What kinds of contests do YOU want to see on Instructables?

Hi everyone! As we're planning contests for the next year, we wanted to get suggestions and feedback on the types of contests we're running. :D

Is there a contest we ran years ago you'd like to see again?
Any contests you're sick of?
A weekly challenge you'd like us to expand on?
Do you want the contests to be more specific or more open ended?

We're trying to shake things up in contest-land - so any and all suggestions are welcome! I'm especially interested in what types of tech contests you guys would like to see, as well as ideas for food contests. 

P.S. For anyone wondering about weekly challenges - we're still trying to figure out a way to do it that makes it easy for you guys to enter and easy for the editors here to run. But I promise we are discussing it! :)

Have prize suggestions? Check this topic.
Want to get a preview of some of our upcoming contests?

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I think the reliance on votes to decide winners should be reduced, as this disproportionately favors the ones who enter their instructables earlier.

Votes only account for half the finalists. The other half are chosen by staff in order to make sure that awesome last minute entries have a fair chance, you can learn more about our finalists selection process here:

Oops I apologize I did not realize that only half of the finalists are chosen by voting. Allow me to restate myself. I have no gripes with voting an I like it for the same reasons that you guys do, but I just wish the process was more secure. However, the fact that the staff chooses them too satisfies me. Thank you guys!

I think the voting is great because it involves the community. I like being able to vote for my favorites and see them do well. The Instructables staff does a great job of pulling great ibles into the finals that are entered late in the game.


Karthik Raj14 days ago

how about an "out of the world contest"? to host stuff not found anywhere

tomatoskins14 days ago

We should have another copycat recipes contest.

JM19993 months ago

What would it be like if you limited the number of votes each person ha for each contest?

I think that 10 votes each or 1 vote per 10 views would be a good start.

JM1999 JM19993 months ago

** each person HAD**

The "D" key is hit and miss on my keyboard.

lime3D JM199929 days ago

Rather than limit the number of votes, I'd like to SEE the number of votes each instructable receives from the member community.

JM1999 lime3D29 days ago

Then there would be favouritism.

It would be cool to see the number of votes each entry got AFTER the contest ended though.

Raitis JM199926 days ago

It would be really interesting and probably useful to see that after the contest!

As for limiting the votes - why do you think that would have advantages?

Ha! Do you really think member votes count? It's just like 'American Idol' where the producers already know who they want to win. The editors will NEVER show how many votes are cast, because they don't match what they've picked.

Actually, for contests that aren't bought or sponsored, approximately 50% of the finalists are chosen by votes, and staff picks the rest. That way it's fair to awesome, last-minute entries that haven't had a chance to get a lot of votes.

You can see more info about contest policy on the Contest FAQ thread here

Hope that clears things up a little bit :)

So is there any chance you could display the amount of votes after the contest ended?

I mean it's probably possible, but that would be a big task for our dev team and they have a lot more important priorities, like keeping spam off the site, especially after our most recent spam attack, haha.

They don't necessarily count for 100% of the finalists as is stated in some other topic regarding contests and all of that.

And even if the votes didn't count at all - I don't really care. Showing them afterwards is still useful. You see, the staff and members are people (sorry 'ibles robot), therefore there is a good chance for correlation between member votes and a staff pick. So despite the fact that, theoretically, votes don't matter - if you get to see them afterwards you can determine which of the 'ibles appeal more, which less and hone your writing, making and other skills accordingly, if that's your goal.

Okay, so let's hear it STAFF. Why don't we get to see the votes that are cast by members? Why do you hide them?

We used to display vote counts, but we found it lead to unsportsmanlike behavior and cheating. Also, when people were able to sort by vote, it just caused things that already had a lot of votes to just get more and more and caused other equally awesome projects to get overlooked.

Hope that makes sense :)

JM1999 Raitis26 days ago

Then people who voted would be more cautious about who they supported.

Raitis JM199924 days ago

No idea why you consider this an issue. Do you vote for nearly every entry in a contest right now? Because I don't, nor do I have a reason to think that most of us do.

JM1999 Raitis24 days ago

I only vote for the entries I think would win (and 70% of the time I get it right)

And I also vote for myself.

lime3D25 days ago

How about Office Survival contest? This could be broad enough to include desk accessories (pencil cup, tape dispenser, etc.), computer tips, making your cube more comfortable, lunch tips, etc.

A game dev contest might be interesting... See who can make the best element of a game? This could include sprites, sounds, music, or the best overall game. To allow more entries it could also primarily support a language like scratch.

gearup50029 days ago

how about a survival contest? I could be about urban survival, survival in the wild or how to make a bug-out pack


We will definitely be running something along these lines early next year :)

Ok seems like a plan to me!

monkeyhart526 days ago

I would love to see more recycling contest

tomatoskins29 days ago

I'd like to have an "After the Fact" contest. I've had plenty of projects that I've made over the years (before I came across instructables) that I've never documented. It takes skill to document something after it's been made. Both the project and documentation would both need to factor into the contest.

That would be interesting :)

JM19992 months ago

Carnival style contest.

Instructables would give the competitors something to do and the first person to get it done is the winner.

Or maybe something could be hidden around the site and the contestants had to find it.

Have you seen the Extreme Commenting game that's been going on?

Yes I have, I have gotten both the 3 month PRO and the 1 year PRO memberships.

I guess it is sort of the same thing I was thinking.

JM1999 JM19992 months ago

It helped me a lot on my way to GOLD comments ;p

Haha, it good to have goals to work towards!

Yes it is, it would be more interesting if Instructables added more levels to the achievements like Platinum, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium,.

I just find it a big jump especially in the views, it goes:

-Gold: 10M+

-Silver: 1M+

-Bronze: 10K+

there is a long way between 10,001 and 1,000,001 think about the 50,000 and 100,000 and the 250,000 and the 500,000 and the 750,000 and then the million would be cool.

lime3D JM199929 days ago

Why? The points don't mean anything.

JM1999 lime3D29 days ago

I guess there is no point, some people just like that sort of stuff.

nat334 JM19992 months ago


JM1999 nat3342 months ago

Yay, someone agrees with me!!

SpecificLove2 months ago

Have you considered a contest with projects made from PVC? The project can be constructed in any fashion as long as the primary item used is PVC. The prizes could be home improvement products or tools.

Yes, I second the PVC idea. We've seen hundreds of instructables made from pallets. But please, no more how to make the letter ____ out of PVC.

AlexKein1 month ago

Lego Contest

lime3D AlexKein1 month ago

Oh God, please no more Lego, K'Nex or Minecraft.

Or maybe there should be an instructables site just for kids. C'mon, how many of us over the age of 12 will ever build something with K'Nex?

Actually, there is a pretty large K'Nex following amongst adults here at Instructables. There's a whole forum category devoted to them.

They've made some really amazing projects.

JM1999 AlexKein1 month ago

That has already been and gone, they will be holding one next year - it is an annual contest they run.

lime3D29 days ago

How about a Coffee contest? This would include recipes for coffee drinks, but also plans for DIY coffee roasters, coffee mugs, accessories. I could see alternative uses for coffee, and even uses for used coffee grounds. Prizes could be high-end coffee makers, mugs, gourmet roasted coffee, etc.

Pure Carbon1 month ago

There needs to be a contest where the prizes are 3d printers, but people who already own 3d printer can't enter anything that was made by the 3d printer or is 3d printing related. Kind of like the first time author contest going on right now except instead of not allowing people who have previously made instructable, people who own a 3d printer can't enter. The reason I think something like this should exist is because I see all these contests with 3d printers for the prizes and the winners of those printers were people who made something using a printer. This I find unfair because it's not allowing people who don't own a printer a chance to win one, of course there is the occasional person who wins a printer with out using a previously owned one, but this is rare( at least from what I've seen).

There is no way to prevent someone who owns a 3D printer from entering the contest, but I agree that the prize for a 3D printer challenge should not be a 3D printer.

I'm glad we see eye to eye on this.

I've been trying to think of a solution, but it's not easy. Generally folks that are into 3D printing need to do post-printing activities, like painting, glueing, etc. Maybe craft/tool kits would be a good prize for contests like that.

You have to keep in mind that there are tons of ways to get your 3D design printed other than owning a printer yourself. There are many sites online that will print and ship. Makerspaces and even public libraries have 3D printers for public use. Just because you've made something with a printer doesn't mean you own one.

lime3D1 month ago

How about a quick-fire challenge, like on Top Chef? The idea is that you have 24 hours to write an instructable on topic X.

That sounds like so much fun, I would love to see a contest like that.

Himers1 month ago

Fire/Pyro Contest

JM1999 Himers1 month ago

Yeah, make it so it coincides with the papercraft contest and get bic as a sponsor!

lime3D1 month ago

If you could get some of the networks or studios as sponsors, you could have TV or movie themed contests. Big Bang Theory, Walking Dead, Star Wars, etc.

I've been marathon watching The Walking Dead for the last week and I would love to see a contest with those themes! Maybe something more general like apocalypse preparedness or, I like this!

The key would be finding appropriate sponsors, for prizes that would appeal to those of us that would want to enter such a contest. Has anyone at instructables looked into getting gift certificates donated, rather than physical prizes?

We generally can't give away gift certificates because we have to give away things that have value to people all over the world. If someone in Europe won a gift card to a US company it wouldn't really be of any value to them.

I think doing something broader could work out though!

They don't ship everywhere, unfortunately :/

I second the apocalypse preparedness idea!!!!!!

Attmos1 month ago

I was just watching the Ohio State / Minnesota game. Seeing all the fans in the stands and how they all dress themselves up and make posters and lots of other stuff made me think that a "how do you support your team" contest, or something similar, would be fun.

That would be a fun contest!

I think so too. I'm not a huge sports fan but I know how dedicated so many people are. Pointy fingers, body paint, tail gating, game day costumes and outfits, parties, banners; there are soooo many possibilities.

RJM20011 month ago

What about a challenge who can give the best and easiest to follow instructions for one particula item or you build a item and get us to find out the best way to make it?

(do you get what I mean?)

I like the second thing you mention, it'll be interesting to see the different approaches to make the same thing. Great idea

I think we should have a penguin contest. Show how to build draw or make anything penguin it would be so cool. The prize could maybe be a 6 foot penguin. That would be so cool

wesseldyk11 month ago

bracelet making contest

Raitis1 month ago

It's just a rough idea, but an "Interactive home" contest or something along the lines - aimed more at entertainment, than useful smart home hacks (I like function, don't get me wrong).

Possible entriesI can currently think of: table with lit pressure and/or temperature sensitive surface, sound reactive lighting fixtures, DIY arcades, big red Do Not Push buttons doing magic at home and so on, you get the idea.

cdstudioNH1 month ago

christmas tree theme contest!


Music related hacks, gadgets and robots contest

gearup5001 month ago

How about a camouflage contest? Or an airsoft/Nerf contest? I have seen many instructables on these categories so if you want a major contest this is the one to use. And I mean major. But if you want a contest that is a challenge and singles out users I would suggest a bicycle modification contest that includes before and after pics and details of what they changed. And if you wanted only the elite to contest then I would suggest an airsoft Nerf and paintball bicycle contest where contestants have to make it so that their weapon of chose is attached to the bike. To make things even more interesting make a separate contest that includes motorbikes instead of bicycles. If you want something that is more subtle then make a contest that includes software development( I'm taking html5 css3 courses at and and games. Also I would highly recommend a black ops instructable contest, few users make these. I hope this post helps :)

Wired_Mist1 month ago

UP-Cycle contest anyone?

bertwert1 month ago

I would love a photography related contest.

bertwert1 month ago

I would love a photography related contest.

chienline1 month ago

What about "Transformer Contest", not the movie nor electric transformer. I am talking about one unused object get transformed into another object using at least 75% of its old parts and/or add some parts not more than 25% of the new object. So the idea is just like transforming a Chevy Camaro to Bumble Bee (having the same parts in both). So this is different from Sustainability Contest where we use old parts from several objects to create a new one.

When you said transformer, I thought of things that transform from one thing to another and then back again. For example, a ball gown that transforms into a short part dress or like the chairs that transform into a step ladder.

I'd love to see more ibles for objects that transform!

Yes, that one is awesome really. A chair to a ladder, that's what I mean. Not a chair to a another chair. But being able to transform back and forth like that one is hard to find, we will lack of contestants. I think permanent transformation should be eligible as long as it transform to other object and using most/all of the parts.

That's a really cool idea! I'll add it to the list and see if we can fit it in somewhere :)

Raitis1 month ago

It'd be interesting to see a hard&brittle material oriented contest for things made mainly from glass, rock, tile and similar.

xGrape2 months ago

Will there be any Christmas/holiday themed contests? I mean there is 4 alone, just for Halloween.

We will have some judges' prizes for holiday and gift themed projects in larger contests and we are having a 3D Printed Ornament Design Contest going on right now!

jessyratfink (author)  xGrape2 months ago

In the past we've held lots of little holiday themed contests for gifts/toys/cards/etc, and I bet Danger has some stuff planned for this year like that too!

They probably won't be anything like Halloween though! Halloween is the only major holiday we recognize at Instructables. ;)

d0vr jessyratfink2 months ago

I hope there isn't any "political correctness" reasons behind Halloween
being the only recognised holiday? It would seem odd to recognise a
Pagan holiday whilst not other religeous holidays.

It's not for political correctness reasons at all, it's just that Halloween provides so many great opportunities for making things :)

We will have some judges' prizes for holiday and gift themed projects in larger contests and we are having a 3D Printed Ornament Design Contest going on right now!

TimP2 d0vr1 month ago

it's not for example they had a christmas contest and still will and everyone who knows how it spell christmas should know what it's first 6 letters spell the name of a christian figure, ps i have a second user name 35 timmy but call me Tim

TimP21 month ago

it would be beneficial for a material science for 3d printing contest

you also need a zombie survivel contest

combine contest where you pick two items and put them togheter like a snow mobil bike.


Whole Next Level Contest: Like "remix" but not. Create something using raw materials made from another Instructable. Or maybe just use an earlier Instructible as base steps for your own.

Instructables combination contest.

cammers JM19991 month ago

I like that idea. Maybe use three or more instructables to create something new.

HollyMann1 month ago

Just thinking - have you guys ever had a "nerd" or "geek" related contest? Make something nerdy yet useful - or so nerdy that it's cool. :) Just a thought.

We have had some Game.4.Life contests before where people could enter gaming themed projects :) We have a specifically minecraft one coming up and a superhero and supervillain contest going on right now. What other types of nerdery would you like to see?

Thanks for the reply Danger! :) Hmmm...I came across a post online before with the title "Nerd it Yourself" and some other related content that had some tech-nerdy projects - like a USB locket or other so-called "nerdy" gadgets. I am not sure exactly about the nerdery I would like to see! I do like the game contests coming up - I guess I don't think of any of them as nerdy but maybe that's because I am one! LOL...anyway - I was just trying to come up with some ideas for contests. I did find something I thought was very cool online about projects or crafts from the past - basic DIY projects from about 100 years ago. I think that would be awesome too!

That sounds really cool! Keep coming back with ideas! We always appreciate more ideas!

Thanks - will do! :)

tzq33tdq1 month ago

How about a contest for complex or advanced electronics and stuff like that? I have a project I'm sourcing parts for thats a 4-bit CPU to control Christmas Lights.

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