Relive It: How to Make a Critter Catcher

How to make your kids an easy DIY critter catcher.

No doubt that I housed at least 1,000 caterpillars in my critter catcher between the ages of 5-10. I also named them, but that’s beside the point here. Collecting creepy crawlers and everyday ants is some right of passage, so every kid deserves to have a critter catcher in his or her arsenal of playthings.

Looking to make one yourself? It’s mighty easy if you have access to a few tools.


Step 1

Consider the size that you want your catcher to be. For the base of mine, I cut a piece of 8″ pine board to measure 8″ wide x 10″ long.

Step 2

 Open GalleryCreate a template for your DIY critter catcher.The critter catcher will be mostly open for air flow and visibility, but you will need to construct front and back walls and a doorway to the cage. Create a template using scrap paper, and transfer the shape of the template onto two pieces of wood (the height of my walls measure 8″ wide x 9″ high).

Step 3

 Open GalleryUse a jigsaw to create a rounded edge on your DIY critter catcher.Use a jigsaw to cut out along your template lines.

Step 4

 Open GalleryUsing a drill bit to create a hole for the jigsaw blade.You’ll need to create an access door for the front of your critter catcher. I cut a 3″ opening in the front panel of wood using a jigsaw, first using a drill bit to create an opening for the jigsaw blade to fit in.

Step 5

 Open GalleryAssemble your critter catcher using clamps, a nail gun, and wood glue.Attach the front and back panels to the 4″ x 6″ base that you cut initially. I used a little bit of wood glue and clamped the pieces together, and added brad nails in each side to reinforce the lap joints in the structure.

Step 6

 Open GalleryAttach an oversized piece of netting to the critter catcher frame using an electric stapler.Measure the length of netting that you need to cover the critter catcher. Allow for a little overhang on all sides – you’ll trim off the excess in the next step – and use an electric stapler to attach the netting to the wooden frame.

Step 7

 Open GalleryTrim the extra screening using an utility knife.Trim the overhang from the critter catcher using a utility knife.

Step 8

 Open GalleryAdd a door and a handle to complete your kids critter catcher.I trimmed a piece of scrap plywood to serve as a door, and attached it using a bolt so that it can slide side-to-side to open. Note that in this photo a screw is holding it in place … once I loosened the screw to allow my daughter to paint (see the next photo), I realized that I could improve upon it with a bolt and nut! Because this catcher would be carried all over the yard, I also found it nice to add a piece of wood along the top (nailed in place with the brad nailer), and screwed a length of belt to the board to create a handle.

Step 9

 Open GalleryAllow your kids to paint the new critter catcher.Customize your finished critter catcher with a paint treatment if you’re feeling creative, and then add a final eye hook and latch to prevent the door from swinging open. Have fun collecting little creatures!


  • 1 x 8 wood board
  • 4″ x 4″ piece of plywood for door
  • Piece of paper for template
  • Fiberglass screen
  • 14″ of belt, upcycled for handle
  • 2 wood screws
  • Paint
  • Wood glue
  • Eye hook latch


  • Chop saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Cordless drill with 1/8″ bit, a 1/4″ bit, and a Phillips head bit
  • 1-1/2″ bolt, washer, and hex nut
  • Air compressor
  • Brad nail gun
  • Electric stapler
  • Utility knife blade
  • 2 clamps
About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

More About Emily Fazio

2 Responses

  1. Hannah B. says:

    I love this! especially the custom paint job ;)

  2. Minnow + Co says:

    Our little resident bug catcher is going to LOVE this… And I won't have to go searching for my tupperware around the yard anymore. :)

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