“OH GOD WHY DID I DECIDE TO ASSEMBLE THIS MYSELF IT IS INSIDE ME!”
America is a nation filled with handymen, or so we kept telling ourselves when trying to explain the popularity of Home Improvement. We’ve been building our own devices to make life quaint or awesome for years, but with the invention of the Internet came something terrifying. Brooklyn Boundless Do-It-Yourself opportunities. We used to see some wood, a hammer, and a handful of nails and say to ourselves, “You know, it’s Sunday and there’s no football on, I might as well come down with tetanus while making an rickety doghouse that’ll never be used.” Now, we’re forced to embarrass ourselves as we spectacularly fail to make Precision Outback Savannah doghouses complete with a shaded porch because your wife saw all the lumber in the backyard and decided to spend the next three hours fucking around on Pinterest.
It’s a blessing and a curse, and by that we mean to say the internet is a blessing for master craftsmen with advanced engineering degrees who want to show off what they can do in a simple afternoon, and it’s a curse for the rest of us who usually have a hard time figuring out the diagrams on IKEA furniture instructions. It’s also a boon for those of us who like to laugh at the latter group, but that’s neither here nor there.
Of course, with endless DIY products at our disposal, there are numerous helpful guides and kits that (usually for a cost just covering some of the basic supplies) can help you feel like a red-blooded, self-sustaining, uh, well let’s be honest, hipster. Most of the people doing these projects are just hipsters. When a woodworker makes an awesome bench, he doesn’t really spend his time posting about it online. He’s probably outside. Sitting on the bench. And he’s definitely not making his own soap, because he’s not insufferable.
The people who buy, sell, or came up with the following projects, however? Yes. Absolutely insufferable.
The Six Worst DIY Kits For Sale On The Internet
This one’s actually not for sale, though you know you’d buy it if you could.
There are two kinds of American inventors. On one hand, you have people who make something just for themselves. It might be because they were bored and decided “why not automate an already simple thing to make it even simpler,” like this guy who felt it was more worth his time to invent an electronic, sensor-using self-watering plant as opposed to, oh you know, remembering to water his plant or shelling out ten bucks for an equally efficient glass bulb. Or like the numerous patent holders that seem to invent products we’ll never use in an endless attempt to terrify us.
Then, we have the Americans who look at invention as a way to trick gullible people into handing them money for things we don’t need. This is called capitalism, and it’s the reason why we beat the Russians. It’s also the reason why we have these six DIY kits that, seriously, if you buy these you should be made fun of by everyone forever.
DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup
We love cheap sweetening agents that takes advantages of tax loops as much as the next American, but we can’t let ourselves hear a full sentence containing the words “small-batch, artisanal High-Fructose Corn Syrup” because it turns French to us midway through. So, you’re the type of person who wants to sweeten your food and drinks, but doesn’t want to go with such “corporate” sources like sugar, which is probably made by Monsanto or some shit, or artificial sweeteners that cause cancer in mice. But how can you trust the high fructose corn syrup you’re using to speed along your eventual diabetes diagnosis if you’re not personally adding Glucose Isomerase to your HFCS slurry that you just finished straining through a cheesecloth? How can you really know who’s mixing Yellow Dent #2 corn extract with a drop of sulfuric acid, a teaspoon each of Alpha-Amylase, glucose-Amylase, and Xylose before heating it if you’re not in the kitchen watching the preparation being done by your very own hands?
Maya Weinstein put in the meticulous effort to figure out how you can make that delicious sweet goop that’s really just a low-cost substitute to pure sugar, and while her kickstarter to package and distribute these kits fell a little short, it’ll be just a matter of time before you’re at a nice co-op pot luck and someone offers you a teaspoon of HFCS for your Paleo watermelon cake (you’re in Brooklyn, by the way, this could only happen in Brooklyn).
Most DIY projects are pretty harmless to everyone but the DIY-er. Sure, you might run into the occasional moonshine sill explosion here or there, but at the end of the day you’re not going to have neighbors coming over to complain about that bottle of Limoncello you got soaking up flavor in your closet. That being said, apparently there are some active hobbyists who like their homes and neighborhoods like they like their women.
COVERED IN BEES.
So fuck it. You love honey, but you hate plastic bears, so why not go straight to the source? As this article asserts, if you can garden, you can be a beekeeper, which anyone who has ever accidentally stumbled into a vegetable bed and been ruthlessly and repeatedly stung by a legion of angry tomatoes would be the first to tell you. After building your hive, buying your bees, and offering a picture of young Macaulay Culkin as sacrifice, you’re ready to harvest some honey, watch your flowers thrive, and blithely ignore your family’s incredulous stares when you told them that you’ve got a hive of thousands of bees living in your backyard for your own personal amusement.
Make Your Own Vinegar
Stores exist because it’s easier to buy something than it is to make it from scratch. Sometimes, it’s a shortcut made out of unfortunate necessity, as anyone would tell you that homemade pasta is vastly superior than store-bought. Homebrewing your beer takes, for example, much longer than just picking up a six pack, but you can end up with the taste of a high end beer for less than you’d pay for a Budweiser. We can understand why people would go through the laborious process of making these on their own.
But vinegar? We don’t know a lot of people who get that worked up about vinegar, but that’s probably because we want nothing to do with the kind of person who’d insist on buying a kit to let them make their own.
Making your own vinegar combine everything you hate from food elitists (seriously, we couldn’t make it past the headline of “DIY Vinegar Is Worth the Wait” without gagging on fumes of pretentiousness) and wasting alcohol because you make vinegar using already good alcohol. People use vinegar as an effective way to get rid of leftover wine, to which we say, what is leftover wine? Is that a thing? See, we can’t even try to look get on the same page as these DIY vinegar makers, since they operate in this universe where a wine bottle that’s opened doesn’t magically end up empty within the next few days. Or hours. We don’t want to live in that world, thank you very much. So let’s just pretend this doesn’t exist.
DIY Laser Pointers
Yes when laser pointers first became available, they seemed miraculous to children, cats, and people who like to try to distract aircraft pilots. But once the initial excitement came down, most of us came to look at it as a toy that costs five bucks and that doesn’t seem nearly as cool once you saw a professor using it during class. But don’t tell that to Scientifics online, who for a mere $25 will send you a weirdly bulky looking kit that requires you to solder a circuit board in two places and… yeah, that seems it. So this purports to be “easy-to-assemble” while implying that the entire value of the product is so you can “know how it works, inside and out.” Unfortunately, given the “it doesn’t work” reviews this particular product has gotten, we’re starting to think that it’s being sold by the kinds of people spent their childhoods finding out how things work “inside and out” in ways that involved a distressing amount of vivisected squirrels popping up around the neighborhood.
The worst part about this product is that everyone who buys it is basically paying someone money to pretend that they’re engineers, when there are numerous projects online that people smarter than our staff members can use to make, say, a real burning laser like you’d see in a goddamn James Bond movie.
DIY Massage Bar Kit
For a mere twenty bucks, Brooklyn DIY Supply will send you sweet almond oil, beeswax, and other things that sound edible but are not so you can make your very own massage bar. You know, a hard bar that softens with body heat for massages. Now, we might just be uncultured clouts, but we’re pretty sure we have our own DIY massage kit. It’s called “our hands, and maybe some oil if we’re really trying to get laid.” Surprisingly enough, our staff members aren’t that firmly entrenched in the lucrative spa scene, but even to us this seems excessive. Hell, we tried doing a google image search for “Massage Bar” and it still took about five results for an actual bar like the one to come up. And each one we found, by the way, all cost about half the price of this DIY kit.
Listen, as far as we can tell, massage bars seem like they’d be a pleasant way to make your partner say, “Okay that was nice I guess, I’ll turn over and you can do your thing, but after that can I take a nap? Thanks.” It smells nice and moisturizes skin, or so we literally just learned now. But trust us on this—if you’re going to bring a massage bar to a sensual one-on-one evening, you’ve already done more than you need to do. Honestly, if you went one step further and said, “I brought a massage bar to use…and I made it myself” that’s going to be less likely to get you laid, because no one wants to be reminded of macaroni picture frames when you’re lying down topless listening to some Marvin Gaye. You’re literally spending more money to make it seem like you’re trying too hard. Heh, hard.
Make Your Own Chewing Gum Kit
Gum literally costs nothing. It’s so cheap that if you take out a packet of gum and don’t offer it to those around you, people won’t even think you’re cheap, they’ll just think you’re an asshole. Normally our legal department frowns upon us explicitly instructing our readers to commit crimes, but seriously, after you’re done with this article, go out and steal a pack of gum from a convenience store. Just grab it and walk out. See how little they care. They’ll be like, “Hey put that back” and you’ll say, “Really dude? It’s a stick of gum. Go ahead, call the cops.” They won’t. It’s fucking gum, who cares?
Which is why exerting the effort to mix chicle gum base, confectioner’s sugar, pre-packaged corn syrup (OR YOU COULD MAKE YOUR OWN!) and flavor packets in a pan to make gum sounds like the most arduous waste of time and money we’ve ever seen. Yes, you can buy a whole slew of kits here, but do you really want to? No, that’s a serious question, this is one of those times where if you answer “yes” to a question we pose, you really need to reevaluate your priorities in life. You don’t want to be that person who’s excited to find out they can make their own gum at home. Trust us. Don’t go down that road.