List of Topics for How-to Essays

Choosing the Right Topic Is Critical to Success

Girl writing an essay with a pencil surrounded by crumpled pieces of paper

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Your first challenge in writing a how-to essay is deciding on a topic. If you're like many students, you might feel as though you don't know anything well enough to teach others. But that's not true. All people have something that they can do so well that they don't even think about how to do it anymore—they just do it.

Choosing the Right Topic

When you read over the list below you will realize that you do know many things in depth, some well enough to teach. Typically, your inspiration will be based on lateral thinking. For example, from the list below, you may decide to write an essay on how to cook a Scottish egg after you see "Crack an egg" in the list. Or you may decide to write about how to make an Excel spreadsheet with all of your homework listed, after seeing "Organize your homework" on the list. 

Narrow your choices to a few topics, and then brainstorm for a few minutes about each topic. Determine which one has the most potential — one that can be divided into five to 10 clear paragraphs that you can explain well.

Writing Tips

Some topics are easier than others to explain. Straightforward processes versus ones with lots of contingencies will be much less complicated to write out, for instance. If you find that you've chosen a topic that's just too broad, pick one portion of it to explain. Remember, you want your reader to be able to follow your instructions to successfully complete the process.

In your drafting, err on the side of too much detail and description rather than too little. (It's easier to cut material that you don't need than to add in it later.) If you're not allowed to use images with your instructions, choosing a topic that is aided by visuals makes writing the instructional process much more challenging, so take your assignment parameters into consideration as you choose what to write about.

If you know your topic so well that it comes naturally to you, it may be tough to write instructions for a beginner who has no knowledge of the topic, because you forget how much you didn't know when you first started. Have a partner try out your instructions during the drafting or revision phase (or both) to see what you've left out or what isn't explained clearly enough.

How-to Topics for a Process Essay 

  1. Raccoon-proof your campsite
  2. Make an obstacle course for squirrels
  3. Set a table
  4. Make a pet costume
  5. Earn $100
  6. Start a band
  7. Make a piñata
  8. Make an omelet
  9. Milk a cow
  10. Start beekeeping
  11. Read palms
  12. Make a quilt
  13. Wash a car
  14. Decorate a bedroom
  15. Create a podcast
  16. Burn a CD
  17. Start a recycling program
  18. Collect stamps
  19. Clean a bedroom
  20. Make a pizza
  21. Make a volcano
  22. Organize your homework
  23. Play the guitar
  24. Make a sock puppet
  25. Make a doll dress
  26. Write a letter to the editor
  27. Write a complaint
  28. Plan a party
  29. Plant a tree
  30. Create a cartoon character
  31. Improve your spelling
  32. Bake a layer cake
  33. Change a tire
  34. Drive a stick shift
  35. Make a Christmas stocking
  36. Learn to dance
  37. Play chess
  38. Do a magic trick
  39. Go bird watching
  40. Make a music video
  41. Make a candle
  42. Make soap
  43. Paint a picture
  44. Create art with crayons
  45. Create a web page
  46. Stay safe on the Internet
  47. Write a song
  48. Write a poem
  49. Make a handbag
  50. Tie a scarf
  51. Mow the lawn
  52. Make a hamburger
  53. Make pancakes
  54. Make a pillow
  55. Play football
  56. Make a sculpture
  57. Make a lamp
  58. Make shadow puppets
  59. Make a box
  60. Care for pets
  61. Build a tree house
  62. Play tag
  63. Play hide and seek
  64. Paint fingernails
  65. Make homemade slippers
  66. Tie macramé knots
  67. Make a sandwich
  68. Make chocolate milk
  69. Make hot chocolate
  70. Climb a tree
  71. Make a milkshake
  72. Braid hair
  73. Sell old toys
  74. Ride a skateboard
  75. Eat crab legs
  76. Become a vegetarian
  77. Make a salad
  78. Design a jack-o-lantern
  79. Ride a horse
  80. Race turtles
  81. Catch lightning bugs
  82. Make a wildflower bouquet
  83. Cut paper dolls
  84. Eat an ice cream cone
  85. Change a diaper
  86. Make fruit punch
  87. Make a campaign poster
  88. Frame art
  89. Make a fake tattoo
  90. Interview a celebrity
  91. Catch a fish
  92. Make a snowman
  93. Make an igloo
  94. Make a paper fan
  95. Write a newsletter
  96. Crack an egg
  97. Make a necklace
  98. Tie a necktie
  99. Ride the subway
  100. Walk like a model
  101. Ride a motorcycle
  102. Pitch a tent
  103. Find something you've lost
  104. Curl your hair
  105. Saddle a horse
  106. Make a sandcastle
  107. Bob for apples
  108. Go hiking
  109. Apply for a job
  110. Draw stick figures
  111. Open a bank account
  112. Learn a new language
  113. Ask for a later curfew
  114. Behave at a fancy dinner
  115. Ask somebody out
  116. Pose for a picture
  117. Wake up in a good mood
  118. Send Morse code messages
  119. Make a kite
  120. Hem your jeans
  121. Pitch a fastball
  122. Be a ghost hunter
  123. Make string art
  124. Fly alone
  125. Shave
  126. Mop a floor
  127. Peel an apple
  128. String popcorn
  129. Remix a song
  130. Walk a tightrope
  131. Stand on your head
  132. Find the Big Dipper
  133. Wrap a gift
  134. Roast a marshmallow
  135. Clean a window
  136. Make a campfire
  137. Have a yard sale
  138. Create a carnival in your yard
  139. Make balloon animals
  140. Plan a surprise party
  141. Wear eye makeup
  142. Invent a secret code
  143. Recognize animal tracks
  144. Train a dog to shake hands
  145. Make a paper airplane
  146. Swat flies
  147. Pull a tooth
  148. Create playlists
  149. Play rock, paper, scissors
  150. Hula dance
  151. Floss your teeth
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Your Citation
Fleming, Grace. "List of Topics for How-to Essays." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Fleming, Grace. (2023, April 5). List of Topics for How-to Essays. Retrieved from Fleming, Grace. "List of Topics for How-to Essays." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 31, 2023).