I tried so you don’t have to: Instagram DIY life hacks

Anna Arnsberger

Anyone who has spent a substantial amount of time mindlessly scrolling through the Instagram explore page is bound to have come across DIY life-hack videos. The short films are easily distinguished by their peppy music and low-budget actors miming out everyday problems, then providing simple solutions. You devote 60 seconds of your attention to the displayed tricks before scrolling on, never thinking about them again. Some of the hacks appear to be creative, but others are seemingly pointless. I decided to try out a few and truly evaluate their effectiveness.

Rubber band phone: This is one of those tricks that seem so simple, so obvious, that I really felt silly for never having thought of it before. I came across it when watching a video titled “Seven Genius Rubber Band Hacks.” And genius it was. All you have to do is wrap a rubber band around your forehead, then stick your phone in it so it presses against your ear. I tested with a phone call and much to my excitement, it worked! I was able to have a whole conversation without using my hands. Walking around, going to the bathroom, writing… the possibilities were endless! Only when faced with the jumping jack test did my phone fall out. Who knew a rubber band could hold so much power? Airpods who?

Rating: 6/10

Colored pencil eyeliner: I had seen this hack many times before on several different accounts, so I knew I had to try it out. The steps were easy: place colored pencils of your choice in hot water and wait one minute before drawing on your eyelids. I tried with red, blue, and black, and found the red produced the best results. While the color didn’t spread very smoothly and was quite faint, this replacement eyeliner still worked much better than I expected. The beauty of this hack is not in its practicality, but rather the sense of nostalgia it evokes. Maybe kindergarteners who draw on their skin with marker are onto something.

Rating: 7/10

Sock hair curlers: Don’t have a curling iron at the ready? Then this hack is the one for you. Simply wet your head, then roll a chunk of hair up into a sock, folding the sock over. Once all of the strands are tied up in socks, blowdry them and then take them out. What I enjoyed about this hack was when I got my hair blowdried. It turns out there’s no better time than sitting with a head full of socks to rethink all of your life decisions. However, when I finally removed the socks, I found my hair was more bent out of shape than in luscious curls like had been advertised. I think next time I’m just going to keep my socks on my feet.

Rating: 2/10

Phone underwear: I was hesitant to try this hack as its purpose was unclear, but the post’s caption was “Quick hacks that can make your life better,” so I knew it had to be good. The instructions were to create a rectangle of hot glue then peel it off and cut it into two underwear shapes that are just slightly wider than your phone. Next, glue the underwear together so it becomes a pocket where your phone can snugly fit into. 15 minutes and two hot glue sticks later, I had a messy pair of underwear for my phone. It turns out peeling the glue off cardboard is impossible and you can’t even use your phone with the underwear on since it covered the home button. Was the purpose of this hack finally made clear to me? No. Was my life made better? Also no.

Rating: 1/10

Cardboard slippers: As someone who doesn’t own any slippers, I thought this simple homemade slipper DIY would be very useful. All I had to do was cut a piece of cardboard into a cross then fold three of the sides over each other and glue together. Repeat the steps once more and ta-da! A brand new pair of slippers! I was so proud of myself for creating a stylish pair of shoes all by myself—since when were goldfish boxes so fashionable? But when I took my fresh kicks for a spin, I found that they didn’t stay on my feet very easily nor did they keep me warm. At least I have something to wear when I take out the trash. 

Rating: 5/10