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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BrianJewett6 hours ago

Not a Plastic Bag
Communities everywhere are battling plastic bags and even trying to ban them all together. This would be a contest to reuse plastic grocery bags and transform them from an environmental pariah into useful objects. Bonus points could be given for projects that use more bags.

elguido7 hours ago

This week-end contest starting on Friday Feb 12 and ending on Monday Feb 15 needed asap. IoT, Arduino,

lglira9 hours ago

traditional food

A Harry Potter challenge or contest...I am the biggest fan and make Harry Potter themed projects almost every week for fun! It would be cool.

Toga_Dan11 days ago

modded off the shelf. What have you hacked brand new? Maybe somethin you bought that aaaaalmost served your need, but just needed a tweak.

Sound contest, My workspace,make energy or green energy,photo and video,wireless contest?

lglira16 days ago

stone age technology?

lglira22 days ago

Biomimetic projects !!!

yonatan2422 days ago

Unusual Uses Contest

yonatan2422 days ago

My Workshop/space Contest

ilpug3 months ago

We need a contest about NOT making things.

Yeah I know, it sounds stupid, hear me out though. Instructables is full of people who like to solve problems: they see a problem, think about it, scratch out an idea on their notepad/etchasketch/intern's forehead, and go into their workspace, and make a physical object to solve their problem. This is an excellent skill, and needs to be cultivated in everyone on the planet. HOWEVER: sometimes a clever solution isn't needed. Sometimes even with all the 3d printing and metal working and CAD modeling and disruptive, ingenious design, even after the awesome little whatchamacallit is produced to fix the issue, someone sits down and looks on the internet and sees a solution that requires virtually zero effort. Making things is a great skill and has great power to change to world, etc. However, as countless Spiderman tropes have told us "with great power comes great responsibility." Making things sometimes takes great amounts of time and effort and money, resources that could be put into doing something else, if there was a way to solve a problem WITHOUT making something.

There's an adage that gets repeated a bunch in most design circles: "don't reinvent the wheel." It's true. If you need to get an object to travel from point A to point B with little resistance to movement, sure you can design and build a fancy maglev system that will cost time and effort, get you Featured, and maybe get you laid. However, couldn't you just put the object on a skateboard and give it a kick? This simplistic approach to design and making is an integral skill for designers and makers to learn. The Instructables community is huge (I forget the number but isn't it over a million people?) This population ranges in knowledge from silicon valley cognoscenti to kids drawing stick figures to people in developing countries who only got access to fresh water five years ago. The discrepancy of resources is massive. As a poor student, I look enviously on the guy with his own laser cutter and fancy computer as much as some kid in Afghanistan envies my small suitcase full of basic tools and access to a hardware store. Making do with less resources is a major part of innovation. Therefore, let's have a contest to celebrate those who manage to do something awesome, while deliberately NOT doing something. I want to see the Instructables user who can make a quadcopter WITHOUT having to code anything, build an epic halloween costume WITHOUT using a CAD program. the person who can acheive something cool with the LEAST complex effort.

How should the contest work? Simple. Have people go make stuff. But, have them include a section in their Instructable about how they identified what was needed to do a project, and then simply bypassed a lot of the steps and still ended up with a solution to their problem. The end products and solutions will be simpler, more accessible, easier, and more efficient. Also, this is a real challenge. It really gets the mental gears turning. Am I just an Instructables user with a vague contest idea and the time to write a badly organized essay arguing for its validity? Or am I actually on to something here, and people should be recognized for DOING less, and producing more. You decide.

ptkrf ilpug1 month ago

I think "weird use of" contests cover that topic. But I do like that. If Instructables ever get weekly challenges, "unusual use of items found in ___" would be a fun idea.

ilpug ptkrf28 days ago

They used to have weekly challenges, I don't know what happened to them, I like them, won a few actually.

This is... Great. I like it.

Thank you! Any feedback or ideas you would have to add to this concept?

Attmos ilpug1 month ago

Solving big problems with small availability. Or, really, solving problems with whatever's laying around. Sounds very Mac Guyver... I'm in!

This is a pretty interesting idea. Certainly when I on occasion right for magazines editors tend to prefer the limited tool ideas to the ones which require heavy investment to get started. And when I make props for TV due to time constraints often the fasted way to do something is the best way... this is likely to be just getting something that looks right and does the job, (I don't know a single art assistant or props person working in TV of Film who hasn't got eagle eyes and knows every object within a mile of them whilst there on set in case its needed)

I think there is an audience for limited tools as well as an audience for super tools. (I love tools an kinda want to see every tool an how its used an what it can be used for safely)

I think in a lot of cases modest tools can and have done a lot (look at all the things which have been made and developed before the advent of CNC machines)

Perhaps for some authors it might make there ibles slightly more accessible to include a sentence or description of how a step could be achieved with modest tools whilst explaining why they have chosen to use something like a power carver instead of a chisel.. I don't know if this could potentially become distracting to readers.

I think there was at one point an intelligence test which asked people to come up with as many uses for an object as they could in a set period of time.. like a paper clip or something kind of non pre possessing.. this intelligence test resulted in some really interesting findings, being the younger someone is the more likely they are to see the paper clip as a whole world of possibilities and will easily be able to use the paper clip in 100's of ways whilst adults will struggle to see the paperclip as anything other than a paperclip.

I know there is a lego competition where contestants are asked to build something featuring a certain block. Which I think favor's the creative brain which is flexible enough to see a block for all it could be instead of just a block.

I agree that it would be pretty interesting to see something totally accessible whilst still encouraging creative sparks to fly.
I suspect there is an apatite for something like it. Certainly I have seen elsewhere on the forums people expressing an interest in instructables made with limited re sauces. (for some reason I am now thinking about the tools astronauts have access to and in my head im wondering what instructables I could make in space... mainly useing a paper clip)

pj200?28 days ago

burning question

evolve13831 month ago

I was going to suggest "budgeting" but then I googled to see that it happened last year, with "on a budget". I'm thinking along the lines of instructables about budgeting tools & skills. Not sure what the prizes would be as tax tools and piggy banks aren't really getting me excited.

lglira1 month ago

Ancient Technology!!!

Star Wars contest

We have a SciFi Contest coming up with a special judges' prize! ;)

i had noticed that ...just thought it would be great to have an extra starwars challenge looking forward to the new starwars film release...thx for replying have a nice day

Guess you got your wish!

mathiemom1 month ago

I think that a great contest category would be "charity project" or "community service project" instructables. A special category for kids service projects would be even better.

I think we need a flexibility/ gymnastics contest. Who's with me?

CyborgGold1 month ago

I recently discovered the world of crafting with paint sticks and let me tell you... there are thousands of things you can use them to create. I thought it would be a cool idea as a contest, and I'm sure you might even be able to get a corporate sponsor from a company in the pain industry for you guys! Whoever is reading this, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and a happy new year!

jʎɐɹ-ɾ3 months ago

Maybe I missed the boat, but I haven't seen a Musical Instruments contest in quite some time

We need one

I would like to see more contests that level the playing field. I don't think that the issue is age, occupation, or experience.The problem is not a 47 year old competing with a 16 year old, or a professional competing with an amateur. I willingly take on any competitors, regardless of age or profession. What I can not compete against is access to specialized equipment worth $5k+. How can I possibly win a contest for $1000 of computerized gadgets, when I have no access to the gadgets to make the project entry? Entries created without using expensive equipment is easy to verify just by reading the entry. How about a low tech contest to win a high tech gadget?

I agree fully with you. You are not alone here.

I kind of disagree with you, To win in most contest you don't need thousands and thousands of dollars worth of tools.

I'm thirteen years old (you can probably guess that my budget for making projects isn't that high) and my "Magnetic Pegboard" recently won in the "Shelving Contest".

The only tools I used were 1. A 30 Year Old Hot Glue Gun and 2. A Pencil, and it won.

And for "How can I possibly win a contest for $1000 of computerized gadgets?", You don't, Not all contests are for everyone, If you understand what I'm saying...

Thats the whole idea of the maker spaces. Theyre only in a few select cities now. A lot of colleges have specialized tools that the students have access too. There are sites that will 3d print, laser cut, etc for a price if you come up with the file necessary to do so. How good someones instructables are is going to be highly dependent on what sort of tools and workshop they have. Though to be fair the same projects that can be accomplished with plasma cutters, 3d printers, etc, can be accomplished with simpler tools just not as easily. For the hardcore, there are also instructables out there detailing how to build those high tech gadgets at much lower cost than they can be bought. X-box connect sensor 3-d scanners, E-waste 3d printers. Recently I saw an instructable of someone who self taught himself the concepts of how a plasma cutter works and after years of trial and error built one. The laser cutter is really the only the ridiculously out of budget piece of equipment I can think of that I've seen used, and that's usually the contest prize at which point once someone has won it they proceed to laser cut custom jigsaw puzzles and burn celebrity portrait images onto their grilled cheese, not really anything spectacularly contest winning. Also to win, you need votes. I'd be more inclined to vote for the person who had accomplished their goals using more rudimentary tools. When someone not only makes a project, but makes the tools to make the project as well, that impresses me.

Thank you for the reply. I live in a rural area. Those maker type labs are not located here, and the college labs are restricted to students only. Even finding a ceramic kiln or wood working router is challenging. I intend to focus on hobbies that do not require expensive machines for future projects.

Don't lose heart my friend. There will always be those with more money and sadly I did see a contest winner yesterday involving a laser cut record made from a tortilla. However that is a very clever idea. Much like with major league sports how there is a fuzzy line between legal and illegal nutritional supplements, so too is there a fine line between gadgetry and 'come on now thats too much gadgetry' gadgetry. However , a wood router and a ceramic kiln? You're a far cry from a laser cutter with those simple wishes. I would say less than 50 dollars for a cheapy wood router and less than 100 for a good one, bought online, shipped to your door. That's assuming you live for example in the United States where shipping is reasonable and not for example in Mexico where shipping on a 50 dollar router would be 150 dollars. Now as far as a ceramic Kiln, living in a rural area may actually be an advantage to you. Let the other people of the world pay a thousand dollars for a kiln and 3 dollars in electricity every time they want to fire a tea cup. A DIY wood fired kiln, made from bricks or a steel barrel fed with extra air from a hair dryer, leaf blower etcetera is possible at low to no cost depending what you have on hand. In my area and I assume in most there is raw clay under the level of the topsoil. I dont know....I'm just saying. If you have all the money in the world, where's the challenge?

I like your attitude! Restrictions and limitations force creativity. As they say "necessity is the mother of invention". If they let me post it, here's a good article on the subject from FastCo: http://www.fastcompany.com/3027379/work-smart/the-psychology-of-limitations-how-and-why-constraints-can-make-you-more-creative

I had this thought several times, that there should be some way of helping people who don't have the tech, yet want to get in the field with the kind of contests you described. And well, to be honest, there sometimes are open ended contests with great prizes where the winners are also somebody who didn't necessarily have the tech, but that's pretty rare.

Thing is, I can't really think of a scheme where the contest and entries themselves are awesome enough to give a fancy prize yet the contest itself is limited. I mean there are some, but not too many.

And another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of awesome prize contests are sponsored and sponsors play a role in setting at least some of the guidelines I imagine. Looking business wise, I'd prefer that a person already knowing how to use a similar tool and one who has good ideas and presentation skills wins my machine, because it's more likely to put to good use and be mentioned or shown in future media from workshop or similar, which, due to the skilled craftsman also reaches more people.

Just another angle for thoughts. I would still be more than happy if that became a reality more often. :)

Instructables has done a contest along these lines before.


I agree all I have is a soldering iron, solder and a volt meter

TejasO5 months ago

Country Contest - where everyone make something interesting that represents their country, culture and history.

I like the idea.

Attmos TejasO5 months ago

Cultural based, very good idea!

Attmos Attmos5 months ago

Although, USA doesn't really have a very solid cultural base. Except maybe pizza and hamburgers. :)

pizza? italy. hamburgers? germany.

Pizza was basically invented by Marco Polo when he was hiking through the Alps mountains in China. He was eating a kind of cheese fondue with something called "Cong you bing." When he went back to Italy, he wanted to eat it again so he had a chef make something similar to what he ate.

i think hamburgers are american.. from what i understand they were hamberk steaks which were kinda iffy after the jorny from europ to america so they mashed them up an cooked them on the docks. they were cheep an wildly sucsessfull so became populare an the idea spread.. certainly in woodworking american taditional craftsmanship is pretty well known with shakers ect. in oz i think there is enough history to draw from for inspiration. the big hats with corks alone... i think oz has tons to work from , traditional paints used by the aborigionals, fishing methods developed to catch yabbies ect ect .. i am sure people who live there will have many more ideas for there traditional crafts.. heck even craft bears which every country seems to be into at the moment .

ah thank you for the clarification!

and are you talking about the wizard of oz movie?

I think he means Australia.

uhhh I feel like the scarecrow :)


Lol. Well I guess that counts us out. :)

TejasO Attmos4 months ago

Lol.. But i believe everyone have some cultural background n history..

Attmos TejasO4 months ago

You're right. Like most Americans, my heritage goes back to a couple places in the world. I guess maybe we have a wider range of opportunities.

Moem Attmos4 months ago

The USA has original inhabitants, and they have a culture, so there's that. And then there's the culture that the immigrants forged together... and the cultures those immigrants had before. Plenty to choose from I'd say.

actually I'm in the process of making some thing that the native americans made

Can't wait to see it!!!

It's live!

Which contest?

I meant that my instructable is live

Downunder35m Moem4 months ago

Yes, but like in Australia it is not really a culture, it is an adapted mix.
If we want to talk culture we need to go back more than 200 or 300 years ;)
At least to my knowledge there is nothing that would qualify as culture for the US or AU unless it is done by the aboriginals and not the immigrants. ;)

ohoilett TejasO4 months ago

I like this one too.

nancyjohns1 month ago

How about a How to Make/Play Musical Instruments?

yonatan241 month ago

My workshop contest?

yonatan241 month ago

Home-made tools contest?

ptkrf1 month ago

Reruns of the old redneck and Mc'Gyver contests would be fun!

yonatan241 month ago

Magnet Contest?

EL Contest?

ptkrf yonatan241 month ago

I support the magnets contest!

Mpicker1 month ago

How about a contest about what you can do/make using parts being replaced by LEDs and LED fixtures. I'm replacing fluorescent fixtures and have no idea what to do with all the casings, wires, plastic covers and everything else. Seems like a waste to throw out so I want ideas.

awall991 month ago

what about a contest about Inventions for disabled people?

pj200?1 month ago

What about a mediatek linkit one invitational contest

Attmos1 month ago

I'm really craving more building contests. Not tech, not food, not fabric. Some real workshop contests.

food building contest? interesting........

pj200?1 month ago

we could have a instructables book contest again

caitlin1232 months ago


msargent32 months ago

With more and more people overseas becoming refugees and have no where to live. There is one thing that i have noticed that is available around the world and that is pallets. i would love to see a contest for Pallet Housing/Furniture and maybe..... just maybe some of the ideas might make it to organizations like the Red Cross.

Here is one company that has done something - please watch the Youtube link and take a look at the picture


Not_Tasha2 months ago

Another Fiber Arts contest would be awesome. Cheese, chocolate, something specific to 6-12 students (I'm a teacher and use Instructables for authentic writing activities with my kids), brewing contest (brewing can apply to different things)...

There is a chocolate contest opening soon:

12/21-2/15 - Chocolate Contest

Billie Brown2 months ago

Need contest for ways to decorate those big plastic dumpsters on wheels that city provide individual houses.

I would love to see a modernist cuisine/food science contest...ala Feran Adria/Heston Blumenthal.

Also would like a lighting/lamp contest...please :)?

Open Source Contest

Create an Instructable with an open source repository on Github/Gitlab,etc. In other words any Instructable member can contribute to the repository by adding their knowledge in the form of Electronic design, Mechanical design, Codes,etc. This contest will encourage collaborations amongst Instructables members on the same project and create a developer/designer/maker community around that specific project.

I have tried doing this with one of my Instructables: TWIST- Tweeting Weather Station where in I created an open source repository on Github so that other Instructables members can help improve my project by contributing their code,schematics,etc.

Research Contest

Authentic & original research in the fields of science, technology, maths, problem solving algorithms, etc

Instructables could be an ideal place to launch a specialist skill contest. I am super geeky about wood turning and would like to enter wood turning competitions, the problem being they seem to be few and far between. Apart from local clubs which tend to be fairly un imaginative.
I suspect if instructables teamed up or talked to the american association of woodturners, british woodturners association and others prizes could be identified and a number of great competitors wold be interested in joining in.

For the global associations most of them have something about encouraging more people to take up the hobby and I think the Instructables platform would be a fantastic place for this. (I know it would be a little exclusive to people who know how to turn wood , but could expose the possibilities of a lathe to people who have little or no experience of this craft ) I think it could also seed greater innovation and creativity for those looking to challenge their own skills when they have some experience.

I know it is a neech but I would love to see it.

ashervivi883 months ago

ooh one more idea: What about a copycat/replica contest? Whether it's recreating famous amusement park snacks, creating a famous movie prop, or blending frappuchinos, this would be a lot of fun and would make for some awesome instructables!

That would be really cool. I'd love to see what people come up with!

nancyjohns3 months ago

How about a Video Game Creating Contest?

Star Wars contest? Maybe with a lawyer-friendly title . . . Something about the Force, a galaxy far, far away . . . I don't know.

mrw1220153 months ago

Could there ever be a raspberry pi creation or python programming contest?

ashervivi884 months ago

I do mainly food instructables, so here are a couple of ideas I had for this type of category:

- a 5-minute food contest: Microwave mug cakes and blender ice creams are super popular, so a 5- minute food contest would be super competitive and cool!

- Instant ramen: The availability, and low-cost, and possibility of instant ramen has made ramen hacks super popular, like David Chang's ramen gnocchi. A ramen contest could make for some really useful, fun instructables.

- Food cheats: I don't really have a good name for this right now, but I would like a contest for recipes that look hard to make but are really easy. Every home cook has a dish like that, and it would make for some really helpful and practical instructables that visitors of the site could actually follow.

We have a Dorm Food Contest launching on Monday that I think would be right up your ally!

Yay! sounds great! Looking forward to it. :)

All great ideas! I would particularly like to see the ramen idea as a challenge.

Brooklyntonia6 months ago

I'm so bummed that I've been sewing a lot lately and there are no contests that those ibles really fit in. It seems like forever since the last fashion/fibers contest.

We have a sewing contest coming up! It will be open to all sewing projects but we want to emphasize using and making patterns!

I saw that! Thanks for the additional info. I'll see what I can come up with.

"Wireless contest" would be nice!

ashervivi884 months ago

Oh and also, what about a Rubber Cement Contest? Rubber cement is by far my favorite adhesive; it can be used as a type of 'painters tape' for artwork, it is used as a substitute for liquid latex in face painting applications, and of course, it can be used to make and repair bouncy balls.

4WantofaNail4 months ago

How's about a waterproof contest? From matches to mascara everyone needs something protected from the elements! Oh and by the way, if y'all at HQ decide to do it, you can help yourself to that tag line. Cheers

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