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Got contest ideas? Want to help HQ staff? Answered

You may have noticed that we run a lot of contests here on Instructables. Big ones, little ones, sponsored ones, weird ones, helpful ones, and the occasional flop. We like contests, because they reward what many of you would already be doing: making creative things and sharing them with the world.

We run contests for two main reasons: to reward authors with the kinds of prizes that help them to make more cool projects, and to give sponsors an opportunity to foment authentic customer experiences. The best contests combine the two with an awesome theme and even awesomer prizes.

Since we started running contests, we’ve given away hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of prizes. Prizes ship out much faster than they used to (it helps that interns aren’t running the shipping room), and we’re pushing our limits to see how many engaging and awesome contests we can run at once. This year alone, we’ve run about 20 contests with prizes totaling ~$25,000. We’ve got more in the works, too.

This is where we need your help! If you’ve got contest theme ideas, I’d love to hear them. If you have prize ideas, leave ‘em in the comments.

And, if you or your business want to sponsor a contest of your very own, send me a PM.

Comments

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ilpug
ilpug

3 years ago

A manufacturing process contest maybe? Where it's not just about making something cool, it's about illustrating how the process and product have been designed to be easier to build in large numbers. There's tons of people on Instructables who make stuff in large amounts for sales on places like ETSY, I assume some would be willing to share their process and setup for cranking out a lot of little stuff. Most Instructables stuff is one-off or prototypical, an iterated, production-oriented product would be a neat focus.

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mpictaggi
mpictaggi

3 years ago

I don't always see your contests but have you had any of the following.

Lego Builder Contest- The favorite building material of my 10yr old cousin, id really like to see what people make but more importantly how they communicate the steps in their instrucable.

Trash to Treasure Contest- Instrucables that focus on new/traditional ways to recycling "trash" into usable products. Or ways to re purpose what is commonly considered trash.

Magnet Mania Contest - they're crazy fun and crazy accessible and you can make a lot of interesting projects with them.

Wind- projects that harness or make wind.

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Ahona Mukherjee
Ahona Mukherjee

3 years ago

I have a few ideas.

1) A Harry potter (we had one last year) contest to celebrate the 20 years of the philosopher's stone (that's the first book in Harry Potter series)

2) A miniature contest (dollhouse miniature, small scale figurines.. everything!)

3) Fandom contest (I think this happened once before also)

4) Copy-cat model contest (models of stuff from movies or comics or books and all maybe?)

I hope these are accepted!! I'm really looking forward to participate in them! Especially thus first one!!!

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WhitneySegura
WhitneySegura

7 years ago

Right now, I am willing to fully back any home & garden contest, with sponsorship / prize donations including a $200.00 cash voucher, good for all product's within any store that I own, which there are many.

The contest I would like to hold, would be a greenhouse gardening contest, to see who could create the best staged greenhouse structure, using the most unique and inexpensive alternatives, as apposed to expensive fancy quick solutions.

The challenge come's to be, in the choosing of the structure itself, which would be done by the contest holder's, and in a randomized manner, such as they do on TV show's, such as Iron Chef, where they have no idea, what they will be cooking!

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Mr_o_uk
Mr_o_uk

7 years ago

How about a "flat pack" contest. Where you either have to make something that is made from a flat pack (like the ikea hacks) or where you have to make something that is flat packable...

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wilgubeast
wilgubeast

Reply 7 years ago

We're actually working on one of those right now. Details should be forthcoming once we get all our sponsorship ducks in a row.

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Mr_o_uk
Mr_o_uk

Reply 7 years ago

Any news on this one? I have an idea...

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Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 7 years ago

Whatever it is, I'd make it and write it, just hold off on hitting the publish button until there is more news.

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Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 7 years ago

Oh, I can see a lot of creative potential in that one.

If they got Ikea to sponsor it, there could be a special prize for hacking an Ikea product.

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LordBenjamin
LordBenjamin

7 years ago

Pyrotechnics contest! Anything that burns pretty!

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ASCAS
ASCAS

7 years ago

How about a "Bluetooth Speaker" contest! :3 Bluetooth speakers are quite a trend these days. "Listen to Music Without Wires"

Here's an image :D Sorry I'm not that good in photo-text-editing :||

minx-air-100-with-samsung-tabletaab.jpg
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Kayak Kid
Kayak Kid

7 years ago

A pumpkin contest! With everything pumpkin!

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Kayak Kid
Kayak Kid

7 years ago

A pumpkin contest next fall would be awesome! Everything Pumpkin

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thematthatter
thematthatter

7 years ago

lighter than air contest or one with balloons, blimps and zeppelins (lead-free)

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Mr. Noack
Mr. Noack

7 years ago

An Ugly Christmas sweater project is the perfect match for instructables. It's an extremely popular phenomenon at Christmas. It would draw a sleigh full of traffic to the site and it's an easy DIY project to help get people involved in project documentation. Prizes could be anything,

My ugly sweater won me $5000 last year at a local radio station. I'm waiting to post it on instructables.

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Lei_Kei
Lei_Kei

7 years ago

How about burgers?

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thegrendel
thegrendel

7 years ago

I had posted these suggestions in the wrong place (sorry).

* Invent a Board Game contest
* Tabletop Game Using Magnets contest
* Vintage Vacuum Tube Electronics contest
* Build a Short Wave Receiver contest
* Creative Vegan Recipe contest
* Kaleidoscope contest
* Paper airplane contest

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BrittLiv
BrittLiv

7 years ago

How about a steampunk contest? I have seen Horatius.Steam and Admiral Aaron Ravensdale at the maker faire and their stuff is beyond awesome. I know there was a challenge a few years back and a vintage contest recently, but a proper contest would be great.

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Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 7 years ago

That's cool, but brace yourself for arguments about the definition of "Steampunk".

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BrittLiv
BrittLiv

Reply 7 years ago

Aren't there arguments after every contest? ;-) The definition could be defined in the contest rules. I've been poking around the steampunk community the last few days and it would be great to convince more of them to post on instructables.

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Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 7 years ago

It sounds good - I'd put together something slightly more formal and send it to Wade via PM.

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BrittLiv
BrittLiv

Reply 7 years ago

Thank you! I keep my fingers crossed.

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Tarun Upadhyaya
Tarun Upadhyaya

7 years ago

I watched a lot of movies recently like Pacific Rim etc. and this came to my mind. How about a contest like 'As seen in movie contest'?

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wilgubeast
wilgubeast

Reply 7 years ago

With the success of the game.life contests over the past couple of years, it's about time we went straight for the movies. Halloween is probably your first chance for a movie-inspired prop, costume, or themed decoration. After that, we're looking at early 2014 for an "As Seen In" contest or similar.

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Kiteman
Kiteman

7 years ago

I think I mentioned this elsewhere, but what about an "Assisted Living" or "Independent Living" contest?

Prosthetics, mobility, grip-assist, Swiss Army walking sticks...

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Mr_o_uk
Mr_o_uk

7 years ago

Maybe a pub contest for the British amongst us (a bar contest for the rest)! Could be drink inventions -cocktails, brewing etc; furniture -bar stools, garden benches; pub tricks; glasses -decorated or different shapes; themes - names and decorations...

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wilgubeast
wilgubeast

Reply 7 years ago

You just solved a sticky problem for us: how to get great cocktail/beverage recipes, homebrew projects, fancy glasses, and pub paraphernalia.

In what season do you think something like this would perform best?

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Mr_o_uk
Mr_o_uk

Reply 7 years ago

We like our pubs all year round, but for different reasons.

Summer is in the beer garden, soaking up the sun and having beer festivals.

Winter is tucked up inside by the fire playing board games.

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Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 7 years ago

Autumn is beer-festival season, after the harvests.

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Kiteman
Kiteman

7 years ago

Remember the 30s video contest (Forbes? 3 or 4 years ago?)? That was fun, and video technology has leapt on since then.

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Blechmen
Blechmen

7 years ago

I would love to see a contest evolved around graphic design, and artists use their skills to show how they make their best designs.

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HollyMann
HollyMann

7 years ago

Thought of another one - SHOES - people are obsessed with them - I think a contest related to shoes would work. :)

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liquidhandwash
liquidhandwash

7 years ago

How about a "fail" competition Ive lots of projects that have failed for some reason, got too difficult, not sure where to go next, lost interest, blew up, caught fire, dog ate it, and of course the classic ipod wont fit in the dock i just made.
we often learn a great deal from our failures, It might motivate me to have another go, and its always good to have a fresh set of eyes on a problem. And its always fun to just point and laugh.

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openproducts
openproducts

Reply 7 years ago

One of the aspects of learning-by-doing is that after a failure (but likewise after success) lessons become clear. From this perspective I think it is good practice to address suggestions for 'next generation designs' or generally speaking 'improvements' in any Instructable. See for example this 'Door-stopper with easy catch-and-release function'.

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BrittLiv
BrittLiv

7 years ago

How about a pun contest? Btw. thanks a lot for the play contest!

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wilgubeast
wilgubeast

Reply 7 years ago

If we can work out a way to make a pun contest successful, we'll try it. Punny projects are difficult to discover through keyword searches, and the barrier to entry is surprisingly high if you're not already sitting on a great pun project idea.

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Mr_o_uk
Mr_o_uk

7 years ago

How about a 'bath' contest. Could include bath toys for kids, home made smellys, bath furniture, shower curtains, waterproof electronics. All sorts.

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Mr_o_uk
Mr_o_uk

Reply 7 years ago

It could be 'bath room' rather than 'bath'. That way you could do a series of contests based on the rooms in a house.

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wilgubeast
wilgubeast

Reply 7 years ago

We tried doing unusual uses in the kitchen/bathroom a couple of years ago, but reframing it as projects for the xxxxroom would probably (definitely) get more people to participate. We're running a home remedies contest that should catch the homemade smellys along with tick removal (always fun, ask Brad Paisley), sunburn relief, acne treatments, etc., but I suspect that your idea would generate a lot of cool projects. Added to our brainstorming list!

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Muhaiminah Faiz
Muhaiminah Faiz

7 years ago

Wouldn't it be great to have a dessert contest or a curry contest!?

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wilgubeast
wilgubeast

Reply 7 years ago

I think you'll be pleased with this summer's contests. After Chinese food wraps, we've got another geographic cooking challenge for another large country in Asia. Hint: it's technically a subcontinent. And desserts are bound to come around again.

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Muhaiminah Faiz
Muhaiminah Faiz

Reply 7 years ago

Thanks! that's a great news :)

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786Ayesha
786Ayesha

7 years ago

How about a Magnat contest?

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wilgubeast
wilgubeast

Reply 7 years ago

That's a good idea, provided you mean magnets. If you mean magnates, we'll probably have trouble getting any of them to participate.

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Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 7 years ago

They'd make useful sponsors...

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786Ayesha
786Ayesha

Reply 7 years ago

Ooops ;( mistyped. yes it is Magnet contest.