Our friend Chris Deatherage forwarded an email compilation of unattributed little improvisations that seemed at first glance to be truly useful. (Who puts together these endlessly-forwarded compilation emails, anyway?)
We were charmed by the spirit of improvisation they reflected. We culled the 9 below and tested a few out. Wrapping a wet paper towel around a room-temperature bottle of soda before placing it in the freezer did indeed chill the bottle faster than an unwrapped bottle. GREAT. But the recommendation to “use a magnet to find sheetrock studs in your walls” (bottom) was a serious bust because many studs are made of aluminum.
As for the rest of these ideas, we take them with a grain of salt. Our experience with our own big ideas for improvisations is that there are often unexpected design issues we didn’t anticipate. Actually trying ideas out yields an abundance of info; the trick is to be willing to shift gears, tweak, or even abandon an idea when a real-world test tells us otherwise. (It’s the reason we call our space ‘laboratory’; it’s a testing ground…with successes….and failures….).
Here are our questions about the rest of those “brilliant” improvs:
Would you be afraid you might lose your little chapstick vial full of money?
…Isn’t it just as easy to roll the tape end back on itself rather than bother with using a plastic bread thingy?
…wouldn’t the wrapping paper rolls need to be just the right size, and not to springy, to have the toilet paper rolls hold them tight?
…seemed like a good idea, but if you’re lying on it while it melts, won’t the water squeeze out of the sponge and burst the bag?
…this one works!
…so does this one:
…oops, this one was a bust:
The lesson: don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Test it out for yourself…and tailor ideas that do work to your own needs and improvisations.
Related posts: the crazy brilliance of walmart parking lot improvs
reader improv: fab shipping pallet staircase / stoop
improv personal style: one shirt worn 50 ways
nina’s tool bucket: essentials for doing-it-yourself
reader’s improv: rubber-stamps from carved erasersa perfect set of wheels for making furniture mobile + a great sapien bookcase hack