In addition to learning the ins and outs of working for an internationally published magazine, much of my time working for MAKE has been spent exploring the back catalog of projects and formatting them for consumption on Make: Projects. I’ve uploaded upwards of 80+ projects from MAKE magazine, and I like to think I learned a few things about this site along the way.
So here’s my definitive guide to uploading projects to Make:Projects. However, because site mechanics get updated on a regular basis, please add to and update this guide as you see fit!
Step #1: Get to know the Intro page.Next
- After creating an account and signing in, click on the “Contribute” button at the top of http://makeprojects.com. The Contribute page has a range of options to collaborate and improve on other projects, but to create your own new project, click the “Create a new project” button near the top right.
- The Introduction page is where you name your project, categorize it for easy searchability, and add a catchy pitch or tell the funny story of how you came up with it.
- The first drop-down menu says whether you’re working on a “Project,” which is something new, or a “Technique,” which is modifying an existing thing.
- Next pick a primary and secondary category for your project from drop-down menus. You project will mainly be associated with the primary category, but will show up on both category pages. You can only choose from the topics listed, so if the given options don’t completely describe your project perfectly, just pick the best fit. Categories are mandatory, and the system won’t let you move on to the next page without choosing at least one.
- Now write a custom Title. It should be descriptive but short, because the title becomes part of the final project URL.
- The Summary section is the place to add a short teaser about how cool your project is and how everyone should make it, too. The Summary is primarily used for the search results page, but is not prominently displayed on the actual project page. You can have up to 255 characters, but long summaries tend to get cut off after a line or two. So make it short and sweet.
- Click the red Save button. M:P will warn you if you leave a page without saving. You'll be taken to the Step 1 page. However, find the tabs under the M:P logo and click back to the Introduction.
Step #2: Next
- The Introduction is your place to tell a story or give a little history of your project. It shouldn’t be necessary info for completing the project, but more background information. And remember, you’re essentially telling a story to strangers on the internet, so keep it interesting!
- If you want to see more of the text field, click and drag the three short lines at the bottom of the box downwards.
- The Intro field accepts limited wiki formatting, so you can highlight a section of text and make it a heading, add bold or italic text, insert bullets or numbering, and create links by clicking the buttons above the field. Doing so will insert extra characters into the text. Clicking the “Formatting help” link on the upper right leads to more detailed instructions if you want to learn more than what I list here.
- Two apostrophes on either side of the text = ’’italic’’
- Three apostrophes on either side of the text = ’’’bold’’’
- Asterisks give bullets, while pound signs give numbered lists. Typing more asterisks or pound signs increases the indent of lists (just make sure to leave a space after the asterisk/pound, otherwise the Intro field won’t recognize the formatting).
- Links are automatically created if you add http:// to a URL.
- However, in the "add a step" phase, the list functionality becomes automated as bullet points.
Step #3: Next
- The introduction is also the place to embed a video of the project. Copying this text: [video|http://yourvideoURLhere|size=large|align=center] with the brackets might be the easiest way to include your video.
- I’ve found that putting the video before any text works best, but experiment to see what you like. You can also exchange the word “large” for “small” if you don’t want the video to dominate your introduction, but then details in the video could be hard to see on smaller screens.
- When you “click to list available flags” you get another drop-down menu of options associated with the guide. In Progress will be the default flag. Starting a new guide you may want to add the “Unpublished” flag. When a project is unpublished, people can view your guide if they know the URL, but it won’t appear in search results.
- The Patrol Threshold to the right denotes who can edit your project and is based on a user's reputation number. The default threshold is a reputation of 500, meaning that users with a reputation of less than 500 won't be able to edit the project. Increase the threshold by moving the slider to the right.
- Below the Patrol slider you can add keywords for better searchability.
- Finally, hit the Save button and click on the Tools & Parts tab.
Step #4: Discover the joys of the Tools & Parts page.Next
- Enter the time it takes to complete your project and the difficulty level. You can also list prerequisite guides, if your project builds off of another.
- To list required tools or materials, click the blue “Add a tool” or “Add materials” links. As you start typing Make:Projects will give you a list of items already in the system to choose from. You can choose from the list or continue typing your own. If you don’t see your item on the dropdown list, the last option on the list lets you add it to the database.
- Click Details to reveal the Type, Quantity, and Notes fields to enter more specific information.
- Use the main field for a basic description and use the Type and Notes fields to get more specific. For example, 100-grit sandpaper from the local hardware store would be entered as “Sandpaper” in the main field, “100-grit” for Type, 1 for the Quantity (or if you leave it blank M:P will auto-fill the number 1), and “from the local hardware store” for Notes.
- The goal is to have general tool names in the dropdown list to make it easier to use and to get more specific as you go. In the future, Make:Projects can use those entries to flesh out sourcing information and pricing.
Step #5: Next
- You also have the option of entering a conclusion to your project on the Tools & Parts page. The conclusion is a great place for extra information like resource links or fun stories about your completed project. The conclusion (not surprisingly) appears after the final step of the project.
- If you have extra documents related to your project, you can upload them here. Click the “Documents” tab at the bottom of the screen to expand it, and click the upload icon. Click Choose Files in the popup window and select your file(s). Docs must be in PDF format. Shift-click to select multiple files. When they’ve finished uploading, click the blue Done button. Your documents should be in the expanded window. To add them to the project, drag the doc icon to where it says, “Drag documents here from below.” The color will change when you hit the right spot.
- Lastly, one of the options you have in the Tools & Parts tab is to bulk-import your steps in one go rather than adding each step individually. Format your steps in your favorite text program first, starting with “Step 1: This is the title of the step… etc.” and with a separate paragraph for each intended bullet point.
- Click the question mark hovering in the upper right corner of the browser for more info about the Tools & Parts tab.
Step #6: Upload your images.Next
- Before adding text to Step 1, it’s a good idea to upload your images. Each step in M:P only allows 3 corresponding images, so it’s best practice to plan your project steps around the photos you have or plan to take. There’s nothing worse than writing all your steps only to realize that you have more images than spaces to put them.
- Click on one of the 3 small image icons to open the media manager (clicking the big image icon changes whichever small icon is highlighted. Any unused images uploaded from a previous project will still appear in the manager.
- Click the Upload icon to open a new file search window or you can add JPEG image files by dragging and dropping from the desktop or open file folder. You can upload multiple files at once.
- Important: Images must be .jpg format, at least 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall, and have a 4:3 aspect ratio. Image software, like Photoshop, is very useful for resizing and converting images.
- For files not 4:3, you’ll be prompted to crop the image in the browser before the image is placed. Click and hold the corners of the highlighted area to resize the box and click in the middle to drag the highlighted box to the desired position.
- The box will keep a 4:3 aspect ratio as you resize and move it. Click Crop Image at the right of the image finalize your image.
- You can also click on the large image icon on the right side of the screen to choose the main image for your project. Photo's are treated as exclusive entities, so if you want to reuse a photo from one of the steps, you'll have to upload it again. Hit Save.
Step #7: Add text to guide steps.Next
- Once you’re ready start adding text, click where it says “Insert wisdom here” and a text field will expand. Enter the desired text and hit Enter or Return on the keyboard to move on to the next bullet. Paragraph returns don’t work within bullets, so essentially each paragraph needs to be a separate bullet.
- At the bottom of the text field the two arrows allow you to indent or unindent bullets. The plus sign adds a new bullet, while the “x” deletes the current bullet. Click “Formatting help” to link to another page with wiki formatting specifics.
- Clicking the actual bullet gives a list of options. You can change the bullet color or add different icons to the bullet point for emphasis. You can choose to make the first bullet of a step the title of the step by selecting the option “Make title,” which will make the text appear larger in view mode.
- Each step can have up to 8 bullets of 350 characters each. The title bullet (if you use one) counts toward this total.
- Click the hovering question mark in the upper right of the browser for more info about adding steps. Click the green Save button to save your progress.
Step #8: Add new steps.
- After saving, you can delete a step by clicking Delete Step above the bullets. To add a new step, click Insert Step above the bullets or the green +Add Step under the project main image.
- Clicking Insert Step will always add a new step immediately following the current step, while +Add Step will always add a new step to the end of the project.
- The step icons under the main image are also useful in quickly moving to previous steps. Rearrange steps by grabbing and moving them to the desired place.
- Rinse and repeat to build your project guide.
- At any time you can click View above the project main image to view the project as it looks to Make:Projects viewers. Use the view mode to look for errors or inconsistencies.
- Congratulations! You just entered a project into Make:Projects!