Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lerprechaun Traps!

Since St. Patrick's Day is coming up, I thought my first addition to this blog would be Leprechaun traps. I also wanted to give you plenty of time to get the supplies so you and your children can make your own!

The Roots and Wings family have been making these for years. Every year my Mother-in-Law gets fun little crafts for the kids to do for St. Patrick's day. She has also given all of us little pots of gold coins (chocolate) at one time or another so that we may use them with our Leprechaun traps. Usually the traps are made by propping one end of a box up by a stick or paper towel tube with some sort of bait under the box. Lucky Charms is popular for this. For the most part it is the kids making the traps so they will be as inventive as the kids themselves.

My family is a little different. My oldest is Autistic and in years past has had no interest in crafts of most varieties. Until this year we have not made Leprechaun traps. This year we were inspired by this month's Family Fun Magazine. Both my boys saw the traps they had made and decided they wanted to make some of their own. Every time they decide they want to do a project I get excited. For years I tried to interest them in crafts and they have shown little to no interest. It just goes to show that you should never give up on this kind of thing. You never know when they will get really excited over something. I wouldn't miss a moment for the world.

My youngest is 4. He usually gets really excited about making things but wants me to do the hard stuff for him. Most of the time he also likes to make things the way the picture shows it. He and I made the cloud drop trap shown in the Magazine.

For this one we used:
1 wire hanger
foam board for the base and backdrop (or you could use cardboard and paint it)
White paper (to draw the rainbow on)
glitter glue
felt (for the grass)
Glitter sticky back gold foam sheet (for the path)
Shamrock stickers (ours are glitter foam stickers)
Popsicle stick for the sign post
Play Doh or clay to stick the sign post in
Small piece of paper for the sign
Strawberry container (the clear kind), small light weight basket or even a margarine container will do (just punch holes to put the fishing line through.
Stuffing (to make your container look like a cloud)
Fishing line (so the Leprechaun won't see the string and know it is a trap)
Small clay pot
Black paint
Gold paint
small rock/pebbles from your yard

You will need to cut your foam board for your child. You will want to cut your foam board in half. To do this, use a craft knife to cut through the back layer of the foam board. Bend the foam board so that the foam in side snaps the top layer of paper will remain intact. This will help to keep the upright portion of your trap connected to the base.

Draw a rainbow on the white paper. Use glitter glue to dress up your rainbow if you like. After all we want to attract Leprechauns to our trap. Let the glitter glue dry then cut out your rainbow. Once your rainbow is dry and cut out, glue it to the top half of your background. Using your craft knife cut out the background in the middle of your rainbow.

You will now need to take your hanger and stretch it out (it will look like a elongated diamond with a hook on top. Bend the hook into a loop. Bend the loop at about 90 degree angle. You will now want to bend the hanger so that the loop will be over the top of your background and then under the bottom. Use packing tape or hot glue to fix it to the back of your foam board.

Use felt or a grass like fabric to cover the bottom half of your trap. Cut out a path out of the gold glitter foam sheet. Embellish the path with shamrock stickers. Make a mound with the Play Doh or clay and put the Popsicle stick in the middle. We made our sign by cutting a piece of patterned paper and a slightly smaller piece of white paper layered together. Leprechauns are a little bit naughty and often do exactly what they are told not to do. They just can't resist. Some times this gets them into trouble. Write something on your sign stating what not to do. We chose to write "No Leprechauns! Do Not Enter!" for this one.

For the cloud basket we used a strawberry container. I cut the lid off and tied one end of the fishing line to it. I then hot glued the stuffing around the outside to disguise the basket. Set aside for now

You will need something to attract your Leprechaun. Everybody knows that Leprechauns love to collect gold. They just can't resist and unattended and poorly hidden pot of gold. For this you will need to paint the small pot black. Next paint your pebbles with gold paint.

Now you are ready to set up your trap. Thread the fishing line down through the loop of the hanger and put the pot of gold on top of the fishing line so that it holds the cloud basket over the pot of gold. When the Leprechaun tries to take your gold the basket will trap him.
If you look closely you will see that I have threaded the line up and over the back of the rainbow. This lets the basket hang straighter.

Lets face it I did a lot of the work on this trap. Every step of the way I had him do as much as he could. Many times he wanted me to do it and in the end I did. Little by little he is doing more and more on his own. Soon enough my 4 year old won't be 4 anymore and he won't need me as much. For now I am grateful to know he wants and needs me.

My 7 year old had his own idea. He feels that Leprechauns like Castle Towers. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and talked about it in great detail. It amazes me how kids are able to come up with elaborate ideas so quickly.

Here is what he used:
a wire hanger
Stiff green felt for the base
a large sheet of green craft foam for the tower
a small piece of blue craft foam for the door
white paper for the pathway
Pebbles for the pot of gold and for holding the trap door in place once dropped
Play Doh
2 Popsicle sticks
paper for the sign
fishing line
small clay pot
black paint
Gold paint

First he cut the green foam sheet in half but cutting a notched edge. This will be the top edge of the tower. Depending on the size of your foam sheet and the size your child wants to make the tower you may need to glue two of these strips together to make a wide enough tower. Draw out line for stone blocks if you wish. Hot glue the tower onto the stiff green felt. He chose to use white paper and draw a cobble stone pattern on it for the walk way. You may chose to use some of the gold glitter foam we used in the first example. You could also use some shamrock stickers to decorate the path or the tower. My son choose not to in this case.

Cut out your trap door and glue a Popsicle stick to the bottom edge (this will give it a little more weight so it will fall straight down. Hot glue stones on either side in front of the tower opening. They will help the trap door to stay in place. Be sure to leave plenty of room so that the door falls behind them. Punch a hole at the top and tie fishing line to the door.

Make your sign by placing the other Popsicle stick into a mound of clay or Play Doh. Glue a small piece of paper on top and add a warning for the Leprechaun not to enter. Silly little men!! Place this sign to one side of your path.

As with the first trap bend the hook of a wire hanger into a loop. Now hold the loop and pull down on the middle of the hanger. Now bend the hanger and tape or hot glue it to the underside of the base so that it comes up the back of the tower. Bend over the top loop to 90 degrees.

Paint the ceramic pot black and the pebbles with gold paint.

To set the trap thread the fishing line over the top of the loop in the hanger. Set your pot of gold on top of the end of the fishing line. When the Leprechaun picks up the pot of gold the trap door will fall into place and lock the Leprechaun inside.

This trap is the creation of a 7 year old. I was only there to use the hot glue gun and bend the hanger.
Both boys cannot wait till they catch a Leprechaun. The day after we made these my oldest went to school talking of leprechauns and searching the school grounds to try to find one.
We would love to see what you come up with. Please share your pictures on our Flickr group


Katrina, So glad you joined us here. The first time I remember setting a trap on St. Pat's day was when Rebecca and her oldest daughter were visiting us from out of town. There was no Leprechaun caught, but there was a trail of glitter and Rolo's left as his gold. Our niece exclaimed "Hims left hims money!!" My hubby and I will forever remember the excitement in her voice and the cute way she said that. This is such a fun tradition. I'm glad your boys are so into it. Now, I'm going to have to come up with something more than we usually do.

I just have to say that you should really check out the traps Rebecca's children have made over the years. She posted the pictures on our Flickr Page. She has some really neat ideas. I really love seeing the pictures of the items the Leprechauns have left behind!

We are linking to Somewhat Simple, Created By Diane


Tara said...

Oh my gosh! AWESOME! My son just came home from school yesterday and has to make a trap for school!! these are perfect ideas....yeahhhh!! i was so stressed out trying to figure out what we thank you!

BTW: dropping from "Skip to my Lou" blog...You commented on the giveaway i'm hosting over there (Cherish Bound). I love your idea of the traditions book...i've done that too and I have seen so many family's do amazing books like that. Wonderful! Keep your fingers crossed...maybe you'll win! You'd LOVE cherish Bound!

RootsAndWingsCo said...

Katrina, super cute traps! I'll dig out pictures of our previous years leprechaun traps...they are not even close to equal to yours!

RootsAndWingsCo said...

Ok, we have been doing leprechaun traps for something like 16 years. But ours have never been this awesome!! Way to go Katrina!! So glad we got you over to share our obsession on our little blog;)


RootsAndWingsCo said...

I have now posted pictures of a few of our Leprechaun traps on our flikr group. Our traps...well...they're very basic. Katrina, yours are beautiful, and closer to actually being functioning. Though you'll have to check out the pictures to see what article of clothing,from the Leprechaun, we found last year!

RootsAndWingsCo said...

Thanks for the encouragement!! The thing is to have fun. Give your kids an idea as something to start with. Then set them up with the supplies they need and let them create. The traps don't have to be complicated. You can be there to help them with the technical stuff (like doing the wire hanger and the hot glue or figuring out how to get what they want to work). Rebecca, I don't think there is anything wrong with a "basic" trap. Honestly it is about having fun with your kids and you do. Mission accomplished!!


Lucky Mom said...

Love the traps. I saw the same Family Fun article and was so WOW'd by what they came up with. Kat- Your boys did awesome. The castle is soooo perfect. I like that it adds a boy-touch to something that might be seen as girlie. Super cool! said...

This is so, so, SO creative! I would have loved this as a kid. Creating little displays and dioramas was my favorite. These are so fantastic, thanks tons for sharing. I can't wait to link to these.

twinkle teaches said...

Your traps rock!!! We always use a shoe box every year. I cannot wait to play leprechaun this year. :) Its my fave!!!
p.s. I'll have to post last year's pics on my blog soon so you can see.

Diane Schmidt said...

very cute, thanks again for linking up.