Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! Framed Leprechaun Trap

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Project by mbfunke posted 03-17-2013 01:41 AM 10597 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Several years ago my son Quinn was assigned to make a leprechaun trap for his pre-k class. The idea is that the kids get some crafting time with parents and learn a little bit about cause and effect. The problem is my family is very Irish and I am a woodworker. :)

So when I sat down with Quinn to talk about his leprechaun trap we looked around the shop (garage) to see what was already built that we could use. I had been working on a “wall safe” using a shadow box with a hinged frame to act as a door and a lock mechanism from Since that project was moving slowly we repurposed the hinged frame and shadow box.

Quinn’s main concern was that we have a rainbow and that the leprechaun be comfortable once we caught him. To accomplish the rainbow we painted some thin-ish wood strips and then glued them up into a bent lamination (my first). The we decided on a dollhouse style apartment.

The apartment is furnished with a small dresser and a sofa positioned so that the leprechaun will land on something soft when he falls. We also included two stamps as decoration, one of a sailboat and one of a gnome from my mother-in-law’s home country Latvia. The apartment was then covered with plexiglass.

The trap mechanism is based on the idea that the leprechaun will try to steal a piece of gold. We carved a “pot of gold” (my first carving) from some firewood and drilled a hole through the bottom of the pot. Then attached a piece of string to one piece of gold. When the leprechaun pulls that piece of gold out he also pulls the string and in doing so releases the trap door in the floor. Keeping the hinged trap door closed while the leprechaun stands on it involves a see-saw like mechanism with a spring on one side. The string runs from the pot of gold, under the apartment floor and up to the back of the see-saw mechanism. So when the little fella pulls the gold the trap door opens and as he falls he lets go and the door closes again.

After we had the mechanism complete we realized that the trap was visible and that the leprechaun might have a hard time getting up to the gold. So, we added a ladder to improve access and several signs. The signs are dual purpose, they both hide the trap and encourage devious leprechauns to steal Quinn’s gold (apparently leprechauns like to disobey signs.)

At the last minute we realized that the keyhole hangers on the back would not work at school. In order to allow the trap to sit on a table we cut some large bouncey balls in half and used them as feet.

The trap was a huge hit with both the kids and other parents, but the wily leprechauns got away.

-- Mike Funke

6 comments so far

View JayT's profile


6431 posts in 3453 days

#1 posted 03-17-2013 01:57 AM

Absolutely too cute. What a great way to spend time with your son.

Kudos to the school for encouraging kids and parents to spend time together and major props to you for embracing it so well.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View indgreg's profile


302 posts in 3156 days

#2 posted 03-17-2013 02:22 AM

i agree very cool bet they loved it

-- greg indiana

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3650 days

#3 posted 03-18-2013 01:51 PM

A great project and a lot of ingenuity went into this. It is WAY cool!!!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Time2beupinAZ's profile


453 posts in 4204 days

#4 posted 03-18-2013 07:45 PM

That is way cool and what a great project.

-- Tim - I usally measure twice after I cut......then I know for sure that I cut it short.....

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3418 days

#5 posted 03-20-2013 01:46 PM

Very creative and fun project! It’s great that the family is spending quality time for a school project.

View Steve Ray's profile

Steve Ray

7 posts in 4449 days

#6 posted 01-05-2014 05:10 AM

this has to be the cutest project i’ve seen here on lumberjocks!!!

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