Sometimes, DIY isn't pretty. In fact, sometimes it's downright ugly and rickety, but it's cheap and it works. Let's give some homage to our favourite janky, amazing hacks from over the years.
7. Up Your Headphones' Game With Industrial Earmuffs
Got some janky headphones lying around? This project won't make them any less so, but they will turn them into a pair of intense cans that will shield you from all outside noise. All you need is a pair of $US20 earmuffs from a hardware store and the willingness to tear apart your old headphones. If you're more of an earbud user, you can improve their noise isolation with a few foam earplugs.
6. Turn Just About Anything Into A Laptop Stand
Ergonomically, it's better for you to have your laptop raised and at an angle and if you have it on your lap, you definitely want to keep that heat away from your legs. But, when you don't have one of these awesome laptop stands nearby, you can make one out of just about anything, including kitchen cooling racks, ring binders and even cardboard. None of them are going to win any design contests, but they'll work. Of course, with a bit of extra elbow grease, you could make something a bit nicer looking as well. It just takes a little more effort.
5. Make A Tablet Stylus Out Of A Chocolate Bar Wrapper
Modern tablets were designed for fingers, but on those rare occasions you want to become an iPad artist, you can make a ridiculous looking stylus out of a pen and a chocolate bar wrapper. It works pretty darn well, too, for something that was free.
4. Organise Your Cables With Toilet Paper Tubes
It's amazing how quickly one can amass extra cables in this day and age, but thankfully, you can keep them organised and tangle-free with leftover toilet paper tubes. Despite how ridiculous it sounds (and looks), this little organiser is actually pretty clever. After all, it's not like you're going to have it out in the open for everyone to see — you just need somewhere to store those old component and mini-USB cables you don't use anymore.
3. Store All Sorts Of Stuff With Wire Hangers
Wire hangers are the "jack of all trades" of the garbage world. With a little bending and moulding they can do just about anything, while being uglier than every other solution out there. Turn them into a smartphone mounts, microphone stands, cable organisers, or even a razor and shaving brush holder. They won't win any beauty contests, but they'll bend to your will in almost any situation.
2. Boost Your Wi-Fi With Aluminium Foil
Nothing's more tiring than getting one bar of Wi-Fi at the other end of your house, but luckily, there's an ugly solution just waiting for you to try it out. The DIY "Windsurfer" extender is a simple parabola that you can put together with some paper and aluminium and it works remarkably well at extending your Wi-Fi signal. Alternatively, you can use an old beer can, if you're looking for something that says "I love janky life hacks and I drink a lot of crappy beer."
1. Mount Your Phone In Your Car With A Binder Clip
Most smartphones have solid turn-by-turn navigation on them these days, but it seems stupid to pay $US40 for a car dock, especially when it only fits your current phone. For only $3, you can put together an insanely functional car dock from a binder clip, a rubber band and some string. Nothing says janky like office supplies you bent with a pair of pliers, but this is still the best DIY car dock we've seen yet. Be sure to check out all the other things you can make with binder clips, too. But be careful with this one: in many states of Australia, it's illegal to use anything other than a commercial mount.