How to Make a Ping Pong Launcher Using a Mousetrap

by Paige Turner, Demand Media

    Beyond killing mice, mousetraps can be re-purposed into fun things, such as ping pong ball catapults or launchers. This launcher is made completely from household items and can launch a ping pong ball or other small object quite a distance. Exercise care and caution using your homemade miniature catapult, as the spring-loaded bar on the mousetrap is quite powerful and can be painful if it smacks down on your fingers.

    Step 1

    Remove the long latch-style piece of metal from the mousetrap using pliers or vise grips. Pull up on the U-shaped staple holding it in place and remove the staple as well. Pull out the entire staple and leave no metal in that area.

    Step 2

    Pull the bait-holding metal strip -- the area where cheese would typically be held -- off the mousetrap using pliers or vise grips. Once again, pull out the little bar or staple device holding it in place. Leave no metal remnants behind.

    Step 3

    Place a spoon face-down on the work surface so the back of the spoon is facing up. Position the mousetrap so the spring-loaded metal bar is pointing at the handle of the spoon. Carefully slide the spoon handle under the metal bar so the spoon is positioned in the center of the bar. The handle should nearly reach, but not touch, the spring area and should be parallel to the side arms of the bar. You may need to lift the bar gently to slide the spoon into place.

    Step 4

    Tape the spoon handle to the crossbar using duct tape. Tear thin strips of duct tape off the roll and tape them around the spoon and bar in an X pattern. Secure the spoon tightly. Tear thick strips of tape from the roll. Lift the bar and tape around the entire U-shaped bar and spoon, so the bar looks like a solid object. Cover both sides of the bar with tape and press firmly to secure the spoon in place.

    Step 5

    Hold a ping pong ball in the palm of one hand while holding the mousetrap catapult down on the table. Carefully pull the spring bar back so the spoon is in launching position. Place the ball in the spoon and release the bar while holding the mousetrap to the table. Hold the mousetrap at the back out of the path of the spring bar to avoid finger injury.

    Tips & Warnings

    • To prevent accidental finger smashing, tape a water bottle cap to the wood plank in an area beneath the spring-loaded bar. This way, when the bar slams down, it will slam onto the cap, protecting fingers which are accidentally in the wrong area.
    • A rat trap makes an even more powerful launching device, and is assembled in the same manner as this project.
    • Glue or nail the mousetrap to a larger block of wood to make it easier to hold and fire.
    • Keep fingers and other body parts away from the spring-loaded bar's landing area -- it's powerful and will hurt.
    • Do not aim the ping pong ball launcher at people or pets.
    • Use only new, unused mousetraps for this project.

    About the Author

    Paige Turner has been writing and editing professionally since 1989. She won several investigative journalism awards from the Associated Press while working at "The Morning Journal" in Lorain, Ohio. Turner has ghostwritten several books and edited for popular music artists' websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from Case Western Reserve University.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images