[other traps]

Diet Coke & Mentos Trap

This trap wasn't difficult to disarm so much as it was nerve wracking. Start with the various warnings, like "be sure to wear washable clothing when you disarm this one." Then add the fact that it took a team of three people a full 30 minutes to set up. But the real worrying began when I got the lid up enough to realize what I was staring at was a chest chock full of open bottles of Diet Coke, each with its own hair-trigger tripwire ready to release a couple of Mentos candies down its throat!


One of the beauties of this trap is that everything but the chest can be found at any drugstore:


First, pull the little blue plastic seals off of all your bottle tops, and set them aside. Then cut a hole out from the inside of each plastic top, leaving behind just the ring part. (Jay reports using a toenail clipper for this part.) Next, take each of those plastic seals you set aside, poke a hole in the edge and tie one end of a medium-length strand of black thread to it.

Now you're ready to set up the chest itself. Put your unopened bottles of Diet Coke into the chest, and surround them with enough other bottles such that they're wedged in tight and won't jostle. That's it for the preparation phase — you'll want to wait until arming the trap before doing the last bit of construction so that the Diet Coke doesn't lose its fizz before anyone tries opening the chest.


Bottle cap with hole

Plastic seal, with thread


First, place the chest where ever you want to have it opened. While not super-sensitive, you don't want to be moving it around after it's been armed either. Next, open all the bottles of Diet Coke that will serve as your firing bottles, trying to keep them from fizzing as much as possible. Now place one of your bottle-cap rings upside-down over the mouth of each bottle such that it sits on top like a little cup, and tape it to the bottle's mouth with duct tape. The duct tape should only wrap halfway around the bottle's neck — you need the other half open for the trigger. Once all the bottles have been set, slip a plastic seal underneath each ring, with the thread facing out. These seals form the trap-door platforms for your Mentos.

Now you're ready for the tricky bit. Close the chest lid as much as possible while still fitting your fingers or tools into the chest, and carefully duct-tape the other end of each thread to the lid of the chest. The threads will still be slack when the lid is entirely closed, but that's OK — you don't want the trap to be impossible to disarm, just challenging. Make sure none of the seals have slipped out from their bottles while being set. Unless you're really cocky, I recommend getting all the threads taped up before setting any Mentos in place, just in case.

Finally, you're ready to set the Mentos. Open the lid just a bit and prop it open with a wedge of some kind (an extra lid and duct tape should work fine). Next, check again to make sure none of your seals have been pulled out, and fix them if they have. Then carefully spoon-feed a couple Mentos into each cup. So long as you don't open any further than your wedge, they should all sit inside their cups. When you've armed each one, take out the wedge, close the lid and call over anyone who wants to test their skill.


Cap taped to bottle

Spooning Mentos into place

Plastic seal in place, ready to trigger

Tripwire taped to lid


The basic strategy is simple: wedge the box open a crack, tape the wedge in place, then cut all the threads. The trickiest part is cutting the thread without pulling it, because the caps tend to be pretty sensitive. After a couple near-firings with a pair of somewhat dull scissors I upgraded to using a long-necked grill lighter to burn through all the threads (just be sure you don't set the box on fire). Also, make doubly sure you get all the threads — it's easy to miss one if it happens to be dark and the threads happen to be black (thanks, Jay!).


Onlookers offering unhelpful advice

Placing the wedge