Introduction: How to Play Instructables

About: Geeky artist. MUST. MAKE. STUFF. More stuff at:

the instructables instructable

While my friends are shooting avatars or counting ducks and llamas, I have fun on instructables. I joke that it’s my favorite online game.

You might think, "instructables is a great website for learning how to do stuff, but it’s not a game". My son even took offense at this idea. I like the game concept as a fun perspective, especially for someone with a competitive nature like mine. Come take a look through this instructable on how I play and maybe you’ll join me. And enjoy it as much as I do. Or maybe you already play and can add to what I've written.

Step 1: Play Your Way

There are many ways to set instructables goals for yourself or to try to win real prizes. There are virtual prizes like in any good computer game as well as actual, non-virtual, arrive-in-the-snail-mail prizes. You might win an instructables pro membership or tee shirt. You choose how you want to play and how real to make the game.

Step 2: ​Playing Solitaire

I started enjoying instructables in 2009 by looking for things I was interested in. After a while it got hard to keep thinking of new things, so I made a game of typing random words into the “Let’s Make_________________ “ search to see what would come up. The idea was to see how many things I could find of interest to me that I never would have thought of on my own. I’d have fun finding a project or idea that really amazed me. Two of my favorites were the duct tape canoe and a 76' suspension bridge.

In the above screen shot, I typed in "faux" and got quite the eclectic mix of projects. From a fake fox tail to painting faux stone (that's mine!)

Step 3: Contests - Play With Others

Contests are truly games. You pit your instructables against other instructables by real, live, creative people like yourself. You compete for tangible prizes that are mailed to you if you win.

I love the contests. Most are moderated, so you wait a day or two to see if you made it in. Then you can monitor your instructable to see if people are looking at it. I pit my own instructables against each other to learn what people are interested in. Sometimes it really surprises me! It’s also very social, since a contest entry is a good way to get new subscribers and have conversations with others interested in what you’re doing. I’ve had great feedback, suggestions and encouragement from other members.

To enter, just select the Contests menu and click on view contest. Instructables will guide you through the rest.

Step 4: ​Get Featured - Win Fame

I love being featured. It means I’ve done a good job and more people will see my instructables. It means I’ve won. You can’t really do anything in particular to assure being featured, but you can know that staff or volunteers look at your instructable and decide if it's worthy. Some things are more likely to get you featured - like being timely or seasonal, having great photography, having a really interesting or quirky idea. Instructables gives you the percentage of your instructables which have been featured. This is a fun number to play with and try to increase. It’s the get-more-featured game.

When you’re featured you also get a really nice message telling you how wonderful you are. I totally feel like a winner when one of these messages shows up.

Step 5: ​Get Popular

Members click on the hearts to favorite instructables they like and want to save. An instructable may get lots of views, but few hearts. Or it may get a high percentage of hearts to views, which is what I hope for. I like a high percentage of hearts, because that means people think my instructable is useful and want to save it.

Step 6: ​Awards – Win, Uh, Awards

Instructables gives you awards for all kinds of real-life accomplishments. Things like getting 10,000 views or 10 featured instructables. These awards are presented as icons that appear on your instructables homepage. I sometimes see an award someone else got and think, “I bet I can do that. Game on!”

Step 7: ​Stats

Stats are fun too. You can see how many views you’re getting, when you got them and where they came from.

Step 8: Just Play

I hope this instructable gives you some new ideas for having fun on the instructables website. I’ve mentioned a number of ways to play, but there are lots more - like getting and giving patches, joining groups and of course, making projects. I'd love to hear your ideas. Please leave them in the comments.

Recently, I was at an anime convention when someone called out, “I like your instructables tee shirt!”

“Thanks, I won it.”

: )

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