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Practical Joke 101 – Musical Greeting Card Desk

Periodically, I will do something to liven things up around the office. This trick is one of my favorites. I’ve had success with it though the years and I’m going to walk you through it step by step.

We are going to use a musical greeting card to rig up a desk. When it works (and this has always worked for me), opening a desk drawer triggers the card’s sound mechanism. Positioning the card correctly will enable gravity to shut the card off when the drawer closes.

The effect is magnified by the fact that there is very little chance the trick will be detected before it does it job. Everything looks normal…and then the desk starts singing.

The first step is to get a musical greeting card. Look for one that operates with a tab attached to the front of the card, like this one:

Look for a tab like the white one on this card

Cut the card, removing most of the front and back. Doing so makes the card more compact and easy to conceal. Leave a long strip extending from the tab. Be very careful around the sound device in the back of the card. The wires are fine and easy to cut.

When you cut the card, save the scraps and the envelope. You’ll use those later.

When you’ve finished cutting, the card should look like this:

We’re going to focus on the portion at the top.

Make a chain of rubber bands and tape them to the front of the card. The rubber bands will connect to the back of a drawer and the drawer’s motion will activate the card. Using rubber bands provides enough slack to keep the drawer from pulling the card apart or dislodging it once it is in place.

Correctly assembled, your card should now look like this:

When you cut up the card, you’ll have scraps left over. Save them. When you put your device on your victim’s desk, take the card scraps and put them in a trash can next to the desk of someone who is not in on the joke. Your victim will go looking for who is responsible for pranking him. By deflecting attention to someone who had nothing to do with it, you get the benefit of playing a prank on two people at the same time.

Remember, not your trash can. Pick someone and put this in their trash.

Your homework is to go get a musical greeting card. In the next post, I’ll show you how to set your device up on a desk and provide a video of how it works.

Speaking of video, here’s one that I created to explain what we’ve discussed so far:

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23 Comments on “Practical Joke 101 – Musical Greeting Card Desk”

  1. A cliff-hanger! I love two pranks for the price of one!

  2. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    Fantastic idea! There’s really no harm involved, either. I love a good amusing prank.

    The framing is the mark of an expert.

    Once upon a time at camp, we snuck to the other portion of the camp & wrapped duct tape around their rolls of toilet paper, making them inaccessible.

    When caught & punished, we were told we should have left the duct tape on the front porch of a cabin that wasn’t ours. We had much to learn.

  3. Betty says:

    Wow…busy day at the office?

  4. Lenore Diane says:

    Sounds like the perfect crime. I’ll get away with it, too, provided there are no pesky kids around at the time.

    I look forward to the next installment. Ironically, I am heading to the store today to get a card for my son. Tomorrow is his 6th birthday. I’ll be sure to pick up an extra card, too!

  5. Debbie says:

    I’d like to be a fly on the wall of your office when the pranks come to light!

  6. It’s times like this that I wish I didn’t work from home. I would ROCK this.

    • omawarisan says:

      Here’s the plan. Pull one of the drawers out of Joe’s dresser. Put it in there.

      Actually, your probably going to have to pull two out so you can reach the back of the drawer to connect the rubber bands.

  7. Just don’t forget to take that out of your pocket before you try to get on an airplane!

  8. robincoyle says:

    Remind me to not sit next to you in the office. You are evil!

    • omawarisan says:

      No! You’d have a good time. I’ve got toys in my cube and if someone came and talked to you and you couldnt get away, I would dial your number to give you a way out of the conversation. Come on, we’ve got a year to try it out. After that, you’re going to have to work with someone else.

  9. […] Practical Joke 101 – Musical Greeting Card Desk […]

  10. […] So let us all be mindful. Don’t rush out to buy the newest gadget just because you can. Don’t toss batteries or electronic devices in the trash. When faced with e-waste, try to recycle it — check with your local authority or with Earth911. If there are no reputable recycling options, see if you can reuse the item. (In this case, that last suggestion seems a mite less practical — unless you’ve been yearning to use “Call Me Maybe” for your doorbell, music box, or dubious office prank.) […]

  11. […] the deeds obvious enough for him to know about. (For instance, I know he went in search of who did this to our boss’ […]

  12. […] I worked, I had plenty of targets who took my sense of humor well. Over the course of my career, I rigged desks, computers and cars. I caused a Japanese beetle swarm and redecorated my captain’s […]


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