Introduction: Instructables Contest FAQ
Here at Instructables we run a lot of contests! We also get asked a lot of questions about how those contests work. Below is a list of frequently asked questions we get asked.
How do you choose which contests to run?
Contests are planned based on past contest themes, what’s trending on the site and popular culture, or if there’s a certain type of content that we feel would benefit the community at large.
We also occasionally brainstorm new contest ideas we think that the community will simply have fun with.
I have an idea for a contest! How do I tell you guys?
Write to us on Twitter or Instagram! We can’t promise to run your idea, but we love seeing the ideas you come up with.
You can also fill in this form with your suggestion.
How do I win a contest?
Simple answer, post something awesome that meets our featuring guidelines! 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 on their profiles in their achievements! :)
What is the difference between a Contest, Challenge and Speed Challenge?
Contests run for eight weeks, Challenges run for four weeks, and Speed Challenges run for two weeks.
How many contests can I enter my project into?
In the spirit of fairness, every instructable can only be entered into ONE single contest. This rule allows more authors to win! This is a great way to level the playing field and simplify the process for both authors and judges.
How many Instructables can I enter into a single contest?
While there are no limits on the number of Instructables you can enter into a single contest, keep in mind that you can only win one prize per contest.
This means that if you enter ten amazing Instructables into a contest, only one will advance as a finalist.
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 a prize. If you have a friend in the US or another eligible country that can receive your prize, go ahead and enter! Even if you can't claim a prize, your project is still eligible to be ranked in the contest. Unfortunately, we cannot ship prizes to the following countries and regions: North Korea, Syria, Sudan Cuba, Iran, Brazil, Italy, Argentina, Turkey, Romania, Poland, Crimea, and Quebec.
I live in a disallowed country or region, why can't I win a prize?!
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. We apologize for this, but it is outside of our control.
Why isn't my entry showing up in the contest immediately?
Our community team reviews each entry to make sure it qualifies. We work standard office hours, 9-5 PST Monday through Friday. If you enter at the end of the workday or over the weekend, you may have to wait until the next business day to be accepted.
Why was I rejected from the contest?
The number one reason for your project being rejected is not fitting the contest theme and acceptance criteria. 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. It’s rare, but it happens! If you believe your project was rejected by mistake please reach out to us.
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 of 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 want to make sure that all changes are complete before the contest closing date. Once the contest closes we will be reviewing all of the projects in the contest and selecting finalists. Whatever your project looks like on that day will determine whether or not we consider it as a finalist. You should make sure that all of your changes are locked in by this point.
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.
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). We review all entries and do an initial round of ranked voting based on these criteria.
If you want to make sure that your project stands out during this process, ensure that your instructable adheres to our featuring guidelines and clearly meets the criteria of the contest.
How many finalists are there?
The number of finalists for a given contest will match the number of total prizes awarded. To easily find this out, simply go to the contest page and look at the total number of prizes to be awarded.
Why wasn't my project chosen as a winner/finalist?
To be honest, this can happen for all kinds of reasons. The most important thing to stress is that we are often going through hundreds 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, and explain the project well.
Also, remember that competition is fierce in the contests - there are always a LOT of amazing entries. We often have more awesome projects than there are finalist spots. We highly encourage you not to be discouraged if your project is ever looked-over during finalist selection. This is by no means a personal judgment call about your work and won't prevent yours from winning future contests.
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.
How can I help judge a contest?
To judge you must have published at least one featured Instructable. If you’re interested in helping us judge, send us a message on Twitter or Instagram!
How do I judge a contest/access the judging ballot?
We’ve written up an easy-to-follow Instructable on how to judge a contest!
How do you pick prizes? Can I suggest prizes?
If you'd like to suggest an awesome prize, send us a note on Twitter or Instagram! While we might not take immediate action, we always take your suggestions into consideration.
I don't like these prizes, can I trade?
Under most circumstances we will allow you to exchange your prize for a gift card of equal monetary value. You must let us know you would like to do this before you provide your address and claim your prize.
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! Most of our contests have prizes that are easily shipped within two weeks of winners being notified.
Sometimes we do have to order items after the contest ends or wait for a sponsor to ship the items. When a prize requires special processing it is important to note that the sooner everyone claims their prizes, the sooner we begin shipping them!
If we think there will be a considerable delay, we’ll let the winners know.