Picture of Hidden Compartment In Everyday Door
There are two crucial characteristics that make any secret compartment successful at keeping your personal effects truly personal. The first is that the access point of the compartment must be hidden from sight. The second is that the compartment must be very easy to access. This is important as there may come a time where you need to access the contents of the compartment, but do not have time to dig something out of your yard or pry off some floorboard underneath the furnace. 

This instructable will show you how to create a hidden compartment that fits these specifications perfectly, allowing easy access to a well hidden secret compartment.

This Instructable will show you how to create a hidden compartment in a hollow core door. This compartment will be able to hold a standard sized hanging folder, which you may used to hide any relatively thin secret object. The compartment is incredibly easy to access, simply needing to be able to reach the top of the door either standing on the ground or with the help of a stool or chair.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
- Hollow core door
- Hanging folder
- Paint mixing stick (Got mine from Home Depot)
- Wood Glue
- Curtain rod mount/bracket about  ( Can also be replaced with small piece of wood if bracket cannot be found )

- Multitool
- Circular Saw (I used a plywood blade)
- Drill (With the smallest bit you own)
- Carpenter's file
- Small clamps
- Band clamps (or some way to keep the door still when sawing)
1-40 of 45Next »
jack-ee1 month ago

Love this idea! I will probably just use a hand saw for mine. I am not that worried about having a clean, perfect cut for this. No one will ever see it. Thank you for sharing!

uncle frogy11 months ago

it would not be any harder to make a box out of fiberboard or paneling that would fit inside the cavity and fill the surrounding void with some spay foam insulation. if the "linerbox" was stiff enough and glued by the foam to the door skin it might mitigate the lose of integrity in the door caused by the modification

uncle frogy

I must say I am glad someone took my suggestion. About a month ago a gent did an instructable on a hidden compartment in a shelf, I suggested that a hollow door woud work as well and we joked about it. Glad to see someone made one.

You can use spray in place foam and cut pieces of wood slats (paint sticks as seen here aglue 3 to fit the space you want (to make a U) spray in foam and push in the U shaped wood. form Weight it down to make it stay in place, then follow this gents instructable. But that isn'n needed, just push the thing in after squirting in glue at the bottom of the area (my doors had honey comb paper in them). If there is no inner honeycomb, drill two holes in the sides of the u shape (before assembly) Glue up the U allow to dry, then apply glue to the edges (a good amount) so there is enough to stick the door skin to the Uframe, screw in place temporarily, then remove the screws after it sets. You could then make a "drawer " that sits in the door.

nice instructable, thanks

makingthings (author)  spark master1 year ago

Hi spark master,

I honestly didn't even see your original suggestion, but it sounds like you've come up with some great ideas for the implementation.

Thanks for the comment

stanwitham1 year ago

I forgot to add something else. Instead of us a circular saw a person could use a jig saw. There would be less mess and you would have more control over cutting. Thanks for sharing your idea!

makingthings (author)  stanwitham1 year ago

I first tried a jig saw on the project, but I ran into trouble as I was on my own doing the cutting and the door vibrated to the point where I could not make a clean cut. So i opted for the longer straighter cut of the circular saw.

I suppose with better support when cutting the jigsaw could be much easier.

Thanks for the tip!

danzo3211 year ago

"Closer to the SIDE of the door", right?

makingthings (author)  danzo3211 year ago

oops, thanks. I'll be sure to fix that.

danzo3211 year ago

Why is the slot so much wider (fatter) than the folder? You lose the strength of the door.

makingthings (author)  danzo3211 year ago

This was mostly just to match the approximate sizes of the paint stirrers and the hanging brackets I had. I also thought that it may be difficult to grab the folder if the opening was too narrow. The width could be made much thinner to keep some of the door's strength, but I simply chose what I thought fit my needs best.

danzo3211 year ago

Is your door empty? I thought they had paper honeycomb in there.

makingthings (author)  danzo3211 year ago

This door did have some cardboard strips that zigzagged down the insides, I forgot to elaborate in the instructable. I'll be sure to mention that. Thank you

I like the idea, but have to ask.... with a swift opening of the door, does the hidden compartment folder flap around inside the door to audibly give away that there is something inside the door?
makingthings (author)  jschermerhorn11 year ago

Hi thanks for commenting.

I considered this as a potential problem and I attempted to address it by placing the opening on the side of the door closest to the hinge so there would not be as much velocity as near the outside of the door.

When I used the door I did not notice it, but I only kept light objects in there such as papers. I suspect that if a heavier/harder object was kept in the folder it would make some noise.

David Catriel's idea is great, I didn't even think of using padding, but some foam on either side should elimate most if not all noise.

I thought the same thing.

The easiest way around this would be to buy foam sheets (the kind used to stuff pillows) and add them to the folder so that it takes up the entire width of the door.

Excellent - this is what I was going to recommend.

agulesin1 year ago

Nice idea but two things came to mind:

1) mentioned by another commenter) the door is weakened by cutting out the topmost wooden support, this might have a lone-term affect on the closing of the door - especially if you've got kids that like to hang on door handles to swing on the door!

2) There's a high possibility of putting the folder into the space at an angle and small things falling out of the gaps at the ends - maybe tape them up or a few staples would be sufficient.

3) What happens if the folder falls down inside the door? it could be great fun to get it out again!! :-))

makingthings (author)  agulesin1 year ago

Hi agulesin, when I started this project I knew that the strength of the door would be weakened, but I suppose I figured it would most likely be on a closet door that is not used nearly as roughly as a entrance door to a room.

About things falling out of the side I did mention taping the sides of the folder, but it was kind of added as a afterthought, so I can see how it may have been missed. (I almost couldn't even find it, its in the last step).

With the folder falling down inside the door I tested it on my implementation, and the only way it would fit through the gap was if the folder was severely warped or put in at over a 45 degree angle, which I imagine would not happen often.

Thanks for commenting

Great Instructable! Anyway it could be made fireproof?

Probably not. Aren't firedoors super thick? I know they weigh a ton, and are probably treated with something.

virefi1 year ago


marhar1 year ago

This is a great idea... I'm voting for it!

One thing that makes this idea even more practical is that if the door locks then the hidden compartment is even harder to get to. It could be just the thing for a locking closet door in an apartment, for example.

Very nice

Great idea, I worked in a door shop for eight years machining doors and frames and I never though of it!! Damn

heathbar641 year ago

Love it! I'm totally doing this the next time I'm home alone.

DeeRilee1 year ago



I vote.

My personal Instructable to this project : if you do not win this contest enter a new one until you win. You must be winning. Such a good idea and good thinking.

chuckyd1 year ago

Now, everybody on instructables know where you keep your stash!!

stanwitham1 year ago

Very good instructable! One idea to make it easier to remove the cover would be to cut a notch on both sides of the opening into the board on top and the side vertical frame. That way the cover could rest on those two points. Again very cool idea. You have my vote!

Brilliant. Now if we could only fireproof the door :)

denbecr1 year ago

Should have won the contest.

arnox1 year ago


I have nothing to hide (yet!) but your idea is very clever and most probably impossible to find!!! Great job!

ddj01951 year ago

Since the door is actually hollow, and your folder has open sides....

What will you do when repeated open/close of the door causes the folder contents to slip out the side of the folder?

This is not a great place to hide documents, but if you close the sides of the folder it could be used to hide cash or jewelry. Just remember, if things fall out of the folder, you will have to take down the door in order to shake out the hidden contents.

If you choose to hide things of value, be sure to tell your next of kin so they don't leave your diamonds in the door when they sell the estate.

Jelfia ddj01951 year ago

he did states at the end "The very last thing I did was tape the sides of the hanging folder so that nothing would fall out of the folder as the door is swung open and closed."

mwm29291 year ago
Wonderful idea! Not sure why everyone is concerned about fireproofing, but I think it's great . You might even be able to add a thin layer of spray on truck bed liner, to deaden the sound and soften the blow of the objects in the folder. Other than that, I would change nothing.
bakdrft1 year ago

Great idea except when there is a FIRE

Mielameri1 year ago
Great idea! One of those solutions that are simple and effective :)!
kaijura1 year ago

unable to vote? did you enter the contest?

msmith1401 year ago
Fantastic idea! So simple and elegant a solution. You get my vote.
1-40 of 45Next »