Instructables

Contest FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here at Instructables we run a ton of contests! We also get asked a ton of questions about those contests. Below is a list of the contest questions we get asked most frequently and also some questions that I feel could use a little more explaining. (Let’s be honest - reading the official rules is not fun.)

Please ask addition questions in this forum topic - I'm sure there are some I have not covered!




General Contest Questions


How do you choose which contests to run?

We do this in a few different ways.

Editorial/in-house - I plan these based on past contest themes, what’s trending in search,  which categories/channels need a little love, new site features or if there’s a certain type of content we want. Contest ideas also come from staff meetings and through the official contest idea forum topic.

Sponsored - Sponsored contests occur when a sponsor or prize provider wants to run a contest with us and they’re a good fit for the community. Often Instructables staff makes the call on the contest theme, but sometimes we compromise with the sponsor if they have a theme they really love!  We recently discontinued our sponsor/prize provider program for sponsor contests.

Sold/Branded - These contests come in through the Autodesk sales team and are normally focused on really large brands like Home Depot, Radioshack, Tekton Tools, etc. We have less control over these themes but still do our best to make sure they’re a good fit for you guys.


How can I sponsor a contest?

Send us an email at contests @ instructables.com to get more info, but there are some major requirements you need to hit:
  • be a registered business of some sort
  • be able to offer up enough value in prizes (this varies with theme/contest length)
  • be a good fit for our community (both your company and the prizes you’re giving!)
  • the contest theme should also be a good fit.
As of right now all sponsored contests are being sold through the Autodesk sales team.

I have an idea for a contest! How do I tell you guys?

Please post here and let us know! We can’t run all of them, but we love seeing the ideas you guys come up with.


How do I win a contest?

Post something awesome! Check out this collection of tutorials that will tell you how to write a great instructable.


Why do Instructables employees enter the contests?

We enter contests to set the bar and give an example of the type of entries we want in the contests. We're not able to win them, though!

It's important to note that several employees were authors on the site before they worked here, though, so you might see some wins in our achievements! :)


Entering Contests


Can I enter if my country is not listed in the official rules?

Yes! You can definitely enter.

However, you must have a mailing address in an eligible country to win. If you have a friend in the US or another eligible country that can receive your prize, go ahead and enter!

You can read more about our progress to add more countries to the eligible shipping locations here. It's not been going very well for a while, but I hope to share some good news with you guys in late 2014!


I live in -----, why can't I enter?!

Chances are your country has incredibly strict laws regarding gambling, sweepstakes and contests. We try our best to play by the rules, and if we can't meet the minimum requirements to run a contest in your country, we don't run them there!

That's the easy answer. The hard answer is that it's very complicated and involves lots of risk and scary legal language.


Why isn't my entry showing up in the contest? I entered three minutes ago!

Real humans look at each entry! This means it take take a while sometimes. We work standard office hours, 9-5ish PST. We tend to moderate first thing in the morning, Monday-Friday.

If you enter at the end of the work day or over the weekend, you’ll have to wait until the next business day to be accepted.


Why can I only enter 3 contests with one Instructable?

It’s all the spirit of fairness. Even if your instructable would be eligible for allllllll the contests that are open, we want you to pick the three that are most relevant and enter it there. This spreads the entries out a bit more.

It’s fairly rare that one instructable wins three grand prizes (I think it’s only happened once!) but we want to make sure that one instructable doesn’t sweep the winners in several contests.


Why was I rejected from the contest?

The number one reason for this is not fitting the contest theme - we try our best to explain the sorts of entries we’re looking for on the main page of each contest, so double check your eligibility there.

The second reason is that you did not use your own text/images. We do not police this for posting an Instructable on the site, but to enter a contest with that Instructable we want to see the work that YOU put in to it, so we need your own words and process shots. It’s only fair that you have to put in the work to get a prize.

We also sometimes make mistakes or encounter bugs during the approval/denial process. (Checking the wrong box, clicking the wrong button, breaking the back end of the site) It’s rare, but it happens! We’re human and can’t help it, but we do our best to right those mistakes as soon as we know they happened!


Why can’t I enter an instructable I published before the start date into the contest?

We want to see NEW and exciting content built just for the contest. If we allowed old instructables in, we’d just see the same things over and over again. Plus, the number entries in the contests would make it very hard to choose finalists and winners.

Keep in mind that simply republishing an old project will not make it eligible - we check for that. ;)

Our Halloween contests are the only exception to this rule. For example, the 2013 Halloween Contest ended on 11/11/2013, so the 2014 Halloween Contest will accept entries from 11/12/2013 through the end date of the contest. :)


Can I edit my Instructable after it's entered in a contest?

Short answer: YES!

Long answer:
You can make any modifications you want to an Instructable that's already entered! We get so many entries that there's absolutely no way we'd be able to police it even if we wanted to - but it's never something we want to discourage.

Improvement is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned. :)

However, I must caution you: it's best to get those changes done before voting closes. The voting period matters the most because that's the time that we start looking into picking finalists.

Another slightly related caveat: don't publish a mostly empty instructable and try to fill it after the contest ends. We're starting to see this happen more often, always with a promise that updates are coming. You can never tell when we'll be reviewing it as a possible finalist, so chances are you'll get overlooked going about it that way. We are currently looking at 50-300 entries per contest, so anything incomplete doesn't stand a chance these days!



Finalist & Winner Selection



Why does the "how it works" tab describe photo, video, and step by step projects as different things? Is there one I should use for a contest entry?

Step-by-step is always a the preferred method as it is the most complete. Most of our contest winners/finalists have documented in the step-by-step format. The more detail you can add, the better!

P.S. Now that we’ve rolled out our new editor, video and photo instructables are not an option anymore. But I would suggest creating a project with at least 3 steps to up your chances of being chosen as a finalist. COMPLETENESS IS WINNERLINESS (or something)


When are the finalists selected?

Finalists are selected starting the Tuesday after the contest closes. The finalist selection process normally ends Thursday night or Friday morning, depending on how tricky the contest is and how many people give input.


How are finalists selected?

Finalist selection is a mixture of sponsor choices, votes and staff choices. We look for all kinds of things when it comes to picking finalists, including:
  • good photos! Pretty photos put you five steps ahead of all the other entries already, honestly. We're going to want to click through and look at it as soon as we see it if it's pretty!
  • good explanation of both WHAT the project is and HOW you made it. Sometimes it can be really hard to figure out what we're looking at. (Personally, if I have to spend several minutes staring at photos and reading to understand it, I'm not very excited about it anymore.) Try to convey the project through both photos and video if it's needed. For example - if it's a rocket, upload a video of it in action!
  • a good story! I read more projects than you could ever imagine every month. I love it when an author takes time to explain why they made the project, or documents the errors they made along the way. That makes an instructable so much more enjoyable to read. :)
  • citing your sources/inspirations - look, we realize there's hardly an original idea on the internets anymore, so we can't fault you for that. But it's only fair to give credit where credit is due. We like that. Plus, it sometimes makes for an awesome story.
  • creativity! Look, I cannot even begin to tell you how many paracord bracelets, Altoid tin survival kits and Iron Man arc reactors I have looked at. My eyes glaze at the thought. Don't just go for the common and easy, take that project and put a new spin on it!!

We always suggest authors read their own work with an objective eye. Does it make sense if you aren’t familiar with the subject already? Did you provide enough description? Are the photos understandable?


How many finalists are there?

To find this out easily, go to the official rules and use Command+F (Mac) or crtl+F (Windows) to search “finalists” to see the number. There are normally 15-36 finalists in a contest.


Why wasn't my project chosen as a winner/finalist?

This can happen for all kinds of reasons, honestly. See the "How are finalists selected?" question above for a more in depth explanation of what we're looking for.

The most important thing I want to stress is that we are going through TONS of entries for every contest, so it's important to set yourself apart. Choose a clear and concise title, tell us a story, share great photos, explain the project well. If there are projects similar to yours in the contest already, make sure your project exceeds theirs in awesomeness.



Judging


Who judges the contests?

This is typically a mix of Instructables staff, employees of the sponsor (if there is one!), and authors on the site (your peers!). Each contest is normally assigned 10-50 judges.

Lately we’ve had an average of 15-20 judges complete the process. I always try to add as many judges as possible, because more judges means the judging is more fair and helps to reduce bias.


How can I help judge a contest?

If you’re interested in helping us judge, check out this forum topic! I’m also about to start doing weekly calls for judges in the Contest Forums, found here.

To judge, you must have published at least one Instructable.

I send out PMs to judges each Friday, and you might also receive one from audreyobscura.


How do I judge a contest/access the judging ballot?

We’ve written up an Instructable over it! You can find it here: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Judge-a-Contest/

Once I’ve added you to the list of judges, you’ll be able to access the ballot.


Prizes


How do you pick prizes? Can I suggest prizes?

I've got a pretty small budget prize here, so it's a mix of trying to be frugal but still give you guys something fancy. I try to order most of our prizes from Amazon.com because they have reliable shipping and tons of options.

Right now I've been going back and forth between tools/materials and fancy electronics. I love to give out tablets, cameras and supplies for more projects, because that gives you guys something to make more awesome stuff with!

If you'd like to suggest an awesome prize, do it here!


I don't like these prizes, can I trade?

Short answer: nope!

Long answer: we choose prizes well ahead of time and order prizes at the start of the contest (for 95% of what we run) and we don’t make substitutions. We typically have anywhere from 100-250 winners a month (and increasing all the time!), so it’s not feasible to give choices and sub things out. Only three of us on staff work with ordering the prizes and shipping them out, so that would be lots of work!

However, we have allowed winners to switch prizes with another winner on occasion (both parties must agree and let us know before we ship them!) and we’re fine with you selling your prize somewhere else.


How do I get my prize if I win?

When contest winners are announced, we’ll send you a message with a form to fill out. Make sure to fill this out completely and remember that we require a phone number and that we can’t ship to P.O. boxes.

Winners are responsible for any trade tax or tariffs incurred for shipping to your location. We cannot reduce the value of the prize so you pay less tax (nice try, though, you sneaky hobbit!!).


When will my prize ship?

We try to ship prizes as soon as possible! 75% of our contests have prizes that are easily shipped right away and you should receive notification of shipment within a week or so.

Sometimes we do have to order items AFTER the contest ends or wait for a sponsor to ship the items. If we think there will be a delay, we’ll let the winners know. We’ve been trying very hard to make sure we’re reaching out and updating winners about prize statuses.

Also: VERY IMPORTANT - the sooner all winners give us their contact info, the sooner we can make big orders of custom sizes. Sometimes there’s a huge delay just because we’ve got one straggler. Be a good winner and let us give you prizes, dangit!!

Picture of Contest FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
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I have been applying to enter the first time author contest, but i don't receive any confirmation whether i was accepted in it and neither i see my instructable in the contest list. :/

Hm, let me check. You should be entered now!

If you win a contest with a instructable can you enter a different contest with the same instructable and win there to?

Yes, one instructable can win in more than one contest. It cannot win in more than three because, as already stated, three contest entries for one ible is the limit. It is not too common for an ible to win in more than one contest, but it does happen from time to time.

What about http://www.instructables.com/id/Wheelchair-Toothless-Epic-Costume/ ? It has one two contests and is entered in 2 more. The rules say an entry cannot be "entered" in more than 3 contests not that it cannot win more than 3. These people should be notified and asked to remove any extra contest entries just to play by the rules.

As Seamster mentioned, Halloween entries seem to be an exception to this rule.

Not according to the published rules on the Halloween Contests -

http://www.instructables.com/contest/halloween2014decor/

Section 2 subsection 4:

You may not register the same Instructables project in more than three (3) Instructables contests in total.

You can only enter one 'ible into MAX 3 contests, if it only wins one and you entered three, you cannot enter more.

Raitis JM199910 days ago

I have seen 'ibles that already have won something and were currently running in 3 more, so I think it's not exactly right about being unable to enter more. Or did I miss something in the system again?

JM1999 Raitis10 days ago

I was told (and have tried it myself) that recently there has been a new introduction and trial of a contest entry limiter, it will limit all entries to max three contests.

When you go to enter a contest from the "publish" page now it will only let you enter three contests no matter if the entry complies to all the rules and guidelines for more contests.

Raitis JM19998 days ago

I was specifically talking about some which were entered into 3, then won something in one of them and entered the same 'ible in an extra contest therefore running in 3 again while having won one. Or did you mean the same?

Good question. I think I asked it a few years ago myself.

Where Halloween contests are concerned, there's a little bit of gray area because entries are allowed from the entire previous 12 months. So a project such as this one that had previously been entered into contests (and won) is allowed to enter the Halloween contests. However, it would not be allowed to win more than three times, so if it showed up at Halloween with three wins under it's belt, it would not have been allowed to make it as a finalist. This is pretty rare though, so projects like that are on the contest staff's radar all the way through.

Outside of this Halloween contest gray area though, projects are only allowed to enter up to three contests (if applicable), and the publish dates and contest dates keep that pretty well in check.

Occasionally people delete and republish a project in an attempt to comply with the contest dates. But in every instance I've seen, if a project is likely to have a shot in the contest, it was most likely notable enough the first time it was up, so staff and users will notice and cry foul pretty quickly.

Yeah, now when I think about it - all of the ones I noticed were running in Halloween ones. Thanks for soothing my curiosity about the workings of things around here!

Oh, and as for those you mentioned, JM1999 - I haven't seen any of those before, pretty cool. :)

JM1999 Raitis8 days ago
JM1999 Raitis8 days ago

Right, I see that in your comment now.

I know there are a few loopholes that allow you to enter quite a few of contests so if someone found them out they could enter 5 or even more contests without being rejected.

I was wondering about the seeds as a prize in the indoor gardening contest, If I were to win one of the seed packs, would you be able to send the seed to Australia??

Azariah869 days ago

Is there a way to gain more information regarding if an instructable qualifies for certain contests? I made one that I really loved and thought would make finalist (I still love it either way, that won't change) for the Halloween Costume Contest. It was a full cover mask. There was an entry that was a finalist even though it identified itself as a prop. Another where the instructable was almost entirely a decor, and then a prop and at the last step was a mask. When I looked at the Prop Contest, I saw a few masks. Just wondering if there was a better way to identify what my instructable qualifies for before I enter a contest.

The Halloween contests are fierce. That's really the main thing to keep in mind with this situation. The rules for what constitutes a costume, prop, and decor are quite rigid and there are separate forum threads on each contest.

http://www.instructables.com/community/Halloween-C...

http://www.instructables.com/community/Halloween-P...

http://www.instructables.com/community/Halloween-D...

The "prop finalist" does say it is a prop, but they would not have been allowed to enter it into the prop contest, because it is worn on the body and is therefore identified as a costume. All the entries I saw in the prop contest with a mask also seem to include a weapon of some kind. The entrants seem to have decided to bank on their props doing better in a contest than their whole costume. This is not unreasonable since the costume contest has over 500 entries and the prop contest has under 200. They may also have entered it in both.

The one you are saying is mostly decor does include a costume element, and therefore they were allowed to enter it in that contest. However, if it were my ible, I would have entered it in the prop contest. Part of the final judging process is determining how well it fit the parameters of the contest, and the prop elements are what stand out in that ible.

Excellent answer, couldn't have said it better myself.

cammers13 days ago

Hi. I have been notified by fedex that my prize shipment (3rd prize in Remix contest) had been canceled by Autodesk. Haven't heard anything from Instructables. Do you think someone changed their mind?

jessyratfink (author)  cammers13 days ago

Please email service@instructables.com with your info and we'll look into it! It could just be that we had to redo a label.

Thanks Jessy. I'll do that

Did Ford pull their sponsorship of the glovebox gadget contest? I can still find it through my entry but the contest is missing from the lists of closed/judging contests.

http://www.instructables.com/contest/

jessyratfink (author)  MoTinkerGNome13 days ago

Nope! Just a bug on our contest page.

Oh cool. As a finalist I was all like OH NOES!!! WHA HAPPEN? LOL
Thanks for the prompt reply.

When will the finalists of the tech contest be announced?Delay is really annoying.

I entered my instructable for the wood and first time author contest last week and it's still pending approval. How do I know if there's something wrong or there are just too many entries to handle at the moment?

And I just voted for you. =) Great job for your first Instructable.

Hm, not sure what happened there, but it shows that you're entered now!

that was quick, thank you!

cdstudioNH20 days ago

Hi there! I have a specific question about the Enchanted contest. It states that you are looking for a mythical object from said categories and to make it into a reality.

What if the object already exists in physical form, i.e. I can see it on the TV series, (science fantasy)but I want to change it to use for different purposes? Also, can I just use one of their products from their store, or do I also need to have it operating in their cloud.

jessyratfink (author)  cdstudioNH18 days ago

You can absolutely make something that already exists in a physical form!

You also don't have to make the objects work with Spark or the cloud - that's just a bonus. If tech isn't your thing it's totally fine to just recreate an object without "enchanting" it. :)

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. I looked at that one but, being hopelessly tech challenged and lacking any understanding of what "Spark" is (even after reading about it), I thought I couldn't enter.

Can you please check out my pending entry to the enchanted objects contest?

I submitted a while ago and it still isn't entered.

Thank you! I have a feeling it helps your chances, problem is I love tech but I buy from adafruit and spark fun, and so have tons of stuff already. I can't wait to get started this weekend!!

Have a nice weekend!
p.s. You looked SO adorable in the bubblegum machine outfit!

Will the finalists for the tech contest be announced today? If so at what time? I am really excited to see the finalists.

Depending on the status of the judges it *may* be *up to* 2 weeks late on the announcement.

Wow, thanks for telling me. I was reloading the page every 15 minutes. Why was it delayed?

Both the Dremel contests were delayed because Dremel themselves wanted to judge it.

It seemed like forever waiting for the Teach it contest to be announced but two weeks later they were - so keep an eye out and you never know!

P.S. I only suggest waiting like you were on the challenges not the contests, the challenges are run by Instructables so they should be on time :)

Hello! For the White House Ornament Challenge, are there any restrictions on copyright/IP? One of my students created an Olaf ornament and I havent seen it posted yet, and a few other have ornaments that reference that character and will be submitting soon. Thank you!

While we haven't talked about specifics regarding copyright/IP, I'd say it's best to steer clear of any material that could be claimed by another company/person. I have a feeling that those won't make it into the winners just because of the issues the White House/Smithsonian could end up facing from displaying them.

OK cool. May be too late for a few of them to change anything, BUT having something about Olaf the snow man would'nt exclude their entry from at least being seen on the entries page right? I think seeing their design up there at least would be awesome if possible.

Hi Instructables,
I am teaching a 3D design class to a group of 7th and 8th graders and they are really excited by the 3D Printed Ornament Design Challenge for the White House. Some of them are 13 and have registered and submitted (with parental approval) but what about the ones who are 12? Could we make an institutional Instructables account and submit their designs that way? Could their parents make an account and submit it as a family? They made some really sweet designs, and I would feel badly if some of the students were left out because of a few months of age difference. Thank you!
-Reid

They can definitely enter! I would recommend having their parents create an account and help them post their designs. That way if they do win they can be notified on that account and just give the parents' contact information. :)

Get their parents to make an account and post the design and if the design wins the child can get the prize for it.

Raitis21 days ago

While I was going through my favourites I accidentally noticed a few 'ibles which have been entered in Halloween contests, yet were published quite a while before they even started. Is there something I missed in the rules or that's just a glitch?

JM1999 Raitis21 days ago

I believe the halloween contests are accepting entries from last years halloween contest's end.

So if you published a halloween themed 'ible since the close of last years halloween contest you can enter it this year.

It's deliberate. We open the timing up as widely as possible to capture all the Halloween-themed goodies from the prior year. It pumps up our entry numbers, and it helps to encourage year-round cosplayers and haunters to share their hard work.

Good news if anyone wants to get a jump on Halloween 2015...

Ooh, that's a pretty good solution! More quality competition makes others up their game as well.

I have tried to enter the Leather Contest since Friday. My entry has been pending since then. I am wondering if it is going to be approved? And if not, why?

Looks like you're in the contest to me. Sometimes it can take us a little while to get everyone in the contest.

Yes, I finally am. Thank you all at Instructables. I was just getting anxious since the contest closed yesterday and I still didn't see my entry. And like the Candy Hair Instructable; it seems rather fun to do.

Bezidesigns1 month ago

I entered the Leather Contest late last night. It was my first instructable, and took me much longer than anticipated to put together. Now I'm anxiously awaiting approval, so I can share it on social media and hopefully get a few votes! Will it be approved in time for me to do that?

It is approved now so go ahead and share it!

Yes, you definitely can share it on social media before it is accepted.

If you are wanting them to vote please remember you need an account to vote for contest entries!

I have a concern regarding the advice on creating a good Instructable.

The only way I have of making an Instructable right now is with the mobile app using an iPad 2. But I see a lot of advice regarding the quality of photos and the photos the iPad takes are not the greatest. Will this affect my chances in the contests, should I choose to enter?

I don't have access to a lap top most often. The only time I get access to a lap topIis usually after 11pm! So I do most of my editing by phone. I use a Samsung galaxy note1, I take pictures from it with the best lighting possible and then do the picture editing using an ap called 'Picart'. It's fantastic.

The instructable mobile ap doesn't work for me. So I go to classic site on my phone. I write all the instructions and then I upload the pictures in the correct order in each step. I do this cause you can't reorder and move pictures on a mobile or tablet.

Adding links is not possible. For this I wait till I get the laptop.

My instructable 'Under stairs pull out storage' was done entirely on my mobile phone. Check it out and see if you can find any difference ;-).

My husbsnds iPhone takes great night pictures too. Sometimes I take pictures from his phone and send it to mine.

Pictures are important. Check out Jessica's instructable ' how to take great photos with an iPhone'

Hope it helps. Good luck!

Thanks shazni.

I have a Samsung phone, but it's older and doesn't seem to handle going online very well. Pretty much gave up using it for that purpose. It probably does take slightly better photos than the iPad though, so maybe I'll give it a try. It's more likely me that doesn't handle going online with it very well.

I thought about stealing my husband's iPhone to take the pictures, but I doubt I'll be able to pry it out of his hands long enough.

The mobile app works great on my iPad 2 and I have had no problem rearranging photos when I need to. It's just coaxing it to take a good picture for me in the first place that I have had trouble with.

I won't lie. It can affect your chances of getting featured and winning a contest. That being said, please don't let that stop you from entering! A fantastic idea will always outweigh some less than good photos. Play around with lighting and figure out what makes the best photos. Additionally, contests are great exposure for your work. The more people see your work, the more people will follow you and the more people will see your next instructable. More hits equals more possible votes. Maybe you could win a new camera!

Ok, thanks for being honest.

I would agree with Brooklyntonia, but I also wanted to let you know about the Clinic http://www.instructables.com/community/The-Clinic/ where you can give and get some great advice and feedback!

Thanks. I am aware of "the clinic". At present, I don't really need much in the way of feedback. I know the Instructables I have done are not the best. They were just experiments that I hope to polish up eventually. And I have been staying away from the forums to save time and energy. There's too much here to distract me as it is.

I know how that is! haha

Why is fix and repair contest open for USA residents only? That's a bit unfair to the rest of the instructables community for other countries. Please clear my misunderstanding if any.

Some of the prizes would be too expensive to ship to other countries.

I wish that they did some 'Aussie only' or 'Japan only' contests to even out the 'single country only' contests America has.

Does the time of entering a contest affects the likely hood of winning the contest??

jessyratfink (author)  lakshay garg1 month ago

Yes and no! It honestly depends on the project and the contest.

It's always good to enter as early as you can, just because more views = more votes. But the staff always reviews the last minute entries, too, because we want to give everyone a fair shot.

If you do post something last minute, it's always best to try to push it out on social media and try to get the word out about it to give you a boost. Posting last minute means the voting period might be almost over by the time your project generates a decent amount of views, which can hurt you!

THANKS FOR THE HELP

Just some apprehensions

Do they really shortlist primarily on the basis of votes? If some instructable is feature worthy but gets overlooked and gets lesser views that would not be fair? And I have also read on some forum that the judges don't even look at unfeatured instructables if the entries are too many

By the way this is my instructable

http://www.instructables.com/id/Drawing-Robot/

We chose approximately half the finalists based on votes and half the finalists based on other factors so we can reward late entries and things that may have gotten overlooked the firs time around :)

Pure Carbon1 month ago

does any one know if there are is limit to the number of contests you can win, or get the grand prize to? I'm asking because I have won quite a few contests and the first one that I entered I won the grand prize, but ever since then I haven't been able to win anything higher then the runner up prize. Is it possible that because I have won a certain number of contests, I can only win the lowest prize now?

jessyratfink (author)  Pure Carbon1 month ago

Nope, there is no overall limit to the number of contests you can win.

BUT there is a limit per each instructable - an instructable can only be entered in three contests. It's not common that one instructable will win Grand in multiple contests but it has happened before. :)

Awesome, thank you so much.

Pure Carbon1 month ago

Also, I was curious about how the judges prizes are selected. It seems pretty self explanatory, but now that I think about it if every judge just rates then how do the THEY select the winner of that prize?

jessyratfink (author)  Pure Carbon1 month ago

Judges' prizes are entirely up to staff/sponsor judgement - we always make the call on those. :)

Every other standing is decided through the whole panel of judges, though!

mrandle4 months ago


What happened to the contest viewing filters. I recall that there used to be a way to sort by popularity, views and date, possibly votes? Was this ever a thing, or am I just being silly? Also can this be a thing?

M3G mrandle4 months ago

I miss those too, contests just aren't the same without them! I think the filters were popularity, views, recent and featured.

mrandle M3G4 months ago

Glad to know I wasn't accidentally taking crazy pills! It would be nice to see how many votes but I guess that it might make the more popular ones get more traffic/ more votes and create a snowball effect. And if you had lots of votes and then didn't win that might make people upset.Though I guess the votes don't really matter too much as the contests are judged independantly from votes. Maybe a peoples choice prize in the future?

makendo mrandle4 months ago

Back in the day there was also contest sorting by rating (now gone) and votes, but yes, this led to all sorts of bad behavior. I am surprised to see all of the sort options go though - browsing through the entrants is now a pretty unrewarding activity. I hope they bring some sort of ordering back, even if it were just a filter like "show only featured" or "show only 20,000+ views" or some such.

M3G makendo4 months ago

+1 I don't check out the contests that often now, since as you said it's pretty unrewarding.

mrandle M3G4 months ago

Now it only shows most recent from what I can figure. You have to hit the more button to see more. I really do not like the new format. It pushes the oldest ones way back so it kinda punishes you for posting early. I agree there should be SOME sort of sorting maybe even an algorithm that looked at views vs. favorites vs. votes, sorting by most recent makes no sense.

Sorting by most recent has become a default for contests because of issues in the past. Way back when, the default for contests was featured or views and that caused some ibles to be seen far more than others creating a snowball effect. You make a good ible and it gets a lot of views which places it at the top of the contest entries which generates more views and on and on. To be more fair, they changed the default to most recent to give each new entry their time at the top of the list. This makes a lot of sense. However, it is very frustrating to wade through 650 entries without any type of sorting or icons (as I suggested previously) to help guide you.

I also have stopped browsing the contest pages. I've noticed a lot more entries for all types of contests. This surely is a good thing. However, this means that there are just far too many entries to string them all together and look at them with the "load more" clicker at the bottom. No one has the stamina to click that button enough times to get to the bottom. Being able to skip to a certain page was far more convenient. I feel like I can't enter a contest right away because my entry will get buried by the time it's half over. I've mostly begun looking at the homepage and featured ibles on a regular basis when I'm in a contest to see who/what I'm up against.

The new format is really beautiful and the designer should be proud of their work. It just doesn't, IMO, serve as well in function as it does in form.

Wow, I didn't realize other people were missing this function as much as me!

I hope it will return!

fozzy13 M3G3 months ago

+2 (is that how this works?)
I strongly agree. Back in the day I would browse contest entries looking for cool projects and what I thought would be the biggest competition. I never browse contests anymore with the change in filtering options. It would be a cool feature to have back.

I miss the "sort by featured" button most. In contests with several hundred entries it really isn't fun to look through all the entries for good ones and you can't even see the # of views and featured icon below the title like on a search page. Perhaps this info on entries in a contest would be an alternative to the sorting. I'm not likely to pass over an instructable I'm interested in because it wasn't featured. They would still get exposure, but we would also be able to see which ones the editors thought were good.

sursula mrandle1 month ago

you are not the only one missing that feature! it really made it much easier to sort through the entries and helped to find stuff that you wanted to vote for!

Mojo_JoJo5 months ago

When you ship prizes that require mains voltage (e.g. 110V AC 60Hz) to a foreign country like say India do you check to ensure they work in that country's mains supply (e.g. 220 V AC 50Hz) ? else it would be practically useless. what happens if the prize is not available at all in a different mains voltage?

Great question. Just send us an email at service@instructables.com with your username, contest won, prize, and the voltage of the country you are in.

that is a good question by Mojo_JoJo... I live in India and just received the first prize in Jewelry contest, a Variable-speed Mini Drill Press, which runs on 110 volts. Now I am trying to find out an adapter from 230 to 110 volts

yes, i have the same problem. i ended up buying an adapter on ebay to run all my instructable-prices here in germany. but i think most of the prizes are made by internationally run companies that should also produce a version of their product for the 230 V parts of the world....
i didn't really want to complain about things i won but if it would be at all possible to receive things that work with the right voltage it would be so cool!

Raitis4 months ago

Can anyone who has won a contest from one of the unsupported EU countries and received prize via another (supported) country walk me through the process briefly? The questions I wonder about are below.

1. Is initial receiver in the EU (not you) responsible for taxes?

2. If so, is there a way for person to forward the shipment to you, without dealing with taxes so you have to do it upon receiving?

3. Are there any differences between tax sizes for contest prizes in different EU countries, say UK vs Germany?

Hopefully someone bothers with this. Thanks!

TyTiKi Raitis2 months ago

From my research:

1. I realized that the initial receiver in the EU is responsible for taxes.

2. There are mail forwarding service that deals with taxes as far I read.

3. Yes, every country has its VAT e duty taxes. For example, the grand prizes of the Tech contest (MacBook, Littlebits kit, Markerbot Replicator), with a total cost of 5700$~ would cost to you ~1800€ to receive it in Germany and ~1950€ to receive it in Italy.

However I really hope to be wrong.. let's wait an official answer from the moderators.

Raitis TyTiKi2 months ago
Given the fact that most staff members are located in the US I don't consider their input a must here, it's much more valuable to hear from someone who has dealt with that personally.
As for the tax structure I've done my research as well and it seems like standard duty (only if above 150eur) and VAT is applicable without additional taxes for something being a winning.
sursula Raitis1 month ago

the thing i can tell you is that i have won several prices, some worth several hundred euros and i never paid any taxes for that.
at first i wondrered if i might have to - once i ordered something online from china and when the package arrived i got a letter form customs to go to their office and show them the content and a receipt and when it turned out to cost less then 50 euros i could just take the package home.
so with all the prizes (in sometimes quite big boxes), a letter like that never came, so i just got them and it was ok. (i am not completely sure though if i would have to go to the customs office myself and tell them "hey, i just got this prize, do i have to pay taxes?")
this is my experience, i live in germany.
and i don't know where you live, but i never had any tax issues when sending packages from inside european union to other european union countries.

JM19992 months ago

What is the difference between a contest and a challenge?

We are reintroducing challenges! Generally, what separates challenges from contests is the length of the competition and prize spread. Challenges are shorter and have one grand prize, but 25 runner ups will get a prize pack. We just launched the Apples Challenge and Winterize Challenge and would love feedback from everyone on this new type of competition :)

I reckon they are great!

What happened to the Paint It! contest? I'm kind of disappointed because this contest allowed me to do an instructable on something that I have a lot of experience with and I put a lot of time into making it. While contests are not my primary reason for being here they are a lot are fun. A little feedback here would be greatly appreciated. I went from being a finalist to nothing.

It ended Sept 15. It still shows up on the contest page under "recently ended contests"

http://www.instructables.com/contest/paint/

gagan86192 months ago

Sorting of contestant's instructables in the contest tab is not so good as it only shows recent ones first. I think sorting should be made on the basis of some kind of points formula. where points for an instructable(P)= 0.5(# of favourites) + 0.25(# of views) + 0.25(# of votes).

acoens2 months ago

Don't get me wrong - writing an Instructable and having someone else make something I designed is thanks enough and certainly enough to keep me coming back and contributing, so I ask this out of curiosity and not to be greedy.

What's the rationale for having more finalists in a contest than eventual winners? I've been a recent finalist twice (super thrilling! thank you!) only to not make the final cut. I'm guessing it's number of available prizes, but then why not just have fewer finalists where each is awarded at some level?

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