Should crafting be this complicated?

If you aren’t able to do a DIY by yourself, what’s the point of it?

Bianca Geib and Sanjana Chava

Dumb “do-it-yourself” (DIY) and craft tutorials have been taking over Instagram and YouTube for less than two years. 5-Minute Crafts on Instagram and TroomTroom on YouTube are notorious for these “crafting” videos.

Often these videos will show the viewer how to utilize things such as saws, hot glue, and cement, all things a teenager on Instagram would have to go out and buy, or otherwise prepare ahead of time. Then, you tinker for at least 30 minutes of work for something that may or may not do what it’s supposed to.

5-Minute Crafts is infamous for its crafting videos that are “quick” and “easy” to make. However, many of their crafts are not easy and sometimes leave you with hot glue burns. Some can take hours to make such as their popsicle stick lamp or their glue gun slippers. One of their so-called “life hacks” consists of using copious amounts of hot glue, sharpies, glitter, and paint to make a fake geode.

We decided to test some of them out for ourselves. One of the “life-hacks” we tried out was DIY stylus for your phone, using a pencil and aluminum foil. After putting the aluminum foil on the end of the pencil, you’re supposed to be able to use it like you use your finger to control the phone. This did not work for us, and actual styluses usually cost less than $10.

In a 5-Minute Crafts video, there is a hack in which you can steal someone’s fingerprint and unlock their phone. According to the video, all we had to do was rub lipstick on the finger the person uses to unlock their phone and then place tape over the finger cover red with lipstick. Once you remove the tape from the finger you have the imprint of their fingerprint you should be able to unlock the person’s phone. We tested it thoroughly by using different people’s fingerprints and a variety of phones, but the hack just did not work. In the end, all we ended up doing was wasting lipstick and spending a long time at the sink trying to wash the lipstick off.

Yes, there is an occasional hack or tutorial that does work. When DIY videos first became big, they were probably meant to actually help. One tutorial that makes sense comes from Instagram account Blossom and entails recycling various cardboard to make organization devices. This is something that people can use, and with less work than many other tutorials!

These DIY and “hack” tutorials are, more often than not, dumb and not useful. Can we please get back to the time when DIY was helpful?