Introduction: How to Make a Mess...

About: I experience life through my finger tips and taste buds. Can't stop making new things. In my day job I manage a student workshop, and in my free time I volunteer as an EMT and for a local food rescue organizat…

Many people may disagree, but you and I are both fully aware that our true purpose in life is to make messes. So here it is, go forth and get messy. In many cases, a good mess is a necessary step in the completion of another project. These messy side effects may frustrate some, but it is important as a maker of things to embrace the fact that you may also become a maker of messes.

Entropy is often defined as a lack of order or predictability, basically a mess. According to the second law of thermodynamics the entropy of an isolated system never decreases; such a system will spontaneously proceed towards the configuration with maximum entropy (messiness). In most cases this only holds true for messes until someone cleans them up.

The best materials for mess making are often sticky, gooey, slimy or gross, but don't let this feel restricted. You can make a mess out of anything if you set your mind to it.

This is NOT a comprehensive guide. Messes can be good clean fun, but they can also be disastrous. For this reason countless potential mess-making strategies have been omitted from this guide.

This giant mallet by Mikeasaurus is an ideal tool for a quick and dirty mess.

Here's a great video instructable by Giannyl about a messy prank to pull on your friends.

Step 1: ... on the Floor.

Messes can occur anywhere, but one of the most common locations is on horizontal surfaces, and specifically floors. Open your front door, walk inside, drop everything you are holding and wallah, you have a mess. Artist, Ai WeiWei famously used this technique with an ancient Chinese vase and and his floor mess became a political mess very quickly.

Depending on the weather you may be able to create a floor-based mess without even dropping anything. Simply walking inside on a rainy day may also produce desired effect.

Many of the other types of messes covered in this Instructable are subsets of the Floor Mess.

Step 2: ... of Your Kitchen.

Messes in the kitchen can be created with minimal effort over a long period of time or in a matter of minutes if you have some friends to help you out.

One strategy is to simply cook the same thing for yourself every day for a month without doing dishes or cleaning the counter. This method employs the common adage "Why do today what I can do tomorrow" which is one that you might start hearing quite often in your mess making practice if you stick with it for long enough.

Another, equally good strategy is to invite a bunch of friends over for a taco making party and let them all go home before cleaning up. If you are really good at saying "Thanks for coming! Don't worry about dishes, I'll take care of it." creating a kitchen-mess will be a cinch for you. The aftermath of a party can be pretty disorienting at times but a quality mess will put everything back into perspective and help you cure that hangover.

Sometimes, simply leaving food in the fridge for too long creates a pretty substantial mess.

Paige Russell is not usually a very messy Instructables author, but here she shows off an easy trick for a little mess making while cooking pasta.


In some instances the mess on your kitchen counter may become so massive that it begins to warp the space time continuum as seen in the first photo above.

Step 3: ... in Your Bedroom.

I know what you are thinking, and I'm not going to get into that in this Instructable.

The archetypical PG-rated bedroom mess is often referred to as the 'floordrobe'. This happens when an individual, usually between the ages of 10 and 30, decides that rather than putting clothes away in their traditional receptacles, it is more convenient to create floor-based a system of organization. Side effects of this type of mess may include mismatched socks, unwanted odor and yelling (if you still live with your parents).

Step 4: ... in the Workshop.

Whenever anyone asks me what I am making in the workshop I always tell them a mess and they invariably think I am joking. Isn't every project just an excuse to experiment with different type of mess making? Saws and sanders are some of the best tools for creating high caliber messes. The best workshop messes are followed up by activities such as sawdust fights and wood-chip angels. Jon ( is the type of Insturctables user that really follows through after reading. The second photo above is a mess he made in his workshop after reading this guide. Way to go Jon!

Step 5: ... With Yarn, Wire and Other Tangly Things.

Ah, the tangle, the tangle is a subset of messes refereeing specifically to flexible objects with significant length. Kittens are the world experts in this mess-type. Give them a ball of yarn and end up with a tangle within minutes. It is a true joy to watch them work. In fact, the internet is practically filled with videos of exactly this phenomenon.

Do not think though that you cannot compete among the best. Tangles are fun and you can create them with wire, rope, yarn, thread, pasta shoe laces, hair, entrails, or string.

Step 6: ... With a 3D Printer.

If cats are the Jedi of tangling world, 3D printers are their Padawans. Orient a part at an angle the printer doesn't like and the next thing you know you'll have a good-old-fashioned tangle on your hands. 3D printers are the mess makers of the future and anyone who resists this reality will soon find themselves feeling inadequately equipped. Don't let the future pass you by. Get a 3D printer and start practicing so you can keep up with the younger generations.

Step 7: ... With Garbage.

Garbage messes take on many shapes and sizes. Small, road-side garbage piles can be created by a few individuals throwing McWhatever wrappers out their car windows on the way to work in the morning. Larger trash messes may be a collaboration between millions of participants all over the world. One example of such mess collaborations is giant floating islands of garbage which is one of the only messes visible from space.

For a really long-lasting effect, radioactive garbage from nuclear plants works brilliantly.

The first two photos above are from a photo series called 'Getting Dumped in Oakland' by experienced garbage documenter and Instructabler AudreyObscura.

Step 8: ... With Paint.

Ahhh, paint. If I believed in a god, I would believe that she, or he, crated paint for our mess-making pleasure. Some paint messes are accidents, and others are very intentional. Artists like Jackson Pollock and Iepe Rubingh employ their supremely inspired mess-making ability along with this wondrous substance in their art practices. Many students of kindergarten across the globe have attempted to emulate their practice with varying levels of success, but rarely as much fame.

Apply paint to anything that is not traditionally covered in paint and it is likely that someone will call it a mess, even if you call it art.

If you want to keep the paint somewhat contained while playing with kids, this instructable might help a bit.

Step 9: ... in the Grocery Store Aisle.

If you have ever heard the phrase "clean up in aisle 2" while you were in aisle 2 you may have witnessed one of the most classic messes of all times. Grocery stores are pretty much filled with supplies for making messes. Conveniently, grocery stores also have floors. As discussed earlier, floors are practically made for mess making, so I'll assume the procedure is pretty clear.

This guy with a milk jug ( is a champion at mess making in grocery store. He is also a real jerk, so I don't recommend this tactic.

Step 10: ... in a Car.

With both of your hands, at least one of your feet, and most of your attention occupied with the task of driving, messes in cars practically make themselves.

Once, in college, while borrowing a friend's car, I spilled an entire gallon of milk in the front seat. Looking back on this moment I am surprised this localized car mess didn't become a friendship mess about an hour later when I returned the car.

When driving, if you finish your Slurpee, you have two options for your mess location, the car or the environment. If you choose the option of the environment mess, I must warn you that it may become a legal mess as well if there is a law enforcement officer close by.

Step 11: ... With a Car.

In general this type of mess making is not advisable. Serious injuries are likely to occur as a side effect of this type of mess. One situation in which it is arguably acceptable to make a mess with a car is in a demolition derby. You are still likely to get hurt in a demolition derby, but since you signed up for it there isn't a whole lot of room for complaining.

One of the few other situations in which it is acceptable to make a mess with a car is if you are a crash test dummy.

Step 12: ... With Mud.

I feel like at this point I don't even need to give any more info for this step.

Step 13: ... While Running With Mud.

Mud runs are becoming quite popular and offer a way to get an exercise and make a giant mess at the same time. Mud runs such as Tough Mudder and The Spartan race are messy obstacle courses that are, according to my sources, "TOTALLY RAD", "WICKED KILLER" and quite exhausting. Some feature painful obstacles such as hanging live wires, in addition to the messy mud pits. Photos courtesy of mud runner Adam Emenecker.

Step 14: ... While Running With Color

The Color Run has become quite a popular event across north america in recent years and offers an alternative exercise mess type. This event takes inspiration from a traditional Hindu religious ceremony called Holi. Color runs are one of the most fun ways to make a mess while exercising with hundreds of other people. Don't be fooled, the man taking a selfie is not a member of the mess making troop, The Blue Man Group. In fact, that is my good friend Silvio Tinello, a participant in a recent color run.

Step 15: ... at a Concert, and Get Paid for It.

Bands like The Blue Man Group, and GWAR are famous for their mess making. At GWAR shows, fans can expect to get drenched in fake blood, and other bodily fluids by screaming metalhead monsters. Blue Man Group on the other hand prefers to make professional sized messes with toilet paper, paint, marshmallows and other assorted home-goods.

Fans of both of these bands commonly wear white t-shirts to shows with the intention of getting them as messy as possible and then framing as proof of their fandom.

Young fans of some unknown messy music group pictured in the third image above have no shame about their messy appearance. In fact, their messiness is a point of pride, and is being used as a means by which they attempt to impress potential mates.

Step 16: ... on Network Television.

Musicians aren't the only ones can make a living getting messy for the entertainment of others. Stars of such shows as Nickelodeon's Slime Time and The Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs are some of world's best known mess makers.

Here's a great recipe by Superpants for how to make a slime similar to the one Nickelodeon uses on TV.

For a florescent version of a similar substance the King of Random has some great tips.

Step 17: ... on Your Face.

If you would like to prominently display to the world that you are a mess-maker extraordinaire, there is no better way than to display a mess upon your face.

Feel free to get creative with face messes. This is not the time for a half-hearted splash of sauce or smear of grease, this is your opportunity to prove yourself to the world.