Design & DIY

Out of mousetraps? Here are 5 ingenious DIY solutions


Mice a tricky conundrum for cottagers. Like their brethren the chipmunk, they are quite adorable. And yet, anyone who has weathered a full-blown mice infestation can tell you that once these cute marauders get a foothold, it’s all over.

They defecate in your food, keep you up at night scratching in the walls, and chew holes everywhere. If left unchecked, their incredibly brief birth cycles means that within a year your cottage will belong to them.

In the ongoing war for supremacy between mice and cottagers, the unquestioned sidearm of choice is the traditional mousetrap, a simple, rugged design that has stood the test of time.


 That being said, what if you forgot to buy traps? Or would prefer to live-trap the mice in a humane fashion? Some budding DIY engineers have come up with some pretty innovative designs using materials you can find around the cabin.

Let’s look at some of the best:

Flattened Toilet Paper Roll


 This simple but ingenious trap involves a table-top, plastic bucket, and a half-flattened toilet paper roll. What makes this trap so effective is that mice are naturally attracted to tunnels, and more likely to barrel ahead without thinking.

The next trap is very similar to the first, but shows how you can use a simple plank, or even some folded cardboard to make a ramp, if no table is available.

Ramp Trap

0920-mouse2This lever-based strategy uses the weight of the mouse to spring the trap, landing it safely in the bucket. Here is another variant of this technique:

Long-tube variant


 While the longer tube is a design improvement, this bare-bones trap has a few problems. First, without stabilizing the cardboard tube, it can quickly roll away or fall to the side. Also, using a cardboard box to house the live mouse is just asking for them to gnaw their way free.

Maybe you like life a little more complex. Not to worry, this next trap is right up your alley.

Spinner Trap

Spinner Mouse Trap

 A definite advantage of the spinner trap is that it doesn’t need to be reset. If you have a serious mouse problem, you can catch a dozen overnight. However, the design is a little more complex, and will require some stiff wire or doweling, as well as a cylindrical object such as a can, or in this case, a plastic cup.

Check out this how-to video of a similar concept on YouTube:

If you’re willing to invest a little more time, this next trap is handy because you can carry the whole thing out with you to the woods to release the mouse.

Bottle Trap


 This trap uses the least materials of all, just a plastic 2L bottle, scissors, and tape. And also a fair bit of patience. The inward pointing teeth allow the mice inside, but make it impossible for them to escape.

Finally, we come to the most effective mouse trap of all. This trap not only catches mice, but terrorizes them to the point where they warn their friends to stay away.

It’s… you guessed it…

A cat

Cat with shotgun