Is there anything more controversial than … crafts?
It’s a ridiculous question. And yet … 5-Minute Crafts—the ninth-most-popular channel on YouTube with a staggering 74 million subscribers and 21 billion page views—has definitely managed to stir up its fair share of critics.
The channel, which is a part of the Cypress-based TheSoul Publishing, features videos demonstrating all manner of creative,fun crafts and “life hacks.” A few minutes scrolling through the videos on the channel reveals a myriad of fun, cheap and often ingenious ways to repurpose common household items.
Stressed out? Fill a balloon up with toothpaste. Voilà! Instant stress ball! Going camping? You might paint some fingernail polish on a cotton makeup pad, let it dry, then use it to help start a campfire. Need cheap party games for a birthday celebration? 5-Minute Crafts shows you how to take something as simple as paper cups, balloons and ping-pong balls and turn it into a great kids game.
So what about that controversy? Well, there’s been more than one. This channel is understandably popular among kids; but some crafts involve combining household substances in ways that could be dangerous if done wrong. Other hacks don’t work. And still other critics have noted that some of the suggested projects are just plain weird, like soaking an egg in vinegar, maple syrup and blue dye to make it big and blue.
That said, the majority of ideas offered here are cheap and fun.
5-Minute Crafts feels like a channel MacGyver would have loved. Parents who guide young “crafters” through the site will be rewarded with enough fresh ideas to keep kiddos busy for a long time.
Meanwhile, other ideas are aimed at adults, too, such as coating dollops of toothpaste with baking soda, letting them dry, and storing them in a small container for camping (instead of packing an entire tube of toothpaste). You’ll find practical, fix-it hacks (like a quick repair for a torn wedding dress) as well as cheap, aesthetic ones (like using inexpensive wooden hobby sticks to create a surprisingly lovely little candle holder).
Some summer-oriented videos, featuring women in two-piece swimsuits, feel ever-so-slightly objectifying. At least one video about romantic relationships is surprisingly suggestive (including a brief vignette of a couple in a bubble-filled bath drinking champagne). That video also implies that an unmarried couple is sleeping together after just a month of knowing each other—an unwanted content concern indeed on a site devoted, ostensibly, to crafts and life hacks.
The problem here, obviously, is that kids could be watching a simple craft video one minute and something that’s inappropriate the next.
Kids love crafts. And this channel could provide all kinds of crafty inspiration … as long as it’s coupled with careful parental oversight to avoid this channel’s occasionally problematic content.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.