Mel Birnkrant's
Mel Birnkrant's
All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
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          “Insta-Dough” was just a variation of Play-Doh.  But, in this instance, it came as just some powder in a mixing container, to which the user added water, then, mixed it up, and kneaded it.  The problem with this product was the fact that no one needed it!  I can’t remember if my partners brought this concept to me, or I thought it up.  But, either way, my heart just wasn’t in it.  Furthermore, we should have called it Doh, not Dough!  Today, I’m not even sure it would have worked.  But KISCOM seemed to think they had the, not so secret, formula to make this stuff.  Like Play-Doh, which was originally wallpaper cleaner, the ingredients were mostly flower and water.  I might mention the fact that much of the cost of Play-Doh was the shipping and handling of a fairly heavy product.  It was actually the water content that amounted to so much of the bulk and weight.  The powder alone was as light as a feather.  That was the rationale for Insta-Dough, the fact that it could sell for less, and, hopefully, was fun to mix..

Putting my best foot forward, I’ll begin with the colored drawing of our main item, the “Insta-Dough Fun Maker,” which was just an overly complicated way to mix, store, and extrude Insta-Dough.
          The diagram below, explains the product features.  And then, it’s all downhill from there.  The elephant’s trunk not only dispensed the water, it rotated to stir up the mixture .
          The following three needlessly full color boards present some suggestions of how the powder might be sold and mixed.  The first was quite straight forward.  It’s basically just a tube, like toothpaste.
         The second method is sort of like an accordion.  There is a lot of wishful thinking in this drawing.  I’m not at all sure it would work.
          Of the three formats presented here, this one was my favorite.  The powder came in self-contained squishy bags.  Once water was added, the mixing would be accomplished by squeezing and kneading the flexible bags.  There is a shape extruder in the cap.  Each color might extrude its own shape.
             And now a crazy clown enters the picture.  His body can be squeezed to mix the dough, and then, he tips to spew the contents of his gut into the bowl.
         My thing with elephants continued.  This was just a fancy way to mix the dough.  An ordinary spoon and bowl would have been just as effective, and far less expensive.  It was time to truncate this elephant obsession, and move on to extrusion.
          The sweetest item in the line was this happy apple with an Insta-Dough worm inside; so adorable!
          And here’s a little Doodle Poodle. Actually it looks more like a Dachshund to me, or what’s sometimes called a Weenie Dog.  And that accordion body would, most likely, clog.
          Here is a complicated fantasy that theoretically extrudes several animal body parts, at once.  Those faucets really put the screws to Insta-Dough.
         No butts about it; these extruder ideas were getting wilder and harrier by the moment!
         Here he is again, this slightly ominous fellow. This time, he has a sort of stand to hang out on. There is slightly sinister look about him.  His hair alludes to devils horns, and there is a subtle glint of mischief in his eyes.  I was not aware of this at the time.  Only now, years later, can I read between the lines.
          Step by step, these sketches got worse and worse, until, in the end, they became a fecal fantasy! And my lifelong courtship of squeaky clean fastidiousness went down the drain.
        This last one is hilarious!  I swear that any suggestive symbolism was totally unconscious at the time.  Whatever was I thinking?  The answer is, I wasn’t !  These drawings were just the uncensored idle ramblings of my subconscious mind.  So, this is toy design!
          And now, the fun began!  God knows, what got into me!  This uncensored attempt to squeeze out product ideas for this extruder concept rapidly deteriorated into a surreal descent into the bowels of bathroom humor.  It would not require a knowledge of the works of Sigmund Freud to ANALize these full disclosure drawings.