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DIYs can be a great way to save money, experiment with your creativity, and fill the endless void of time that is life. More than ever, the internet is loaded with these little projects, and some ideas are better than others. Here are a few DIYs that should be avoided, and their superior alternatives.

Don’t make this fake Mountain Dew-based neon light.

You may have seen blog posts or even videos claiming that you can turn a bottle of Mountain Dew into a fluorescent bright green spectacle just by adding a little hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Snopes actually investigated this and found that following these steps won’t produce anything except a no-good bottle of soda pop (it’s up for debate how “good” Mountain Dew is to begin with, but I digress). Images that show the effect have either been manipulated, or else it was actually accomplished by slicing open glow sticks and using the fluid within, not from the Dew itself.

Do make these cool glow jars.

Shaleah of the Gold Jellybean has a really easy tutorial you can use to make stunningly vibrant jars filled with lights. The method is pretty simple: you’ll need some jars, something for texture (Shaleah likes tulle) and glow sticks. All you’ve gotta do is cut open the sticks and apply the liquid within. To help keep them staying lit up for a longer period of time, just slide over that bottle of vodka and pint of ice cream and stash these guys in the freezer.

Don’t make your own nail polish.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of creating your own nail polish/varnish/lacquer/whatever else you want to call it, that’s great… as long as you plan on using existing polish as a base. Some people like to mix eyeshadows with clear nail polish, or you can combine two or more liquids to create a new color. But making your own polish from scratch is a big no-no: the products contain chemicals like solvents and resins that should be handled by professionals in a safe setting, not in your kitchen next to your fruit and snacks. Please, think of the snacks.

Do make your own nail decorations.

Your home may already be full of things that are perfect for nail design. Wrapping paper works well, for example, but that’s just the beginning. There’s a seriously impressive amount of innovation in the nail decorating community; I’ve seen designs incorporating stuff from googly eyes to bits of newspaper to binder reinforcements. Get creative. Get crazy. Get wild. Or stay tame. It’s up to you and your nails.

Don’t make your own facial fillers.

This one is actually super creepy and sad. People have been documented injecting cooking oil into their faces or other body parts in a desperate attempt to change their appearances. You already know this, but I’m just going to repeat it. DO NOT DO THIS. If you’re that set on doing dangerous stuff, why not choose something that won’t horribly disfigure you? Well, I guess there isn’t really anything like that. Just… don’t inject yourself with things unless you’ve been directed to by a doctor, OK?

Do make your own face masks.

Alright, I’m going to be honest here: there are a lot of face mask recipes out there whose ingredients would probably be better used in a batch of muffins. Obviously, homemade treatments aren’t subject to FDA approval, so you have to rely on anecdotal advice. I’m going to give you some now, in fact. When I get a breakout or my skin just looks generally stressed, I like using a mask made from crushed-up aspirin tablets and water. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, the basis for many acne treatments, which is why this mask works for me. OK, that’s enough chemistry for you today.

Don’t make your own laundry soap.

We all love detergent, right? It gets our clothes clean, keeps us smelling fresh, and in Tide Pod form, makes a great snack (not actually). In fact, the cleansing agents we use on our clothes are highly specialized for that very purpose, and they’re made using factory processes that can’t be easily replicated. A quick online search will pull up dozens of recipes for homemade laundry soaps, but many of them are nothing more than a combination of water softeners and boosters – neither of which is actually soap. But don’t take it from me. Just look at these delightfully gross photos from former homemade detergent users.

Do make your own soap paint.

OK, this is from a kids’ website, but I know so many adults who would have a blast with this stuff, myself included. Quite frankly, these soap foams are like sidewalk chalk’s sexier sibling. It’s literally just blended up dish soap with food coloring, so nothing you probably don’t already have. The directions are here, and the author loves soap foam so much that she has like three more articles about it.

Don’t make your own sunscreen.

As all my fellow pale people know, sunscreen is obviously awesome, but trying to put together your own formulation is typically a bad move. Unlike something such as lip color or perfume, whose quality can be somewhat subjective, sunscreens are closely monitored by objective standards. In fact, they’re regulated by the FDA because they’re considered medical products. DIY recipes for sunscreen aren’t subject to any sort of lab testing, so there’s no way to know what SPF level, if any, they provide.

Do make your own skin butters.

In addition to being a pale person, I’m also a dry-skinned person, so aside from sunscreen, my other BFF in this world is moisturizer. I like lotions, emollients, creams, and anything else I can get my flaky hands on. These products use bases that are easily obtained, like petroleum jelly, shea butter, or cocoa butter, and you can easily create your own variations using these same ingredients. So, enjoy making lotions of any scent you choose and slathering them on yourself… or perhaps on that special someone. Heh heh heh.•

DIYs are a lot of fun, but the truth is that some of the ones out there are too stupid, unsafe, or impractical to do. Sometimes, the best course of action is to BIY… buy it yourself.


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