Introduction: Make an Instructables Restaurant

Picture of Make an Instructables Restaurant

Turn Instructables into a restaurant. FOOD, FURNITURE, LIGHTS, DECORATION, all designed by members of Instructables. It's all there.

Why not turn all this wonderful information on Instructables into a real restaurant. There is a wide choice of food and furniture. And you can have your guests comment on it through

Do you want a big or small thing?  A real business or just a cool dinner party? The restaurant can take all shapes and sizes because the info on is pretty limitless. Use it! In this ible we add some ideas for graphic design, production logistics, how to deal with food preparation and how to give everybody credit for what they bring in.

This instructable is the result of an Instructables Restaurant pilot, a collaboration between Arne Hendriks and Bas van Abel, Fablab Amsterdam, Waag Society, and several Instructables members. 

Step 1: Ideas Behind the Idea

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Here is some of the ideas behind the Instructables Restaurant.

1. The Instructables Restaurant comes with full instructions for everything. In most restaurants you get to buy and enjoy the food, and sometimes even the furniture. But in the Instructables Restaurant you go home knowing how to make the food as well as the furniture. We give you the instructions and recipes!

2. The Internet is full of passive information, and more is added every second. By really using and implementing  this information not only do you plug into a world of know-how but it's also great for the people who have shared their knowledge. That's why crediting them is important!

3. The Instructables Restaurant originates from the input of others. This creates a different notion of ownership and the intellectual property of a regular business. A lot of the input comes from others. This is what we like about the idea.

4.The Instructables Restaurant creates a space between limitless information and reality. It's a 2.0 dock station where digital and real connect and communicate.

But enough of that. Let's build a restaurant!

Step 2: Involve GREAT PEOPLE

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How do you turn the instructions of into a real restaurant???

Every Instructables Restaurant has a different look since it is you who decide how big it is, what recipes are served, and what furniture and lamps are used. Still it is almost unimaginable that you can do it all alone. You need to involve others, and actually that's one of the best parts of it. 

You will need help in producing the furniture, selecting the food, some graphic design and interior decoration and running the restaurant and preparing the food. Working with others and sharing the responsibility and fun is what makes it special.

So before anything else, think of who could help you create this.

The beautiful bunch in the photo are the people of Waag Society and Fablab Amsterdam under the astute guidance of Bas (the stripey one on the left), who've worked hard to built the Restaurant.

Step 3: How to Select GREAT FOOD

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This is where the power of the internet should be combined with the power of your cooking skills (or those of others). It's also one of the most fun parts of the whole projects since it involves picking recipes, cooking and tasting, and cooking and tasting some more.

1. If you are not a great cook yourself, try to involve someone who is and reads recipes like a musician reads music. In other words, someone who knows by reading the recipes on if it will be any good. This saves you the trouble of a lot of cooking and tasting bad food.

2. It's probably a good idea to pick up a menu of a local restaurant you like and have a look at the diversity in meals on offer. You can copy the traditional standards with entries, main, desserts etc. or since this is already a wacky idea in the first place DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, and serve only dishes with the word atomic in them, or ice cream, or things from Ohio. The pizza in the sky is the limit.

3. Decide on a budget per dish served. This will also narrow down the choice. You may need to shop around for good deals on ingredients. You could do a special.

4. Have someone who knows how to cook prepare the dish. If it needs slight alterations that is fine BUT don't forget to put this as feedback on Instructables so everybody can benefit from it! This is one of the most promising aspects of this concept: we might actually make things better one step at a time.

5. When you're done cooking have your neighbours try it, then your friends, and if you're feeling confident, your mother-in-law. (We suggest to do it in that order unless you want to get in trouble).

6. If most people like it, or at least think it's fun, CONGRATULATIONS! You found yourself a dish worth serving. Time for a more serious dinnerparty!

Step 4: The Dinnerparty

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Organize a dinnerparty for the number of people that reflect your ambition. If you go for a big restaurant invite at least 15.

1. The dinnerparty is to try out the food and practise in getting it organized BUT it is also the first chance you get to share the idea with your friends and relations. Take this opportunity and present not only the food (we get around to that later) but also the ambiance (Step 5) you want to achieve with the restaurant.

2. The food. There is only one important rule: Make the dishes represent what your restaurant is about. And there is only one important rule apart from the first one but that one is too obvious and has something to do with taste. 

3. Provide a computer at the diner party to introduce your guests to and the way they can use the website to give feedback on the instructables that have been posted by members.

4. Ask for honest criticism. It would be great if your guests are willing to go on and share tips for improving your chosen recipes (of course you're still free to ignore them).

5 .Then when everybody is excited about it, introduce the idea of a production party and invite your guests to participate.

Step 5: How to Create a GREAT AMBIANCE

Picture of How to Create a GREAT AMBIANCE

You could go in any direction with this but as this is an Instructables Restaurant we suggest the graphic design of the website as an inspiration for the ambiance of the restaurant.

1. It wouldn't really be an Instructables Restaurant if it didn't have some designs from the Instructables Hall of Fame like the Platonic Suns lamp by Daan and the 55 Gallon Barrel Chair by Monkeybrad. We suggest you combine personal favorites with more recognizable designs.

2. Graphic Design. Go to step 7 to find some of the graphic designs we use in the restaurant. It is a basic lay-out done by Dearboss. It is designed for crediting the original members for their instructables. It also includes a printable graphic design for the ibles you used so guests can bring those home and re-create what they ate and what they sat on..

3. Decide on the nature of the restaurant. How many tables? Self service or lots of waiters. Forever or as a one-off thing. Is it a fun twist to a catering or dinnerparty, or a serious business opportunity? This will effect how much you can and should do. It is my experience that you should focus on two or three eye catchers and not more.

4. Decide on a budget for materials and shop around for the ingredients.

5. If you are not a handyman/woman, and even if you are, get others involved. See step 6 for how to create a production party everybody will want to be invited to.

Step 6: Organize a Production Party

Picture of Organize a Production Party

Producing all the ingredients for the restaurant together with your family and friends is one of the most fun parts of it all, especially if you organize the production party well. Get this right and you are well on your way to opening an Instructables Restaurant

1. Make sure you have all the ingredients and tools you need to produce the items you selected available. It's better if everybody can really get to work and not have to wait if the only hammer is available.

2. Have enough space for working comfortably. And think about safety.

3. Organize groups for each item that needs to be made. Think about personality and personal qualities of the people involved. Practically it comes down to the people who like to do precise stuff for electronics and measurements, people who like to work hard and fast for sawing screwing and hammering? And don't forget to invite one or two people who like to clean and take care of everything else (calling for pizza, putting beers in the fridge) so the rest can do their job.

4. It could be a good idea to get one of each item done (chairs, tables, lights) before so you have a sense of the difficulties and timing involved. People will look at you for clear instructions.

5. It is a party so drinks and food are a must. If possible some of the snacks should feature on the menu of your future restaurant as well.

6. Good music, maybe Kraftwerk or Bauhaus.

Step 7: Graphic Design Giveaways

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The graphic design is mostly about giving credit to the people who deserve it.

Working in graphic programs like Indesign is not always very easy so we give you a suggestion and the files for the graphic design.

You can download our PDF files of the posters and instructions.

Please contact us if you want the high resolution stuff.

Step 8: Check If You Have Everything.

Picture of Check If You Have Everything.

Did you get the bottle opener?

There are many things. I will continue working on this instructable as I get more experiences from the practise and make a list of the things I ran across. Or maybe you have a suggestion?

Step 9: Open Up!

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Open up!


Monkeybrad (author)2010-01-05

Thank you for including the barrel chairs, I am looking into travel options to come visit.

arne hendriks (author)Monkeybrad2010-01-05

Hey great to hear from you!! Let us know and you get a royal welcome.

Monkeybrad (author)arne hendriks2017-12-05

It has only taken an additional seven years, but my wife and I will be in Amsterdam next month. Is it possible to get the address of where the restaurant was, so we could go by and take a picture out front?

Ashley7777 (author)2016-10-02

Thank you a lot for a great material and absolutely amazing
inspirational things about the design of some elements by my own. Also, I
found some interesting ideas I would like to add to the web site, which
I am about to make. Also, I would like to share with you guys a couple
of good ideas on Best Website Builders for Cafe and Restaurants.

gamegenie2k (author)2011-04-15

This is unbelievably awesome. If there were an Instructables resteraunt near here? They'd probably end up with most of my money....

kcls (author)2009-12-18

This is like my dream... You, my friend, are awesome

Doctor Freeman (author)kcls2010-11-21

You're saling across the world? Nice!!!

arne hendriks (author)kcls2009-12-20

When you're done sailing across the world come visit!

coppeis (author)2010-10-20

How do you download the pdf?

watermelonhead (author)2010-02-26

You're Awesome!!

Geli12 (author)2009-12-30

 Where is this Restaurant?

Fred82664 (author)2009-12-29

WOW !!!! that would be a cool place to stop in and check out! If I ever was in town it would be in the top 5 on my top 10 places to see and eat if I was hungry when there. Do you serve Coffee? I  could always use a cup of good Coffee   

foobear (author)2009-12-29

What?  No butter pens for the toast?

led235 (author)2009-12-29

 Does it have a jaw replacement machine, because when i visit, i will need one

mettaurlover (author)2009-12-28

I'd do this if my peeps would let me. Unfortunately they won't.

Meggeler (author)2009-12-27

WOW - ya' all got free wifi too?

bas_van_abel (author)Meggeler2009-12-27

Sure thing. Visitors need to be able to comment on the food at That's why we've put computers there as well. 

codwithchips (author)2009-12-27

this is just amazingly awsm,
congrats  on planning & design/construction.
So Well Done

poppecast (author)2009-12-23

If your were [at] Waag Society 15 anniversary party last wednesday evening you cannot have missed the flow jamming in this 400 years old building.

Sorry party-people!
Sorry amsterdam klezmer band

...I didn't RDFM: I've used foil for  toasting the bread with nice figures.

Cpt. Caleb (author)2009-12-22

holy crap! It's like christmas come early!

timweaver17 (author)2009-12-20

is this a real restaurant that people can come visit? if so, where?

Doctor What (author)2009-12-16

I saw the group and forum topic (s)  a while back, and to be honest, I didn't think you'd follow through (just another fun idea), but this party is fantastic!

I'll have to have my own!


ewilhelm (author)2009-12-16

Besides the three soups I see in the intro image, what else is on the menu?

arne hendriks (author)ewilhelm2009-12-16

Until now we have the soup and the toast. We've had some chefs read through the recipes and pick several good ones. As we are not experienced restauranteurs ourselves we want to develop it slowly, have a few pilot events, and see where it goes. Next thing might be a cheese cake bar connected to a competition like you organize on the website. We'll provide all the cheesecakes on the web, each single one, and let the guests decide which ones they like most.

Yes. Cheesecake Contest!

Jayefuu (author)arne hendriks2009-12-17

Do it! I have a ginger and white chocolate one to enter :D Been meaning to iblise it for a while :D

arne hendriks (author)ewilhelm2009-12-18

And then the next goal is to serve you Canida's venison dish here in Amsterdam some day.

scoochmaroo (author)2009-12-16


We're eyeing your truffles for the next time.

Neat!  The four-minute mousse is a crowd pleaser too!

I can't believe that guide to Kiteman. It blows me away.

Kiteman (author)2009-12-18

Wa-hey, great work!

I guess you are working up to a full-blown actual restaurant?

(Oh, please let the answer be "yes"!)

arne hendriks (author)Kiteman2009-12-18

Yes Kiteman, we are BUT it is also really meant as an instructable so I hope lots of people will adopt the idea and open Instructable Restaurants of their own.

ps I still would like to incorporate some of the cool ideas you posted one year ago!

Kiteman (author)arne hendriks2009-12-18

That answer is so Instructables!

Excellent idea (to just let others copy you), but (speaking commercially), you may want to require that users of your ibles credit your ideas.

arne hendriks (author)Kiteman2009-12-18

Yes the credit thing. To be honest this idea never crystalized in isolation anyway. I'm heavily indebted to Catalan designer Marti Guixé (I worked with him on a concept restaurant Food Facility at Mediamatic in Amsterdam) and the whole instructables Restaurant only became more then an idea when Bas van Abel of Waag Society picked it up and said let's do it. He is now totally a co-author on this, and I hope we can find many more who are willing to co-write scripts for funky Instructables restaurants. The first experience was soooo worth the trouble.

(I'm now thinking of a Kiteman/Instructables Speed Dating Hub. Hmmm what would that look like?)

Actually... Arne and I are already working on an Instructables Bar as well. It is amazing when you look at the speed you can make stuff when you have good instructions ;-) I love the open approach! The team is already heating up for the next production party, for which anyone is invited to come to Amsterdam.

Kiteman (author)arne hendriks2009-12-18

(Speed dating?  When did I suggest speed dating...?)

arne hendriks (author)Kiteman2009-12-18

No no not like that. I mean since you have an ible about yourself on instructables. This creates an interesting structure for a new approach to speed dating. I mean if you take the logic of personal guides to the extreme.  Maybe you missed my reply about 20 minutes ago.

arne hendriks (author)Kiteman2009-12-18

And did I just see there is an instructable on you?
That is a really interesting idea when connected to the notion of a speed dating café.

Jayefuu (author)2009-12-17

Super! Thanks for including my soup :D That was a nice surprise for when I woke up this morning :D What a fantastic idea!

Next time try my green thai curry please? I really need better pictures but aren't a good enough photographer to do the dish justice. :)

arne hendriks (author)Jayefuu2009-12-17

How do I set up a forum for all the recipe ideas? Also in the next graphic design and posters for authors I'd like to include the patches. They're great.

Jayefuu (author)arne hendriks2009-12-18

Ummmm. You could start a discussion topic in the group that you started :D

J@50n (author)2009-12-17

on the drukne robot drawings, i think skullbee woule like his name changed to SKULLBEE not SKILLBEE. just noticed.

arne hendriks (author)J@50n2009-12-17

Changed! thx

RedneckEngineer (author)2009-12-17

Really cool!!  You could put a big flat screen on the wall and show some of the videos that go with alot of the ibles.  That way people could watch things being made as they eat.  PVC and k'nex bathroom fixtures would top this off LOL!

DainiusGB (author)2009-12-17

 this is an amazing idea!

Real innovation!

kizel (author)2009-12-17

Great Idea -- I loved the prototype at Waag! Great Work.

arne hendriks (author)kizel2009-12-17

Were you there?

kizel (author)arne hendriks2009-12-17

Yeah, last night. I don't think we met.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a creative producer, curator, writer and artist based in Amsterdam. I like to create spaces that invite participation on a content level. I ... More »
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