A normal cooking pan: boring. A pan that forms shapes out of your cooking oil: amusing! An unexpected twist on ordinary objects suddenly makes life more interesting. Are they necessary? No. Are they overpriced? Probably. But unconventional objects are worth acknowledging for their "Huh, that's pretty cool" factor.
From pop-up business cards to tree bookshelves to traffic lights with extra glow, here are ordinary objects that have an innovative, creative twist. Did you see any of these coming?
Puzzle Piece Cutting Boards
Want a cuter way to stack your cutting boards? Then get them puzzle-shaped. Not only do these wooden cutting boards connect, but the hole on the side also carries most glasses, which allows you to carry an entire meal to the couch.
Some companies, such as Personalization Mall, will carve any saying you want into each puzzle piece. You could put names on them, or quotes, or even inside jokes if you wish. Most collections cost upwards of $30.
3D And Transparent Business Cards
To gain more recognition, you can hand clients a business card they'll never forget. London-based artist Elod Beregszaszi creates pop-up business cards that transform into miniature sculptures. Don't worry; they fold smoothly to fit in your wallet or pocket.
If that sounds too wild for you, some printing companies like Uprinting will manufacture transparent business cards--with the words and logo visible, of course. These cards appear much more unique than a simple embossed one.
The Oil On A Cooking Pan Forms Shapes
You've probably seen egg or waffle pans molded into fun shapes. This pan twists that concept and creates a hexagon out of cooking oil. The surface tension on this pan immediately gathers the oil into awesome shapes.
A Reddit user who posted the pan mentioned that the hexagon slipped from side to side as it heated up, choreographing a "mesmerizing cooking session." The brand is Crofton, and you can purchase a similar pan from Aldi.
Tea Bag Coat Hangers
Tea fans: this one is for you. Soon Mo Kang has designed tea bag holders like little shirts that you can hang in a mini closet. While this storage might be unnecessary, it certainly is adorable!
Other companies such as Eumakers turn the hangers into clasps that you can clip tea bags in. As of now, most available options are sold out, so you'll need to keep an eye on the product if its now on your must-have list.
These shelves function as wall art and bookshelves simultaneously. The whimsical aesthetic will make guests feel like they're walking into Alice and Wonderland (before they subsequently find that book on the shelf).
Tree bookshelves come in a variety of shapes and colors, and cost at least $150 at Wayfair, Etsy, Kohl's, and Home Depot. You can always get a plain white option and paint the rest yourself, as well.
Creating Designs With Soy Sauce Dishes
Specialized soy sauce dishes mold the condiment into a shape that looks 3D. In some dishes, the sauce transforms into sakura patterns, while others it coalesces into a Shinto shrine. Similar dishes create shapes with olive oil and vinegar, using the colored layers to their advantage.
You can find these dishes on Bento&co in both animal and geometric shapes. Some of these soy sauce commodities also appear on Amazon and Etsy.
Traffic Lights That Illuminate Their Poles
In Tirane, Albania, you'll never miss a green light. The stoplights feature a strip of light along the side of the pole that follows the same timer as the main light. These lights are only set up in non-residential areas to prevent light irritation.
If you're ever confused whether or not a light is for you, or you can't see the light change in direct sunlight, then illuminated poles can make a world of difference. Other countries haven't installed them but they sure look promising and fun.
Airless Bike Tires
Companies like Livestrong and Tannis sell bike tires that don't need to be inflated. Airless Tires are made of solid materials but are still light and impervious to thorns, glass, and nails. Not to mention they come in various colors!
With these tires, you won't have to perform any maintenance, but you may need to replace them every 5,000 miles or so. Depending on the quality, you can buy airless tires for about $25 at Walmart or a couple of hundred bucks straight from a top manufacturer.
Raincoats Sprout Flowers When They Get Wet
Certain raincoats might look plain inside, but when rain or snow falls, they reveal a secret design. Companies like GreaterGood and Original Penguin sell jackets displaying flowers, paw prints, and other designs that appear only in the rain.
Other brands like Holly & Beau manufacture jackets that already have patterns, but the art changes color in the rain. Picture white flowers that suddenly turn blue or pink. Most of these raincoats cost upwards of $50.
Chalkboard Table Runner
You know those drawing packets that restaurants give kids? Imagine that, but it's a whole table cloth. A chalkboard table runner allows you to draw or write whatever you want on your table cloth. People have used it to label dishes, assign seating, and giving kids a fun time.
You can buy full rolls of chalkboard table runners from Etsy, Party City, and Amazon. Prices vary, but usually, a full roll costs $20-$30.
Vented Match Candle Holders
If you've ever had to stuff a burning match into a tall candle holder, you understand the spark of fear as the flame licks your finger. One company from Sweden solved this problem by carving a slit into the candle holder so the match can slip through.
These holders fit one tealight candle and come in various colors. Scandinavian Objects sells them for 15 euro each.
A Squirrel To Help With Your Chores
At first glance, most people might not guess that the plastic paper log has a function. With this paper towel holder, you can push down the squirrel's head, and he'll hand you a sheet. Is it necessary? No. Is it fun and adorable? Absolutely!
A similar product includes a squirrel holding down tissues on top of his log box. This product currently costs $65 on Zillymonkey and Fishpond. $65 of pure cute!
Hexagonal Graph Paper
If you're a chemistry student, you'll immediately understand how this design helps. This graph paper is printed to allow students to jot down organic chemistry notes swiftly. If you're an artist interested in creating patterns, you may want to check out this paper too.
Hexagonal graph paper is easy to find on Amazon and Walmart. You can also print out free design sheets online.
Glowing Ice Cubes
If you've ever seen an iridescent cocktail at a bar, the bartender may have used glowing ice cubes. LED ice cubes are made with a nontoxic, freezable gel inside of them. It functions as regular ice cubes do, but it glows!
Along with illuminating drinks, the cubes can also light up vases and bathtubs. You can get waterproof LED ice cubes on Amazon, Walmart, or Glow Universe. They usually come in multi-colored packs.
Chocolate Bars Divided Into Uneven Pieces
If your family members or friends want different amounts of chocolate, you can buy bars with unequal divisions. Tony's Chocolaonely, a Dutch company, divides its bars into different shapes and sizes.
Not only is the chocolate bar aesthetically pleasing, but it can spark a heated discussion over who gets which piece. Or, if you're dieting, you can opt for the smaller parts. Either way, it's a more amusing method of eating chocolate.
Rings Engraved With Your Fingerprint
Some jewelry companies will allow you to engrave your fingerprint onto a wedding band. In terms of engagement rings, these unique designs come relatively cheap: less than $200 depending on where you buy them.
Not your style? Plenty of ring companies allow for customized engravings, in which you can carve a saying, picture, or drawing onto your ring. Some couples do this to sneak private messages into the inner band of a ring.
Stir And Infuse Honey At The Same Time
If you enjoy honey in your tea or coffee, you'll want to consider honey stirrers. Instead of squeezing a sticky container to plop out a drop of honey, you can stir honey-made spoons. It's the easiest, most charming solution for this type of delicious task.
Like many of these products, you can find honey spoons for cheap on Amazon. Some candy, spice and tea stores also carry these fun spoons.
Mason Jars Double As Dipping Containers
The perfect snack containers store both the food and the sauce/dressing separately. These mason jars come with attached dipping containers that organize everything aesthetically. You can also DIY this product by hot-gluing a sauce container to the lids of a jar.
Eartheasy sells these jars for less than $10. If you don't want the sauce cup inside the jar, you can place it upside-down on the lid instead.
Painting a boring white sink bowl adds a touch of color and beauty to any bathroom. Painted sinks span several styles from geometric designs to florals to fish "swimming" in your sink.
To install one, you get the bowl (most made from ceramic) and replace your plain white sink with it. Most hand-painted bowls cost a couple thousand dollars, although you can find some for a couple hundred on Etsy.
Camping Coordinates On Bottle Caps
Imagine that you're brainstorming your next camping trip with your buddies. Where should you go for location recommendations? Beer bottle caps. The Mexican beer company Pacifico launched their Yellow Caps campaign in 2014 in which they print coordinates of camping spots on their bottle caps.
If you look up the coordinates on the brand's website, you'll find information on the spot. The illustration indicates whether the location will feature fishing, camping, or surfing.