Resources to Support the Competition

Product in a Tin competition

Return to the main competition page

This page is provides resources to support and inspire students who want to enter the competition. It also has ideas for teachers on how the competition might be used as part of the curriculum. 

Product in a tin template

Grab yourself a snack sized Pringle tin and let’s get started! You could use this template if you don’t have a tin. 

Who might the user be for the product?

The competition 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:

Users 2
  • 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?

Why not focus on a user and user needs linked to the United Nations 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development? This might help your work stand out from the crowd and it will encourage you to think differently.  Find out more about the 17 Global Goals

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

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What might the purpose/function of my product be?

The competition 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!

The images below show some past competition entries. What is the function of these products? Who might the user be? What user needs do they meet? 



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 activity cards that might help you think about the function of your product.

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What materials should I use?

The competition brief says your product must be made using materials from at least two of the main materials categories used in Design & Technology e.g. wood, metal, plastic, textiles and paper/board.

Categories of D&T materials are:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Textiles
  • Paper and board

Your product must use materials from at least 2 of the above 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.  

Materials 2

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. 

Above 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 competition entries above. How have they combined different D&T materials together?

combinging materials

Mixed materials

Tip: If some of your materials are hidden make sure you mention them on the application form so the judges don’t miss them.

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What type of product might I make?

The competition brief allows you to choose the product you want to make. Try to make your idea stand out from the crowd in some way. 

What you make is completely up to you! Think about different users and what their needs are - why not do some research and ask a range of users about products they use or would like to help you make your decision? 

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

Product in a Tin competition
  • 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)

Competition 5

Tip: Think about the types of products everyone else will enter. How will you make your product stand out from the crowd? Take a look at the above competition entries. Why do you think they stood out from other entries?

Think about how you might:

  • Use materials in an unusual way
  • Use a variety of different techniques
  • Make sections of the product interactive e.g. hidden sections, bits that light up, bits that change colour using smart materials
  • Make the shape of the product unusual
  • Use original ideas that are your own rather than copied logos
  • Don’t forget to mention anything unusual or hidden on your application form so the judges know about it

Tip: Look at winners from the previous year as entries that are very similar are unlikely to win unless they have something that makes them stand out in some way. 

Research existing products in the shops that are sold in tins or boxes to get inspiration but don’t just copy the idea, develop it and make it your own. Look at other products sold in the shops to get inspiration. How might they be adapted to fit into the size of the Pringles tin?

Products in a tin


Click on the images below to see #ThinkDo activity cards that might help you think about gifts and other products that might be sold in a tin. 

L Products in a tinJollie Goods socks copy

Tip: We get lots of toys so if you enter this type of product remember to make it stand out in some way. Make sure your application form tells the judges what makes your product different and unusual. 

Product in a tin template

Don’t forget your product has to fit into a snack sized Pringles tin. If you don’t have a tin you could use this template to create a model of one (you may need to change your printer settings to print it out the correct size).

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How can I make sure I produce a high quality product?

The competition brief says the entry must be made of a high quality. 

  • Plan your idea first
  • Practise the techniques you are using first
  • Do a quick prototype of your idea and test it and make any changes
  • Get feedback from others on your idea and try out changes they suggest
  • Make sure your product will fit inside the tin either as it is or when folded or taken apart
  • Make sure your product works before you post it e.g. do the pieces fit together, does it open and close, do the electronics work?
Product in a Tin

Tip: A high quality outcome is important but judges are also looking for creative ideas that are a little bit different. 

Photo competition checklist

Use the checklist on this page to see if your entry meets the competition criteria

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I’ve finished my product - where do I send it to? 

Go to the bottom of the main competition page to find the application form and details on where to send your competition entry. 

If you don’t want to part with your work you could send in a photo entry instead or send in your design work. This category of entries can’t win any of the main prizes but they can be chosen to feature on the website. Go to the bottom of the main competition page to find out how to submit this type of entry. 

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Small image

Every school entering the competition receives a free copy of ‘Designing for User Needs & Design Contexts’ worth £25 

How might you use the competition with your students? 

The competition can be adapted to suit the needs of different teachers and year groups. Teachers might use the competition in a number of ways:

  • A whole class module of work where students go through the design process e.g. researching users, developing ideas, prototyping and testing ideas, making and evaluating their product. Note the aim would be for all students to have a different outcome based on their own design development.
  • A  homework - many schools use the competition as a homework over several weeks.
  • An activity for gifted and talented students e.g. as an extension activity, as part of a G&T club.
  • As an after school club or enterprise/activity day
  • As an GCSE non exam assessment mock project.
  • As a revision activity for GCSE.
  • Students could enter a piece of work from a current scheme of learning not linked to the competition as long as it meets the competition criteria. 
  • Teachers could run their own internal competition with selected entries being sent off to the main competition. This means that students work will be recognised internally even if they are not a winner or runner up in the main competition. 
  • Students can also do all of the work independently and just get the teacher to sign their entry. The school still wins the main prize if the student wins even if the product was not completed in school. 
  • Note our address has changed - make sure you send your entries to our Wallasey address and not to the old Nottingham one.

Resources to get you started

Thanks to Louise Rose from Sydenham High School who produced the resources below using some of the information on the website. These might be useful for teachers to use or adapt to introduce the competition (if you adapt this resource remember to acknowledge the original creator and don’t remove any credits they have included). 



Paramedic worksheet 

Toddler & parent worksheet 

Products & user worksheet

Design ideas

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 14.22.21

Thanks to Jane Ford from King George V School in Hong Kong who has developed this PowerPoint for her students that can be downloaded via Google Docs (if you adapt this resource remember to acknowledge the original creator and don’t remove any credits they have included). 

Extend the Learning Further 

The competition is inspired by the trend for the products to be sold in a tin. Examples of this are the socks sold in a tin on the website as well as the gifts in a tin on the (although note these tins have kits in them rather than finished products). The tin is part of the product and adds to its aesthetics and overall appeal. 

Student could extend their learning by: 

  • Using the United Nations 17 Global Goals for Sustainability to help them design for user needs and design problems outside of their own experiences.
  • Researching the websites listed above to find out more about the products. 
  • Jollie have the Moto ‘Wear a Pair, Share a Pair’ with socks being given to a local homeless charity every time a pair is purchased. Students could investigate other companies that also do this, as well as considering how this might be applied to their own product design. 
  • Collecting images of products sold in tins. This could be extended to include products sold in fabric bags or other specialist packaging. 
Products in a tin
  • Product analysis activities of products sold in packaging (both the product and the 

    packaging) where the packaging has been designed to add value.

  • Reflection on the purpose of the tin and how it adds value for the consumer

  • Click on the image on the right to see a #ThinkDo activity card on the product that has inspired the competition

Students could also:

  • Although the tin is not part of students’ competition entry students could develop the packaging design for the tin as part of the project in school. 
  • Students can use the cap and ring set from Mindsetsonline to create their own can (use the template to make sure the height of the can is correct). 
  • Activities linked to maths e.g. looking at the volume of the tin and comparing this to other shapes of tin.
  • Investigating the hyperbolic paraboloid shape of the Pringles and how this shape is used in architecture. Take a look at this article as a starting point. 
  • Considering the environmental impact of the Pringles packaging, particularly as it uses a number of different materials making it hard to recycle. Take a look at this article and video as a starting point. Click on the image below to see #ThinkDo activity card that might help students consider sustainability issues related to a Pringles tin. 

Tips to teachers 

L Pringles tin
  • It might be useful to download the second page of the application form for students to use when designing their product, along with the checklist (found on the same page) as this will help them stay focused on some of the key criteria.
  • If several students from your school are entering the competition we recommend students don’t all submit identical or very similar products as this will restrict the number of potential winners a school can have.
  • Students should use the resources on the website as the starting point for their ideas - students that copy ideas or past entries are unlikely to win the competition. 
  • It is recommended teachers take their own photos of any work that is entered into the competition as the work can’t be returned. Teachers must make sure students understand that work can’t be returned. 
  • The product can be an art based item as long as it meets the criteria in the brief.
  • It is important students complete the application form correctly so that email addresses and names can easily be identified. The second page of the application form is also important as often the information on the user, product function and materials are deciding factors when choosing a winner. This information also helps the judges understand the thinking behind the product. 
  • If students don’t want to send in their actual products they can submit a photo entry or design work. Note, photo/design work entries can’t win the main prizes but images can be considered for inclusion on the website. Photos must be of a good quality and in jpeg format clearly showing the product and should include different views, including any interesting details. All competition rules and criteria still apply, including the 2 page application form being sent off with the photos. 
  • Every school entering the competition receives a free copy of ‘Designing for User Needs & Design Contexts’ worth £25. 
  • Note our address has changed - make sure you send your entries to our Wallasey address and not to the old Nottingham one.

Entries from outside the UK

The competition is open to UK mainland entrants only. Photo/design work entries outside the UK mainland are accepted - these can’t win any of the prizes but are considered for inclusion on the website. 

Return to the main competition page

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