How to Build TNT Traps in Minecraft

TNT traps are usually about one thing, and one thing only: the total destruction of your opponents at all costs. They are often built with cheap materials like wooden planks, cobblestone and dirt, as the TNT will usually destroy the trap and everything around it. However, there are a few methods you can use to limit or completely avoid damage, so you can easily use the same setup again.

We’ve created and tested various traps which you can find below, the images and descriptions should provide you with enough information on how to rebuild the traps, but if you’re stuck you free to ask for more details our the forums.

Simple pitfall

This trap is one of the easiest to set up, but it can be very effective. Dig a hole at least 3-4 blocks deep, then place a TNT block on the second highest block and either sand or gravel on top of the TNT. Now place a pressure pad on the TNT and wait for your victim to step on it.

When a player or mob steps on the pressure plate, the TNT will be activated and drop down. The sand and gravel will also fall down, together with the player. By making sure the hole is deep, the player will be unable to get out fast enough.

This trap works best if the pressure plate is used with the overall structure of a building or other creation. A pressure plate placed on its own will often look suspicious to players, who will either avoid it completely or try to set it off without endangering themselves.

To minimize damage to your structure, you could make a deeper hole and surround it with obsidian. This way you only need another TNT block, another piece of sand or gravel and a pressure plate to repair your trap.

By placing water at the bottom of the pit, all damage will be absorbed, as long as the TNT is completely submerged. This not only prevents damage to your own structures, while still killing players. It also allows you to easily pick up a player’s items after the player dies, as you can easily create a hole or water transportation system that carries the items to an underground base.

Note that the water has to be at least 3 blocks deep. The falling gravel or sand will fill up 1 block of water and it’s advised to use at least 2 blocks of water to make sure the TNT block is completely submerged. You will also have to dig out the sand or gravel on the bottom of your water pit, either every time or once in a while, depending on the depth of the water.

Ceiling drop

This trap is less suspicious as everything is hidden and pretty much part of the building design, no matter how basic our example building is.

In this trap our victim walks through the iron doors by stepping on top of the pressure plate. This pressure plate will not only open the doors, it will also activate 2 pistons and a block of TNT.

The pistons will push up part of the floor, which will block the player and lock it inside, as it cannot return through the iron doors after they’ve closed. The TNT will fall through a hole in the ceiling and kill the trapped player.

This trap is quite destructive, though building your room out of stone or other strong blocks mean you usually only have to replace part of the floor and 1 or 2 walls. You could also build the room out of obsidian, but this looks very suspicious.

The main problem with this trap lies with timing. We assume a player will walk into the room within a few seconds after stepping on the pressure plate. This means more cautious players will have enough time to wait and see the pistons block the way and the TNT fall out of the ceiling, which means they can simply step off of the pressure plate and walk the other way.

You could solve this by adding a delay to the signal or by making sure the TNT and pistons aren’t activated until after the player steps off of the pressute plate, but this makes it a bit too complicated and its not really what we’re aiming for. But it might be necessary if you’re playing with cautious friends, so check our redstone circuit guides if you need help on finding the right circuits for this job.

“The decoy”

Many players are aware of little clues that give away the potential of a trap being in their area. This makes it difficult to trick players into walking into your traps, but it can also be used to your advantage.

Once a player has detected a trap, the player will usually either walk away or try to set off the trap without getting hurt. They usually do this by walking cautiously onto a pressure plate, or push a button or lever and run back. In this trap we’re going to place a decoy TNT block and hook up the actual pressure plate to a TNT block behind the player.

As you can see in the example, we’ve placed 2 blocks of TNT next to the sides of an iron door. They’re hard to miss and can be seen through the door. Note that some texture packs have solid iron doors, so players might walk straight through the door. Though if they’re cautious, they will usually slowly enter the door and see the TNT when the door opens.

The iron door can only be opened with the pressure plate, so any player who has reached this part can only proceed or go back. Most players will want to proceed, even if it’s just to satisfy their own curiosity. As mentioned, players often try to set off the trap without getting hurt, so we’re pretty much assuming a player will step onto the pressure plate and run back, as they’ll think the pressure plate is connected to the 2 TNT blocks.

Instead, we’ve connected the pressure plate to a TNT block in the ceiling behind them, so when they run backwards they’ll walk straight into active TNT.
If they walked backwards without looking, they might even think the sound of the TNT behind them is coming from the 2 TNT blocks behind the door.

Obviously there’s a big disadvantage with putting TNT in the ceiling. Any cautions player will easily detect it. So we’ve covered the whole with a redstone lamp first. This doesn’t look suspicious, especially if you use redstone lamps throughout the hallway or room. The redstone lamp is powered by a redstone torch directly next to it.

Once the player steps onto the pressure plate, a piston will push a block of TNT into the place of the redstone lamp, which will immediately by set off by the redstone torch used to power the lamp. The TNT block will then fall through the hole, land behind the player and hopefully kill the player.

Note that the TNT block has to be blocked in by other blocks on all sides, this is already done on 2 sides by the piston arm and redstone clock, so simply place 2 other blocks on the other sides. This makes sure the TNT will fall down, rather than get stuck on top of the hole.

This trap is most effective in bases with strong walls, like a military base or research facility made out of iron blocks and obsidian. Using wood or dirt will leave a huge gap in the floor and could possibly destroy the rest of the trap, though this might not be an issue on custom adventure maps or other plans you have.

“Knock, knock. Who’s there?”

Often the most satisfying traps are those that leave a player with a bit of time to see their impending doom. This was the basic idea when I created this trap and it remains one of my favorites, despite being incredibly destructive to its surroundings.

This trap uses pistons to both lock in a player and push an activated TNT block up out of the ground. It’s quite easy to set up, though it’s hard, if not impossible, to do much damage control, which makes this trap more of a one time only deal.

As you can see in the example, we’ve set up our basic house outline again, but we’ve added 2 small fenced of gardens next to the door. These fences play a key role in blocking the player, without looking suspicious. Note that 1 side of the garden has been removed, as it obstructed the view on the redstone below.
We’ve also placed an iron door and a pressure plate. From the surface, everything looks normal. No pressure plate on a gravity affected block, no ceilings through which a TNT block could drop, just an ordinary house.

However, below the surface we’ve set up a relatively simply redstone circuit which will both activate 2 pistons and trigger the TNT block when a player steps onto the pressure plate above ground.

Once a player steps on the pressure plate, it will immediately push up 2 pistons, one which will destroy the door by pushing up the block under the door, which blocks out the way forward. The other piston first pushes up another piston, 1 TNT block and a block of dirt. The TNT block will be activated, as will the pushed piston, which will then push the TNT and the dirt block above 1 block higher, which creates a 2 block high blockade behind the player standing on the pressure plate. The fences make sure the player cannot escape through the sides.

The player will have just enough time to turn around and realize death is imminent, before being blown to tiny little pixels.

This trap is quite destructive and damage control is quite difficult, as you cannot push obsidian or other blast resistant blocks with pistons. Making your house or the ground outside out of obsidian will also look quite suspicious, depending on the area you live in.


This trap requires perhaps a little too much effort to kill a player, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

The basic idea of this trap is to fire a TNT cannon directly at a player. We make sure it hits the player by both hiding the cannon and making sure there’s no way out for our victim.

We create a simple, narrow room, which will be the place of death of our victim. Our room is incredibly basic, but you might need a better room to lure players in, perhaps a chest in the middle will get your victim to step inside.

The cannon is hidden behind the wall at the end of our room, which will be opened by sticky pistons as soon as our victim steps inside the room. We’ve connected the pistons to a T-flip-flop, which means the pressure plate will act as a lever when a player steps on it. We’ve covered the T-flip-flop in our redstone guides.

The pressure plate is also connected to the cannon, with a few repeaters to add delays between the opening, firing and activating of the TNT and pistons.

This is pretty much all there is to this trap. The victim will step on the pressure plate to open the door, he’ll walk into the room and gets locked in.
After a short delay, the pistons will open the wall, the TNT cannon will be activated and the victim will have nowhere to run.

You could make the trap even more deadly be adding more cannons, perhaps from all sides of the room, including TNT falling from the ceiling.
Yes, it’s overkill, but it can be very satisfying.

Branch Mine Trap

This TNT trap is made for branch mining. It was written and submitted by Pedro.

You will need: 5 redstone torches, a couple of redstone, 2 pistons, 6 TNT, and one semi-valuable ore, I personally prefer gold ore. Also some stone.

Step 1) Find your friend‘s branch mine.

Step 2) Destroy a few blocks, and place your valuable ore. Then place a redstone torch on the back side of your ore. After that, make a NOT gate (if you don’t know what that is, click here) on both sides.

Step 3) Place few TNTs around the off redstone torch. Watch out, don’t place it by the on wire.

This may be enough, but the prey may escape and most importantly, we want something more fancy. So, we will build something to stop him from escaping.

Step 4) Use redstone wire to go down, directly under your foes‘ branch mine.

Step 5) Make another NOT gate, leading to 2 pistons, stacked on top of each other.

Step 6) Place a redstone torch 2 blocks above the second piston.

This way, after the block is destroyed, the TNTs will trigger and behind the prey will be a barrier.

Step 7) Of course, make it by stone blocks to the look before our little action.

Your trap?

We’re always looking for more traps to add to this page, so if you know a fun, clever or otherwise effective trap, feel free to contact us. Make sure your explanation is clear and an image or two would help a lot. If everything is good enough, I’ll add your trap to this list.

I will also add the name of the designer and the name of the submitter at the top of each description on this page, so if you know the original designer, please mention that person, but make sure there’s some evidence. If any of the traps on this page doesn’t have its original designer or a wrong designer next to it, feel free to correct this by showing evidence on the forums, I’d like to give every person credit for his or her work. Of course, some traps, like the pitfall trap on this page, don’t really have an original designer, as they’re so simple everybody will have come up with it.