Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Design a Stick!

We received many innovative entries. Thank you for participating!

2017 Design-A-Stick Contest



Forest Innovations is pleased to announce the 2017 Design-A-Stick contest!

Millions of California's trees, weakened by the historic drought, have succumbed to bark beetle infestation. The most impacted tree populations are species of pine tree. Rather than waste this valuable timber, Forest Innovations is sponsoring this contest to repurpose some of this pine wood into innovative musical instruments and drum sticks.

Forest Innovations intends to manufacture the winning instrument and drum stick. Forest Innovations may or may not manufacture other designs. All submittals will become the property of Forest Innovations.



Only complete entries will be accepted and reviewed. Entries must include the following elements. To facilitate review of the entry, please include the following information, generally in the order listed.

a.  Contact Information


Street Address, City, State, Zip Code

Contact Phone #

Contact Email Address

b.  School Attended


Street Address, City, State, Zip Code

c.  Type of Instrument

Describe the type of instrument or drumstick. How did you come up with the idea? How is it used?

There are many types of music and many types of instruments. How is the proposed instrument or drumstick used in making music or music performance? Can the instrument be used without another accompaniment?

d.  Design Sketch        

Provide a sketch of the proposed instrument or drumstick. It is not necessary to have a computer-generated, realistic rendering, or prototype, but as much detail as possible will assist the reviewers.

A high-quality photo of a hand drawn sketch is acceptable.

The design sketch needs to illustrate the dimensions and general concept of how the instrument works.

e.  Manufacturing Process/Assembly

An important element of this contest is simplistic, cost-effective manufacture/assembly.

Although all complete entries will be considered, entries requiring the fewest number of tools to manufacture, the fewest additional parts, and the least assembly, will be given the greatest consideration and the highest score.

Describe how the instrument or drumstick would be made. Describe additional parts that are needed.

Provide a realistic assessment of the effort, materials and equipment to make 1 unit. Can it be made by an unskilled laborer using standard household tools?

f.   Additional Materials

There is no page limit. Include additional materials that might help the judges evaluate the entry.


Questions can be submitted until the end of the day on April 21, 2017. Email questions to

Responses to all questions will be posted at no later than April 25, 2017.

Entries are due no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Time on May 12, 2017. Entries must be emailed to prior to this deadline.

It is preferred that entries be submitted in a single file (PDF format) with the requested information in (a) through (f) above. Late entries will not be accepted.



March 11, 2017           Contest opened / rules posted

April 21, 2017              Last day to submit questions

May 12 2017               Submittals due

May 19 2017               Winners announced



Submissions deemed complete will be reviewed and evaluated by a Review Committee. The Review Committee will include a representative from Forest Innovations, a professional musician, and a music educator.

The submittals will be evaluated at scored on the following criteria.

Category                            Maximum Points

Clarity of Proposal                      20

Innovation                                  25

Simplicity to Construct               40

Durability                                   15

Total                                           100



1.    READ THESE RULES COMPLETELY. Failure to follow every rule may disqualify the entry.

2.    Eligible entrants are those attending any public or private school in the United States, enrolled in any grade K through 12.

3.    Entries cannot infringe on any copyrighted or propriety ideas of others.

4.    The proposed instrument or drumstick must primarily be made from pine wood or any byproducts of the milling process. For example, bark, sawdust, or pine needles can be used.

5.    The musical instrument or drum stick must be safe for to use in school or after school programs, under normal conditions.

6.    The musical instrument or drum stick must be durable enough to be used routinely for 6 months of normal use.

7.    There is no limit to the amount of designs an individual can submit. Also, there is no limit on the group size per submittal. Keep in mind, however, a group submittal would split the cash prize.

8.    All submittals will become the property of Forest Innovations.

9.    Entrants agree to be identified in the announcement of winners and entrants and have their entries be display on, and in other manners as deemed appropriate by Forest Innovations.

10.  Forest Innovations reserves the right to manufacture and promote all submittals.



Prizes will be awarded to the entrant for First, Second, and Third place in each category.

1st Place -        $500

2nd Place -       $250

3rd Place -        $100

The affiliated school of each 1st place winner will receive 250 units of both the winning musical instrument and the winning drumstick.