MAKER MAYHEM: Low Moments in How-To History

was a bi-monthly feature on                               

June 19, 2015

Mice Novelties: The thrill of the hunt                                                                                   

Truly inspired is a Maker who can turn a rodent infestation into a crafting opportunity, but if you’ve g...

June 5, 2015

Head Hunter String Holder: Decades before anyone thought to use the term “trigger warning”                                                                   

Safe to assume the Head Hunter in this application is not a white-collar employment recruiter, but a member...

May 19, 2015

Indoor Shooting Gallery: Because guns are fun, it’s just that simple  

                                              

All boys love guns, so what kid wouldn’t want a motorized shooting gallery right in his own living room? It’s “just like the large ones at penny arcades,” says this How-To from 1959, but this pr...

May 8, 2015

Pantyhose Casserole Carrier: Potluck be a lady tonight

 

There are few less appetizing marriages than the one of hosiery and hot casserole. This How-To from the pantyhose-crafting craze of the ‘80s is one in which dinner and webbed nylon unite by way of navy blue knee-highs. On that point alone, The Pantyhose Casserole Carrier deserves a special prize in the world of How-To misfires.

 

To be clear, the instructions call for a pair...

March 7, 2015

Pill Bottle Gifts: Rainy day projects for a crafting addict

 

Among the many disreputable first place titles the United States holds over the rest of the developed world (e.g. adult obesity, pregnant teens, our crime rate, and no less than ten television shows hosted by Guy Fieri), we’re also the most overmedicated country on earth—we’ve even got antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and anticonvulsants contaminating our drinking...

February 14, 2015

Nut Shell Critters: Fun with food waste

 

There are some very good reasons why store-bought items are superior to the hand made. Quality, for one. Appearance, another. Because of this, sometimes creating an item by hand requires the Maker to compromise their standards of excellence in order to save themselves from crushing disillusionment and demoralizing exasperation. Often it requires the wholesale abandonment of standards a...

November 18, 2014

His & Hers Bedding: for the couple who needs to be reminded of their genders, even while they’re asleep

 

Playing into the hands of unimaginative gift givers of the Cold War era, the “His & Hers” trend was a merchandizing strategy in the form of bath towels, coffee mugs, toothbrush sets, bedroom slippers, and the like, to cash in on the post-war marriage boom peaking from the mid-1950s to the early ‘60s. The genre later spoofe...

October 31, 2014

Tin Can Cannibal: Because people eating people makes for fun kid’s crafts

 

“Cannibals are almost extinct,” this How-To from 1963 begins, “but you can make this one yourself for pure fun.” And certainly nothing spells pure fun like the consumption of human flesh by other humans, so what young hobbyist could resist a craft project that commemorates this “almost extinct” community with an effigy made of tin cans and rubber hose?

 

A...

October 11, 2014

Tongue Depressor Gifts: Better to give than receive

 

The attention span of a child is short-lived at best, so creating a DIY project for kids comes with a unique set of challenges: designing a step-by-step process that is both exciting and engaging (and preferably one that a child can enjoy unsupervised), employing materials that are unusual and fun to work with, and producing a payoff that is as satisfying as it is enduring.

 

H...

August 22, 2014

Radiant Heated Dog House: Because shoving Rover’s paw in a light socket wouldn’t be cruel enough

 

“As long as Rover pays his ‘doghouse rent’ in the way of companionship, watchdog service, entertainment, etc.,” the introduction of this How-To tells us, “the least you can do is winterize his outdoor quarters.” Fair enough, and further proof that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, not even for Rover.

 

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