Behind the Scenes: Overcoming a Bump in the Road aka the Ugliest DIY Donut Ever Created

By Brittni • Updated on 07/06/2021

Behind the Scenes: Overcoming a Bump in the Road aka the Ugliest DIY Donut Ever Created

Today I wanted to talk about the strange way that things seem to always go as planned in blogland.

That cool DIY project you saw on so-and-so’s blog, an amazing fashion post, or drool-worthy recipe – that all came together without a hitch, right?

Hell. to. the. no.

At least not for me. True, sometimes everything goes according to plan. But for all of those other times, when things are going less than stellar, you have to know how to overcome it and get back on track.

I don’t want to speak for everyone on this subject, so I’m just going to share my experience. And say that I frequently encounter little bumps in the road and/or larger annoying hurdles. Which may or may not be accompanied by miniature breakdowns and frequent cussing. Once I blow off a little steam, though, I put my head down and get back to work. Whether I feel like I know what I’m doing or not.

So, today, I wanted to share one of my experiences in dealing with bumps in the road, for Behind the Scenes. And I thought my watermelon donut project would be a good place to start.


Oh, no reason, really. Just this…

Behind the Scenes: Anatomy of a DIY Project

Sooo….I never post complete and utter fail photos, but in this case, I thought it was necessary. Clearly, my first attempt at these watermelon donuts didn’t go very well. Can you tell?

But I was pretty sure that I would eventually get it right, so I kept going.

Let’s back up this train a little bit though and start with my initial thought process… I had never tried to make edible paint before and I’m not exactly a whiz in the kitchen (though I am getting better). So I thought it was a smart move to mix food coloring gel and water to create an edible wash. That’s what I do when I want to thin out regular paints, so that should work, right? Nope! Didn’t work at all.

I had somehow made donuts look inedible. How was that even possible?

So, after that first (completely failed) attempt, I did some research, switched to vodka instead of water for the edible paint, and tried again. My second attempt ended up being leaps and bounds better than the first. And I learned something in the process, which I’ll use for future DIYs that require painting food. Kind of a super specific thing to have learned, but hey, it’s something. And I won’t make that mistake again.

In that first attempt, I also painted the seeds, which I decided to skip for round two, and opted for chocolate sprinkles as seeds instead. I don’t have a photo, but I actually tried three different types of spinkles before settling on the ones in the photos. So experimenting is definitely a good thing.

Lesson #1: Learn from your mistakes. And experiment, experiment, experiment.

Choosing the Right Background + Props for a Project

Behind the Scenes / finished watermelon donut DIY

Once I had all the donuts looking good, I encountered another problem though. And that was in the styling.

In the final photos for this project, I used a graphic fabric, overtop a corner of a marble slab for the background. But that’s not what I had originally planned. Initially, I thought a simple tea towel would be a good option, but after trying it out, I realized it wasn’t going to work. I was kind of hating it, actually, and was getting pretty frustrated. So, I decided a change of scenery was a good idea.

And since I don’t have a studio outside of my house, I moved my trusty marble slab into our bedroom, scooted our nightstand next to the window, and brought in my ladder. Change of scenery complete. But I still needed something for that top corner, to balance things out. I tried the donuts on the marble without any textiles, but it just didn’t work. Looked a little too plain. So, I tried a tea towel, but the red stripe clashed and didn’t have the right feel. I was going for fun and playful.

So, I fished around my fabric drawer again and found a black and white polka dot scrap that conveniently mimicked watermelon seeds and tried that. It worked. And I was able to finish arranging the donuts, along with a couple of props, to get the photos I was imagining. Project complete.

Lesson #2: Failure makes you better…As long as you keep going.

Behind the Scenes: Overcoming a Bump in the Road

And there’s my (not so short) story of how I turned a pretty hideous first attempt into a successful project.

How do you overcome issues, when you’re working on a project? Feel free to share your story and/or tips and tricks in the comments below.

And if youre looking for more ways to create beautifully styled, share-worthy tutorials, check out my Skillshare class, The How To on How Tos: Creating Compelling Tutorials for your Blog.

21 comments | Click here to reply

Wow, these are incredible!! I love that you showed us the whole process. Makes it feel like these DIY posts are actualy doable! 😉


Loved this! It’s so easy to think all you “awesome” bloggers never make mistakes, but mistakes endear us to people! I just started a new mini series on my blog called the REAL delineate where I share the mess behind my pretty photos. Seems to resinate with people!

Amy W

I love little behind the scenes peaks like this on blogs! It’s refreshing to see some project fails too. We all have them, but it sometimes seems to feel like everyone is perfect but yourself. This post was a great read!


Loved this! It’s hard to start a blog and it doesn’t help that everybody makes it looks so easy. This really inspired me, thank you 🙂


Where did you get the cutting board and fabric? I’d love a board that size but can’t find one! And I love that fabric!

vanessa d

I love seeing your behind the scenes pictures it makes me feel so much better about how I try to set up my photographs, I really must start using step ladders instead of my dining chairs! Thanks for sharing your blogging experiences it’s a great help to newbies x


Love this post girl! We should totally all do a day where we each post a big fat fail. Because lord knows we all have them! xo

Chelsea Foy

What a great post! That messed up donut cracked me up. I can completely relate to all of this!

Marlene @ Jade and Fern

I love your perfect imperfect stills 🙂
It´s good to know, that not only my projects often end in a total mess.
Well, not “end” but during the making it seems like…
Take care,

Stefanie von Schön & Gut

The first attempt would be my last one. I would never get it better than that so congrats at overcoming! Maybe I’m just lazy. Which is why I probably won’t have too many DIYs on my blog…
The Accidental Mama

The Accidental Mama

I love this, it’s so typical to assume bloggers are just awesome at everything, but the struggles are so real sometimes!


Ahh, vodka. It solves everything.


I love that you shared this! sometimes, I start to feel like I’m the only blogger whose shoots don’t go as planned, so it is so nice see and read a real, down-to-earth blogpost like this. thanks so much for sharing!

love, arielle
a simple elegance


It’s nice to see the real, sometimes ugly, stuff behind the blog! I just threw away a huge batch of granola this morning because it was inedible. Sucks but there is always something to learn.


It is really awesome to see the “fails” sometimes, and know I’m not the only one who’s had a zillion of them! It’s amazing how something can seem so simple in your head and then go so wrong once you get to making it! I totally would have thought the same thing about edible paint. Who knew! Great post, B.

Kelly @ Studio DIY

This is a good post to share with your fellow bloggers. I feel like some posts should be a breeze and then they take FOREEVVVEERRRR to accomplish and I feel like I’m totally clueless and no way is anyone else having these issues.
So I am very thankful for this post!


I love cute little things and so your blog.

come and say hi to a blogger from Luxembourg:)



Nice to see that not all projects come out perfectly each time! The second batch look great though, did using vodka overpower the flavour much?

Ellie Rose

I love this series so much…thanks for keepin’ it oh-so real.


Thanks for sharing the behind the scene and the planning process of a DIY post. For me, I tend to give up easily if my first trial does not meet my minimum expectation. A lesson learnt!


Thanks for showing this; it’s so easy to automatically assume that bloggers do everything right on their first try, although this is seldom the case!

Danielle @ Chits and Chats and Chocolate
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