Why 5 Minute Crafts is Failing You

Why 5 Minute Crafts is Failing You



We all love 5 Minute Crafts - the strangely addictive pantomimed overhead videos of people making every single craft in the world look ridiculously easy - and all in under five minutes. It is so much fun to watch these little tutorials, they're colorful, engaging, and a little hypnotic - a little bit like watching "How it's Made" on a domestic scale. But the problem is you're not getting the whole story on some of these techniques, and this can lead to issues for you when you try to recreate what looks totally effortless and actually isn't.



For instance - they recommend using food coloring as their liquid colorant of choice almost every time. THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA! Food coloring, while "safe" to ingest is made to color everything it touches, like your hands or bathtub or countertop. This leaves you with a lot of unexpected clean-up to do, or worse a ruined towel or piece of clothing, etc. I'm guessing the reason for this is to give the impression that you can do these crafts with items already laying around your house.



However, few of us have most of the specialty ingredients needed on hand for a spontaneous crafting session. So, if you have taken the time to dig up copious amounts of citric acid to make bath bombs, just make the considerably small extra effort and pick up some skin-safe cosmetic colorant. It looks just like food coloring, but is made to be skin safe and not stain your tub or skin when used properly. Not to mention that it is either comparable to the price of food coloring and may even be less depending on where you shop and if you have a coupon. (Pro tip - ALWAYS have a coupon, they're easy to find on most craft store websites and can save you a ton of money.)


Another example of some missing critical information comes in a soap tutorial. They show these super fun multi-colored soaps where you pour different layers of soap one on top of the other till you get a rainbow, or some other pattern. This is in fact very easily doable, BUT if you want your soap to stay in one piece, you MUST spray alcohol between each layer before pouring. If you don't, your soap will peel apart like a hard boiled egg yolk from the white and you will have a bunch of discreet colored soap layers floating around in your sink. If you have gone to all the time and trouble of layering your soap and waiting for it to set several times only to watch your hard work fall apart in your hands it can seem a little tragic.

This next spoiler alert has to do with some of the pour painting projects they show. Most run-of-the-mill acrylic paint will not flow out of the bottle with the kind of viscosity you need for these crafts. In order to get your paint to act the way theirs does, you will either need to buy artist grade liquid acrylic paint or add some sort of pouring or flow medium to your regular paint. It's not hard to find, it's located on the same aisle as the acrylic paint at the art store and you can even find this stuff at the hardware store near the paint sprayers. I'm guessing it can seem a little exotic to some people, so they may be omitting it in the instructions to keep people from being intimidated by having to buy "medium."



And the final example I'll mention is adding things like glitter in bath bombs and spa products. You can add glitter to bath bombs and other things like mica to make them extra special, but be aware that you need to add these things with some knowledge of how they will act in your tub and down your drain. You don't want to snag the glitter from your preschooler's classroom and go to town - you need to get biodegradable glitter so when you wash it down the drain it doesn't poison the environment. And yes, this is an actual issue because glitter is classified as a "microplastic" and there is mounting evidence that it is horrible for marine environments and animals. Additionally, if you want to include things like mica in your bath bombs and not end up with shiny little gobs of mica floating on top of your bathwater, you have to add something like polysorbate 80 to help disperse the powder in the bath. You can also add mica to melt and pour soap base, but you need to mix it with some alcohol to keep the clumping from happening when mixing it. Small details, but not insignificant.


So all of this is not to say you shouldn't follow the tutorials on 5 Minute Crafts; you absolutely should keep trying the fun projects you see from them. In fact, most of the ones that I have seen should work perfectly well as shown without too much trouble. But, I just want you to know, if at the end of recreating one of these fantastic tutorials it bombs and you don't know why - it might not be you. The difference between nailed it and failed it might just be in the hidden details.






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