My little Kindergartener came home last week with an assignment to build a leprechaun trap out of things we had around the house. The assignment told us to be creative and suggested using materials such as toilet paper tubes, tissue paper, and shoe boxes.. and that was about it. That lead to a fun conversation with my daughter about how to catch a leprechaun, and what we might use as bait. She said we could maybe use a mouse trap. I asked "with cheese?" she replied "No, that's for mice". I was about to suggest potatoes or salt pork for bait (real Leprechauns don't eat corned beef...duh), but instead explained that we didn't want to hurt the leprechaun. We decided against a dropping cage like the Mousetrap board game and settled on a pot of gold design with a trap door. After all, we all know how leprechauns love their gold.
Step 1: Materials
Plastic Pot or other container
Scissors and/or hobby knife
Thin non-corrugated cardboard (cereal box?)
Gold Spray paint
Tape Measure or Ruler
You probably already have most of these things. I only had to buy the plastic pot, so my total cost for this is about $4.00. I found it at one of those party stores. I already had the plastic coins but the party stores carry those as well. You can buy coins that are already gold but I still recommend getting the spray paint. It will hide any glue or exposed cardboard.. more on that later.
Step 2: Mark, Measure, and Cut
Start off by measuring the pot or whatever container you're using. In my case it was about 7 1/2 inches wide, so I grabbed my compass and marked a circle on my cardboard slightly smaller than that so the coins would cover up the edges. I cut out the circle with the scissors and marked another circle inside of it for the trap door. I cut the inner circle using the hobby knife and trimmed it with the scissors so it would have room to open easily. Cut out a tab to use as the magnetic latch for the trap door and add two small pieces of the magnetic tape (about and inch) as shown, one on the tab and the other on the outer cardboard ring. I added a small piece of duct tape for the hinge, although I found it easier to glue on all my coins on the cardboard when the pieces ere separated, so removed it and replaced it later.
Step 3: Glue It Up
Get your glue and start covering your cardboard with coins. On the outer ring, make sure the coins overlap both the inner and outer edges. This will hide the outer edge of the cardboard and help hide the trap door so it will look like a solid pile of coins. After it's all dried, place the trap door inside the outer ring and add more coins as needed to hide any gaps.
Step 4: Paint
Take your trap door and re-attach the duct tape hinge, tab, and magnets. Make sure the hinge works and that the magnets are large enough to hold the weight of the trap door when closed. It should fling open with only a tiny amount of downward pressure. Paint with a coat or two of gold spray paint. I also painted a few extra coins to be used later as decoration around the trap, or to touch up the trap door in case I found any gaps or exposed cardboard.
Step 5: Final Touches
I cut a few strips of cardboard and made a ladder and a sign, which my daughter decorated to help lure any unsuspecting leprechauns. I drew up some St. Patrick's Day printables to help with the decorating. I hope you catch a Leprechaun!