Heather Mann is the author of the new book Craft Fail: When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong. She is the founder of the websites Craftfail.com and DollarStoreCrafts.com, and co-founder of the social media consulting company The Blueprint Social. She lives in Salem, Oregon.
Q: Why did you decide to create the CraftFail blog and book?
A: After a string of unsuccessful craft projects, I thought it would be fun to start a blog where I could post them, even though they were fails. The idea took off, and after several years, I was able to develop it into a book.
Q: You write, “We learn a heck of a lot more by failing than we ever will by succeeding on the first try.” What are some of your own favorite craft fails?
A: Some of my most memorable fails are soapmaking fails. Because of the way soapmaking works, you never exactly know what your batch is going to turn out looking like. Some of my first batches ended up looking a lot like food! I had soap that looked like Spam, some that looked like Cheddar Cheese, and a rebatch that looked like refried beans.
Q: How did you choose the examples to include in the book?
A: My husband programmed a private website for me where I uploaded all my fails, and then went through them and ranked them according to how funny they were and how great the photos were. That helped me narrow it down! The hardest part was cutting a few projects at the end of the editing process.
Q: Now that it’s the holiday season, what advice would you offer hopeful holiday crafters?
A: Keep your expectations realistic and if possible, do a practice run before you make the final gift-able craft.
Q: Are you planning to write another book?
A: I would love to write a book for my other site, DollarStoreCrafts.com.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Both the CraftFail site and the book are "friendly fail" publications - we only feature projects that were called fails by their creators. We never go looking for crafts to make fun of.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb