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how to make a leprechaun trap

Catch Him If You Can: How to Make a Leprechaun Trap

What’s your favorite way to celebrate Ireland? March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday celebrating Irish culture worldwide. Every year, people hold parades worldwide and celebrate the day by dressing in green and dancing to Irish music.

Some even dress as leprechauns, a type of fairy famous across the Emerald Isle. They have red beards and wear green suits, waistcoats, black buckled shoes, and top hats. 

Over the years, the St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun has worn many “hats” (besides the signature top hat), from being a sports mascot to a breakfast cereal character. But the leprechaun is most famous as a joyful fellow who represents the Irish (along with shamrocks, harps, and the Irish flag). 

Get in on some holiday magic with your family this St. Patrick’s Day and score a little luck with this whimsical DIY project. Learn how to make a leprechaun trap!

What Is a Leprechaun?

Leprechauns are mythical creatures from Irish folklore. Their name comes from the Irish word lurchopán, which means “small body.” Well, that’s no surprise, as leprechauns are said to be two or three feet tall. 

All leprechauns are male, and apparently, they’re the fairy realm’s cobblers (shoemakers). The trade has earned the leprechauns quite a bit of gold, which they hide away at the end of the rainbow. According to some stories, whoever catches a leprechaun gets a pot of gold or three wishes, which is why many people lay leprechaun traps to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. 

But catching a leprechaun isn’t easy. The fairies are tricksters, and most tales featuring them are about how they’ve outsmarted gullible humans. Some historians believe the Irish created the leprechaun legend to warn against greed. One famous story from Irish folklore tells of Seamus, an Irish man who caught a leprechaun. Seamus wished to be a rich man on a tropical island, but when he got there, he realized the leprechaun had put him on an island with no one to talk to and no place to spend his wealth. Eventually, poor Seamus got bored and used his final wish on a trip back home to Ireland.

While catching a leprechaun is a challenge, kids from all over the globe still try their best every year. On the night before St. Patrick’s Day, many kids set up traps hoping to get a glimpse of the little red-headed fairy.

A green leprechaun trap on a table.

Create a Homemade Leprechaun Trap

If you want to catch a leprechaun, you need to make him feel at home. Leprechauns vanish into thin air if they feel unsafe, so it’s best to design a trap that reminds them of Ireland. This means you’ll need plenty of green—plus a few other things leprechauns can’t resist.

Grab your Leprechaun craft supplies and get ready to catch one of the “wee folk!”

DIY Leprechaun Trap

This DIY St. Patrick’s Day decoration makes for a fun activity as the holiday approaches. Kids can perform each step, but the wee ones might need a bit of adult help.


  • 1 square of green cloth
  • 7 pieces of construction paper in rainbow colors
  • Cotton balls
  • Cardboard box (a shoebox, shipping box, etc.)
  • 3 cardboard straws or wooden craft sticks
  • Small coins or candies
  • Liquid glue
  • Child-safe scissors 


  1. Use a pair of scissors to cut 1-inch strips from each sheet of colored paper to create a rainbow. Then, cut 9 hearts from green paper. (Young kids might need assistance here.) 
  2. Cut the flaps off a cardboard box so it can’t close. Wrap the box in green paper.
  3. Take 3 paper hearts and glue them together so their points overlap (this should look like a shamrock or three-leafed clover). Repeat this with the other 6 hearts, making 3 shamrocks in total. Glue the shamrocks to one side of the box. 
  4. Stack the paper strips on top of each other and create a rainbow arch. Glue the cotton balls to either end to look like fluffy clouds. 
  5. Cut a straw into 4 pieces. Glue those pieces horizontally between the other 2 straws to make a ladder. (See image above.)
  6. Place the green cloth over the box’s opening. Pull the fabric tight and lay the ladder against one side and the rainbow on top (it should balance on the box’s edges). These will keep the cloth trap door in place until the leprechaun arrives.

Place a few candies on the cloth or on top of the box. Some other “bait” ideas for homemade leprechaun traps include gold coins, candy, or green desserts!

A child dressed as a leprechaun holding a pot of gold.

Explore Ireland (and Beyond) From Home

We hope that the project got your kids’ creative juices flowing, and you can catch those wily fairies!

Crafting is a great way to learn about cultures and holidays around the world. If you’re looking for more fun kids’ crafts, try these colorful masks to celebrate Mardi Gras and paper lanterns for the Taiwanese Lunar New Year. 

You can also try our award-winning World Edition subscription box. Each delivery comes with hands-on activities, exciting stories, and souvenirs for kids ages 6–10. Children will receive everything they need to make crafts like a flying Brazilian macaw, Japanese origami, a South African raffia basket, and more!