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Encyclopedia of cool DIY projects, but not all for kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Teens can learn how to complete hundreds of different DIY projects posted on INSTRUCTABLES. Teens can practice following directions when completing the projects, and they also can learn to provide clear instructions when posting their own projects for other users. The ideas on this site touch learning areas in a wide range of topics. There's so much to learn, from robot-building to cooking and animal care, but some projects could be dangerous if attempted incorrectly.

Positive messages

Overall, the DIY message this site sends is positive. You can do anything, and probably someone has done it before, too. Also, the collaborative theme of the site is refreshing.


Most of this site involves no violence at all; however, there are some pages full of ideas on how to make "bombs," but most of them are quite harmless, like how to make a ticking time bomb Halloween costume, or how to make a seed bomb to plant seeds in a large area. But others could potentially be more dangerous or at least disturbing (such as a how to make a nuclear bomb joke.) Other mock-violent entries include an award-winning guillotine Halloween prop, or the how to make a Hellboy gun prop.


Mostly non-sexual content. How to dress like a "pinup girl" for Halloween, is one current example of what users will see on the Halloween page. But this is a user-content driven site, so there are a lot of entries under sexy stuff, if you go looking for it.

Not applicable

There are ads, both small Google-style ads and larger ads throughout the site. Some of the ideas have product tie-ins, such as how to create a costume that looks like a certain cereal ad cartoon character.  

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many recipes for alcoholic cocktails.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Instructables is a gigantic DIY site where users share how to build, cook, sew, invent, or try almost anything. The site's overall tone is positive and supportive and encourages creativity. Searching through all of the ideas to separate the good from the bad is better left to adults -- or at least to teens who will check with adults before attempting to build their own outdoor hot tub or reassemble electronics. Expect plenty of ads, as well as a section devoted to alcoholic creations.

What's it about?

If teens are searching Instructables for a project, they can do so by typing in the name of a project (like \"Spartan helmet,\" \"red velvet cupcakes,\" or \"chicken coop\") in the on-site search engine, or browse by category: Tech, Living, Outside, Workshop, Food, or Play. Click on the project and read or watch the (usually) step-by-step instructions. If a teen wants to post a project, visit the Share page and follow one of three methods of posting: Photos, Step-by-Step, or Video. Registered users can also enter contests (to win some pretty big prizes, like an iPad2) and vote on entries.

Is it any good?


INSTRUCTABLES was created by an MIT engineering Ph.D who loves "building kite powered contraptions, cooking breakfast, and demystifying technology so even his grandmother can use it." Users of this site can learn how to do all of those things and more, as well as share their skills and ideas with others. There are some ideas here that are just plain silly, but others are super helpful if you're looking for something specific. Plus there's a lot of creative ideas here that are just fun to browse for the sake of learning.

Online interaction: People can comment on the projects. Most comments appear on point and generally positive or at least not hurtful. There are very active forums for people who register and Pro Members-only forums who pay for that membership as well. A helpful questions and answers section allows people to ask about a problem on a project and get responses.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why sharing ideas can often help make them better. Would teens be willing to submit an idea or instructions for something they're passionate about? Why or why not?

  • Talk about safety. Just because a project is featured on the Internet doesn't make it perfectly safe or reliable. Discuss basic safety guidelines and whether certain types of projects need your parental approval first. And talk about Internet safety too -- what's OK to share with others and what's not?

Website details

Subjects:Hobbies: building, cooking
Science: engineering
Language & Reading: following directions, presenting to others, reading, writing
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, asking questions, logic, problem solving, thinking critically
Creativity: brainstorming, imagination, innovation, making new creations
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
Self-Direction: achieving goals, effort, initiative, motivation, work to achieve goals
Pricing structure:Free

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old May 15, 2011

From bombs to computers.

I love this website, thank you for reminding me of this CSM!
What other families should know
Educational value
Adult Written bymoudymoon September 27, 2010
Educator and Parent Written byKaren Irwin June 1, 2015

Instructables Website Review

I think that this website is a good place to find basic, general information about how to make things. It could be something simple like a dish to cook or a little more difficult like cutting a glass bottle without the use of power tools. This could be a good tool even for learners curious about how things work.