Well that was E... Ok, not so much.
March 1, 2014 10:45 PM   Subscribe

Pinterest Fail - a site where Pinterest lovers can share the projects they've embarked on that didn't turn out quite how they hoped.

Comment Previously (2,3)
posted by Mitheral (66 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
LOL! Thank you, Mitheral – I've found my people.
posted by taz at 10:57 PM on March 1, 2014 [6 favorites]


From the comments to the post taz linked to, staggering in its passive-aggressivitibilitudinality ... ness.:
I can’t imagine trying to do something without reading the directions first and following them. Whenever I have found a craft or recipe on Pinterest, I have gone on to the original source and used those directions; I would never just use the picture as it appeared on pinterest.com. But I guess that is just me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:03 PM on March 1, 2014 [8 favorites]


Even just skimming, I've found two people who responded to "What I'll do differently next time" with some form of "pay somebody else to do it" so I already know this is a valuable service.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:03 PM on March 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ya the ones, especially the baking ones, where people detail the half a dozen substitutions are understandable fails. But there are lots there where people claim to have been faithful to the instructions. Probably part an unnoticed follow-direction-fail and part instruction fail. Anyone who has ever tried to assemble a manufactured product can probably relate.
posted by Mitheral at 11:15 PM on March 1, 2014


Ha! From one of the maternity photography posts: Next time I will not have huge knockers that suffocated my husband, or a very short family with little height variations between us.
posted by mochapickle at 11:22 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many baking fails come from people who have minimal baking/cake decorating experience and then expect to whip out fantastic results from trial one, and when it fails go ''I'm never doing thius again!!''

Tbh the best one I've read so far was the lady who etched the pint glass, because she failed, and failed and failed... AND THEN FIGURED IT OUT. That is the best. A fucking plus to her.
posted by edgeways at 11:41 PM on March 1, 2014 [16 favorites]


I love the articles on here that are like "I substituted three ingredients and only did half the steps because I didn't see the point of them and yet it didn't come out right?!"

In fairness, that's pretty much my mom's method of baking/cooking/everything involving assembly instructions. It was amazing when I found out you could make things by actually following the actual directions.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:43 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I didn't know putting babies in pumpkins was a thing. Judging from the results, the babies are surprised and displeased by it as well.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:50 PM on March 1, 2014 [11 favorites]


If someone put me in a pumpkin I think my reaction would be similar. Those smiling babies are obviously out of their mind on baby dope.
posted by edgeways at 11:54 PM on March 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've been in a pumpkin before. It wasn't so bad.
posted by aubilenon at 12:14 AM on March 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


I have just spent the last half hour reading through these and snorting out loud with laughter!

Favs include:

Easter bunny pancake
Halloween wreath
Tangled web
Maternity photo
Shark cake

Thanks Mitheral!
posted by maupuia at 12:34 AM on March 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure why but deflated food puddles are endlessly amusing to me. Mirth via Mitheral!
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:13 AM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Favorite user-induced fail

It turns out there's a big difference between a rocket-hot wok and a crock pot. Bonus points for submitter hanging around and getting snippy when people say she can't cook.
posted by Punkey at 1:18 AM on March 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


Bonus points for submitter hanging around and getting snippy when people say she can't cook.

Cyber bullies! How dare those nasty trolls point out that slow-cooking something in a crockpot is a slightly different cooking method than stir-frying in a wok.
posted by Jimbob at 1:33 AM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Okay there's something about the shark cake attempt that just made me crack up completely.
posted by Mizu at 1:36 AM on March 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


A lot of the food pics that these are based on are professionally done and styled within an inch of actual edibility.


I would like to state that the gross looking ginger cayenne cookie puddles I made the other night were goddamn delicious. Now I wish I had taken pictures so people could be horrified.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:42 AM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I like it when the commenters turn on the site itself -- Posting things like this (in my opinion) is just a waste of time. These people obviously didn’t even try. -- it's like watching the Emperor accidently fall onto the arena floor.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:46 AM on March 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


A lot of the food pics that these are based on are professionally done and styled within an inch of actual edibility.

I used to know someone who worked as a magazine art editor/layout person. He said the food they photographed was usually shellacked and painted, among other things. Your food won't look like that the same way that models don't look like that at home -- food photography is not quite so pathological, but it has some pretty similar self-esteem fallout....
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:27 AM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


The baby-pumpkin fails remind me of the skilled pricing fable. Obviously the hard part of those photos isn't the physical placement of a baby in a pumpkin but rather making said baby happy to be there.
posted by Mitheral at 2:28 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Okay there's something about the shark cake attempt that just made me crack up completely.


We're gonna need a bigger pan!
posted by XhaustedProphet at 2:49 AM on March 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Pretty much all the "cutely decorated baked goods" projects really ought to start with:

1. Get 5+ years of experience in professional cake decorating.
posted by Sequence at 3:01 AM on March 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


This one intrigues me. How was she planning on keeping the 'vase' on the left upright? Or was she going to make the whole shebang even worse by artisically stacking it inside the one on the right???
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:13 AM on March 2, 2014


I did the sweet potato fries one a while ago and it turned out great! Using cornstarch actually did help them to be crispier, and that same pin directed me to my favourite condiment, sriracha and mayo mixed together.
posted by sarae at 3:56 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]



Pretty much all the "cutely decorated baked goods" projects really ought to start with:

1. Get 5+ years of experience in professional cake decorating.


2. Hire a professional photographer with a SLR and full halogen lighting rig.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:02 AM on March 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't know the original source, but this is absolutely my favorite pintrest fail. The original pin has been featured on Pintrest Fail a couple of times, but neither of them look quite as much like evil demon rolls.
posted by amarynth at 4:13 AM on March 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


I was just about to post my own favorite bunny roll fail, amaranth. Evil cats.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:24 AM on March 2, 2014


sriracha and mayo mixed together.

Indeed. Also, sririacha and tartar sauce PLUS a dash of bay seasoning for topping my fish filet sandwiches really makes those boring lunchtimes at the office just a little bit special.
posted by mikelieman at 4:33 AM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


It seems to me like the comments at Pinterest Fail have gotten worse as the site has gotten more popular. Of course the submitter tried to discern the directions just from the picture! Of course they made a million substitutions because they didn't have any of the ingredients! Thus is the joy of Pinterest Fail!
posted by muddgirl at 5:38 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I would also use nicer twigs, but this was all I had in my yard."
posted by hoyland at 6:10 AM on March 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


I wanted to try my hand at the traditional Jewish treat of Hamentashen. My sister sent me a link to the Smores ones, so I gave it a shot.

Despite being Jewish, I had never heard of Hamentashen s'mores. Now that I have learned this information, I shall emulate Sherlock Holmes and do my best to forget it.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:19 AM on March 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


In a similar vein, the Pintester's blog is often funny.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:43 AM on March 2, 2014


In the spirit of Regretsy, it seems, only Regretsy was more about mocking the chutzpah of people whose projects didn't come out quite right but who still wanted you to buy the items for $300 apiece. The mercenary attitude deserved mockery.

This is more bullying-ish, like collecting and posting the ugliest selfies on the Web (to parallel the personal decisions, fashion shots with full makeup and wardrobe).

I have learned that Some People Cannot Cook. Bullying them about it, or preening that You Yourself Can Cook, is poor form, especially at a potluck.
posted by bad grammar at 6:47 AM on March 2, 2014


But these people are submitting their own fails? I see the potential bullying in the comments, but most of the posts involve a hefty dose of self-mockery (accompanied by requests for suggestions for improvement).
posted by thomas j wise at 7:00 AM on March 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


I tried building a glass house out of recycled sash windows despite having no experience building things whatsoever. It didn't turn out so well and I made a number of rookie mistakes - treated versus untreated wood, weight not balanced, opening upwards creates a potential guillotine and so on...

But what I really discovered after talking to some people with experience is that this type of project is really extremely difficult to do. Like more difficult that professionally installing new windows because the windows are all different sizes, the frames different thicknesses and often warped. The DIY interwebs kind of left that detail out.
posted by srboisvert at 7:18 AM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


See, I feel like the original thing about this was the idea that so much stuff is posted on Pinterest where it looks so effortless and perfect and the reality is that no, pretty much nobody would be able to achieve those perfect results, it's all a lie. In that case, it's only mocking whoever made the original post. But then it seems like some people are like "look at this awful recipe for teriyaki, it doesn't work at all when I prepare it in a completely different way", and, well, at that point you've kind of opened yourself up for it, when you tried to get people to mock someone else for a "bad" recipe that you didn't actually bother to follow.
posted by Sequence at 7:21 AM on March 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


edgeways: "I wonder how many baking fails come from people who have minimal baking/cake decorating experience and then expect to whip out fantastic results from trial one, and when it fails go ''I'm never doing thius again!!''"

Pinterest baking instructions are often flat-out misleading; for example, it says "use X drops food coloring" when the only way you can get those intense, bright colors is with GEL food coloring. Or the "baked" picture cookies have NO spreading at all, only puffing, so they were either baked in molds (which you weren't told about) or some other step was left out or they're simply faked.

Pinterest "best chicken ever!" recipes are even worse because about half of them want you to eat raw chicken because there is NO WAY that is cooked long enough to cook the chicken in question, and they always say "bake 20 minutes" and never ever add "... or until temperature measures 165" or anything like that.

I have a friend who is constantly pinning versions of chicken where you bake the chicken, potatoes, and vegetables all in one dish (but it's not a casserole, they're just all in the same dish for convenience) and I'm always like, "That chicken needs 35-45 minutes, potatoes that big at that low a temperature are going to need at least 90, and that soft vegetable on the side is going to be a soggy mess after 15." But she's always pinning them looking for one that works as claimed!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:22 AM on March 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


I've been reading Pinterest Fail for a couple of years now, and there's always been two kinds of posts:

(1) Fails where the perfect result is basically impossible (for some reason people have started calling these 'troll pins')
(2) Fails where the perfect result is extremely unlikely because the person trying to execute the craft has eyes that are bigger than their stomach, as it were

I don't know why (2) is considered less of a fail than (1). All the fails are self-submitted and 99% of #2 Submitters are perfectly clear that their fail is all on them (the teriyaki chicken lady, for example, seems very aware now that a crock pot won't make teriyaki chicken).
posted by muddgirl at 7:31 AM on March 2, 2014


Honestly, I don't even understand how the teriyaki beef was a fail. She cooked a bunch of beef in the slow cooker for eight hours with a cup of teriyaki. It sounds delicious. Hell, it sounds like dinner…brb.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:31 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Okay, the slow cooker's on, I'm back.

It's funny how once you get into the rhythm of reading these you forget that the non-fails come first...you'll start to laugh at some like "oh my god, ha ha, that's hideous" until you realize that this is the way it's SUPPOSED to look. (Yes, of course I'm talking about the maternity photo, but also a lot of the arts and crafts entries had the same effect.)

Also, muddgirl and I posted at the same time; my post wasn't in response to hers.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:39 AM on March 2, 2014


I'm a crafter, and I LOVE a good Pinterest Fail post. A lot of the time it's quite clear that the person just didn't follow directions, but there are times when it would basically take a professional to get the results aimed for.

I have my share of crafting missteps myself, though I am usually able to salvage them somehow, i.e., a dress that wasn't working becomes a skirt. It's cathartic for me to see other people's mistakes. Not everything you make is going to turn out the way you intended. It's a very complex process where there's nearly always a learning curve. You can't get the materials required, so you have to substitute, you have to alter things to suit yourself, and you make mistakes.
posted by orange swan at 7:50 AM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


The mozzarella macaroni "fail" looks better than the inspiration. I guess it's a huge congealed wad, but that's how I like my cheese anyway.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:00 AM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ooh, I just read the comments on the mozzarella macaroni post and the author of the original recipe comes along to say "yeah, we tried mozzarella and totally failed at it! I've updated the recipe with a note." It's always reassuring when the experts don't get it right either.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:03 AM on March 2, 2014


There's also the sub-category of pinterest uselessness* where the pin in question looks fantastic, and isn't impossible (even for non pros), but is just badly formulated and is only useful in the context of a pretty picture. For example: trays of party food artfully arranged so that only like 6 fit on a plate. That ain't going to feed much of a party. Or stuff that's several times more complicated than it needs to be just for the momentary "oh isn't that clever"

* who am I kidding I love pinterest
posted by quaking fajita at 8:04 AM on March 2, 2014


I like these Just the Tips videos on trying internet tips.They're pretty funny and light (and not mean spirited - maybe that's the magic of the spoken word over the written?)
posted by vespabelle at 9:01 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


That pinata cake is revolting even when made properly. Five-year-old me would have loved it, but grown-up me has aching teeth just looking at it.
posted by variella at 9:14 AM on March 2, 2014


And yeah Pinterest bakers have a habit of...I don't know if skipping is quite the right word, but maybe eliding the difficulty of their recipes. Like "Roll out the dough" should be "Roll out the dough, which of course you aged in a dark, warm place for a week, turning it over and kneading out the gas every 15 minutes or so, right? Of course you did, that's why I didn't mention it..."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:58 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Which is actually the same problem I have with some baking books I have. Sure, aging the bread dough for a week may result in a slightly tastier product but honestly doing that much work for a loaf of something that is going to last approximately ten minutes in my house when it's done just isn't worth it.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:07 AM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


My favorite. This is having kids in a nutshell. Double the fun and double the mess you expected.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:22 AM on March 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


I used to know someone who worked as a magazine art editor/layout person. He said the food they photographed was usually shellacked and painted, among other things. Your food won't look like that the same way that models don't look like that at home -- food photography is not quite so pathological, but it has some pretty similar self-esteem fallout....

I work on food photo shoots and this is not quite true. The aesthetic today is very much toward things that are very natural looking, lighting and styling wise. I have never seen paint or shellac or anything like that used (and also you couldn't if it were advertising a specific product, that would be misleading). Not that you would want to eat the hero food (it's been sitting out all day) but it's not like it's basted in motor oil. What the stylists do is more like a hybrid of chef and sculptor, they bring giant toolboxes of pans and knives but also tweezers and brushes. It's actually super fascinating watching them do their thing, and they have a million dark secret tricks (to get a carbonated beverage to bubble on demand, sprinkle with salt).

I don't personally shoot food so I find working these gigs quite boring actually, the photography part is extremely simple so it's a lot of standing around. The images are mostly the work of an incredibly talented stylist, who cooked the recipe 10x to get the best options and then artfully arranged and sculpted everything into place (but of course, always leaving room to adjust the composition without destroying the food) over the course of a few hours of setting up a shot. To me when I look at Pinterest or food blogs it's easy to pick out the amateur vs pro images - the photography of amateurs is often really good, but the food is never that appetizing.
posted by bradbane at 10:56 AM on March 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


I try stuff and mess it up all the time, but if you're attempting a recipe from a cuisine you don't know well or using techniques you've never tried before, "I skipped step/ingredient X because I don't have it/like it/understand it" you're asking for trouble. Ask me about the friend who substituted chili seasoning for the entire spice list in a curry recipe because "they seemed about the same." No.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:00 AM on March 2, 2014


Normally I'm not a fan of fail-blogs but these all being self submitted puts these in a class than regretsy or cake wrecks.

I really wish there was more of this in the woodworking community. Failure can be constructive. I can't count the number of times I've spent the whole day trying to recreate something I've seen a picture of and accomplished nothing but expanding my burn pile. Often there is a certain a amount of inappropriate substitution too as I rarely can afford to buy expensive wood that would be a better choice than second growth pine. I get a laugh every time New Yankee Norm makes a test product in popular and that's likely to be my stretch to afford final project wood.
posted by Mitheral at 12:08 PM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Actually, I thought this turned out better than the original. It reminds me of the end of Raiders.
posted by smidgen at 12:23 PM on March 2, 2014


These are wonderful and shark cake made me literally cry laughing
posted by Greg Nog at 12:49 PM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would prefer the shark cake fail to the real shark cake.
posted by winna at 1:03 PM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oof.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:43 PM on March 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have a love-hate relationship with pinterest.

I feel like there are two weird forces going on here. One is the tendency to avoid looking like an expert in something because that is somehow bragging or "not-nice". And two is the expectation that you can acquire skills through the internet. That you are not limited, you are only limited by what "tricks" you know or what gear you have.

I've spent a few hundred hours figuring out what glue works on what medium, which paint will curl off into a bundle when applied to plastic or metal or how to give yourself great burns/cuts/dyed blue skin with various materials. Thats what learning is.

But these pinterest-blogger types want to appear like everything they do is equally good and equally effortless. Sure she made a healthy organic dinner, lovingly encouraged her children to seek self enlightenment, etc, etc, and "oh, I whipped up these turkey oreo decorations in a snap! It's so easy, you can too!" Because, of course she is bragging, but she can't appear to be doing so. She needs to appear to be helping you. Because nice girls don't brag. Nice girls also aren't great at math, or are skilled, or get messy.

And then when someone sees that pin, they assume have the requisite knowledge, plunk down the money for the requisite supplies they should be able to do things effortlessly. It's a transaction. I give you money, plus things I collected on the internet means I DESERVE to have things turn out perfectly!
posted by fontophilic at 2:13 PM on March 2, 2014 [18 favorites]


The shark cake baker is clearly someone close to my own heart. My rule of thumb is that anything I do depicting teeth in any medium will come out terrifying. Like if I'm drawing someone: "oh, very nice, yes, oooh my eyes look good, great job on the nose, lips hmm, OH GOD WHAT IS THAT WHY IS MY MOUTH A HOLLOW OF SPLINTERED BONES RENDERING MY OVERALL APPEARANCE DISTURBING AND GHOULISH"
posted by threeants at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I would like to state that the gross looking ginger cayenne cookie puddles I made the other night were goddamn delicious.

recipe please or like.. yeah i'll do things. but seriously those sound like amazing cookies.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:51 PM on March 2, 2014


oh my god the shark cake i can't even
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:13 PM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Baking a elaborate visually appealing item really is one of the worst possible things to try and pick up via the internet in instruction list form. You're almost guaranteed to fail.

Baking is about running head first into the fact that you have 1000 god damn variables that will affect your end products and it's going to take many many attempts to isolate them one by one and find which combination of them produces something that works. There is general knowledge that can help bring the number of repetitions down, but expecting to pull off a beautiful choux pastry swan, perfectly delineated color cookies or a loaf of bread with the crust just right from a recipe you saw online is like trying to bowl a perfect game because you saw someone do it on tv.
posted by Ferreous at 5:13 PM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]






I'm so glad there was no Pinterest when I was learning to bake; I probably would have been so disappointed with myself and thought I couldn't do it! Luckily for me, first my dad, then my stoned friends were all super willing to eat baking failures. Also, since I can't draw, it never occurred to me to imagine that I'd be able to draw with frosting.

I wish I had pictures of my first attempt at a layer cake, which was square and ended up with a jagged crack down the middle. I frosted a little road that intersected it and made a tiny caution sign. It was tasty. Did you know you're supposed to cut off the top of the bottom layer? I made so many layer cakes after I learned that. So easy, so impressive.

These make me want to try some of the original projects and see if I can learn from the mistakes of others!
posted by MsDaniB at 4:32 AM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]




Taz, I think it's unfair to expect an amateur baker to be as good as Fitzgerald and Francis Cugat put together.....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:35 AM on March 3, 2014


It's kind of like those Photoshop tutorials that you follow faithfully and your final result looks a bit....off.
posted by gregjunior at 5:09 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


« Older the ice caps are melllllllting...   |   Va Va Vroom Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments