Make Something: Unintended Instructions

On this 170th day of making things, the prompt was to create “something unintended out of existing instructions.”

I hold onto instructions. But not in any organized fashion.

Imagine: All manuals and operating instructions in one convenient, orderly space. A binder maybe. Or a file cabinet.

Yeah. Not in my house.

Around here, instructions turn up everywhere … and they’re not necessarily useful. In a kitchen drawer, stuffed under the utensil organizer, you might find a pamphlet on safe use of a hand mixer that died years ago. In my bathroom cabinet, there’s a bagful of drug precaution papers, printed entirely in seven-point type and folded, map-like, so they would wrap around a medicine bottle. The shelf over the TV hosts a stack of manuals for speakers and video players and remote controls, some of which are a generation older than my last-born child.

And in my office, tucked into this file and that shelf and another drawer, are instructions for nearly every brand of office equipment. Texas Instruments calculator. Casio clock. Emerson answering machine. Brother label maker. Cannon printer. Blackberry phone. Sony laptop. HP scanner. Apple tablet.

Altogether, the collection catalogs a 20-year history of home office and small business technology. But it serves no real purpose.

Might as well put those outdated papers to use.

So I grabbed a massive instructional poster that promised I’d be printing high-quality color photos in no time, without ever leaving home. I enlisted our resident Origami expert, my daughter Hannah, to coach me through the steps to transform that large piece of paper into a balloon. When I tried to blow it up, I got woozy, so Hannah puffed it full of her young air.

And voila.


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