31520Views453Replies

Author Options:

Contest FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Answered

Here at Instructables we run a ton of contests! We also get asked a ton of questions about those contests. Below is a list of the contest questions we get asked most frequently and also some questions that we feel could use a little more explaining. (Let’s be honest - reading the official rules is not fun.)

Please ask addition questions in this forum topic - I'm sure there are some we have not covered!

Important links:

General Contest Questions
How do you choose which contests to run?

We do this in a few different ways.

Contests are planned based on past contest themes, what’s trending in search, which categories/channels need a little love, new site features or if there’s a certain type of content we want. Contest ideas also come from staff meetings and through the official contest idea forum topic.

I have an idea for a contest! How do I tell you guys?

Please post here and let us know! We can’t run all of them, but we love seeing the ideas you guys come up with.

How do I win a contest?

Post something awesome! Check out this collection of tutorials that will tell you how to write a great instructable.

Why do Instructables employees enter the contests?

We enter contests to set the bar and give an example of the type of entries we want in the contests. We're not able to win them, though!

It's important to note that several employees were authors on the site before they worked here, though, so you might see some wins in our achievements! :)


Entering Contests

Can I enter if my country is not listed in the official rules?

Yes! You can definitely enter.

However, you must have a mailing address in an eligible country to win. If you have a friend in the US or another eligible country that can receive your prize, go ahead and enter!

You can read more about our progress to add more countries to the eligible shipping locations here.

I live in -----, why can't I enter?!

Chances are your country has incredibly strict laws regarding gambling, sweepstakes and contests. We try our best to play by the rules, and if we can't meet the minimum requirements to run a contest in your country, we don't run them there!

That's the easy answer. The hard answer is that it's very complicated and involves lots of risk and scary legal language.

Why isn't my entry showing up in the contest? I entered three minutes ago!

Real humans look at each entry! This means it take take a while sometimes. We work standard office hours, 9-5ish PST. We tend to moderate first thing in the morning, Monday-Friday.

If you enter at the end of the work day or over the weekend, you may have to wait until the next business day to be accepted.

Why can I only enter one contest with one Instructable?

It’s all the spirit of fairness. In the past, we've had popular instructables sweep multiple contests with huge wins. This new rule will allow more authors to win!

Why was I rejected from the contest?

The number one reason for this is not fitting the contest theme - we try our best to explain the sorts of entries we’re looking for on the main page of each contest, so double check your eligibility there.

We also sometimes make mistakes or encounter bugs during the approval/denial process. (Checking the wrong box, clicking the wrong button, breaking the back end of the site) It’s rare, but it happens! We’re human and can’t help it, but we do our best to right those mistakes as soon as we know they happened!

Why can’t I enter an instructable I published before the start date into the contest?

We want to see NEW and exciting content built just for the contest. If we allowed old instructables in, we’d just see the same things over and over again. Plus, the number entries in the contests would make it very hard to choose finalists and winners.

Keep in mind that simply republishing an old project will not make it eligible - we check for that. ;)

Can I edit my Instructable after it's entered in a contest?

Short answer: YES!

Long answer:
You can make any modifications you want to an Instructable that's already entered! We get so many entries that there's absolutely no way we'd be able to police it even if we wanted to - but it's never something we want to discourage.

Improvement is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned. :)

However, we must caution you: it's best to get those changes done before voting closes. The voting period matters the most because that's the time that we start looking into picking finalists.

Another slightly related caveat: don't publish a mostly empty instructable and try to fill it after the contest ends. We're starting to see this happen more often, always with a promise that updates are coming. You can never tell when we'll be reviewing it as a possible finalist, so chances are you'll get overlooked going about it that way. We are currently looking at 50-300 entries per contest, so anything incomplete doesn't stand a chance these days!

Finalist & Winner Selection

When are the finalists selected?

Finalists are selected starting the Tuesday after the contest closes. The finalist selection process normally ends Thursday of the same week, depending on how tricky the contest is and how many people give input.

How are finalists selected?

Finalists are selected by site staff based on the following criteria: clarity, ingenuity, creativity, quality of presentation, and execution of the Instructable (as noted in each contests' official rules section). You can make your instructable stand out further by including the following:

  • Good photos! Pretty photos put you five steps ahead of all the other entries already, honestly. We're going to want to click through and look at it as soon as we see it if it's pretty!
  • Good explanation of both WHAT the project is and HOW you made it. Sometimes it can be really hard to figure out what we're looking at. (Personally, if I have to spend several minutes staring at photos and reading to understand it, I'm not very excited about it anymore.) Try to convey the project through both photos and video if it's needed. For example - if it's a rocket, upload a video of it in action!
  • A good story! I read more projects than you could ever imagine every month. I love it when an author takes time to explain why they made the project, or documents the errors they made along the way. That makes an instructable so much more enjoyable to read. :)
  • Citing your sources/inspirations - look, we realize there's hardly an original idea on the internets anymore, so we can't fault you for that. But it's only fair to give credit where credit is due. We like that. Plus, it sometimes makes for an awesome story.
  • Creativity! Look, I cannot even begin to tell you how many paracord bracelets, Altoid tin survival kits and Iron Man arc reactors I have looked at. My eyes glaze at the thought. Don't just go for the common and easy, take that project and put a new spin on it!!
  • Relation to prize. In some contests, we offer a Judges Prize. Entries that qualify for this prize are also taken into consideration.

We always suggest authors read their own work with an objective eye. Does it make sense if you aren’t familiar with the subject already? Did you provide enough description? Are the photos understandable?

How many finalists are there?

To find this out easily, go to the contest page and look at the total number of prizes to be awarded. The number of finalists for a given contest will match the number of total prizes.

Why wasn't my project chosen as a winner/finalist?

This can happen for all kinds of reasons, honestly. See the "How are finalists selected?" question above for a more in depth explanation of what we're looking for.

The most important thing to stress is that we are going through TONS of entries for every contest, so it's important to set yourself apart. Choose a clear and concise title, tell us a story, share great photos, explain the project well. If there are projects similar to yours in the contest already, make sure your project exceeds theirs in awesomeness.

Also remember that competition is fierce in the contests - there are always a LOT of amazing entries. When it comes down to selecting winners sometimes it's the little things because when you're comparing awesome to awesome the little things are all you can look at. So be detailed orientated when writing your instructable.

Judging

Who judges the contests?

This is typically a mix of Instructables staff and authors on the site (your peers!). Each contest is normally assigned 10-50 judges.

Lately we’ve had an average of 15-20 judges complete the process. I always try to add as many judges as possible, because more judges means the judging is more fair and helps to reduce bias.

How can I help judge a contest?

If you’re interested in helping us judge, check out this forum topic!

To judge, you must have published at least one Instructable.

We send out PMs to judges on the Friday after a contest closes.

How do I judge a contest/access the judging ballot?

We’ve written up an Instructable over it! You can find it here: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Judge-a-C...

Once you're added to the list of judges, you’ll be able to access the ballot.

Prizes

How do you pick prizes? Can I suggest prizes?

We've got a pretty small budget prize here, so it's a mix of trying to be frugal but still give you guys something fancy. We try to order most of our prizes from Amazon.com because they have reliable shipping and tons of options.

If you'd like to suggest an awesome prize, do it here!

I don't like these prizes, can I trade?

Short answer: nope!

Long answer: we choose prizes well ahead of time and order prizes at the start of the contest (for 95% of what we run) and we don’t make substitutions. We typically have anywhere from 100-250 winners a month (and increasing all the time!), so it’s not feasible to give choices and sub things out. Only three of us on staff work with ordering the prizes and shipping them out, so that would be lots of work!

However, we have allowed winners to switch prizes with another winner on occasion (both parties must agree and let us know before we ship them!) and we’re fine with you selling your prize somewhere else.

How do I get my prize if I win?

When contest winners are announced, we’ll send you a message with a form to fill out. Make sure to fill this out completely and remember that we require a phone number and that we can’t ship to P.O. boxes.

Winners are responsible for any trade tax or tariffs incurred for shipping to your location. We cannot reduce the value of the prize so you pay less tax (nice try, though, you sneaky hobbit!!).

When will my prize ship?

We try to ship prizes as soon as possible! 75% of our contests have prizes that are easily shipped right away and you should receive notification of shipment within a week or so.

Sometimes we do have to order items AFTER the contest ends or wait for a sponsor to ship the items. If we think there will be a delay, we’ll let the winners know. We’ve been trying very hard to make sure we’re reaching out and updating winners about prize statuses.

Also: VERY IMPORTANT - the sooner all winners give us their contact info, the sooner we can make big orders of custom sizes. Sometimes there’s a huge delay just because we’ve got one straggler. Be a good winner and let us give you prizes, dangit!!

Discussions

The forums are retiring in 2021 and are now closed for new topics and comments.
0
Hagar-Usama
Hagar-Usama

7 weeks ago

Is it OK to declare I voted for someone?

0
_willow_
_willow_

2 months ago

does my project have to be featured for me to win a contest

0
WarriorPlayz
WarriorPlayz

2 months ago

If I win $500 Amazon Gift card from a contest, can I switch it for a $500 bestbuy gift card or anything else.

3
seamster
seamster

Reply 2 months ago

If you win a gift card in a contest, you'll be be given a selection of stores to which you can redeem the amount, and the options all depend on where you live in the world. Amazon is a main option, but there are some other choices as well.

0
Suspense_Comix
Suspense_Comix

3 months ago

I have a question: Can I create a contest?

0
jessyratfink
jessyratfink

Reply 2 months ago

Nope! Only site staff can create contests :)

0
misterlongtas
misterlongtas

2 months ago

Hi there,

When can we expect to be notified of the results?

0
jessyratfink
jessyratfink

Reply 2 months ago

We always announce finalists on Friday, judging goes Friday-Monday, and we announce winners on Tuesday.

Our next round of winners will be announced Tuesday, 9/22.

0
Magi carpe diem
Magi carpe diem

2 months ago

I have noticed that some instructables in the comments have a message from one of the staff saying that it was removed from the contest becuase it used photos that weren't there own. What are the rules on this?

0
jessyratfink
jessyratfink

Reply 2 months ago

Contest entries should only include your own original images and text. If staff or another author finds stolen content in a contest entry, staff will pull it from the contest.

Trying to keep it fair for everyone :)

0
CadKid
CadKid

3 months ago

So what if my instructable entry doesn't get on the entries page before august 10th. Would I still be entered even though I made it today? Because I read the comment below and was wondering this.

0
Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

Reply 3 months ago

You do have to post your Instructable and enter it into the contest before the deadline.

1
Adoo Jonathan
Adoo Jonathan

3 months ago

I have submitted my instructable but it doesn't show in the enteries what should I do

0
jessyratfink
jessyratfink

Reply 3 months ago

Now it's in our (the community managers) hands! We go through contest entries every morning and accept them so it's not an instant process. You'll get an email letting you know the status of your entry once we review it. :)

0
alguienMuyRobótico
alguienMuyRobótico

4 months ago

In a prior question it said that the giftcard prizes will be delivered digitally. If I live in a country (Argentina) that is not in the rules (I've seached about it and can´t fin why), can I still recive digital prizes (Gift cards from the student tinkercad contest)?

0
Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

Reply 4 months ago

If you live in a country that can't participate according to the official rules, we won't be able to award you a prize even a digital one.

0
alguienMuyRobótico
alguienMuyRobótico

Reply 4 months ago

Ok thank you! I'll just ask a friend from the us then

0
malhar23432
malhar23432

4 months ago

i have upload my project on tinkercad student contest so i can't find my entry so can you please help me

0
Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

Reply 4 months ago

There currently isn't a project associated with your account. It's possible it was unpublished if it wasn't complete. Please check it and see if there is a comment from one of the community managers on it.

1
metabots.uno
metabots.uno

4 months ago

Hello, can the instructable be created in spanish to participate in this contest?

0
human123
human123

4 months ago

I have a few questions to ask as a newcomer to the site.
My questions are :
(a) Can a project submitted to instructables be used as a project in other contests elsewhere ? If not, why ?
(b) Must the project be one that is duplicable by others ? What if unique materials, not easily found elsewhere are used ? Will this result in the participant being penalised ?
(c) Is there an age limit for participants ? I asked because I searched online and didn't find clear information. My country is Singapore and minors are classified as anyone below 21 who is not married, widowed. But does an age limit of below 21 qualify the participant as a minor or instructables has another guideline for minor ?
If the participant is a minor, how does instructables require proof that a parent's consent has been obtained ? Is the parent supposed to send an email to somewhere to confirm the relationship ?
(d) What is the maximum number of members allowed in a single project ?
Thanks.


0
jessyratfink
jessyratfink

Reply 4 months ago

a) Yes! It's your work, please feel free the publish it wherever and enter it into other contests.
b) The project doesn't necessarily need to be easily duplicated. As long as it's well explained in text and photos you're good to go.
c) You must be 13 to enter. Parents often enter for younger children and we recommend that as the best way to go!
d) As many folks as you want can collaborate on an instructable, but keep in mind we will not send multiple prizes. :)

0
human123
human123

Reply 4 months ago

Sorry for some extra questions.
I am actually a parent. My child is now 12, do we mean I enter the contest on his behalf (?) If so, how does that show that it is his work, not mine ? By including it in the explanation section that I am a parent entering for my kid ?
If part of his project involves coding, is he expected to provide the file from the development environment, or only the text snippet ? If he provides the file from the development environment, your judges or members may not be able to open the file. If he provides in text snippet form, anyone who picks it up will still have to run it under suitable development environment/(s). Thanks.

0
jessyratfink
jessyratfink

Reply 4 months ago

No worries!

Most parents do it by writing the introduction step, something like "This is an instructable written by my kid - the steps and photos are their work." and then letting the kids do the rest. :)

As far as coding, feel free to insert the text and/or upload a file - the only thing we don't accept is zip files! Here are a couple screenshots of authors using the different tools we offer.

Screen Shot 2020-07-15 at 9.08.44 AM.pngScreen Shot 2020-07-15 at 9.07.33 AM.png
0
MACCOS
MACCOS

4 months ago

what if you enter a contest and dont win but there is another contest that fits your project can you enter it

0
Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

Reply 4 months ago

Unfortunately, you can still only enter a project into one contest.

0
MACCOS
MACCOS

4 months ago

if you win a gift card do we get a digital code or the gift card itself in the mail

0
Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

Reply 4 months ago

You can enter contests with more than 1 Instructable :)

0
xpman
xpman

5 months ago

what to do after this

g.PNG
2
xpman
xpman

5 months ago

i created a instructble and entered the contest but after clicking it the say to make another instructable

0
neeraj.vaidya10
neeraj.vaidya10

7 months ago

Hi,
My 10 y.o. son wishes to enter the Tinkercad competition. He has Tinkercad as part of his primary school education here in Australia. Is he eligible to enter this competition ? Is there any minimum age limit for entries ? Thanks.

0
MaliciousMarshmallow
MaliciousMarshmallow

Reply 5 months ago

I don't believe there is a min. age limit, but you might have to get any prize(s) he wins in your name. It probably depends on what the laws are in your country.

0
cobinrox
cobinrox

6 months ago

It seems like there needs to be a button on the instrutables home page to link to the contests. Used to be easier to find them.

0
MaliciousMarshmallow
MaliciousMarshmallow

Reply 5 months ago

Hey! Check the top left corner, on the grey bar. There should be two buttons next to the logo; Projects and Contests. Not sure if they are there on a phone/tablet though.

0
shourya2305
shourya2305

6 months ago

Hi, I had a doubt do we have to create 3 projects with the given category or show 3 examples of the given category used in a project?

0
apartby20
apartby20

6 months ago

This is the first time to participate in posting and entering a contest. I read the rules ect. But still am having difficulties. I went to preview and idk what happened. It showed error that there was no cover picture so when I went to add one it took me out to the beginning as if I didn't enter. I looked in my account it showed the same, no instructable been created. So I figured it was a washout and I tried again but It will not allow me to says it's entered. I don't see it in the entered and can't find it in my account to edit it or see it myself. This is upsetting especially if their is no photo!! Help only hours left in the contest. 😟🙃 It's the bucket blob art for the trash to treasure scrap contest

3
Marve48
Marve48

6 months ago

I have entered several contest but don’t get short listed. My instructables are featured and I think are pretty well written but I don’t know what I am doing wrong when it comes to contest. Could you give me some pointers please?

0
OzarkAnnie1980
OzarkAnnie1980

7 months ago

Thank you for this great instructable!! You did answer most of my questions, I believe!! I have entered my first instructable and have read almost all tips, recommendations, etc that are greatly written and catchy!! This one is great!

0
jessyratfink
jessyratfink

Reply 7 months ago

Nope! Only site admins are able to. :)

0
Jscrafts
Jscrafts

1 year ago

Hi I am a h4 visa holder in USA. Can I enter the contest and be a winner? I found out that the contest prizes are taxable. I’m not sure of my eligibility. Please let me know if I qualify.

0
Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

Reply 8 months ago

As long as you live in a country that is allowed (which is most except a few listed in the official rules of the contest) you can enter and win. Taxes can be an issue particularly if you win a prize over $600. If that is the case, you'll be contacted separately about paperwork you'll need to fill out.

0
pedro.badelucci
pedro.badelucci

10 months ago

Do you still send prizes if the contest only has 3- 4 entries?

0
pedro.badelucci
pedro.badelucci

Reply 9 months ago

nvm more people entered the contest

0
Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

Reply 8 months ago

So far we haven't ever had a contest close with less entries than their are prizes. Hopefully that won't be an issue :)

0
TamásK35
TamásK35

10 months ago

Can I enter more contests with the same project? I just made my first one and entered the "home decor" contest, but I will make it better and modify it for the "make it glow" if it is possible to enter two contest with the same thing