How to make a treasure box even Ethan Hunt couldn't crack

Kids treasure box: snail soup decoy
It’s a disgusting tin of snail soup…
Kids treasure box: snail soup decoy
…but no, it’s a secret safe.
Kids treasure box: snail soup decoy
The perfect place to hide your treasures!

You don’t have to be Ethan Hunt from the Impossible Missions Force to protect your valuables from baddies. No, simply follow the ‘snail soup decoy’ instructions below.

How it works

This sneaky gadget looks like a tin of yucky snail soup, but pull on the spoon handle and out comes a steel plated secret safe (ok, it’s only cardboard). It’s perfect for keeping pocket money, sweets, trading cards and Nintendo DS games (to name a few) safe from prying eyes.

How to make one

Just follow the instructions below. To make things easier I’ve provided printable artwork for the snail soup label and the secret safe.

Printable snail soup decoy artwork

How to make a kids 'Snail Soup' treasure stash: illustrated guide
Can't read the instructions?

What you’ll need

One tin can. Corrugated cardboard, PVA glue, poster paints, medium weight card (210gsm), craft knife, old spoon and plasticine.

Step 1

Remove the lid and label from an old tin can.

Step 2

Then cut a thick cardboard disc, from a corrugated cardboard box, so it fits snugly within the rim of the can. Use a compass to help draw the circle.

Step 3

Cut a metal or plastic spoon in half. Then cut a slot in the disc and slide the spoon handle through - it must be a tight fit.

Step 4

Now make the ‘snail soup’ by mixing PVA glue with green poster paints (acrylic paints will work as well). Place a few lumps of plasticine (substitute pieces of snail) onto the disc, and pour on the glue until it reaches the rim.

Step 5

Leave to dry for 1-2 days. Then paint the surface with a thin layer of PVA glue for a nice gloss finish.

Step 6

Measure inside of the can and workout the diameter and height required for the ‘safe’ to fit loosely inside.

Step 7

Using these sizes cut 2 discs from thick card and make one a hollow ring. Then glue and wrap thin card around them to create a cylinder.

Step 8

Use tape to hold the card while the glue dries.

Step 9

Print and cut out the ‘safe’ decal, spray mount or glue it around the cylinder.

Step 10

Use a sharp craft knife to cut around the door (leaving the hinged side attached). Cut out a semi-circular finger hole on the right of the door, to prevent creasing remove a tiny strip of the decal from along the hinge.

Step 11

Open the door and score along the hinge for easy opening.

Step 12

Cut and glue card tabs onto the inside of the door and door frames, this helps lock the door shut and prevents it from opening inwards. Finally, remove the snail soup ‘lid’ from the tin can, and glue onto the top ring of the cylinder.

Do your own thing

Kids love secret treasure stashes (especially if they have nosy siblings). If this one is too much effort, try something different - how about hollowing out the inside of an old book - I’ve always wanted to make one of those?

Left illustration
Right illustration