The Fun, Surprising, Exploding Gift Box

Introduction: The Fun, Surprising, Exploding Gift Box

About: I have had a few careers so far, soldier, school teacher, arborist, millwright. I love change and I love learning.

This will probably not be so fun or amazing if you give it to your grandmother and she has a heart attack, but other than that you will be a Christmas hero.  Really easy and relatively quick to build and cost $3 at the dollar store plus some stuff I had lying around the house.  Also can be used for birthdays and other occasions.

As usual I've embeded the video from my podcast here.  I also have embeded video of my son opening the box on christmas morning.

don't forget to check out my other instructables and other episodes of my podcast.

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Step 1: Materials

You will need 2 mouse traps for this, I got a package of 4 for $1
A box that will fit the two mousetraps on the bottom. $1
Some mini bows, christmas confetti or anything light and christmasy that won't take an eye out. $2
Some thin strong thread
a small scrap of steel used as a weight
scissors and/or exacto knife
glue - i used a hot glue gun

not shown in picture-
Some scrap cardboard from your recycling bin
tape - i used some clear and some duct tape
a bit of wrapping paper

Step 2: Assembly of Box

The first thing I did was hot glue the mouse traps to the piece of steel.  It is easier to tie the thread on while they are fixed but not in the box. 

Take careful note of how the mouse traps are oriented. 

You want the trips to be pulled inwards.  You also want the trap parts of the mouse traps to be opposite to lift the false floor as evenly as possible.  I tried to tie the thread loose enough that it would not affect the swing of the trap but tight enough that if only one trap was sprung, the string would pull the other one as the trip flew out of the way.  Glue the plate of steel into the bottom of the box.

I would suggest doing it with the traps not set (this is so no one writes me later telling me they got hurt)  The traps should not be armed until 5 minutes before you give the gift.

Drill a tiny hole in the box in the location shown and feed some thread through and tie it to the thread going between the trips.  You can see I tied a loop so it would pull both sides evenly.

Step 3: Assembly of False Floor

I just used a cereal box from the recycling bin.  I measured the inside of the box and drew a square a little smaller (you want a loose fit)  but before I cut it out I drew in a skirt that would fold down 1 inch or so to elevate the floor above the traps.  I cut it out, taped the sides together and added some christmas wrapping paper to disguise it.  The gift needs to be light so I taped a gift card onto it.

Lastly I cut an opening in the skirt for the thread to pass through.

Step 4: Arming

Now the traps are surprisingly stable once armed and will take a bit of jostling around but I would suggest arming it only a few minutes before giving it away to be safe.

One trick that helps me is to use a pencil eraser to help hold the trap down.  This way when you are working on it you only have to put one hand in the box and when you release the trap and you hope it is set right, your hands are out of the way.

Then carefully lower the false floor and gift over top of the traps.  Fill the remaining box with christmas confetti and place the lid on gently tucking any extra string into the top of the box.

Step 5: The Money Shot

Try to remain calm and keep a straight face as you hand that special someone the gift.

We have video of this being used on my son on our facebook page

The other half of the video is from instructables user Behnt, his Grinch tree 'ible is here

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    6 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

     Really good idea! But it's totally safe?

    dave spencer
    dave spencer

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Everything in it is so light it could not do any damage.  I also set it off on myself at chest height.  Normally people open it on their laps.  I will try to get the video up soon of my 7 year old son opening it on Christmas morning.  I obviously would not put him in harms way.


    10 years ago on Introduction

     even better, attach the string to the gift card, so when they take it out of the box it activates the mousetraps!

    dave spencer
    dave spencer

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I would be worried that the traps might hit their fingers even through the false floor.  You would not want to take a chance of this hurting someone.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is kind of like my surprise rumbling box. This is pretty awesome,though.