It all started with a child's curiosity: What would happen if you put a Gummi Bear on an electric stove? So that six-year-old boy's father, Joshua Zermeno, did what any parent eager to foster an attitude of learning, experimentation and engagement with the world might — he said, "Let's find out."
But what separates Zermeno from other parents is that he filmed the homegrown science experiment, then uploaded the video to YouTube. That's the secret origin of Let's Melt This, the YouTube channel that's skyrocketed in popularity by melting everyday objects in microwaves, on hotplates, with blowtorches, and more. Let's Melt This videos have racked up millions of views in the two-and-a-half months the channel's been up.
"We thought it could be fun to continue melting different things and upload the results to YouTube," says Zermeno via email. "We were never expecting to get as many views as we have in such a short amount of time."
There's something mesmerizing, even meditative, about watching solids transition from one state to another. Watching things phase change, melting from a solid to a liquid, is the sort of thing that's too dangerous for most people to do in real life, so the safe remove of a digital screen adds to the allure. Zermeno credits the novelty of the experience with fueling the site's popularity.
"[It's] probably because it catches most people off guard when they first see it," he says. "We've had a few people tell us when they look at everyday items like jawbreakers, iPads, steel drill bits, cotton candy, GoPros, etc. it rarely crosses their minds what it would look like if it was melted. As soon as you see it melting on video, it's hard to look away from."
As for what's on the melty, gloopy horizon, Let's Melt This is wide open to the possibilities.
"We have a list of things we plan on melting," says Zermeno. "If our channel gains enough attention and we bring in a few more sponsors we have some pretty cool videos planned for the future."
If you haven't yet, check out the compilation video at the top of this article; if you're craving more melting goodness, here's another collection of highlights where things start working a little backwards. Watch more videos over at on the Let's Melt This YouTube channel: