Inside the Mysterious Company Behind Those Baffling 5-Minute Crafts Videos
Where did these strange viral videos come from and who is making tens of millions of dollars a year from them?
I’m glued to YouTube, watching one of the most ridiculous life hacks imaginable from 5-Minute Crafts. A young woman has put clear soap cubes in a bowl and liquified them. She adds green food coloring to the mix, then pours it into a latex glove. She puts a suction cup into the open part of the glove. The soap mix solidifies again, holding the suction cup in place. She peels off the glove to reveal a green soap hand that she sticks to a wall in her bathroom above her sink. Human hand meets soap hand in an uncanny handshake, a few suds denoting that all is working exactly as it should be.
This has taken less than a minute to unspool on camera, backed by some poppy synth music. Now we see the same young woman, only this time her hands are getting tired as she scrolls on her phone while using the toilet. Ugh! What to do? Aha! A stroke of brilliance: She rests her phone on her underwear in order to watch a 5-Minute Crafts video on how to get your contact lens out of your eye using a Q-tip. We have achieved a bizarre life hack within its own bizarre life hack, a Droste effect for these internet times! And then we’re on to the next.
If you’ve never had the confusingly mesmerizing experience of watching a 5-Minute Crafts video, they are soothing in an ASMR kind of way while hitting your dopamine receptors just so with the constant surprise of what in the world will they do next?! The videos are laden with the before-and-after pleasures of a good home reno show, yet there’s so much more packed in: bright colors, oddly emphatic acting (no one speaks, but they definitely emote), and easy solutions to the slightest of problems, all set to impossibly cheery music. Often, they’re extremely weird. The effect is not quite of this world, yet familiar enough with it to make a green soap hand and call it a craft.