I am absolutely terrible at making crafts. I always have been and will continue to be long after this DIY assignment is complete. So, when asked to step out of my comfort zone, crafting a wallet from potato chip bags seemed to be a rather perfect fit. To me, the potato chip bag wallet is the epitome of a “crafty” project: a combination of cutting, taping, measuring, and folding. Going in, I was concerned that even the simplest of online tutorials would assume that the reader/viewer was more competent than me. Indeed, when I first searched for instructions, many of the options were extremely intimidating. Luckily, when I looked a bit deeper I found some tutorials and wallet designs that were a bit more in my wheelhouse (though not my comfort zone).
Aside from my lack of skill with scissors and tape (which slowed things down a lot), the main problem I encountered along the way was the lack of tutorials designed specifically for wallets made out of potato chip bags. Apparently, making purses out of potato chip bags is a much more popular craft. To solve this issue, I searched instead for wallet-making tutorials that use materials similar to potato chip bags, including magazines, candy wrappers, and paper. These searches offered more relevant results from which to choose. (In case you’re trying to stay hip, I’ve discovered that “magazine wallets” are much trendier than potato chip bag wallets.) Using similar search terms (things along the lines of “how to make a wallet made of magazines,” etc.) in Google Images was very helpful because I could sort through sites based on whether the pictures included seemed relevant. I then used a combination of tips from resources that specifically discuss crafts made with potato chip bags with those that give instructions for wallets made out of similar materials.
Specifically, I used a YouTube video, a blog posting, an eHow page, and a contribution to a craft-based forum to create my Doritos bag wallet. The video was created by a girl whose only apparent motivation was to share her abilities with others. I found this resource particularly helpful because of the combination of audio instructions with helpful visuals as well as the instructor’s down-to-earth, clear narration. I knew the video source was credible because the instructor made the craft from scratch onscreen without any noticeable cuts or edits in the video. The blog posting is from an author of various books on creativity and craft-making. I used this resource early in the process to get a sense of what materials I would need beyond potato chip bags. The eHow (a popular instructional site) page served a similar purpose and assured me that there are some simple wallet-making options. The forum, named Instructables, had a tutorial specific to potato chip bags, provided by a user with motivations similar to that of the YouTube user. This particular tutorial had a much more complex take on the project, but it was helpful in teaching me how to prepare the bags to be turned into wallets. I found all of these resources credible because the instructions are presented clearly, logically, and, for the most part, accompanied by visuals. I also appreciated that the motivations behind these tutorials were rather generous–the authors, of varying expertise levels, seem to just want to help. The exception to this may be eHow, the owner(s) of which may have more fiscal motivations based on page-views and ad revenue, but I’ve found that the information on eHow is fairly trustworthy.
I found the video source to be the most helpful. Watching a person create the wallet while listening to her instructions was well-suited to my learning style for this type of activity due to my lack of experience with crafts. If I were to do a project that is more in my comfort zone, I’d probably use a written tutorial because I would not be constrained to the length of a video and could limit my reading to only the parts that I find confusing. Because craft-making is so difficult for me, however, I preferred the slower, more visual approach.
That is, perhaps, the most useful thing I learned from this assignment. I tend to neglect video tutorials when looking things up online, but, through crafting this wallet, I realize that I benefit from an audiovisual approach to learning about things that are out of my comfort zone. I’m also more appreciative now of how many generous, intelligent people contribute to various websites. I typically think of the average internet user in terms of the ignorant comments posted all over YouTube and news sites, but sifting through these tutorials was pretty uplifting.