App review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Instructables App Poster Image

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Slick DIY app features cool projects; supervision required.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to follow instructions and improve reading comprehension, not to mention pick up a few cool project ideas (primarily electricity and electronics), recipes, and ways to make toys and create fashion. If kids decide to contribute an Instructable, they will learn to express specific ideas to others concretely by crafting step-by-step text instructions and snapping illustrative photos. Instructables gives tweens and teens the opportunity to learn from others plus showcase their creativity and instruction-writing skills, but supervision is required.

Ease of Play

Great menus, easy to create own Instructable, clean design, useful icons. Links to YouTube videos often do not work.


"Iron Flail" is featured in categories, and searches bring up small smoke bombs.


None in categories but searches found "How to Put on a Condom,"  "Naughty Chocolate Body Paint," and "Conversational (edible?) Underwear." Many others have suggestive titles but tame contents.


Searches for words like "bitch" and "ass" turn up entries containing those words in the title.


No ads in the mobile app, but posts often mention brand names.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There are many recipes for alcoholic beverages.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Instructables is a slick DIY and how-to share site intended for adults but with lots of useful and offbeat ideas and projects tweens and teens could do with supervision. If kids stick entirely to the Instructables listed in categories, they will avoid most sophisticated content ("How to Make an Arc Welder" or "How to Put on a Condom"). To create a brand new Instructable, users must register with username, email, and password, or via Facebook. To keep the app from collecting usage statistics users can uncheck a box in the About section. Under the CCPA law you have the right to protect your personal information. Make a Do Not Sell request to Instructables.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

The INSTRUCTABLES app opens in Explore mode with large photo-based panels in eight categories. The main menu includes a search function, contests, followed contributors, and a profile page ("You"). Users can vote for contest entries, comment on Instructables, or create their own Instructable if they're registered. Users tap on Instructable panels (title, photo, and contributor) to bring up step-by-step instructions and photo illustrations.

Is it any good?

Instructables is super easy to use and sports unique creative content that'll keep tweens and teens coming back for more. Large fonts, icons, the ability to take photos in-app, and easy edit and delete functions make it very user friendly. Topics range from a giant sun jar made with a clear glass cookie jar, solar lights, LEDs, and frosting spray to maple bacon cheddar garlic biscuits to a homemade arc welder. While some, like the arc welder, are not appropriate for anyone without proper background knowledge and equipment, many, like "Tulle Circle Skirt" and "Paracord Wetsuit Hanger" are quite doable for parent-kid weekend projects. Video links don't always work and contest instructions display nonsense symbols. While Instructables content is ostensibly user generated, some — to be expected for a newly launched share site — appears to be seeded or reused from other share sites.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Browse with tweens and younger teens, especially when they perform searches.

  • Model reading through all the instructions before starting to determine needs like background knowledge, equipment, materials, cost, and safety.

  • Build together if safety is an issue.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Windows app
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, presenting to others, reading comprehension, writing, writing clearly
    Science: engineering, electricity
    Hobbies: building, cooking, fashion
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, hypothesis-testing, part-whole relationships, thinking critically
    Creativity: combining knowledge, imagination, innovation, making new creations
    Emotional Development: moving beyond obstacles, persevering
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: March 20, 2013
  • Category: Lifestyle
  • Size: 4.30 MB
  • Publisher: Autodesk Inc.
  • Version: Android 1.0.4; iOS 1.1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: Android 2.1 and up; iOS 5.0 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to create

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