Monday, April 01, 2013

The Great Hoax of 2013

So, as some skeptics out there suspected, that whole Bake Your Own Carving Block tutorial was an April Fools joke. A complete hoax, through and through. Oh, there were elements of truth to it--the better to make it believable. For instance, when I wrote, "This tutorial has been more than a year in the making," that was the honest truth. I had the idea for the tutorial about a year ago, and it took me that long to save enough shavings to create a tutorial that would look legit!

And when I wrote about the equipment: "Amanda found ours at a Japanese dollar store and our total expense was less than $10!"--that too was completely true.

But those are about the only two true statements in the entire tutorial. The rest was a complete hoax.

"But!" I hear you thinking, "Look at those photos you took! They look so real!" Yes, they do look convincing, don't they? But remember, they had to look convincing if it was ever going to fool anyone! =)

In step 1, when I'm shredding pink stuff with a cheese grater and cutting it with a knife--I really did these things. That's real pink stuff that I really did shred with the cheese grater. But the cheese grater was so hard to work and cut so little off at a time, I got tired of it and started cutting up the pieces instead. Much faster. So step 1B--that's me being lazy. =)

Real pink stuff, really being shredded with a cheese grater.

Real pink stuff, when I got too lazy to shred enough pink stuff!

Step 2: Apply DEET as a food release spray
In step 2, when I sprayed the pan with DEET--this is true. I really did do this. Why did I use DEET? What made me even think of using DEET? That was the first question Amanda had when I showed her the tutorial. "DEET? That's crazy!" she told me.

I actually went through our kitchen looking for Pam. I figured it needed a food release spray, but when I looked for it, I couldn't find it anywhere. Were we out? Was it hidden behind the cinnamon and I was just overlooking it? I didn't know, but then I realized I'm just making a fake tutorial anyhow. Who the heck cares? It just has to look like I sprayed something on it! So I started searching the kitchen for anything "spray-able," and you know what I found? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Then I thought I could use one of those water spritzer bottle thingys, but I couldn't find any of those in the house either. And then I remembered my DEET. It came in a small bottle that was sprayable. And it clicked immediately--what a WONDERFUL idea!!!! I was going to try to use something else other than food release spray and pretend it was a food release spray, but DEET keeps bugs away--that could actually be a good thing for our little rubber stamps! Who cares if it worked? It looked good and it sounded even better! Perfect for an April Fools joke!

Real pink stuff, real scraps. But the DEET had
already been washed off and the tray dried again.
So the DEET was actually a last minute addition when I couldn't find real food spray in the kitchen. Thank goodness we had run out! =)

I took a few photos of the DEET-covered tray, then immediately washed off the DEET and dried the tray. It had served its purpose.

For step 3, I then piled on a bunch of old pink shavings from real carvings that Amanda and I had done over the past year. It's a real photo, of real pink stuff. There's absolutely no DEET or food release on the tray, though. It didn't need it since I had absolutely no intention of baking it. =)

By step 4, I added aluminum foil over the tray. The pink stuff actually is still in it at this point, and the aluminum foil served a couple of purposes for me. First, it gave me something new to take a photo of and (I thought) made the tutorial look more authentic. Second, by covering up the material, I didn't have to show any photos of the "slowly melting" pink stuff--which I wasn't sure I could pull of convincingly. Amanda and I actually had different visions for how we were going to pull off the melted look. I thought covering it up with aluminum foil would be easiest and more convincing. Amanda thought I should "melt" the pink stuff in a pot on the stove and pour the melted mess into the tray to dry and harden. But she was off on a trip working when I made this tutorial so I got my way. =)

The fork in the aluminum foil I did just because I thought it was funny. As if there was lasagna or something cooking and you didn't want the cheese to get crispy. =)

In steps 5 and 6--it's actually still real when I turned on my toaster oven* to 350 degrees and waited for it to warm up a bit. I wanted that orange glow to show that the toaster over really was on and quite warm. When it glowed sufficiently, I put the tray in and took a few photos. The pink stuff really is still in there, but as soon as my photo shoot was over (perhaps after about 1 minute), I turned off the toaster oven and removed the tray.

It's not until the tutorial gets to step 7 when the hoax really crosses from fact into complete fantasy. That's when I bring out the "melted" pink stuff. Since I didn't have any melted pink stuff--and I'm not even sure that it would melt (but I haven't eliminated the possibility either)--I needed something else. Something pink and liquid-ish. Anyone care to take a guess at what I did use? If you guess Pepto-Bismol, you guessed correctly. =) If you've got the runs, this concoction might help you out! But for carving purposes, it's absolutely terrible!

Here's the switcher-roo! The pink shavings have been
replaced with Pepto-Bismol--plus a few chunks of real
pink stuff to make it look "mostly" melted.
So I dumped out all of the pink shavings and filled up the tray with Pepto-Bismol. Then I threw in a small handful of real pink stuff to give it that "mostly" melted and lumpy look, mixed it in real good, then placed the aluminum foil behind it as if I had just opened it for the photo.

Removing real air bubbles from the Pepto-Bismol.
Next I wanted a photo of the "finished" product, so I used a fork to pull out most of the real pink shavings in the Pepto-Bismol. The smaller pieces that sank to the bottom I didn't worry about--you couldn't really see those. I was more worried about the bigger pieces that gave a lumpy appearance and that could actually be seen. But when it was done, I was a little concerned by the fact that the Pepto-Bismol had a TON of enormous air bubbles! It didn't look flat or carvable at all!

I did, in fact, try popping them with the end of a toothpick, but they were stubbornly resistant to popping, which is when I pulled out my spoon and started "skimming" the biggest bubbles off the surface. It looked pretty good in the photo, but if you really zoomed in closely, you'd see all sorts of smaller air bubbles I never did get.

I was almost done with the Pepto-Bismol. Before I dumped it out, though, I wanted to get Marjorie involved. I let the Pepto-Bismol tray set out overnight--mostly just to see what would happen--and a very thin, slight crust formed on it by morning. Which was an awesome effect! I thought it made the pink stuff look like it was already cooling (but hadn't cooled completely) giving it a sense of legitimacy, and even made it look less like the Pepto-Bismol that it really was.

Marjorie helps out! Leaving the Pepto-Bismol out overnight
left a thin layer of slightly hardened surface that's pretty clear
in this photo. It's actually an effect I really liked and wanted!
Which is why I used Marjorie to make a hole in it then
moved her to the side so the "hole" was quite obvious.

Here comes the second switcher-roo--the Pepto-Bismol-laced
pink stuff was switched out with strawberry-scented candle wax.
By step 10, I needed to show a "finished" product. The problem with Pepto-Bismol, as you might imagine, is that it's a liquid. It's always a liquid. It's a little hard to "pop" it out and have it look carvable. Amanda came to the rescue here, though--she found strawberry-scented candle wax that was just the right shade of pink.

So I dumped out the Pepto-Bismol (along with whatever pink shavings were still in it), cleaned up the tray, and dried it. Then I threw in the candle wax, put it on the stove, and started melting it. When the wax melted, it became a translucent red color, which looked nothing like the pink stuff, so I let it cool and harden a few hours before I took more photos. It also left the apartment smelling like strawberries for the next two days--which Amanda commented immediately upon walking in the door from the trip she was on. =)

And as you can see in the last photo of the tutorial, the candle wax just popped right out of the tray. No food release, no DEET. I was a little worried that it might stick to the tray, but fortunately, it didn't. Well, there was a tiny little section in the very middle of the tray that stuck, which is why I popped it out "a little bit" for my photo. I didn't want the part that stuck to the tray to show, so I covered the "mistake" with the "carving block." Then I took one last photo for the tutorial...

...a perfectly formed block of candle wax. =)
I hope you've enjoyed this "tutorial of a hoax." At least you can trust everything in this post is true! Right...? Is anyone still listening to me...? Hmm...

* No toaster ovens were harmed in the making of this hoax.


Bethany Lee said...

I thought the 'melted wax' part looked very similar to 1970s/1980s era Village Lip Lickers lip gloss. Too funny that it was candle wax instead.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I was completely sucked in and ready to give it a go. I guess I'll just have to get my blue feather now.

Anonymous said...

Smooth Move said...
You wasted Pepto-Bismol?

Anonymous said...

You fooled me! I carved some stamps last night and started saving my scraps--LOL!


Anonymous said...

I'm feeling like such a sucker right now!


Anonymous said...

I have laughed all through your explanation.... I hope you had as much fun doing your hoax as I have had reading all your substitutions!!! Bravo for another fun April Fools antic!


Ryan said...

I wouldn't say that I "wasted" Pepto-Bismol. In fact, it seemed like a great use for it! This batch of Pepto-Bismol will live on for years in the Internet! =)

Blue feathers were a joke as well, and meant as a decoy. However, technically speaking, that link really did work! =) So I'm not ready to call that one an "April Fools" joke. A joke, yes, but it can't be an April Fools joke if it's really true, right?

-- Ryan

Amy Marr said...

I can't believe this was a joke! Well played, Ryan. Now I have to forward this on to the people I sent the original to so they don't try it!!!


MO UR4Me said...

Totally hilarious!

Rabid Quilter from California said...

Because I was skeptical, I read your tutorial aloud to Old Blue, he said, "Bet that's Pepto Bismol in that pan". Smart guy, that Old Blue!


Kathi said...

I figured that you didn't use food spray, thinking it would attract animals (but I was thinking "I wonder if WD40 would work...?"). I also thought the melted product looked a bit like jello made with evaporated milk.

Well done, Ryan! The two-fer-one this year was brilliant!


Anonymous said...

We believe because we want to believe........


Teresa said...

You cheated!

Anonymous said...

So . . . has anybody tried dehydrating pepto bismol to get a carving block yet? I'm thinking maybe 3 hrs @ 140 degrees?

Anonymous said...

Well done, Tortuga!

~ Outdoor Adventurer

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm disappointed. The Deet did seem a bit odd, but understandable...the rest seemed rather doable. I was ready to give it a try.

Good prank...but darn!


GA Candy Girl said...

Now what do I do with this cheap little toaster oven that I went out and bought? Ya got me good.

Anonymous said...

Make shrinky dinks candy girl :) great joke

Anonymous said...

After curiously reading this, I said to myself omg this really worked then I scrolled up to the top and saw the note. I was even going to add color to it, hahaha!