Student Resources for the 2018 Competition

Return to the 2018 competition page

L Ella Robinson stitched wood

Use these resources to help you meet the competition criteria

Are you a teacher? Click here for more resources

Who might the user be for my product?

The design brief says your product must have user and you have to write about this person on the application form. 

A user is the person who will use the product you have made. When designing you will have to think about the things they like as well as what their needs are. You will have to think about how these things will influence the design of the product, the materials used, and things like colour choices. Examples of users might be:

  • A person from a particular age group e.g. child, grandparent
  • An animal or its owner
  • Sports person e.g. swimmer, runner, footballer
  • Someone at work e.g. bus driver, fire fighter, paramedic, policeman, shop assistant
  • Someone doing their hobby e.g. musician, photographer
  • Someone going to an event e.g. traveller, holiday maker, festival goer
  • Think of a more unusual user e.g. an alien, a circus act, a zoo keeper, a superhero

Tip: Lots of entries are for teenagers or young children. Can you think of a more unusual user that will make your product stand out from the crowd? What about designing something for a fire fighter or an astronaut?

Click on the images below to see #ThinkDo activities that might help you think about who your user might be.

What might the purpose/function of my product be?

The design brief says that your product must have a function/purpose and you have to write about this on the application form. 

The product function and purpose refers to what the product does and when it might be used. Some examples might be: 

  • To protect something
  • To aid communication
  • To carry something
  • To display something
  • To improve someone’s quality of life
  • To help someone relax
  • To help stop someone from losing something
  • To help someone learn something 
  • To promote something e.g. a charity
  • Any other purpose/function you can think of!

Tip: Give as much information as possible on your entry form about the function of product to help judges understand it. Try and make the function of your product unusual so it stands out from the rest. 

Click on the images below to see #ThinkDo activities that might help you think about the function of your product.

What materials should I use?

Categories of D&T materials are:

L Ella Robinson stitched wood
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Textiles
  • Paper and board

Your product must include a material from at least 2 of these categories e.g. wood and metal, paper and plastic, textiles and metal. You can use any combination of 2 materials as long as each one is from a different category.  

plastic wood metal

You can buy the materials as ready made components or parts or you can make them yourself (the judges might be more impressed if you make them yourself). You have to write about your material choices on the application form. 

Below are examples of components and parts you might use to add a different material category to your work. They are a metal wing nut and bolt, a plastic clip fastener, an embroidered patch and metal split rings. 


Take a look at these example products below to see how they have used different materials categories together. 


The bird and house are made from wood and the split ring on the key ring on the key ring is metal. The jackalope toy is one of the joint 3rd place winners of the 2017 competition. It uses textiles materials, plastic for the button and beads, as well as metal wire wrapped with paper to create the antlers. The button and beads are bought components but the antlers were made by the student. 

This #ThinkDo activity card shows how materials can be used in different ways. Click on it to open it. 

polypropylene products

How can you use materials in unusual ways in your product?
How can you use unusual materials to design with?

What type of product might I make?

This is completely up to you! Think about different users and what their needs might be and what product you might make to meet these needs. Why not do some research and ask a range of users about products they use or would like to help you make your decision? Don’t forget that whatever product you make has to fit into the tin.

The following list are ideas of example products that might fit into the tin size given:

L IMG 2694
  • Keyring
  • Torch
  • Notebook
  • Ear phone holder
  • Fidget spinner
  • Jewellery
  • Clothing 
  • Bag
  • Toy or game
  • Hat
  • Anything else that will fit into the tin!

Take a look at the previous competition winners to see some of the entries. Don’t forget you shouldn’t just copy the ideas but instead use them to inspire you (and don’t forget the criteria for their competitions was different)

Tip: Think about the types of products everyone else will enter. How will you make your product stand out from the crowd?

Tips & advice on how to have a winning entry

Want your work to stand out from the crowd? 

  • Why not use electronics or e-textiles? 
  • Why not use unusual materials such as these recycled plastic or metal foil sweet wrappers? 
  • What about using a high tech material such as 3M reflective tape? 
  • Research products in a tin that are on sale in the shops. How might they inspire you?

  • Look at the second page of the application form when designing your product as this will help you stayfocused on some of the key criteria for the competition.
  • Use this checklist to see if your entry meets the competition criteria

More ideas for products that might fit in to the tin

These are just a few ideas and there are lots more! Don’t forget you must not just copy these ideas and should just use them for inspiration. 

Notice how these products use materials from two different categories of D&T materials - wood, plastic, metal, textiles and paper/board (although you might not be able to see all materials in the images). 

What different material categories can you see in each set of images below?


The hanging cord for the lantern in the images above might be made from textiles. What might the lantern. Itself be made out of?

What textiles fabric might the luggage tag be made out of? Where might metal be used on the tag?

The earphone case is made of textiles and has a metal component. What is it called?

The ladybird is made out of wood - what is the egg timer made out of?

How can you make your product different to everyone else?


Could you make a product that comes apart to create a flat pack?

Could you make a product that folds up to fit into the tin?

Could you make a product made up of different items?

Could you make a product for someone to wear?

Could you make a product to decorate a space?

What products can you see in the shops that might inspire you?


Are you ready to send your entry off?

Click here to get the applications form and find out how to send off your entry

Are you a teacher? Click here for more resources

Return to the 2018 competition page

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