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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A car-related instructables. From little homemade RC cars to actual modifications of a real car

A Food Art/Beautiful Food contest, where you can win a DSLR camera for photographing your edible art!

coming soon!

Do you know when this contest will run, as the upcoming contests page has not been updated?


Repurpose Contest - Taking items that would be discarded and making use of them.

If you put together a project really quick we have the Trash to Treasure Challenge ending on the 25th of this month.

ilpug8 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.

Is the "Minimalist Make" embody the concept. The most simple elegant solution to the problem is the winner. Not the CAD rendered, Laser cut, 3D printed solution.

That's a great idea! It would be similar the hand tools only, but even more simple.

I feel you, bro...

Yes! Great idea, and everyone can join. Lets do it!

ptkrf ilpug6 months 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 ptkrf6 months ago

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

nancyjohns ilpug6 months ago

This is... Great. I like it.

ilpug nancyjohns6 months ago

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

Attmos ilpug6 months 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)

Not_Tasha29 days ago

I'd love to see shorter (1-2 week) contests.

I think that might be a problem with votes and people being able to enter (If the upcoming contests list doesn't get updated)

How about Dollar Store Decor? Or has that been done to death elsewhere?


Not_Tasha20 days ago

Fiber arts! Shorter, material/item/ingredient specific challenges,

misko1325 days ago

A diorama, models or dollshouse contest. I've seen great dioramas and dollhouses here at Instructables and I'd like to see how far can we go.

Toga_Dan27 days ago

Some of my hacks have been brand new items. Whether improving it, or repurposing, sometimes brand new is cheaper and easier than buying materials.

A sound/music related contest

IoT in Agricultural.

a Paper Mache Contest!

Ooh, I like that idea!

Fathomlis3 months ago

An healthy desserts contest!

I like that!

Da3da1u53 months ago

Maybe make some smaller more frequent contests? Where the winner does not win a 3D-printer or whatever but simply the honor and maybe a t-shirt. A low-entry contest.

Nah, the only reason I enter a contest is because I want one of the prizes. If I don't want the prize, I don't enter the contest, no matter how much I think I could win it.

ShivaniPKJ1 month ago

The wearable tech contest would be amazing

ShivaniPKJ1 month ago

I want these contests back. Indestructible contest, Photography contest, Hands on learning contest, EXTREME challenge,Teach me fast contest, Enchanted objects contest, Featured author contest, Travel tips contest, bracelet challenge, glitter challenge and hair and make-up challenge.

ShivaniPKJ2 months ago

How about an inventors contest? Would be great, wouldn't it?

I would really like to see a Steampunk contest.

Well a pc modding contest would be great , modding laptops , desktops , macs , chromebooks etc , prices are ofcouse pc related , a gaming system , graphics cards monitors . The amount of things which can be done here are enourmous , from overclocking to water cooling , extream overclocking by using liquid nitrogen , case mods , diy pc case , laptop modifications etc even making your laptop or desktop cool could count.

Kiteman2 months ago

How about an Ancient Idea Contest - Taking designs from the past that were feasible, but not with the technology, techniques or materials available at the time?

I would really like an Ancient Egyptian contest. You know, like crowns, scepters, clothing and jewelry.

Ancient civilizations contest !!!



(With ancient technologies thrown in!)

Yes, Exactly!

HuskyRobo2 months ago

Underwater Contest

Kiteman HuskyRobo2 months ago

What, underwater robots, or just generally submerged?

ranwithjesus2 months ago

I think a photography contest would be cool, like 'how to use your Nikon' or 'tips for getting an awesome long exposure shot' or something. Maybe a DSLR as a prize.

lglira2 months ago

magic tricks

makershaker053 months ago

how about an altoids contest??!!

More Cowbell3 months ago

I want to see a contest dedicated to the Side Hustle. You know something you do, make or sell for extra cash in addition to your normal employment.

blkhawk3 months ago

Ideas from the top of my head! Not all of them are brilliant! Maybe someone else came up with these first:

Ergonomic contest: designing tools and other devices to help reduce repetitive injuries.

"Handicapable" contest: tools or prosthesis to help people with physical limitations acquire independence

Jeans contest: reusing old jeans

Basement finishing contest: prepare your basement for that extra living space or shop you want!

Permaculture contest: show off your garden, veggie patch or farm following the teachings of permaculture

Urban gardening

Mushroom contest: grow your edible mushrooms

Candle contest: make candles in different shapes

Soap contest: soap recipes

Community projects: best ideas to bring neighbors together

Non traditional or conventional music

Nautical themed contest

ArianaSLabus3 months ago

I suggest a face painting challenge! Have everyone submit a face painting instructable and have their finalized piece be a part of a concert (i.e. Duran Duran).

ideatrunk3 months ago

A video is currently circulating for: http://preciousplastic.com/

I believe this equipment could make an awesome instructables contest.

Back in 2013, one instructables member posted the following:

There appears to be renewed enthusiasm! Let's be part of the eco-movement!

Thanks for all you do!

Da3da1u53 months ago

I think a multitool/everyday carry would be a cool idea for a contest

lglira3 months ago

illusions: Optical, Acoustical, Mechanical

Fathomlis lglira3 months ago


www1393 months ago

K'nex contest

lglira3 months ago

new kinds of Gym equipment

lglira4 months ago

Inventing new hand tools

Kiteman lglira4 months ago


saige hill4 months ago

arduino sencors and modules contest


Module Contest will be best.

Brooklyntonia4 months ago

I'd love to see a refashion or clothes rescue contest. Basically, how can you turn old or damaged clothes into something new and fashionable.


lglira4 months ago

Calculators from ancient (abacus) to moderm

nancyjohns4 months ago

How about a, "Make it at Home Contest!" A contest where you make things without leaving your home to get supplies.

lglira5 months ago

new kind of musical instruments

nancyjohns lglira4 months ago


DIY music? I can go with that!

lglira5 months ago

make it move with gravity

nancyjohns lglira4 months ago


Fathomlis4 months ago

A Healthy Foods contest would be nice!

Kiteman4 months ago

How about an official version of this?


Yonatan246 months ago

Unusual Uses Contest


bosmaru5 months ago

I would really like to see a Shelving Contest

www1395 months ago

please, the k'nex contest.

BrianJewett5 months 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.

elguido5 months ago

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

lglira5 months ago

traditional food

Sydney Lynn5 months ago

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_Dan5 months 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?

lglira6 months ago

stone age technology?

lglira6 months ago

Biomimetic projects !!!

Yonatan246 months ago

My Workshop/space Contest

pj200?6 months ago

burning question

evolve13836 months 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.

lglira6 months 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!

mathiemom6 months 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?

CyborgGold6 months 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-ɾ9 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.