Wedding DIY Failure | The Glory (Doily) Lamp Debacle

Craft and DIY blogs make all of the projects you see look so easy and perfect.

But we all know not every project is really so easy peasy. In fact, some of them are outright disasters. But you never get to see those do you? Until today.

Dos Family Doily Lamp

The giant doily lamp that has been all over Pinterest for some time is one of the most stunningly gorgeous DIYs I have seen in awhile, and we knew we had to have it for my leetle seester’s rainbow wedding. Yeah, easier said than done, as many on the interwebs have mentioned, and we found the hard way. But at least it was with two of my favorite people in the whole wide world.

Even though the wedding came and went sans-doily lamp, we are still going to make one of these mofos at some point. Because now it’s personal. So here’s how everything went so very wrong, and how you can fix it.


  • Big ol’ balloon
  • A whole bunch of large doilies, not too thick, not too thin. Pretty thin though. Thinner is better.
  • Glue. Some instructions say to use wallpaper glue, but the tutorial we used said to make a concoction of 5 oz of Elmer’s glue, 1/4 cup warm water and 3 Tbsp cornstarch. While that worked, we had to multiply the recipe by about elevently million (we went through a 32 oz container of glue in no time).
  • Modge Podge. We didn’t even get to this step, but we still bought a bunch of it.
  • Large amount of plastic wrap, dry cleaning bag, or something of the sort.
  • Petroleum jelly.
  • Big paintbrush.

How to Make It

First, the smaller this thing is, the easier it is going to be. The instructions we found said to use a balloon 36 inches in diameter, which we did. And that’s fine, but smaller will be easier.

The Glory Lamp Debacle

Jessie has some LUNGS.

The Glory Lamp Debacle

Seester did the final blowing and measuring. Please do not mind the mess in the background. It was sort of a busy day.

The Glory Lamp Debacle

First balloon was a bust. Ha! Get it? But for real, the second one worked better.

Most of the doilies we had were an ivory, aged color. Some of the other doilies mom picked up were fresh and white. No go for a vintage rainbow wedding. A little soak in diluted coffee, followed by a full dry fixed that right up. That being said, these were the thick doilies that were the start of our downfall. Thinner is really better in this case. And larger.

The Glory Lamp Debacle

Coffee. So many uses.

The next tip, and one that I have not seen in every tutorial, was the Vaseline. Even though our balloon eventually popped and died, absolutely nothing got stuck. So there’s that. Coat that whole thing in Vaseline. This was the point at which we were trying to keep hold of the balloon, and kept referring to the up end as the balloon butthole. One Freudian slip later, and this project was dubbed “The Glory Lamp.”

The Glory Lamp Debacle

Grease up that balloon good, oh yeah.

Ok, see how nice that first doily looked? I think it was in large part because it was one of the bigger ones we had. Here’s the problem though. We thought we knew better, so we did not use a paintbrush to apply the glue, we smooshed it on with our hands. Dumb.

Instead, and I tried the paintbrush thing near the end when it was too late, you put down a big piece of plastic, and paint the glue on nice and even. Then lay the doily on the lamp. Then, and this is the important part, use the paintbrush to smooth the doily down on the balloon and into place.

The Glory Lamp Debacle

So glad that first balloon popped. Red really did work better for pictures.

Here’s where we ran into trouble. We tried to add more doilies, but they were both the small (maybe 3-inch diameter) and the thick doilies, which all kept falling off. We figured we had to wait for each layer to dry while was facing upward, which is why it took days and days to get done. The whole time, the balloon was weakening, and it wouldn’t fit through any normal doors and had to be dragged down to the basement overnight multiple times so the kitteny jerkwad couldn’t get it.

The Glory Lamp Debacle

I don’t know why that paintbrush is there, we totally did not know it was the holy grail of this project, and therefore, did not use it that day.

The Glory Lamp Debacle

See, drippiness is bad, and that doily is not spread out properly. The paintbrush would have taken care of that.

The Glory Lamp Debacle

Also, do not lean on a glue and Vaseline-covered balloon. It goes well for no one.

Once you finish covering the balloon and it has dried, give it a coat of Modge Podge. Once that has dried, pop the balloon. What we had finished when our balloon popped (pre-modge Podge) early stayed remarkably intact. Rumor has it, it is a good idea to give it an interior coat of Modge Podge after the balloon is popped as well.

Then cut a hole at the top to insert a light fixture. Look for a bulb that doesn’t burn very hot though, either an LED or the kind they sell at Ikea for the paper lanterns.

This lamp will totally happen again, and we will be victorious. Just you wait.

What was your most spectacular craft/DIY failure? And if you made this lamp, tell us how it worked out for you!


  1. Susan says:

    Having been there for the entire project, I will second everything you said! Starting with a smaller balloon is key, at least until one really gets the hang of this.


  1. […] Even though the wedding came and went sans-doily lamp, we are still going to make one of these mofos at some point. Because now it’s personal. So here’s how everything went so very wrong, and how you can fix it. {Read on!} […]