r/DiWHY Is Where Ill-Fated DIY Projects Go For Their Moment in the Sun

A community showcasing projects that should have never been conceived of or that turned out horribly wrong.
April 11, 2018, 2:12pm

The internet has become packed with performative displays of exhaustive and elaborate Do It Yourself projects—Reddit is full of everything from custom home improvements to bespoke board game tables and homemade wedding rings. There is no shortage of creative zero-to-hero Imgur albums to inspire you to finally get around to repainting your kitchen (or highlight your inability to assemble an IKEA bookshelf.)

However, if you’re the type of person who’d rather just pay the $20 furniture assembly fee and wants to give the finger to these unrealistic DIY beauty standards, you’ve got a friend in r/DIwhY— a shameless parody of r/DIY that celebrates failure and champions flawed “fixes.”

Using balloons as a potholder. Screengrab: Lifehacks

The DiWHY community is currently over 300,000 strong and says it’s a space for “shitty projects from r/DIY to live prosperously.” The definition of “shitty” is definitely left open to interpretation here—scrolling through the subreddit, there’s a vast range of hilariously misguided efforts to DIY.The rules simply demand that one of these two criteria are met:

  • The project is such that it should never have been proposed
  • The project had a good idea behind it and then proceeded to turn out horribly wrong

As such, everything from the community’s own spectacular fuckups to serious DIY-related posts from around the web that might end in disaster (a boat haphazardly mounted above a bed, for example) are fair game. There’s a fair share of both exposing some truly abhorrent DIY jobs and presenting what you might call “the rough outtakes from r/DIY.” As you can imagine, hilarity often ensues. Ultimately, the sub truly encapsulates the popular internet adage “there was an attempt.”

Top posts from recent weeks include a lawnmower modified with motorcycle handlebars, a pogostick plunger, using latex balloons as a potholder, and, proudly, a Motherboard article about making yogurt with vaginal bacteria.

The subreddit’s origins lie in a post from r/DIY 4 years ago, where the question of creating a space for projects that didn't come out so great was raised, according to the subreddit’s founder, “Mr. Khan.”

“People threw out some sub names, OP of that thread himself proposed diy_fail and I threw myself in the ring by coming up with ‘DiWHY,’ a play on the original subject of DIY but questioning the “why” of the project itself,” Mr. Kahn told me. “From there it took off.”

“A lot of content from DiWHY ends up on r/all, which speaks to the great content posted here,” they added. “It's actually a huge trending item, specifically on YouTube where you see tons of parody DIY and so called ‘hack’ videos. Instagram has become another source of video content with lots of quick humorous ‘hack’ clips. There’s so much of it that I have to delete many reposts and obvious satire channels.”

There’s a sheer contrast with subreddits like r/DIY, and the internet DIY community in general. While DIY enthusiasts might marvel over GIF-playing RGB top hats and beautiful wooden word watches, the DiWHY community will pour the same levels of enthusiasm and zeal into projects that will make you cover your eyes and ask your deity of choice “…why?” It’s cringeworthy, chaotic and often hilarious.

The best thing about the community has got to be the unabashed and shameless middle finger it gives to the enthusiasm and perfectionism of r/DIY. When compared to the momentous, intricate, and pseudo-superhuman projects on show on r/DIY, this sub seems much more human and relatable.

There’s a charm to it—we’ve all thrown together some quick, lazy, and ugly fixes when something breaks or started a DIY project only to realize there’s no way it’s going to end well.

“DIY and the failed attempts that accompany it will always serve as a great way to connect us,” Mr. Khan said. “I think we've all tried our hands at making or building something. At times, it comes out great, but other times you stand there questioning yourself and wondering if you should continue.”