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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.



1 year 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.

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.

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!!!

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!

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...

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

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

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

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.

Pyrotechnics contest! Anything that burns pretty!


4 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 :||


A pumpkin contest! With everything pumpkin!

A pumpkin contest next fall would be awesome! Everything Pumpkin

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

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.

How about burgers?

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

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.

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

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.

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

Thank you! I keep my fingers crossed.

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'?

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.

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

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

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...

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?

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.

Autumn is beer-festival season, after the harvests.

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

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

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

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.

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'.

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

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.

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

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

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!

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

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.

How about a Magnat contest?

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