How to Build a Mouse Trap Car

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How to Build a Mouse Trap Car


Toy cars can be a lot of fun to build, but most of them involve the use of some hard-to-come-by materials and tools that can be difficult to use. Not so for a mouse trap car though, as you can make one in as little time as a couple of hours. They are perfect for racers, as they are self-powered. Moreover, most mouse trap cars only cost a few dollars to build (as long as you have the necessary tools around your garage). So, if you want to build your own toy car, but have no idea where to begin, the mouse trap car may be perfect for you.

The Power behind the Design

mouse trap carMouse trap cars are so much fun because they come with their own power supply built right in – the mouse trap itself. Specifically the spring on the trap. By using a string to harness the power of the spring, you can easily drive the wheels of your mouse trap car. Almost all mouse trap cars use the same principal to operate, but the car described below was chosen for this guide because it is very easy to build. After making this car, you can try out your own designs using the same propulsion mechanisms outlined here. You can create almost any design you can imagine with a simple mouse trap and a few wheels.

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You need the following materials to build your mouse trap car:

  • A mouse trap (of course).
  • Two metal rods that are each 4 mm in diameter and 15 mm longer in length than the width of the mouse trap you are using for the car. These rods will act as the axles for the car.
  • Four eyehole screws that are barely large enough to put the metal rods through.
  • Plywood or any other type of thinly cut wood for the wheels.
  • Two rubber bands.
  • String.
  • Washers with an inner diameter of 4 mm.


While the materials for a mouse trap car are easy to come by, you may not have all of the a tools necessary. To build the car, you will need the following tools:

  • Drill with a 3.7 mm drill bit.
  • Jigsaw (a coping saw will also work).
  • Compass to make a template for the wheels.
  • Hammer.
  • Vice.
  • Hacksaw.
  • Wood file.
  • Wood glue or super glue.
  • Epoxy (the type of glue that comes in two parts which you mix together).
  • Plies.
  • A small Jeweler’s File.

Building The Body

To begin construction, you need to use your pliers to pull the wire that holds the mouse trap open out of the trap. Also remove the bait holder, as this part is not necessary. Keep the wire catch to the side though, you will use it later. Also pull out any staples that may have held the previously removed parts in place. When everything is removed, take the eye hooks and screw them into one end of the mouse trap approximately 8 mm from each edge. If the wood begins to split as you screw the eye screw in, simply drill a small hole first.

Wheel and Axle Assembly

You can make the wheels by using the compass to create four 75 mm circles on the plywood. The wheels can be larger or smaller if you choose, but 75 mm is a good size for relatively long distance runs. When the wheels have been sketched, cut along your freshly drawn line with a jigsaw and file them down along the edges so that they are nice and smooth. Then take the rods and place them in a vice. Cut them to exactly equal length and file the ends so that they are nice and smooth as well. Cut about half way through one of the rods with the hacksaw and use the jeweler’s file to widen the slot enough to allow the wire catch that was removed from the trap in an earlier step to fit into the groove snugly. Cut a 7 mm piece of the wire catch and file down the ends. Using the epoxy, glue the piece of wire into the slot on the axle so that the wire overhangs only on one side. Let the epoxy dry overnight.

Mounting the Wheels

When the glue is dry, place the axle with the wire at the rear of the mouse trap (where the jaws of the trap rest when the trap is set). Place the other axle through its respective eye holes screws. Add washers to the end of the axles so that the axles will not slide out. Drill a hole into the center of each of the wheels with your 3.7 mm drill bit and then slide the wheels onto each of the rods.

Mounting the Engine

Now for the actual power behind the mouse trap car. Take your string and tie it to the middle of the jaws of the mouse trap (the part which snaps down on the mouse). Tie a loop in the other end so that the loop is located exactly at the rear axle. Cut off any loose ends. Take the two rubber bands and place one around each of the rear wheels for extra traction. You can glue the rubber bands into place so they will not slide off.

Powering up the Car

To use the mouse trap car, simply raise the jaws of the trap slightly and take the looped end of the string and place in over the wire that was attached to the rear axle. Reverse the car to allow the string to wind around the axle and pull open the jaws of the trap. Release the car on the ground and it will speed away.

A mouse or two at home can be easily caught with a well-crafted mouse trap, but if you’ve swarms of them running around your feet, maybe you should try these techniques how to get rid of mice. Of course, you also want to get rid of those nasty gnats buzzing around your face, so check out these tricks on getting rid of gnats, to drive them away from your home as well.

If you like building mouse trap cars, you may be interested in the following:

Mouse Trap Car Videos

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Mouse Trap Car Images



  1. stefan said,

    on November 29th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I need to make a car out of a mouse trap that goes about 25ft any help?

  2. muffin said,

    on May 20th, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Um how do u do this project it looks confusing help!!!! (muffins 4 eve)!!!!!

  3. Abby said,

    on May 20th, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I’m going to ROCK at building mouse trap cars, I hope.

  4. colton said,

    on February 22nd, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Im making one right now and will tell u how when im done

  5. helena said,

    on November 5th, 2010 at 9:12 am


  6. Mary said,

    on May 7th, 2010 at 5:43 am

    I have to build a mouse trap car for class and i don’t know how but its like a huge part of my grade PLEASE HELPPPPPPP

  7. jarod said,

    on April 27th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    How do i make a mouse trap car and make it move 3 or more feet?

  8. audrey said,

    on April 16th, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Wooooo yeah mouse trap cars are hott!!

  9. smileys.123 said,

    on February 2nd, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    This website is good for my assignment

  10. amber nicole said,

    on December 15th, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I need help building my mouse trap car thats due in two days.

  11. sonja said,

    on December 8th, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Can you tell me how to make the t back of the car go and you guys are go at this stuff.

  12. Conner said,

    on November 28th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    this should be easy enough to do. if you have any tips please send them to me! THANKS

  13. Marcus Wuthrich said,

    on October 21st, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I need to build a Mouse Trap Car with no motor, no batteries, and no rubber bands.It needs to travel a few feet. Please help me as I need this next Tuesday for an engineering project. Thanks

  14. Lemon said,

    on October 9th, 2009 at 1:29 pm


    Cool designs.

  15. Sawyer said,

    on May 22nd, 2009 at 6:50 am

    how far did your mouse trap car

  16. Alan said,

    on April 21st, 2009 at 5:40 am

    jesse where do you go to school?

  17. Jesse Ham said,

    on April 19th, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Thanks, i don’t know if its going to work, but i realllllly badly need it for science sooo, anything will work i guess.

  18. Henry [Heartless] said,

    on April 7th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I don’t know how to build this mousetrap car thing, and I don’t have all the supplies, but I can’t fail science. So help me out.

    -Henry Lauer

  19. gerald said,

    on March 30th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    yup i need help making a mouse trap car for science class plz help me