I'm Sorry I Was Such A Dick, Pinterest! 5 DIY Pins That Actually Work Featuring FLOAM!

I was starting to worry that you all thought I was a bitter Pinterest-hating crone who sat in my cave making pins fail on purpose so I could write about them.
Publish date:
April 15, 2013
Pinterest, being a jerk

I know I’ve been a big ole meany-head to Pinterest. A lot of the times, Pinterest is a cleverly crafted doily of deceit. Quit trying to tell me that I can cure herpes with coconut oil. Not that I have herpes, guys. I don’t have herpes. But you don’t have to have herpes to know that you can’t cure it with coconut oil.

Also, QUIT trying to get me to used coconut oil! I’ll cook brownies and shave with it but that is it!

But Pinterest has its uses, and I have boards that I pin to without irony or snark. I love scrolling through my Mick Jagger board for a quick erotic jolt; I love building my virtual and much too expensive wardrobe on my style board; and I am pleased to announce the unveiling of my Trashy Food board.

She only has nine pins affixed to her, but one of them is PICKLE SOUP. I haven’t been this excited about soup since my now estranged Jewish step-father introduced me to Matzo balls.

Anysoup, I was starting to worry that you all thought I was a bitter Pinterest-hating crone who sat in my cave making pins fail on purpose so I could write about them, or that you simply thought I was completely incompetent. This made me determined to find pins that actually work.

I found some.

1. Make Your Own Fruit Leather

I lurve fruit leather. If I buy a box, I chain-eat strips in rapid succession until my fingers are sticky and I can’t open my jaw because my teeth are cemented together with raspberries and pectin. I was excited when I found this recipe, but sad when I saw the blog it came from was called “Against All Grain.” How can you be against ALL GRAIN? Have you had popovers? Have you had risotto?

I followed her recipe exactly with two exceptions. The first was that my oven would not go lower than 170°F (you are supposed to set it at 150°F). The second is that I forgot to strain the mixture through a sieve.

The processed looked like this:

The leather was a little crispy on the edges, but this is probably due to my oven not getting low enough. I hate my oven, guys. I have borderline sexual fantasies about buying a new one. This also happens with my stove and my stupid fridge. I honestly believe my life would be one thousand times better if I had a gas stove and one of those sexy French-door style refrigerators that Kelly Ripa has. That woman has really figured out how to Have It All.

ANYWAY. This stuff was pretty tasty. It tasted almost exactly like the ones I buy at Target, with some minor textural differences. But like I said, that is probably due to my stupid-head oven.

Verdict: I need a new oven.

2. Make Your Own Floam

Damn. It just got all nostalgic up in here. In the great Gak vs. Floam debate (was this a real debate?), I was staunchly Team Floam. This was mostly because the Gak literally made me vomit. My poor mother had bought me Gak because she is awesome and always made sure I had the newest Toy of The Moment. I enthusiastically opened the container, enthusiastically began to poke and prod it, and enthusiastically threw up. Little Claire could not handle such a strange smell combined with such a strange viscosity.

I don’t want to bore you with polymer chemistry, but compounds with repeating structural units make the best toys. It’s a scientific fact. Mix corn starch and water sometime and see what happens. Spoiler: It’s a non-Newtonian fluid. Crazy stuff.

You can read all details by following the above hyperlink, but glue and borax are the main players here (and also in the next pin). I couldn’t find any polystyrene beads, so I just shoved Styrofoam pieces into my food processor.

I will be eating polystyrene for years, but such is the life of Claire.

People, I felt like a major bad-ass when this stuff actually looked and acted like the Nickelodeon Floam. It also made me really nostalgic for Stick Stickly and Lengends of the Hidden Temple.

Pro-tip: You can make Gak by omitting the polystyrene beads.

Yet another pro-tip: Borax does not go into solution if your water is cold; I just heated mine on the stove until it dissolved

Verdict: I wonder if there is a pin for synthesizing Aggro Crag.

3. Make A Bouncy Ball!

This is just more of the above, really. From what I can gather, I can use borax and glue to recreate my entire childhood toy chest.

This article was written by a PhD chemist. I found this encouraging at first, but then remembered all of the actual scientific articles that have been printed in actual scientific journals written by PhD chemists and became less enthused.

This may not shock you, but whenever I tried to recreate experiments found in literature, it never worked out. The literature would tout a 90% yield of a white crystalline powder and I would get a 42% yield of something that looked like dirty sand with Cheeto dust mixed in. Half the time I couldn’t even reproduce my own results though. So, maybe I’m just a shitty chemist.

The bouncy ball experiment didn’t start out so great; the mixture started to get crumbly while I was rolling it into a sphere and I started to get all “Eat a bowl of dicks, Pinterest” but then I chilled the fuck out and added a little water and BOOM.

Bouncy ball:

Maybe I’m not a shitty chemist.

SIDEBAR: I’m really sorry I keep recording vertical videos like a freaking newb. I will try harder AND do better next time.

Verdict: This pin restored my faith in scientific literature.


But I like this ball.

4. Make Your Own Bath Bombs

This one is from Martha Stewart, so of course it worked. BUT. It kind of hurt. Why did it hurt? It hurt because I was mixing everything together with my damp hands.

Why would that matter? The moisture on my hands dissolved the citric acid. This now aqueous acid reacted with the sodium bicarbonate (a base) which in turn created an exothermic reaction on my skin.

Exothermic reactions can sting a little. So, use a spoon.

These came out in neat (very slightly crumbly cakes) that fizzed really well. The cornstarch makes your bath water feel silky, so that’s cool, if silky is your desired feeling.

Pro-tip: Martha says to add the water slowly enough so your mixture doesn’t fizz. But that is an impossible standard to try and live up to. It will always fizz a little, but you can minimize it by spraying and stirring immediately after, one spray at a time. It will be fine. Just don’t tell M-Stew.

Verdict: It’s not Lush, but it’s not bad.

5. Matte-ify Your Mani

The pin was literally just this picture with text. No link. I Googled “matte nails cornstarch” and found this. I decided to try both methods, incorporating cornstarch into my nail polish (Bluey by Butter) and topcoat.

It basically worked. It was very messy though, and my nail polish brushes got all goopy with cornstarch.

Verdict: I’ll probably just buy a matte topcoat.

Well cats and kittens, I hope at least one of those will prove useful. If nothing else, you now know how to make FLOAM. More importantly though, I’ve proved to myself (and the Internet) that I am not completely incompetent and can follow directions. I still maintain that there is a lot of malarkey on Pinterest, but at least it’s not all malarkey.

Do you guys have any favorite pins that actually work? Anything that’s better than Floam?

You can tweet Claire your favorite pins, or you can tweet her malarkey! Follow @clairelizzie