other peoples stories by clicking REPLY with your own story WILL NOT COUNT AS AN ENTRY.  You are of course allowed to comment on other peoples posts (we encourage it!!), but to enter you must have your own original comment on the forum topic. 
- please include at the top of your entry your name and location (country or state), we will accept entries from anywhere but you must have access to a landline phone or skype 
- Limit 2 entries per person. Each entry should be its own comment.

PRIZE: a chance to be featured on Destination DIY!!!!!

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Carleyy (author) 4 years ago
We’re excited to announce the winners of the DIY Disasters challenge! Depotdevoid won for his story about a disastrous home plumbing repair and Aerospaced won for his story about a thermite reaction gone wrong. Both of the winners’ stories will be featured on an upcoming episode of Destination DIY. To keep up with show production and air times, please visit http://destinationdiy.org, where you can sign up on the mailing list (http://www.destinationdiy.org/joinmailinglist.html). You can also follow along on Facebook (http://facebook.com/DestinationDIY) or twitter (http://twitter.com/DIYgirl).
Goodhart5 years ago
Tis the THOUGHT that counts, right?  

A valentine's contest or so ago, I put together a Heart shaped cake....The cake got too soft AND crumbly and the iceing was not warm enough when I put it on, so it looked (to me) like a heart shaped Franken-cake  (Friankenstein's monster's cake).

You can see the ible here....

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this is not an entry but I just remembered that in my very early youth, I tried to charge a homemade battery with two wires, a resister, a plug for the mains, and some salt water in the battery......1 k resisters pop like a firecracker when shorted through the mains like that...... LOL
annapreble5 years ago
I had joined an online knit along for a hoodie that I thought would be super comfy for my boyfriend. Not only did I read of that myth which states knitting a sweater for your honey can be the beginning of the end of your relationship AFTER I finished this project, the sweater pattern turned out huge for him, one of the front sides was 2 inches longer than the other side and the back panel turned out about 3 inches too short. thank goodness the yarn and needle gauges made this project a very quick one, and of course because my BOYFRIEND IS AWESOME he still rocks that hoodie happily.
This isn't really my disaster, but a couple of years ago we were digging trenches for a greenhouse that we were going to erect, so when it started to rain we decided to call it a day. The trench we had done so far was a full 8 feet deep, and the following day when we returned the ditch was literally full to the brim of freezing cold rainwater, so we decided to leave it another couple of days. Unfortunately just as we were having a cup of tea with the owners we noticed their young (9ish) child was running up the lane jumping in all the puddles, and alas, before we could stop him he jumped in our trench thinking it was just another puddle! He disappeared entirely but the look on his face was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life. He was fine, if a little surprised, but I learnt my lesson to put signs up around trenches.

I wish I was a better writer and could have explained this better, the event really was hilarious!
depotdevoid5 years ago

I rented a house for a while with an absentee landlord--if you wanted something done, you did it yourself.  The basement leaked through an obvious crack in the foundation, and I decided I was going to do something about it.  I read up on various epoxy sealants and drainage schemes, and on a sunny fall Saturday I pulled out the shovel and went to work.

I was foolish and didn't call before digging, but I wasn't worried.  A contractor told me that local regulations said the minimum depth for a  water main was 18 inches, and I wasn't going that deep.  I just needed to remove about a foot of topsoil and poke around the foundation, to see if the crack got more serious below ground.  Then I would build a little gravel drainage area to shunt water away from the house.  No problem!

Six inches down I started wondering why there was so much water . . . I got down and sifted through the dirt and water by hand.  I'll give you one guess what I found.  It took half an hour of panicked phone calls and googling to find out how to shut it off, and by the time I was done the basement was absolutely soaked. 

Then the time came for the real pain:  calling in a plumber.  On a Saturday.  During the U of O football game.  The pipe was so rusted that the plumber said it was only a matter of time.  Disturbing the dirt above was probably enough to flake off an already compromised section. 

All in all, I got off pretty light, it cost me around $300 to get everything fixed, but really it was my self confidence that was hurt the worst.  To this day I am absolutely terrified when messing around with the plumbing. 
Sounds like your disaster turned up a potential problem that could have been worse (if the pipe had broken while you were on vacation or something). :-)
True, things could definitely have turned out worse! I've often wondered if maybe the pipe was already a bit leaky, and contributing to the leaky basement.
That would be my guess too. Possibly you turned a potential disaster into to "good thing" :-)
ericCycles5 years ago
I wanted to impress a woman who was organizing a Halloween party. I was going to make a cake decorated with a 3D chocolate spider. For the spiders body, my plan was to paint melted chocolate onto a inflated latex balloon, let it harden, and then pop the balloon through an uncovered portion. I would then add legs made of pretzel sticks and eyes made of jujubes. Simple in theory.

My mistake was starting off with a water-bomb balloon, fully inflated with air. The fully inflated balloon was already stressed by being fully inflated, however it retained it's integrity until it was nearly covered, whereupon it burst and sprayed liquid chocolate all over me and my kitchen cupboards. At that point I remembered that latex doesn't like oil nor heat (from warnings about latex condoms). It took a full hour to clean up the mess.

Eventually I succeeded with a larger but only partially inflated balloon.
mary candy5 years ago
I'm the queen disaster !! hahaha
I once shorted the mains power through a 10 meg resistor.....not recommended, but they pop like those little firecrackers you can get.....molten carbon based resister all over (this was back when they were the size of the first segmant of your index finger :-)
Ouch! That sounds rough. Would love to hear some of your other disaster stories, too.
Well, if we're going to "mess it u" we're going to "do it right" LOL
Shadow13!5 years ago
One time I was trying to fix a regular endtable lamp. It was the kind with the switch on the power cord. After a few tests I had narrowed down the problem to the switch and I opened it up but I forgot to unplug it after my latest test so the switch blew up with a flame over a foot tall and plastic shrapnel only inches from my face. Needless to say I was unable to fix the lamp after that.
Reminds me of a set of mini lights I fixed once....blew the fuse and shorted out the mains LOL Fun stuff, eh ?
mary candy5 years ago
My last disaster (but not so bad) :D
I wanted to make something new for the Cupcakes contest.
I made an ice cream , with vanilla cream, pineapple , cake.. etc...
The result ...
It was so hard to eat this, that I broke a tooth. HAAHHHAHAHAHA
And it didn't look so good.
Anyway ... it tasted very good.

I've made toast that was hard already...but my most famous "dish" was sugarless jelly.....made with some kind of thickener (been a long time ago) and well, I rediscovered synthetic rubber is what it turned out like LOL Could not even CHEW it LOL Imagine jelly you can't chew LOL
Goodhart5 years ago
My second entry I don't have pictures of, but you will be able to visualize it I am sure.
I was repairing my old VW beetle (vintage 1969) trying to determine why it would not start. It had fuel, and it was getting to the carburetor.
Next, check the spark: I pulled the wire coming from the center of the coil, being careful to hold it with a LOT of rag for insulation, near the bumper (I was leaning on the bumpter), my brother turned the engine over and SPARK! Just then I pulled back a little too far and the spark went around the rag and hit me, about 12 times before I let go. 90,000 volts IIRC. BEHOLD, I am NOW awake ! LOL
isaaclo5 years ago
i was trying to shotgun mod a recon with a drill, but the drill slipped and it went through my hand. I was lucky though, and it didnt hit any nerves tendons, etc. I still have scars though
Data6435 years ago
I tried dremeling a hardened zinc screw once while I had it in a rubber clamp. The screw got so hot that when I touched it I had a burn on my hand for a week. The scarier part was that the heat from the screw melted a giant hole in the soft plastic / rubber from the clamp. I guess I owe my dad a new one. : )
Data643 Data6435 years ago
Here's a picture of the clamp
jbulot5 years ago
I was filling in a ditch and laying culvert in my front yard in Louisiana. Day before, it rained. I had already rented a small excavator and had a buddy come up from South Louisiana to help out - so it was all go on Saturday. We had all the water lines marked, everything. We began excavating Saturday morning early. As soon as we got to the main culvert and starting removing soil to get the depth correct, all the water from upline drained into the ditch we had just dug out. We still had quite a ways go go to get the right angle for the the drain, so continued to dig out the muddy water. We were told the waterline was 6 feet down - turns out it was only 3 feet. So we pulled the flexible main water line out from the meter - even more water filling the ditch from the main line - no shut off - so we crimp the line and call the water company - $900 to come fix it. Forget it - they told us where to get the supplies and by noon we had all the supplies needed. It took much longer than we had expected, but we finally had the ditch dug, the water line repaired and, since we were already digging up front yard, a new whole house water filter installed! But definetly not what I was expecting (oh and I had a national news paper calling to do an interview on nursing home abuse - so at one point, I'm giving an interview from the seat of the excavator!).
Aerospaced5 years ago
I lost my favorite measuring cup in a thermite demo. All I wanted to do was make an instructable video on how to make thermite in one take.
Things were going great until the fateful moment when I lit the pile of compound. An errant spark jumped up and landed in the cup full of material and (poof) it was gone!
I thought I was going to loose the front steps of the house, if not the house itself, for a second.
You can see the whole thing here http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-Thermite-3/
Goodhart5 years ago
Cool...is it ok to post more then one disaster? Or should I just give "the story of my life"     :-)
Carleyy (author)  Goodhart5 years ago
I forgot to account for this, but we will be limiting this to 2 entries per person. I just updated the rules.
Ok thank you.