Minecraft Exploding TNT Prank Bank (Wood Printer Image Transfer)




This Minecraft TNT bank "explodes" when you put money in it. This is a fun project that can easily be completed in a few hours with very basic tools and supplies.

Step 1: Cutting Out the Wooden Box

I used 1/4" MDF for my project, but that is because I had it laying around from another project. I would suggest going and getting some 1/4" plywood if you can, the box will be sturdier and will hold up much better to repeated use. My box is still doing great, so MDF will work if you prefer, I just don't know how long it will last (MDF is basically just a step up from cardboard after all). You will need the following items:

  • 1/4" Sheet of Wood (Plywood that is light in color for the image transfer)
  • Saw (I used a hand saw, but it would be much easier with a jig saw, band saw, scroll saw, etc...)
  • Drill (I used a hand drill, but a drill press would have been better)
  • File (could use sandpaper if you don't have a file)
  • Sandpaper (for touchups and smoothing)

The box is really simple, it uses 2 pieces of 5" square wood for the top and the bottom, and the 4 sides are all 4.5" square. This could obviously be scaled up or down depending on how large or small you wanted the final bank, but I felt this was a good size.

To make it easy, I made templates of the squares in illustrator, and then printed them off on card stock. Then I cut them out with scissors, and just traced the squares onto my wood to cut them out. I was doing this with my 8 year old son, so I used a hand saw with him (taking turns on the cuts). I traced the templates on the edges of the wood so I would only have to make 2 cuts for each square. This wasted a lot of wood, but I had these MDF sheets left over from another project and they were just going to get tossed anyway, but if I used nicer wood I would have laid it out differently (utilized more area of the board).

I just cut the pieces a little proud of the line, and then sanded them down to the line with my son using 80 grit sandpaper. This was probably the most time consuming part of the project, if you have electric saws and sanders, it will go MUCH quicker, but still it didn't take that long (maybe an hour tops for this part with basic hand tools).

Step 2: Transferring the Images to Your Wood Pieces

You will need:

  • Avery Labels (any kind)
  • Inkjet Color Printer
  • Clear Coat Spray
  • Sharpie (optional)

To transfer the minecraft TNT images to the wood, I used avery label sheets and a color inkjet printer. It doesn't matter what sheets you use (find the cheapest pack, you'll only need 3 sheets). The basic idea is that you'll peel all of the stickers off the sheet leaving that waxy coated sheet that normally gets thrown away. That is the sheet we want for this project. Place that sheet in your printer oriented so that the waxy surface will be printed on, and then get your files ready to print.

I have included 2 templates (Sides.pdf and Top.pdf). You'll need to print 1 of the Top.pdf, and 2 of the Sides.pdf. I have mirrored the Sides.pdf so that the TNT will transfer correctly onto the wood. Since your printer does not print white, those areas of the printed image will just be the color of your wood (that is why we want to pick a fairly light colored wood for this project).

When printing it off, make sure your print settings are set for "Actual Size", we don't want the computer scaling the image for printing at all otherwise it won't fit your wood pieces. I have made the images a little over sized so that you don't have to be super precise when laying the wood onto the image, close enough counts here.

Once you print your image, the waxy sheet will come out and it will look pretty faded, don't worry, there is lots of ink on the page, it will look darker when transferred to your wood. Also, depending on how you set your printer, less or more ink will be on that sheet (I used an economy mode, so my blacks especially came out looking very spotty, but for this project I was ok with that and then I just cleaned it up with a sharpie, but if you want a super nice printed picture with crisp lines, just set your printer color settings to maximum and you won't have to do any sharpie clean up).

Lay your waxy sheet on your work surface, and then lay your wood on top of the image without moving/sliding the wood. Press it firmly into the image, and rub it all over to ensure an even transfer. Pick it up (straight up without sliding it on the waxy paper) and the ink has transferred and it should dry almost instantly on the wood.

After you have all of the pieces, it's a good idea to hit them all with a coat of clear varnish to protect and also to help the ink look more vibrant. I just picked up some cheap clear spray coat, and hit it with a few shots. It dries pretty quickly and is easy to apply.

NOTE: If you do not want to transfer the image this way, you could easily print the image on the label papers and stick it to the wood like large stickers. That would work fine, BUT you would need to flip the images back over so that the TNT was going the correct way.

Step 3: Magnetic Assembly

We want the bank to be easy to quickly assemble after it "explodes", but it can't be too strong otherwise it won't "explode". The solution I used was craft magnetic tape. I found a bit roll of it at our local hobby store for about $3 (http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/1/2-flexible-m...). It is 1/2" thick, has a magnet strength rating of 3 (not too strong, but strong enough to hold together for assembly) and was easy to cut to length and width with my exacto knife.

To start, I cut a length of the magnet fairly close to the correct size by placing a wood piece on magnet to measure how long to cut it. Once I had that piece, I needed to cut it in half so that I would have 2 1/4" strips (roughly). I used a metal ruler and my cutting mat also had measurements on it, and I cut it right down the middle. I wasn't worried about being too exact, if one piece came out a little thicker than the other, it will still work (just use the skinny piece on the edge, and the thicker piece on the back). You don't have to even bother with the measurements if you don't want, eye balling it would probably get it close enough.

Once I had the magnetic strips cut out, I just superglued them to the wood pieces (the magnet has sticky backing, but it isn't strong enough, so super glue will hold it in place much better). The pattern is important, every side piece has to have the magnets applied the exact same (one strip on an edge piece, and one on the opposite side/back). Make sure you are orienting the pieces so that the TNT is going the correct way and just lay them all out the exact same, and then they will butt up against each other nicely to sit on the base.

Only the side pieces get the magnet strips, the base and the top just sit there using gravity to hold them in place. We don't want this too solid, it needs to be able to easily fly apart. So with the magnets in place, each side piece will have it's edge magnet connect to another side pieces side/back magnet until it makes a cube shape (without the top and bottom of course). It's harder to explain with words than it is to see in the pictures, make sure and look how I have it in the pictures and it will be much clearer.

Step 4: Mousetrap

You will need:

  • Cheap standard mouetrap.
  • Superglue

Once I had the magnets on the side pieces, I assembled them and placed them on the base of the bank. Then I place the mousetrap in and tried to eyeball it to be fairly centered. Then I removed the walls, and marked the placement of the mousetrap with a pencil (just traced around it so I would know where to put it back after applying glue).

Then I just put some super glue on the back of the trap, and laid it back down on the base of the bank. I held it firmly down for a few minutes to let the superglue set up. You could just other kinds of glues if you wish, superglue is just cheap and easy and plenty strong for this project.

Step 5: Coin Slot

You will need:

  • Drill (with drill bit as thick as your file)
  • File (you could just use sandpaper if you don't have a file)
  • Quarter (or other large coin to test the size)

Once I had the mousetrap in place, I put the bank all back together and then eye balled where the coin slot had to go to ensure that a coin dropped into the bank would hit the mouse trap activator (to set off the trap). I just made a mark with a pencil on the top (making sure to measure a few times to make sure the coin would hit the right spot). Then I drilled along the mark with my drill.

I chose a drill bit that was about the same size as my flat file. That way I could clean up the slot after with my file and it would smooth everything out. So I filed it, and then tested to make sure that a quarter would fit into the slot. Once I was happy with the size and smoothness, I set it up in the box (with the mousetrap set) and tested it out to make sure that the coin hit the mark. It worked great! This works with other coins than quarters, I just wanted to test it with the largest coin that would fit in the slot.

Step 6: Nails

You will need:

  • Finishing Nail (something with a small head and at least 2" is best)
  • Hot Glue (optional, I used it to strengthen the back of the nail in the MDF, but if you used plywood you probably won't need it)
  • Dremel Tool (optional, I used this to round off the nails so that it would be a little safer for my kids to use this. You don't have to do this, and you obviously don't need a dremel to do this, lots of ways to blunt a nail, but it's a nice thing to do especially since these panels can go flying when it "explodes")

I picked side panels and then marked one "Front" and one "Side". I set it up so that the walls were on the base, and then I made a mark with a pencil where I knew a nail would stick through and get caught by the snapping arm of the mouse trap. I tried to place the nail in a fairly inconspicuous place (in the red area where it wouldn't be super noticeable). Then I hammered it straight through, using another nail to place on the head and bury the head flush into the wood.

I used some hot glue to build up the back of the nail as I was worried the force of the snapping mouse trap would rip the nail out of the MDF (it's pretty weak wood). Stronger wood like plywood probably wouldn't need anything like this, but I did it just as a precaution (and it's held up to repeated use so far with my MDF).

Once I had the pieces nailed in, I used my rotary tool to round off the nail ends so that they wouldn't be so sharp when my kids were playing with this.

Step 7: Finished! Ready for a Test Run!

To use the bank, arm the mousetrap, and then assemble the sides and place it on the mouse trap base (I found that assembling the sides off of the base and then moving it to the base works better, otherwise it's easy to accidentally set off the mousetrap from bumping the base when putting the sides together). Make sure to place the 2 nails on the side and front where the arm of the mouse trap will grab them. Then place the lid with the coin slot on the back where the mousetrap activator is. Now you just have to find someone to put some money in the bank :)

Here is the video again of it working in case you missed it before:

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    10 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    You should definitely make it, it was fun to make and it's fun to trick people with it. It went together super quick, I almost made it out of foam core board instead of wood, but I don't think it would hold up for repeat "explosions", so I used some scrap wood I had laying around instead. I still kind of want to try it with some foam core board though and just see how it does.

    If you make it, please post pics of your finished project so we can see how awseome it turns out!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, they do love it. It was fun to make it with them, and they love to show people and explain the parts they helped with. It was an easy quick project with a great payoff.