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It's a Trap!

How to Make Your Own Admiral Ackbar Christmas Ornament


It's not an original idea. I saw an image of a mouse trap converted into Admiral Ackbar floating around on the internet, and knew that we must make these this year as Christmas ornaments. Actually, I can't imagine what one would do with this EXCEPT to create it as a Christmas ornament. Certainly not heavy enough to be a paperweight . . .

It took some trial and error, and I'm sure the process could be improved upon, but you can do this! Toward that end, I'm happy to share our experience in fifteen easy steps.

Scroll down to get the big picture.

Step One: Find a picture of Admiral Ackbar that suits your purposes, and crop it to 1-5/8"x3-5/8" (or 1.623"x3.623"). Print and trim as needed. The image I saw on the internet was actually nicely hand-painted, but not everyone on my team felt comfortable with that approach, and desired that each step be doable by all. This was harder than I thought. The image of the Admiral actually exclaming, "It's a trap!" is horizontal in orientation, because it's shot as a close-up in the film. I cheated by finding a fuller-length photo from The Last Jedi.

Step Two: Purchase mouse traps at your local hardware store, and ignore the curious looks of shoppers and staff who wonder at your probable rodent infestation. These cost about $2 for a pack of four. The Christmas aspect of your purchase is enhanced when you remember that in the 1983 film, A Christmas Story, Mother Parker informs her husband that "Victor" is the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse. It's considered a literary bit of trivia.

Step 3: Using grip pliers or a screwdriver, remove the large bait plate from the top half, and discard it and its accompanying staple.

Step 4: Continue to remove the remainder of the hardware, but set it aside in a small bowl.

Step 5: Using a wire cutter, remove as much of the straight portion of the spring that is sticking out as possible. Use a file or Dremel to smooth rough edges.

Step 6: Slightly sand the holes where the staples used to be.

Step 7: Apply thin layer of acrylic paint. We chose gold, but follow your heart. I applied some glitter paint to two of ours, but not everyone was a fan. It's not important to completely cover the text/logo, since you'll be pasting the Admiral over it soon.

Step 8: Paint the back. Could be neat to pick a contrasting color, but we opted for the path of least resistance.

Step 9: Sign and date. I know you believe you'll never forget the year you created something this cool, or that your recipients won't ever forget you, but you're probably wrong. Years down the road, you'll be glad you did this.

Step 10: If you love Mod Podge, I don't want to rain on your parade, but I can't stand it. Thick, gloppy, and doesn't store well. Tends to stick to other ornaments, as we've learned the hard way. Just find a liquid acrylic varnish, have a cup of water handy to stick your brushes in, and you'll be able to clean up easily when you're done.

Step 11: Coat the front of the mousetrap with the varnish. While it's still wet, coat the back of your picture. Apply immediately to the wood, and coat on top with more varnish. Press firmly with your brush to create a good bond between the paper and the wood. Use a push pin to keep the six holes you'll be using later clear of paint and varnish.

Step 12: Screw in tiny, threaded eye hooks in the top edge. I was able to do this by hand, as the pine wood is so soft. Be sure to not veer off at an angle - your mousetrap is not very thick.

Step 13: Use a file or Dremel to sharpen the points of the staples you removed earlier. They were blunted when assembled, so that they'd stay put. They'll go back in a LOT more easily if you don't omit this step.

Step 14: Gently tap in the staples to secure your hardware. Make sure that the bent part of the spring is underneath the bar.

Step 15: Use a quick-setting tacky glue to secure the bar at the top, and the trigger off to one side. When it's dried to clear, add a hook and celebrate! As an optional step, you could add a small, googly eye, but we couldn't bring ourselves to cover up the Admiral's original, naturally-googly eye.

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