Introduction: Bookcase / Han in Carbonite Hidden Door

Picture of Bookcase / Han in Carbonite Hidden Door

This is a bit of strange one. I got a lot of the concepts from other hidden bookcase door tutorials, but added some twists of my own.

the concept is a bookcase built-in that can swivel to reveal an entrance to a room.

When my home was constructed I saved some money on interior doors by having archways installed.  this is pretty cool for open rooms like my dining room and game room, but for my theater not so much.  you really need it dark in there to enjoy a movie.  In my head I have pondered adding a regular door, but then I saw an instructable for using IKEA bookcases as a hidden door partition and it clicked what I wanted to do. 

Objective was to achieve a hidden door look, mix in my love of Star Wars and close off the theater.

Aprroximate total cost was about $150

(little quick edit here, just to be clear it's $150 not including Han, which if it's a DIY sculpt could be a few bucks or for a custom made or even licensed product could be $$$$$.  I will hopefully be adding in some info on how to get at least the face casts, like you see on my wall outside the theater)

update: added a vid of the finished product, it also shows the bookcase out of the archway.

Step 1: Determine the Size of the Opening

Picture of Determine the Size of the Opening

The size of the opening has a lot of do with the look and operation of the door. 

I wanted a built in look, with 3 sections.  this allowed me to have the certain bookcase be my "door"

My approach was to find a way to have the bookcases appear to be static, yet roll open when needed.

As you can see in the photo, I have an arch to deal with as well as an opening of about 59"

I decided to get 2 CD towers from IKEA (Billy model) and one 30" bookcase from Walmart. 

Step 2: Minding the Gap

Picture of Minding the Gap

Now that you have your bookcases you have to start making some aesthetic choices.  In order to have decent clearances I opted to space out th bookcases and use 5.5" boards as trim.

In this pic you can see the bookshelfs are fairly spaced apart, but the boards help to make them look like one piece.

I used angle brackets and put in a board across the top.  this helps to stabilize the shelves as well as provide a top pivot point for the center bookcase (which I'll go into later)

Step 3: How to Make the Door "swing"

Picture of How to Make the Door "swing"

Okay, here's where it gets kinda tricky.  the keys to a hidden door are the hinges have to be hidden.  there are a couple ways to handle this, if you door will swing in, you can simply put the hinges on the back.  I however wanted my door to swing out so the carbonite block can be seen as you open the door.

What I did was put the whole center bookshelf on wheels.  I then mounted thread pipe floor flanges with threaded pipe inserted in them.  I drilled a hole in the board I mounted accross the doorway and this allows the bookcase to swing in a fixed arc.

Step 4: Make It Look Pretty

Picture of Make It Look Pretty

I added some trim here and there.  Take note of where the door opens and that your trim doesn't hamper the doors movement.  This was a bit of trial an error for me.

Also in my case I mounted the trim to the center bookcase on one side and mounted it to the fixed bookcases on the other.  this really helps to conceal the shelf as well as providing the handle to open the door.

Step 5: Drop It Like It's Han

Picture of Drop It Like It's Han

You can just leave the back plain I guess.  I was going to put a movie poster frame on the back and make it look like a marquee from the inside, but I happened to have a Han in Carbonite sculpt laying around.

Alright, this piece isn't something you can just come accross.  Best I can tell ya is search the net.  There is a yahoogroup

I happened to find someone with a custom sculpt of just the body parts which was perfect for this project.  He does not sell em anymore, but on Ebay you can sometimes find the face.  the body I think would be an easy sculpt.

I mounted the casting on a thin board and then used bondo and bondo resin jelly to smooth it in and give a "carbonite" look.

Step 6: Get It All Together and See How It Works!

Picture of Get It All Together and See How It Works!

Once it's all together I have to make some adjustments to the trim to make the door swing right. 

I also used a black satin finish.  The satin hides a lot of imperfections and gaps.

Here's a video of the bookcase during construction so you can see how it works


OutdoorKid (author)2014-01-29

Is there a master chief helmet on your shelf?!?

KilMe_Zniper (author)2013-11-27

I want to make my room like that its cool if your room is hidden no one will disturb you and i can hide from my mom and little sister their bit annoying sometimes hey. man can you share me another thing like this because my little sis keep using my computer i hate others using my stuff thanks for sharing :3

enagel3 (author)2013-03-23


thatoneguydavid (author)2009-12-10

is there really no more info you can offer about the body cast?

nylanan (author)thatoneguydavid2009-12-10

man, I wish I could tell ya more.  the guy I got it from was a flake and fell of the  face of the earth pretty much and ended up stiffing some people so I'm lucky I got mine and that was about a year ago.  my cast was a thin resin cast with some sloppy work done on it.

Honesty if I had the time, money and skill I'd offer up casts of mine now that i've worked on it a bit.

The yahoogroup is where I got all the info and pics so a start there will get you pointed in the right direction

DIY-Guy (author)nylanan2013-02-03

Something really cool in the world of open source would be a 3D scan of the face on the cast, and a 3D point cloud file (sorry I don't know what the technical name is) so people could sculpt the face with a plastic extrusion printer. I wonder if the actor or his film company owns the rights to the casting of his face?

twighahn (author)2012-10-15

i like the secret door bookcase idea for a panic room

twighahn (author)2012-10-15

i like the secret door bookcase idea for a panic room

Pixie Puddle (author)2012-09-30

oh my that is soo awesome :)

Tuhua Tarakona (author)2012-06-14

Love the design on the INside of your bookcase door!! :^)

highjacked (author)2011-10-02

Does it have a magnet or latch to help keep it closed? Or closed enough so there isn't a possible gap?

Schmidty850 (author)2011-06-01

Looks as if the entrance when the door is open is quite small.....

hectoretorres209 (author)2010-05-26

I like it!!! the han in carbonite part!!!

meskarune (author)2010-03-26

This is the most awesome thing I have ever seen.

Very Keri (author)2009-12-24

Could you have rigged this so it opens in? It seems like there would be more room to walk through that way. I really like how you finished the whole thing, but having to turn sideways and crab walk in would be a deal breaker for me.  Alternately, what if you did a track, so you could push it back and then slide it to the side, kind of like how you open the side door to a large van? If I were you, I wouldn't go back and wreck my project just to test this theory, but I'm just kind of thinking out loud. My husband wants a "man" room and I think it would be really cool to do something like this to hide the overstuffed recliner and NCAA paraphernalia that he plans on putting in there.

mettaurlover (author)Very Keri2009-12-31

It's possible to do that, but not a really good idea unless you have an existing sliding door well wide enough for a bookcase or you're willing ot cut a huge hole in your wall. It's pretty simple once you get past that part, though. You just need a couple of tracks that met the sliding track to the side in the ceiling, a spring mount on the side opposite the door in a hidden place that will pull the door back into place, and a bookcase that you'd do this to.

originalwynne (author)2009-12-20

big ass christmas tree! nice instructible, really cool idea =D

Tinderbox (author)2009-12-18

Very nice, can't wait until I'm out of student digs and into my own place so I can do stuff like this!!

That is exactly what I was thinking!

dee2 (author)2009-12-17

 If the door was fully constructed and ready to install, what do you think would be the cost to install the door? Take into consideration that the door way would have to be squared up first to prepare for the install. Also, how much time do you think it would take to install the door?

ranmawolf (author)2009-12-17

This *so* rocks!! HAIL!! ^_^ 

I like that you didn't opt for swivelable wheels and chose stationary ones - much more stable.

Yerboogieman (author)2009-12-17

Hmm, I like it. Very smooth.

THE GOOSE (author)2009-12-17

GREAT JOB!!! I love how you have each side of the door looking totally different. 2 thumbs up!

SenordrummeR2 (author)2009-12-17

That's pretty amazing! I've thought about doing one of these. What about a means of egress? If someone puts something in front of the bookcase while you are inside, how do you get out? Or do you just wait it out like Chevy Chase did in Christmas Vacation?

Very cool work. Thanks for posting!

Transquesta (author)2009-12-17

Doooood!   Awesome work!

One thing, though.  After about six months of opening and closing, you're gonna egg out that upper hole through which the pipe 'hinge' protrudes.  Pine's a soft wood, so expect to have to make a bushing.  I'd suggest drilling out a couple of flanges. Looks like you have just enough space above and below the header to accommodate the same type of flange you've used on top of the shelf unit.

. . . Any, like everybody else has indicated, this is EXCELLENT craftsmanship!

jonkun227 (author)2009-12-17

 FANTASTIC! This gives me so many ideas. Thank you! 

Cycrolus (author)2009-12-14

That's freaking awesome. Oh and bonus points for the Transformers and Halo stuff!

iamrusky (author)2009-12-14

 no way is this real... you watch movies in jabba's palace! too cool.

Phratpirate (author)2009-12-12

I am jealous of your Christmas Vacation Moosehead Cup... I know how much $$$ a set of those are, you are indeed a lucky man.

asyrith (author)2009-12-11

I so love you! You are my new hero! Everything about this is so epic. Thank you for sharing. Total nerdvana.

JuxtaposedPink (author)2009-12-11

This is so awesome! I am pretty convinced I am capable of making my own sculpt, so I am SO going to have to try this one. Thanks for posting!

werfu (author)2009-12-10

 Realy cool man, you should try some far opening heavy-duty hinges to get the shelf open further. BTW its a realy nice christmas tree, you should post a pic of it :)

snelpiller (author)2009-12-10

Dude thats amazing! you did a really good job, be proud! you should add a video now when its finsihed, and not just the one where its halfdone

nylanan (author)snelpiller2009-12-10

got the vid of the finished bookcase up :D

nylanan (author)snelpiller2009-12-10

thanks man!

Yeah, you are right.  I need to take a video.  Actually it's a good time, all the christmas stuff is in the attic access in that room so I had to move the shelf to get the tree and stuff out.  Will hopefully explain it better if you can see how it works.

I'm on it!

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