Simple Escape Room Bomb Prop

My daughter asked for an escape room birthday party and so we devised a series of challenges and props that could be (1) interactive, (2) cool enough for kids, (3) be educational at some level, and (4) be cheap to build.

This bomb challenge cost us less than $10 to make since it was constructed with materials from around the house. It was made to look scary when they opened the case, as well as to trick them since it's triggering mechanism is trip wires and not the clock. If the players move the bomb, it goes off (light shines) or if they grab the clue sitting next to the bomb (a knife in this example) then boom (light again)!

Let's look at how to make it:

Step 1: Step 1: Materials & Tools

The design requires these parts:

  • tubes to look like TNT
  • a clock to count down
  • a light with batteries to go off if triggered
  • a trigger
  • clothespin
  • and batteries

Our materials:

  • Poster tubes
  • Red and black tape
  • A $1.50 flashlight & batteries from the Dollar store
  • Spare wire (salvaged or new) - I used spare 14 gauge which was, frankly, too thick
  • Spare video player (dying iPhone 4 in our case)
  • Small cardboard box
  • Fishing line (smaller is better at being invisible
  • Small piece of thin plastic (even just scraps from the flashlight box)
  • Packaging tape

Tools:

  • Scissors
  • Soldering iron (not required, but nice)
  • Wire cutters

Step 2: Step 2: Cut, Color, & Tape Tubes.

Simply cut the tubes to the length you want in the number you want. Cover them in red tape (or paint) and then bind them together with black electrical or other tape. Simple!

Step 3: Step 3: Lights Away!

Take the flashlight apart, take out the LED and housing. Solder wires to the inner and outer rings of the light. Thinner wire is easier to solder, even if thicker wire looks cool and gives the wire cutting kids more of a challenge. If you don't have solder, you can go tape happy and it will probably work.

Step 4: Step 4: Power

Take the batteries that came with the flashlight and put them together with wires attached to the ends. You can do this with a nice pre-made battery holder inexpensively or you can just be a cheapskate and do it all with tightly wound tape which is what I did.

Step 5: Step 5: Build Your Trigger

Take your clothespin and wrap wires around each tip. Secure these wires with tape, glue, or however you wish. All that matters is that the pins close and complete a circuit. I used wrapped electrical tape.

In the end there are three wires to the circuit.

  • One that goes from the batteries to the light.
  • One from the light to the switch.
  • One from the switch to the batteries.

Step 6: Step 6: Add Your Timer

The timer can be anything from an alarm clock to a kitchen timer. In this usage is mostly about looking cool. I used an iPhone and had it loop a countdown clock video that I found on youtube.

I took a small cardboard box and cut a hole in it for the video and just enough of the button so that I could run the video when I wanted.

I then used tape to seal the phone into it and it was good to go.

Step 7: Step 7: Test It

Take a moment to make sure it all works. When the circuit is closed, the light should shine bright letting you players know they are dead.

Step 8: Step 8: Add Tripwire

Small bits of plastic are all you need for the tripwire to work. One just has to be thick enough to keep the wires from touching. Secure a piece of plastic to the bottom of the box and connect them with fishing wire. Tuck the trigger under the bomb so it cannot be seen. If you have a second item like we did (the wooden dagger), just attach fishing wire to it and attach it to the trigger plastic as well. Now if they move either they lose.

Step 9: Step 9: Mount It All and Get Ready to Play

Just get it all in your box, include a sign to make sure they understand when they die, and hide some wirecutters nearby. Since the circuit is so simple, any wires cut will win the game.

Step 10: Upgrade Options

Easy Upgrades:

You could put the light in a box that shines BOOM! when the light goes off.

You could put alternate wires so that more investigating/cutting is required.

You could give them a "bomb X-ray" picture of the wiring to help them if needed.

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