It’s been quite a year for PopSci DIY. We’ve published more than 300 stories on a variety of useful topics—from tech tips to full-on buildable projects. We’re proud of every single one, which made it extremely difficult to pick a select few for this roundup. But if there’s anything DIYers understand, it’s hard work. So here you go: our most-read and favorite DIY stories of 2019.
The best weather apps you can put on your phone
Thanks to climate change, the Earth’s weather is getting a whole lot weirder. You might think a simple glimpse out the window is enough to inform you of Mother Nature’s plans for the day, but she’s not playing by the old rules anymore. If you don’t want to be caught in a sudden snow squall or drenched by a downpour while grilling in the backyard, you’ll need a reliable source of weather information. David Nield has collected seven for you, offering everything from basic forecasts to detailed radar maps.
How to make pottery from scratch
We love when writers get hands-on with their stories. It always adds a level of knowledge that you just can’t get from research, no matter how much you read on the internet. Ilana Strauss really got her hands dirty with this one, digging clay from a riverbed and setting fire to the lawn while crafting handmade pottery.
20 tips and tricks for your new Samsung Galaxy S10
So you bought a Galaxy S10. Nice. Nield dove into the phone’s settings and resurfaced with a bunch of tips and tricks for the smartphone. (He wasn’t even out of breath.) When you’re done, you may also want to check out these stories on Android shortcuts that aren’t built in, what you can do with your home screen, and—if you’re not an Android user—our guide on how to switch phones.
What to do if you’re exposed to tear gas
Even if you don’t think you’re at risk of tear gas exposure, it’s better to be prepared. Assistant DIY Editor Sandra Gutierrez put together this well-researched story on the weapon itself, how to handle exposure, and how to protect others in the midst of its noxious fumes. It’s information that could save lives. She translated it into Spanish, too.
The best way to deal with 30-50 feral hogs in your yard
Yeah, that’s a reference to the feral hog meme that hit the internet in August. But in all fairness, Alisha McDarris hadn’t heard of the viral tweet when she came up with this story as part of a series on how to survive encounters with various wild animals. It’s good advice if you live in one of the 35 states affected by the quickly rising hog population.
Pick the best produce with these science tricks
If you’ve ever shopped for groceries, you’ve probably picked up some produce, squeezed it a bit, nodded sagely to yourself, and put it in your cart. But does this actually tell you anything about the quality of the vegetable or fruit? And does quality even matter? Sara Chodosh has the answers.
Watch anything you want without signing up for every streaming service
Part of the original appeal of streaming services was the freedom they offered from cable TV. Everything you wanted was there for you, at your command. Now, as more services hit the market and begin to resemble individual TV channels once more, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Instead of tacking on another monthly bill, try Nield’s strategies for saving while streaming.
How to easily share Wi-Fi passwords
It can be a chore to join unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks, especially around the holidays. So instead of sorting through a pile of sticky notes, trying to decipher a piece of paper with dozens of passwords on it, or venturing into a dank basement to copy login information off a dusty router, consider these tips from Whitson Gordon.
So you want to try intermittent fasting. Here’s how to do it.
You’ve probably seen intermittent fasting touted as a good way to lose weight. But it’s not a quick fix. Nicole Wetsman found that while it’s been shown to benefit mice and rats, there isn’t much research on how it affects humans. Still, nutrition experts say it can be effective for some people.
Make every photo a potential profile pic by learning how to pose
Easily one of the funniest DIY stories published this year, Harry Guinness let us post a bunch of slightly unsettling to incredibly unflattering photos of himself as examples of what not to do when posing for photos. But there are also some good ones in there, along with his expert advice, and you should come away from this feeling more photogenic.
I spent 13 hours trying to make mac and cheese in a bag. It was a disaster.
This is a bit of a bonus, since it was a bold attempt that ultimately failed. After seeing the internet uproar about Panera’s practice of warming up frozen mac and cheese in warm water—a perfectly acceptable thawing method—we tried to go a step further and make it from scratch. It was rough.