Since man first stuck his hand in fire and proclaimed “Ugh! Uaahh!” we’ve had an unhealthy obsession with tinkering with anything we can get our hands on. More often than not, these things end poorly, like super-heated water exploding in the microwave but, every now and then, we figure out something really awesome to do. And you’d be surprised how many of these things you can do in your own home.
10. Growing Soap To More Than Ten Times Its Size
Everyone has at least one bar of soap in their house, or should at any rate. We used to think that soap was only good for two things: cleaning and military-grade shower beatings. But a lot of people don’t realize that you can take ivory soap and make it expand exponentially, simply by sticking it in the microwave.
We know what you’re thinking, and no; we didn’t just chuck shaving cream in there, and claim it was the same bar of soap. If you don’t believe us, try it for yourself or, better yet, watch this video so that you don’t have to destroy your own microwave.
Despite its foamy appearance, the whole thing is actually quite solid. It doesn’t even require time to cool.
9. Using A Newspaper As A Self-Defense Weapon
The most exciting thing you’ve probably seen someone do with newspaper is make paper-mache but, as it turns out, you can actually use a sheet of newspaper to lay a beat-down on someone. It’s a concept called the Millwall Brick, where you fold the paper in such a way as to make it dense as possible. It originated in Europe, when riots were common in soccer games. Nothing that could be used as a weapon was permitted inside, so they just figured out how to use newspapers. Antisocial psychofandom is the true mother of invention.
It got to the point where officials would actually confiscate thicker newspapers from guests trying to enter the games — because the thicker ones made better bricks.
8. Turning Playing Cards Into Ninja Stars
We already know that there are a variety of cool things you can do with cards, namely magic tricks. For those of you looking for something a little more badass, however, you can take a page out of Gambit’s book, and learn how to throw them like shuriken. Unlike Gambit’s cards, yours won’t explode on impact, but that’s why he’s out saving the world, and you’re sitting on your couch and watching him do it.
Over time, you can actually learn how to throw them very accurately, and forcefully enough to cut things. You can extinguish candles, cut bananas in half, and pierce watermelon rinds.
The following video displays a ton of these tricks being done with business cards, which also work:
7. Making a Light Show Out Of Steel Wool
Ah, steel wool– the bane of greasy pots and pans the world over. We bet you had no idea you could create a fireworks display with nothing but a handful steel wool. All you have to do is light it on fire, spin it around on a string, and keep away from anything slightly flammable.
Some photographers have used this effect to shoot some pretty cool time-lapse photos as well. If you want a picture of yourself with a giant sparkler, give it a shot yourself.
6. Making A Bulletproof Vest Out Of Sawdust
If you take sawdust and water, mix them together in equal amounts, and then freeze it, you’ll create a material called pykrete. Believe it or not, this material is stronger than regular ice, doesn’t shatter, and yes, it can even stop bullets. But don’t take some crazy Internet writer’s word for it. Watch it happen right before your eyes:
The pykrete didn’t let the shot travel the entire way through it (not even close, in fact,), and the ice just flat out exploded. This stuff takes forever to melt too so, if you lived in Canada, you could totally build a fortress with this stuff. It’s the same reason that people thought you could build an aircraft carrier out of the stuff back when it was first discovered. And yes, they actually tried to do that.
5. Using A Pencil As A Light
Imagine that your car breaks down, and leaves you stranded in the countryside at night. Maybe you know how to fix whatever is wrong, but you don’t have a flashlight and can’t see. No matter; if you have a regular pencil, you’ll easily be able to light up the night. All you need to do is run a wire from each side of your battery, to either side of a piece of pencil lead. Break the lead into fourths, and the current running through it can provide you with about twenty minutes of light, which should hopefully be more than enough time to fix whatever’s ailing your poor engine.
And if, for some reason, you don’t have a pencil, but just so happened to be chowing down on a pickle when your car gave out, that could be used as a substitute, though it’s not nearly as bright.
4. Turning Lemons Into An LED
You know the old saying: When life gives you lemons, make a badass flashlight (we’re not good with old sayings.) That’s right; with the proper setup, you can power an LED light with nothing but lemons. Whether it’s a few of them linked together in a circuit:
Or a frankenlemon conglomerate of prongs and coiled wires:
There’s plenty of juice (pun totally intended) to power the LED bulb. Interestingly enough, the energy isn’t coming from the lemon itself, but from a chemical reaction that occurs between the metal and the acid in the lemon. If you had the wires in a beaker of the same acid instead of a lemon, you’d still be able to power the bulb. But can’t we all agree that a power source made out of bloody lemons is far more interesting?
3. Using A Penny To Harness Electricity
We can’t tell you how to do anything dangerous with a plasma ball. That would be irresponsible. We’re also not going to tell you how, if you place a penny on top of said ball and hold a pointy, metal object close to it, you will cause the electricity to arc through the air. We can show you, but that’s about it.
To reiterate: we would never tell you how that beam of electricity is hot enough to burn paper, or that you should try it yourself because of how incredibly cool it is. If you must try this though, please do be very, very cautious (and don’t mention our names.) If you get your finger too close to the coin when the plasma ball is on, the arc will jump you your finger instead. And that’s not a good day for anyone involved. But you didn’t hear that from us.
2. Making An Air Pressure Bomb Out Of Aluminium Foil And Toilet Cleaner
First of all, doing this is technically illegal since it’s technically making a bomb. We should probably get that out of the way right off the bat. And right now, a bunch of you saw the word “technically,” and your eyes are probably lighting up, just like the bomb you’re envisioning yourself making. Don’t do this yourself. Don’t tell any of your friends to do it. Don’t let the materials “happen” to fall off the counter and land in the same container either. Bad things have happened to good people.
Now then: if you “happen” to mix aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a plastic bottle, and screw the cap on, a chemical reaction begins that produces so much gas, that the bottle blows up like a balloon before it violently explodes.
It’s called a Works Bomb, because the Works toilet cleaner is most commonly used to make it. If you want to see it in action, there are roughly five bajillion videos of kids making them on the Internet, so feel free to watch one, and wonder where these kids’ parents were.
It’s very similar to that experiment everyone did in grade school, where they blew up a balloon with vinegar and baking soda. The only difference here is the sheer pressure and force, created when you try to contain a reaction ten times that size in a small area.
1. Using Forks And Toothpicks To Defy Gravity
This one takes a bit of preparation, but the effect is mind-bending. First, you have to link two forks together with the prong ends, and stick a toothpick through the middle. Then balance them on the lip of a glass, like this:
Once you’ve done that, set fire to the part of the toothpick that is inside the lip of the glass. The toothpick will stop burning when the flame reaches the edge of the glass, because science, and you’ll wind up with something that looks like this:
It’s all about balance. When you find the perfect place for it to balance at the start, you locate its center of gravity. Burning the end of the toothpick off doesn’t affect that center of gravity at all, and the structure remains balanced.
But don’t act too surprised. You’ve all seen this before, in the form of those balancing bird toys we all had as a kid: