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How to make a leprechaun trap for St. Patrick’s Day

How to make a leprechaun trap for St. Patrick’s Day
Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 11, 2024

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Have you heard of a leprechaun trap? This cute craft idea helps young children get into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.

The idea behind these “traps” is based in Irish folklore. If you capture one of these tricky, elusive, imaginary characters, it is supposed to lead you to its treasure in return for its freedom. Of course, chances are not good that you’ll actually catch one. In fact, those superintending this craft sometimes stage an escape scene to indicate that the leprechaun was tempted by the bait, but got away in the end.

A few years ago, my daughter’s preschool class made leprechaun traps on St. Patrick’s Day. The kids went to recess and came back to find a leprechaun had escaped their traps and left quite a mess! Little green footprints were everywhere, including on the toilet. Chairs were tipped and various other things were askew. The sight of all this left them … crying! This certainly wasn’t the teachers’ intent, and all children were eventually soothed with chocolate.

But I thought about that story as my two kids and I recently read “How to Catch a Leprechaun” by Adam Wallace. So we decided to try another trap.

DIY leprechaun trap

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If you love DIYing it, you can easily make your own leprechaun trap. Most use items you have around the house and a few easy-to-find additions.


  • Shoeboxes or other cardboard boxes for capturing the leprechaun.
  • Green paper or paint to cover the box so it “blends in”
  • Other decorations like stickers and glitter to embellish the box
  • Pennies, fake gold coins and other shiny gold items to drawn in the leprechaun
  • Popsicle sticks or natural sticks to make a ladder for the little guy to climb
  • Glue gun or glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Optional fun items include a mini pot of gold or cauldron


Cut a hole in the box or find a way to prop it up so the leprechaun has a way in. Decorate and embellish your box and then add shiny items that would get him to come near.

Attach gold coins to the top of the box, and make a trail to lure him in! If you don’t have gold coins, you can paint pennies gold or leave their copper hue as an attraction. Maybe throw some Lucky Charms cereal pieces around for good measure. Make a sign for “free gold” to further sweeten the deal.

To capture the leprechaun, you could create a trap with a false floor, or use STEM principles to create a lever that moves when the leprechaun falls for the bait, bringing a cup or box down on top of the slippery little creature. You could even use Legos, if your child loves playing with them.

You may also want to purchase some candy or other small treats, which the leprechaun can leave behind when it escapes.

MORE: This easy green pistachio cake for St. Patrick’s Day starts with a boxed cake mix

diy leprechaun trap with false floor

There are a number of traps you can buy as well, if you prefer to simplify things. I found a highly-rated kit on Amazon (and some chocolate four-leaf clover coins to be left behind by the leprechaun as a consolation prize).

Two kids making a leprechaun trap

$22.99 at Amazon

My daughter and I assembled our leprechaun trap kit together. It included plastic gold coins, stickers, double-sided tape, a glossy green cardboard box, a cardboard ladder, a rainbow “on-ramp” and backdrop, and a brief photo instruction sheet.

Girl with materials to build a leprechaun trap
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

It was a quick project. We folded together the cardboard box, which had slits in it for the trap door. We used the tape to secure the rainbow and pot of gold backdrop, then added the ladder. Then my daughter stuck on the clover and rainbow stickers and arranged the gold coins inside and outside the box.

Building a leprechaun trap
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

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She also put a doll pillow and blanket in the trap so that after the leprechaun falls in, “he can be cozy.” Then she tested the trap using a stuffed toy. It got her approval. My son got involved, too — he has some ideas about how you could put tape over the trap door to keep it shut, but not closed so much that when the leprechaun comes he wouldn’t fall through.

We’re going to set up the trap on St. Patrick’s Day and see if we can catch one of these little people!

C.M. Tenhundfeld contributed to this article.

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