Project Fail: Painted Mixer

Epic DIY fail Happy weekend, everyone! Last week during a Livestream (see here if you missed it), I mentioned that I had a project "fail" to share that I hadn't found time to post yet. Well, here it is! I put the word "fail" in quotes there because I actually have mixed feelings about it (like, I don't think it's really a total fail), but it's a project that didn't turn out well enough for us to share it on ABM as a tutorial. So in that sense, I guess it's a fail.

As you can see, I painted my Kitchen Aid mixer. I was going for a faux granite look. I used a small kit from a company (that I won't mention simply because the product was good, so I don't want to associate them with my failed project) that sells paint kits for counter tops. Painting your mixer isn't something new…lots of people have done this. For example I love this simple tutorial, this one, and that one too. But I had never seen granite (or any kind of marble) before, so I thought that might be fun. 

I worked on this for about half a day (maybe 3 1/2 or 4 hours) over the course of two days because I had to let the prime coat dry completely. It was sort of satisfying to take the mixer apart and give it a deep clean before starting. The faux granite paint system had four or five steps depending on whether you wanted to add veins or not. 

Epic DIY failOnce I finished and everything was dry, I put the hardware back on and just stared at it for a while. Hmm…does it look like granite or just like early 90s style sponge painting? I texted a few friends a photo to see what they thought. They were all nice, but the overwhelming answer was: sponge paint. 

I knew before I even started taking off the hardware that this was an experiment that might not work out. And I thought that even if it didn't, I could always repaint it a solid color. So I wasn't worried about ruining my Kitchen Aid mixer for good. I actually haven't repainted it yet because I can't decide what color. And honestly, I don't hate the look of it currently. It's just not quite what I was going for. Sometimes you take a risk and it doesn't pay off like you thought it might—but if nobody dies or goes bankrupt, you're probably OK. 🙂

I've been wanting to share this project "fail" with you though because one thing we hear now and again from readers is something along the lines of, "Oh you guys never show mistakes or failures. You must never have any or you're trying to look like you don't." And of course, it's actually neither of those. We have TONS of failures in projects, recipes, products, business decisions, etc. Failure is part of being creative and certainly a part of being a business owner. Failure is a part of life. To me, it's just part of the process. It's the frustrating part, but it's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, did you know that one of my most popular posts on this site is when I opened up about failing at my then dream (acting). We are NOT trying to hide failure or portray our lives on this site as "perfect". I mean, it's called A Beautiful Mess…emphasis on MESS, guys!

Elsie and I were talking about some past business projects that didn't work out recently as we were trying to think of good examples to share in a course we're working on. And at first we couldn't think of any, but then once we got the ball rolling, we started remembering too many. Ha! It made me realize that failures or things that just didn't work out become so much less of the story simply because we're always moving forward. I don't remember all the projects or recipes that have failed and didn't make it on to ABM because I move on and soon forget. And I think that's pretty healthy. Failures are nothing to be ashamed of, but they shouldn't define our lives. They are stepping stones to success.

OK, that was a major tangent from just showing you my sponge painted Kitchen Aid mixer. Ha! I really got off on a rabbit trail there, didn't I?! Well, anyway, for those of you who have requested seeing the mistakes and messes—here you go. I see this "mistake" everyday in my kitchen right now and I'm OK with that. 🙂 But also…what color do you think I should paint it???? I'm thinking about pale, blush pink or maybe a bright yellow. Any suggestions? xo. Emma

  • I like it, but im curious, did you sand to remove the original glaze/ glaze over or does paint just adhere? And how long does it last without chipping into your food ?

  • I think it does look like granite but…still not sure I like it on the mixer. I mean granite is prety but for a mixer something seems kinda off. Maybe for some other surface the same texture would look just great. As for colors fopr a mixer it all depepends on the look you want and the rest of the kitchen. I’d say for modern looking maybe a red, dark blue, black, for a retro style maybe some bright colors or a pastel for a softer retro, and a shiny black with silver would be real cool for a more futuristic style but then I guess the model would not look right

  • I have the pistachio and I’ve loved the color for over 5 years! I think that’s saying a lot for a bright color like that!

    And I agree with someone else’s comment, I thought of acid wash jeans when I saw yours, ha!

  • This is definitely not a fail , I absolutely love this DIY !

  • The mixer doesn’t look THAT bad. If it were sold in a store, I would not buy it, jsut because I always envision kitchen tools to be clean – chromes, white, black – very monochromatic.

    However…. two things.

    1 – If you are going to re-paint – go for yellow – your blog personality seems like one that is bright and

    2 – Have you seen the copper colored mixers in Williams Sonoma lately – awesome!!!!!!!

  • Excellent!!! it looks like marble..when I read ¨fail¨I was like where is the fail? It´s super original!

  • my first thought was granite BUT maybe to matte? I don’t know if a shiny clear coat would make it harder to paint over if it doesn’t work but I think it needs a shine to it!!

  • I actually really like it! Sometime just because it doesn’t turn out exactly we are harsh on ourselves, but this resulted in a fun unique piece!

  • I think the mixer looks great! A complete original! And looks great against your counter top too.

  • I think it looks great, and not a bit like the bad 90’s sponge paintings.

  • I honestly don’t mind it! As long as you don’t put it near anything real granite you will be fine 🙂

  • I know this is a fail, and I appreciate you sharing it, but guuuurlll…this looks cool still! I’m sure it must look a little different in person, but yeah, looks like granite from here. I’ve totally felt the sting of something not turning out the way you wanted though, but like you said, you just keep moving. Great words! Thanks for sharing!

  • I never thought that your company “never has failures,” I think you just choose to inspire readers with the ones that work. It is nice to read this post though and that you are totally open to admitting your failures to also inspire your readers. As for the color, definitely something that’s a POP would be beautiful!

  • I think it looks good. I have had many “happy accidents.” Some of my favorites are things that didn’t turn out as I planned.

  • I think it looks great. I have actually had many “happy accidents.” Some of my favorite things are items that didn’t turn out be what I had planned on making. That’s part of the fun of art.

  • Love your story and wisdom!
    Have you hear /read Brene Brown? Your thinking is along the lines of what Brene will describe as a ‘wholehearted’ person 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  • I see granite! My MIL has the ceilings at her house all sponge painted (think dirty yellow, lilac and sage green on one ceiling) and this is total opposite end of the spectrum!

  • I also thought it was acid wash denim! But I think a neon coral would look amazing!

  • I’m not going to lie, my eyes nearly bulged out of my head when I saw the first photo because I couldn’t believe you had painted a Kitchenaid! But that’s because in Australia they are close to $1000 & I would be too scared to risk it myself.

    It looks quite cool though & I love that you guys shared some projects that maybe hadn’t gone quite to plan.

  • I think this turned out quite well actually! 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • In my opinion the lower part looks much more like granite. I would consider just paiting the upper part first, maybe in black 😀

  • I saw the picture before I read any of the text, and I thought it looked like bone. Figured it was a Halloween post or something. Did not know you could paint mixers. I love the color of mine too much now, its the tangerine, but who knows in a few years.

  • This is an awesome post. Not because you showed a “fail”. But because of this: “I don’t remember all the projects or recipes that have failed and didn’t make it on to ABM because I move on and soon forget. And I think that’s pretty healthy. Failures are nothing to be ashamed of, but they shouldn’t define our lives. They are stepping stones to success.”

    I’ve been struggling with the words to explain how I feel when people say that if you don’t show your failures, you’re trying to hide something. And that was perfect.

    Ps. I saw a painted mixer with lots of flowers all over it. It would be cool if you painted it like one of your Red Velvet tattoos instead of just a solid colour.

  • Home Depot has a paint product for counters that covers quite well. I don’t recommend the rather pricy kit that has two or three steps, but instead, this product which is like painting anything else. It comes in quart paint sizes and has a number of available colors. Sorry but I don’t remember the name at this moment. It is about 20 dollars a quart, but one can goes a long way. I bought a wheat color and decided after I put a little on that it was too light, and they tinted it darker for me, which worked out fine.
    One caution is that it has a very strong smell. You will need good ventilation and I recommend leaving the inside of the house for two or three hours while it dries.
    It covered well and took my pink counters from the 1990’s to the present.

  • I’ve had a blog post fail before while trying to cut glass bottles with string and fire. I tried it about 10 times and I could never get the bottle to break evenly. Fail. I do love the look of the mixer though, even if it wasn’t what you were going for.

  • OMG this is not a fail!!!! This is sooo cool…if i wasn’t in love with my ice blue kitchenaid, I would want this one!

  • Loved reading this. I am always very hard on myself when I fail, so seeing and hearing how a successful person fails and learns from it reminds me that it’s an important part of learning and growing. Thank you for sharing

  • I absolutely love how you guys are transparent in terms of what you share in your blog content, courses and lifestreams. It’s wonderfully fresh and it’s awesome! I’m very much a fan of blush pink and I think that could possibly be a wonderfully color for the mixer. But, will it fit in with your kitchen color scheme? I know you’re moving soon and I’m not sure if you’re changing your kitchen’s color scheme. If you stay with orange accents, I’m not sure blush pink would go so well.
    Whatever color you decide on, I bet it will be super cute.


  • Just want to say that we really aren’t here to read about fails…you’ve found the ways to make something happen right, and spared us the mistakes along the way. Thank you for that. I get inspiration from this site, methods on how to make it happen, and positivity. Keep moving forward!

  • I think it definitely looks like granite, but what probably throws people off is that it’s granite in such an unusual place. So yeah I dont see it as a fail if granite was what you were going for. Maybe it’s more that for a mixer granite isn’t the right look.

    New color: Clementine!

  • Kudos to you for having the cojones to attempt the project! I would never every try to paint mine for fear of screwing up big time. Bravo! For Kitchen Aid 3.0, I think flamingo pink would be a cool Kitchen Aid color: not a 50’s pink, but a warm pinky coral. (Fiesta had a LE flamingo collection that was gorgeous.) I also love classic 70’s avocado. Please be sure to share photos 🙂 xo h

  • How about bright yellow, that sounds happy and cheerful and super eye catching.

  • Thank you for this post. I am just starting out with my blog and I believe I have had more fails than anything. I tell myself it’s no biggie because everyone makes mistakes. I think it would be kind of suspicious if I was always perfect. You should definitely paint the mixer bright yellow! 🙂

  • Emma, you cray! That is gorgeous and looks exactly like granite. Now I need someone to buy me a Kitchen Aid and make it granite, IMMEDIATELY! 😉

    Thanks for sharing the supposed “fail” though. It is comforting to know.

  • I think it looks great and I can see the granite in it (not kidding!). But if you really want to re-paint it (which I think isn’t nessaccery at all) you might go for a copper.

  • Fail?!? No way!! I think it looks amazing, even if it was a bit off what you were hoping for, I really think you could leave like that! It’s quirky and unique. No one else has a mixer like that do they? I think you should rock it!
    Lauren x

  • I’m loving the marble look lately. Now only if I had my own mixer to paint 🙂

    White Walls & Wanderlust | A wanderlust-ridden blog with bits of photography, food, style, and more.

    – Alex

  • Once you mentioned that it was supposed to look like granite, I could totally see it! Before that… Not so much 🙂 I would, however, really like to know the name of the company that makes these paint kits for counters! We’ve got pretty ugly counters in our kitchen but not enough money to replace them right now (home priorities, you know). Wouldn’t mind a simpler fix like this!

    Susannah //

  • Thanks for sharing, Emma. And thanks much for reminding me that “failure is a part of being creative”. It’s so easy to get discouraged sometimes when a project doesn’t turn out the way you had envisioned. Like you say, I just have to keep “moving forward”!

  • It’s kind of ironic people say that about your company. I mean, seriously, the name of your business is A Beautiful Mess. That tends to imply that you are messy creative types and that you’re okay with it. Humans are neither perfect or imperfect. We are something in between and maybe that’s a good thing. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Personally, when I first saw it I thought it looked like granite!!!! 😮 I think it looks great! But if you’re thinking about re-paintin it, I would suggest a minty shade 🙂 that would look really pretty

    Xoxo Jessy

  • I actually quit like it. It has that rustic vibe. I don’t even know how many times I tried something and it didn’t turned out well. It’s all part of the crafting. You can’t expect that everything will look exactly as you planned. xo

    Antonia || Sweet Passions

  • When I saw the photo, before reading the post, my first reaction was that it looked to me like acid-washed demin, which I thought was a pretty cool texture in an unexpected place. Not sure if that observation holds up in real life, aside from the photo. At any rate, I like it, I agree the “fail”, is rightfully in quotations.

  • Sounds like a book waiting to be written…. success through the beautiful messes of mess ups. 😉 And your mixer is funnn!!! I love it!

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