Spider Box




About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Aerospace Engineering. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

This simple box looks just like any other box. It's made from an old pallet; however, this box contains a hidden secret that should get more than just a slight reaction from an unsuspecting passerby. Encased in this simple wooden box is a plastic spider that will surprise anyone trying to open your box.

I tried to get the reactions of a few of my friends on camera, however they were all too suspicious of me. If you get any great reactions with your spider box, please share them in the comments.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


  • Pallets
  • Plastic or Rubber Spiders
  • Dowel
  • Rod or thick wire (I used an old bicycle spoke)
  • Small nail


  • Plane
  • Saw
  • Router with 1/2" and 3/8" bits
  • 1" hole saw
  • Clamps
  • Glue

Step 2: Reclaim Wood

Using the widest boards on the pallets (mine were just over 5" wide) plane the thickness to 1/2".

Step 3: Cut to Size

Cut the boards down to the following dimensions:

  • 2 Sides - 5" x 6" x 1/2"
  • 1 Bottom - 3 1/2" x 6" x 1/2"
  • 1 Back - 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 1/2"
  • 1 Front - 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 1/2"
  • 1 Top - 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 3/8"

Step 4: Router for Joints

Using a router and two bits, cut the Rabbet joints 1/2" wide and 1/4" deep and the Dado 3/8" wide and 1/4" deep.

Step 5: Dry Fit

Dry fit everything together and make sure that it looks good to glue.

Step 6: Make Spider Mechanism

This is the part that makes the whole thing possible. Cut a dowel 3 1/2" long. I had one that was 7/8" just lying around so I used that.

Take a 1 inch hole saw and cut out a blank from one of the 2x4 pieces of the pallet. Drill out the center of the blank to fit over the 3 1/2" long dowel.

Be careful, remember that pallet wood is extremely dry and can easily break.

Glue the blank in the center of the dowel.

Step 7: Glue Together

Glue everything together. Make sure that your spider mechanism turns freely.

Step 8: Attach Spider

Drill a hole in the abdomen of the spider the size of whatever wire or rod you are using. I used an old bicycle spoke I had lying around.

Drill a hole in the center of the round spider mechanism the size of your rod.

Make a rough bend in the rod so that it fits inside the box.

Glue the spider on the rod and the rod on the mechanism.

The great thing about this is you can use whatever type of spider you like. I've even seen some boxes made with a fake small rat.

Step 9: Attach String

Pull the spider all the way out of the box and drill another hole in the mechanism. Glue a small nail in place. Tie a small string onto the nail.

Put the spider back in the box and put the lid in place (you may need to sand down the front of the box a little to allow space for the string.

Holding the string in place, open the lid slowly till it's clear of the spider. Mark the position of the string and lid and staple in place.

Step 10: Lid Pull

Open the lid and see where the spider lands. That's going the be where to locate the pull for the lid.

Step 11: Bait Your Victim

Some people are nosy enough to look into your box, others may need to be baited. The label of "Candy" may work for some people. Depending on your setting you may need to be creative in different ways to lure your victim.

Pallet Contest

Participated in the
Pallet Contest

4 People Made This Project!


  • Indoor Lighting Contest

    Indoor Lighting Contest
  • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

    Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
  • DIY Summer Camp Contest

    DIY Summer Camp Contest

41 Discussions


1 year ago

Nice istructable for making a box too! Thanks!


1 year ago

This is a great gag project.

I bet you have heard a lot of screams when people have opened the box.


1 year ago

How about adding a wire to the roller with a lead fishing sinker on its end that counter weights the spider and sucks it back into the box

spider weight.jpg
1 reply

Reply 1 year ago

You can definitely do that, however I found the weight of the wire and spider to be enough to pull it back it with no counterweight needed. You can see the GIF in the intro showing this.


3 years ago

Oh my gosh!! Someone did this to me once!!! :D


3 years ago

Is anyone selling one they made? I went online to purchase one but 30.00 is way to much for one of these


3 years ago


Dustin Rogers

3 years ago

OMG!! This is perfect. A new co-worker is terrified of spiders. Must build this soon. Great work.

I confess. I infected my beloved big sister with the geocaching bug. Earlier this month she had me help her build a wooden box that pops a ghoulish head out above the lid when the cache is opened. I guess I need to write another Instructable... This spider one is terribly ghastly!

1 reply

4 years ago on Introduction

As a 50-year former arachnophobe, I would say to choose your victim with care and be sure they don't have a weak heart and do have a good sense of humor, or you would be in trouble. Sometimes the fun and humor is all for the person making the practical joke, and none for the recipient. Not that I haven't enjoyed surprising or mildly scaring friends and family once in a while.


4 years ago on Introduction

Replacing the spider with the curved end of a spoon and putting something in it=catapulted SOMETHING to the face...


4 years ago on Introduction

Awesome. I expected it to be one of those automated 'useless' boxes. That would be the next version :)

1 reply

I have one with a furry paw that comes out... made this a few years ago :P



4 years ago

I'm imagining a geocache. *chuckles maniacally*