Stick it, Poke it, DIY it
DIY art is back, and these artists, either on social media or YouTube are using basic stationary and discards to make greeting cards, lamps and even a vacuum cleaner
THIRTY-year-old engineering professor Navin Khambhala, aka #crazyNK has 1.2 million followers on YouTube. His recent videos on “how to make a Go-Kart” and “how to make a vacuum have got around 16 million and 25 million views respectively. Looking at the figures, you would be then surprised to know that these are all DIY projects Khambhala conducts at his home in Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. He used to teach at a city college but now is a fulltime YouTuber. “Growing up I always had a keeda in me to make toys and such. My father also was a believer of doing things yourself. We have never called an electrician over,” says the son of a school uniform shop owner.
When he started out in 2015, he’d upload almost a video a week, which vary from making toy versions of the Mars Rover and Hover Boards. His vacuum cleaner is made up of a plastic bottle, a nozzle and tape and such items you can get at a stationary and hardware shop. “Along with the toys, it’s all about real-life application as well. I have stopped counting the comments I get. Many students follow me and recreate my stuff at college and school competitions,” he laughs. These days, he only makes a video if he feels the creative urge, and it’s always about upgrading a previous project. “People are excited about DIY videos only because they realise that even complicated devices actually have a simple and easy explanation behind them. And it’s all in their hands.”
DIY influencers are easily the next big rising niche on social media. Be it home improvement at the end of a glue gun, or making cute gifts for friends, or slimey, gross slime to win that tween trade off — there is somebody doing all of that on the internet now. Khambhala may be at the extreme end of the spectrum with his science-influenced DIY projects but there are enough artists who are giving you simplified DIY solutions that you don’t even need to leave your house for. For example, Shubhangi Sahal of Cardkhana reminds us of the time we made every card ever, at home, with sketch pens and chart paper. The 26-year-old NIFT student had been making cards ever since she was a child, and never knew anybody would ever want to buy them. “But as I started putting stuff up on Facebook, I realised there was a demand for this,” she tells us. All of her cards are personalised and unique. “I ask them about specific likes/ dislikes, hobbies, and spend a lot of time knowing exactly what they want. I buy raw material from everywhere — even ordering it from China. I am going to be holding workshops soon as many people have asked me how to make their own cards,” says Sahal, adding, “I think it’s the effort that goes into DIY items is making it a wanted commodity these days.”
That would be the reason why Nikita Rakshe of Junk Drawer, who lives in Borivali, and her DIY photo bottles and message bottles are finding more takers. “The message bottles are in test tubes with cute inspirational messages; then there are jars of success, where I fill jars with quotes and bookmarks; then photo bottles, where I put photographs and light them up with fairy lights. Right now, nobody has the time to make all this, so they want someone else to make the same for them,” says the 22-year-old Bachelor of Management Studies student, who works in social media marketing.
But sometimes DIY projects are most important because they keep you off your phone and in the real world, feels Shreya Naik Kapoor of Label Masala. Naik, who started the brand as a stationary and retail brand, is now giving workshops that deal with slime making, upcycling your old denims, and drum workshops that use buckets instead of actual drums. “I discovered slime making as I was suffering from anxiety and it was therapeutic and kept me occupied. Then I realised so many kids and adults want to make these. There are slime trade-offs, kids sell slime to other kids — it’s a whole world out there!” says the 29-year-old, whose next workshop is going to be about making a glazy in a bottle,
Along with the toys, it’s all about real-life application as well. Many students follow me and recreate my stuff at college and school competitions
“all you will need is coloured liquid and cotton.” Naik, in her real life as well, is one who uses everything in her Bandra house, even if its falling apart. “I don’t throw anything till I have sucked the last use out of it. For example, if you have an empty glue bottle, you can make it horizontal, cut a fine gap through its belly, put mud in it, paint it, and use it as a plant holder. It really doesn’t more DIY than that.”
Right now, nobody has the time to make all this, so they want someone else to make the same for them’