Product in a Tin Competition (deadline 1/8/21)

Return to the main competition page

Our address has changed! Make sure you send entries to our Wallasey address and not the old Nottingham one.


See the 2019 competition winners 

Dividing line

Our 2021 competition

We received lots of entries to the 2020 competition but the challenges of the pandemic meant many entries didn’t have the appropriate paperwork. Teachers and students had clearly worked so hard that we decided to carry all entries from 2020 over to the 2021 competition to give us time to get the paperwork sorted. To take into account the potential for continued disruption in schools we will be continuing to accept design only entries as part of a new category alongside the usual finished product the competition normally focuses on. More details on this are below.

Dividing line

The inspiration for the competition

  • The image below shows an example of a real product in the shops that has inspired the competition. Visit to find out more about the product. 
Jollie Socks

Dividing line

The competition brief: What do I have to do? 

  • Create a ‘Product in a Tin’ using materials from at least two of the materials categories used in Design & Technology e.g. wood, metal, plastic, textiles and paper/board. 

Product in a Tin competition
  • The product MUST use at least two different D&T materials e.g. wood and metal might be combined, or wood and plastic, textiles and wood, plastic and textiles, paper and textiles or any other combination. 
  • Materials can be in the form of a ready made/bought component or the material can be shaped and formed by the student (although judges are more likely to be impressed where students have shaped and formed materials themselves). 
  • The product has to fit in to a Pringles 40g snack size tin. Scroll down to find out more about the tin including sizes. The tin acts as a size restriction for the product and doesn’t need to be included in the design (unless the student chooses to do this).
  • The product can be smaller than the tin but must be able to fit in the tin with the lid closed. It can be rolled, folded or taken apart to fit in the tin (but remember it must be a made product and not a materials & components kit such as a first aid kit).
  • Any product can be entered but it must be designed for a particular user and have a purpose/function. Information on the typical user is & what the product function/purpose will be included on the application form).
  • The product can be made using hand or machine techniques (products that only use glue are unlikely to be successful unless this is appropriate for the materials used). 
  • Think about how entries will stand out e.g. how can it solve a real design problem? Can the focus be on a design problem not close to the student’s own experience e.g. linked to the United Nations 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development?
  • There are two types of entries you can submit, either an actual made product or a design only / photo entry. There’s more information on these categories below.

the-global-goals-grid-colorClick here to get resources to support your competition entry

Dividing line

Entry category 1: Create an actual product that you post to the judges

  • This is the main entry category and this is where the big prizes are awarded. 
  • Entrants must produce and submit an actual product (no design work is required). Unfortunately products can’t be returned. 
  • Closing date for entries is 1st August 2021.
  • Entries must be of a high quality with well executed techniques & a finished piece of work that looks attractive. In particular, the product should look good from all angles and be fit for the purpose and user it was designed for.
  • Remember the tin only acts as a size restriction so it doesn’t have to be included in the design unless you choose to do this. 
  • Make sure when you post entries that your product is well packaged e.g. in a padded envelope. Don’t forget the application form which tells the judges about the product (it’s often information on this form that is the deciding factor when choosing a winner).

Photo competition checklist

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

Category 2: Enter design work only or just a photo of your finished product

  • We understand not everyone wants to part with their products so this category of the competition is for photos of a finished product. Photos of products should be good quality images emailed as jpeg files, clearly showing different views of the product. 
  • Design work can also be submitted into this section. A finished product doesn’t need to be made and photographed but design drawings and information should be detailed. Design work can be sent through the post or good quality jpeg copies can be emailed. 
  • Note entries for this category can’t win a main prize but can be selected to be showcased on the website. If an entry is particularly impressive the judges may decide to award additional small prizes. 
  • All competition rules and criteria still apply, including the 2 page application form being sent off with the photos/design work. 
  • Closing date for entries is 1st August 2021.

Dividing line

I have to use 2 different categories of D&T materials. What does that mean?

Categories of D&T materials are:

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

The product must include a material from at least 2 of these categories e.g. wood and metal, paper and plastic, textiles and metal. Any combination of 2 materials can be used as long each one is from a different category. Any amount of each material is used and one can be used much more than the other. 


Materials can be bought as ready made components or parts or can be cut and shaped  (the judges might be more impressed with the last one!). 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. 


The example products above show different materials categories used together in products. 

  • The ear rings are made of plastic bags that have been stitched with thread and attached to other polymer layers using heat. They also have beads made of paper and all the parts are held together using metal. The student made all of these parts except for the ear ring clasps which were purchase. 
  • The phone holder is made from wood laser cut by the student and embellished with textiles braid and a polymer button which the student bought ready made. 
  • The hamster bed uses textiles materials and hangs from metal carabiner clips which the student bought. 
  • The keyring is crochet and decorated with wooden beads. The metal keyring and the beads were bought by the student. 
  • Click here to get resources to support your competition entry

Dividing line

The tin!

  • The product has to fit in to a tubular tin that is the same size as a 40g Pringles snack tin or a 60g Nescafe Azera coffee tin. The Pringles can be bought from smaller supermarkets, petrol stations etc. and the coffee tin from larger supermarkets.
  • A tin doesn’t need to be bought and the dimensions are in the diagram below to help create a mock up to check the product is the right size.  
Product in a Tin
  • The purpose of the tin is give a restriction on the size of the product. This allows for choice on what can be designed but it keeps the product small enough to post cheaply. 
  • Don’t forget to clean the tin when testing to see if the product will fit!
  • The product can be smaller than the tin but must be able to fit in the tin with the lid closed. It can be rolled, folded or taken apart to fit in to the tin (but remember it must be a finished product and not a materials & components kit such as a first aid kit).
  • 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). 
  • DON’T post the product in the tin unless it is easily crushable. Non crushable products should be carefully packaged up in a padded envelope as this will be cheaper for posting.
  • Although the tin is not part of the competition entry students could choose to develop the packaging as an additional design activity if they wish. Students can also choose to use the tin as part of the product they design. 

Product in a tin template

Click here to download a sheet that gives you the dimensions of the tin (you may need to change your printer settings to print it out accurately)

Dividing line

Can entries be sent from outside the UK?

The competition is open to UK mainland entrants only. Entries outside the UK mainland  can be submitted for the photo/design work category. 

Dividing line

Where can I get help, ideas and inspiration?

Jollie Goods socks copy

Are you a student stuck for ideas & need some inspiration? Not sure how to use different materials together? Not sure what the terms ‘user’ and ‘function/purpose’ in the brief means? 

Are you a teacher looking for ideas on how to use the competition?

Click here to get resources to support your competition entry

Dividing line

What are the prizes?

The winning student wins prizes for themselves, plus amazing prizes for their school. This prize is only open to entries where an actual product has been made and not to photo or design work entries. 

Screenshot 2019-09-30 at 17.23.08
Screenshot 2019-09-30 at 17.14.25

HUGE thanks to Mindsets, Husqvarna Viking and Coles Sewing Centre who sponsor the prizes for the competition.  Find out more about the prizes. 

Other prizes

The competition aims to encourage students to enter the competition and therefore there are lots of prizes to be won! These prizes are only open to entries where an actual product has been made and not to photo or design work entries. 

Screenshot 2018-10-17 at 17.24.30

The #InspiredBy prize category acknowledges entries that just missed out on the top prizes, but which really stood out to the judges in some way. The Merit category is for entries that made the judges felt would be a great addition to the display of products that are showcased on our teacher events. Photo entries can’t win a prize but a selection will be included on the website. 

Screenshot 2019-09-08 at 13.30.08

Although there is no specific prize for photo/design work entries any entries that are of a particularly high standard can be awarded a small prize at the judges discretion. 

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

Prizes may be substituted or changed at any time. The winner’s prizes are delivered to the school by us with a small prize giving ceremony. All other prizes are sent to school for distribution.

Dividing line

Who can enter?

  • Any mainland UK school or college student in year 5 -11 (age 9 -16) (only photo/design work entries can be accepted from schools outside the UK mainland).
  • Individual students can enter the competition independently and the entry doesn’t need to have been made in school. Anyone submitting an independent entry should note that the main prize goes to the school. 
  • Students can submit as many entries as they wish.
  • All application form must be signed by a D&T teacher (or a teacher who knows the student) in order to confirm the age of the student and that it is their work. This includes independent entries to the competition. 
  • Teachers could do this competition as a class project and submit a number of entries from a class. The competition could be run internally with prizes being given and the best work being submitted to the competition. This will reduce postage costs and also means that students will have the chance to have their work rewarded even if they don’t win anything in the main competition. 

Dividing line

Is this competition the same as last year?

The competition is the same as the one that has run for several years with a few small changes. The 2020 competition deadline had to be extended because of Covid-19 and all entries from 2020 will automatically be entered into the 2021 competition.


Dividing line

Can students from any material area enter?

Yes! The competition started out as a textiles competition a few years ago but it’s now open to all D&T material areas to reflect the broader materials approach to D&T. The judges are looking for two D&T categories of materials being combined together in a product and it doesn’t matter what these materials are or how much of each material is used. Materials can also be used in a form that has been purchased (e.g. a metal component) or they can be cut and shaped by the student.

Mixed materials


Dividing line

Does the work have to be done in school?

No. The work can be done at home, in school or a combination of both. Independent entries can be submitted but these must be signed off by a D&T teacher (or a teacher who knows the student) to confirm the student’s age. It should be noted that the main prize goes to the school and not the student even in the case of independent entries. 

Dividing line


When is the closing date?

Monday 1st August 2021

Entries can be sent at any time during the year.

The 2020 competition deadline had to be extended because of Covid-19 and all entries from 2020 will automatically be entered into the 2021 competition.

Dividing line

Will I get my work back?

Unfortunately work can’t be returned because of the large number of entries received. Entries are kept and displayed at various events we run across the country for teachers. Below are some of the displays the products have been used for in the past. 

competition display 2

Don’t want to part with your product? Why not send a photo entry? 

Dividing line

Who do I contact if I have questions about the competition?

Email if you have any queries about the competition. Don’t forget to read information on this page first as the answers to your question might be here.

Dividing line

The application form & getting your entry ready to post

  • Each entry must be accompanied by an application form including photo/design work entries. Note this is 2 pages long & includes information on who the user is for the product, along with the product function and some information about the materials.  This helps the judges understand the product better. 
  • Think carefully about what is written about the user, product function and materials on the application form. Don’t just state the obvious - explain thoughts in detail and justify decisions. These explanations help the judges understand the product and can make a big difference to who is chosen as a winner.
  • Entries MUST be submitted with the application form attached securely particularly where several students entries are submitted e.g. the form and product placed in separate envelopes or plastic wallets, the form attached to the product with a safety pin. DO NOT use paper clips or ordinary pins to hold the the application form in place. 
  • Make sure you read the ‘Terms & Conditions’ before posting entries. 
  • Note our address has changed - make sure you send your entries to our Wallasey address and not to the old Nottingham one.

Dividing line

Where do I send my finished entry to? 

  • Post finished products along with a completed application form to: Julie Boyd, 60 Sudworth Road, Wallasey, CH45 5BX (please address the parcel to Julie Boyd rather than Boyd Education). Note our address has changed - make sure you send your entries to our Wallasey address and not to the old Nottingham one.
  • Photo entries and design work entries can be emailed to as high quality jpegs.


  • Application forms must be attached to each entry.
  • Both pages of the application form must be completed.
  • The tin doesn’t need to be posted unless it is part of the product. 
  • Entrants are responsible for delivering their work & receipt of entries can’t be acknowledged. If proof of receipt is required it is advised entries are sent by Royal Mail ‘Signed For’ or ‘Special Delivery Guaranteed’ 
  • Make sure packages that are posted are well wrappedAn ordinary envelope is usually not sufficient and many of these type of entries arrive ripped with the products damaged. Padded envelopes work best. Wrapping packages with lots of tape also helps make them stronger.

Click here to download application forms & other important paperwork

Dividing line

Click here to get resources to support your competition entry

Competition ends on 1/8/21 (entries received for the 2020 competition will be entered into the 2021 competition - see the Covid-19 statement)

Want to contact us

© Boyd Education  2012   text, images & ideas on this website are the copyright of Julie Boyd & may not be copied or reproduced without permission.. All rights Reserved.