loading

Hidden money/paper compartment in pencil (With stuff you already have!)

Featured
Picture of Hidden money/paper compartment in pencil (With stuff you already have!)

You've seen it copied around the internet, but here's the original!

This is another SYAH (Stuff you already have) Instructable. In it, I will be showing you how I created a secret compartment for money or paper that fits inside a working pencil. It can also be used as a handy way to store a grocery list, reminders, or pass secret messages to friends. It may take a couple of tries to get one that comes out right, but it is pretty simple to do. I used a similar idea in a pen, but I was not as pleased with how that turned out. As a result, I have chosen to come back to give this one another try in a more effective, sleek, and clever design.
If you are interested in the original pen version, click Here.

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Supplies

Okay, so the supplies list is pretty short for this one. You will need...
- A paperclip
- Something to put into the compartment (Paper, money, note) and of course, a...
- Pencil!
For tools, we will be using...
- Pliers
-Wire cutters
-Drill press (With a vice or some other method of mounting the pencil vertically to the press)
-Drill bits

Step 2: Opening

Picture of Opening
In order to keep the compartment hidden, I found the one place we could keep it covered up: the eraser. Just give that a nice, slow tug and it comes right off. Hold on to both the pencil body and the eraser, we will be joining them together later.

Step 3: Prepare for Drilling

Before we can drill, we will need to choose our drill bit. By holding the end that goes into the drill, we can see how big a hole we will create. Choose your bit wisely: The bigger the hole, the easier it is to mess up. However, with a bigger hole comes the ability to hold more stuff.

Step 4: Prepare for drilling part 2

Picture of Prepare for drilling part 2
3.JPG
4.JPG
5.JPG
6.JPG
8.JPG
Once the bit is chosen, we will put it, along with our pencil, into the vice mounted on the bed of the drill press. Notice how the pencil is perfectly vertical, as found by the square tool. (That's the one that looks like a metal triangle in the second image.)
I also set the height of the bed such that the drill would bottom out before it hit the two-thirds mark of the pencil. When I was sure that the all of these things were true, I set the bit to line up with the center of the pencil. With everything set, I drilled away all that I didn't want, and I had a hollow pencil. When I was done, I marked how deep in the hole was. It's information that will come in handy later.

Step 5: Adding a hook

We could just put the eraser back on and end it there, but sometimes the paper will get stuck inside the barrel. What we really need is a small wire that will pull the paper out for us, or at least give us a tool to use if we find ourselves in a jam. I choose to use a paperclip for this task.
To use the paperclip as a hook, I simply straightened one piece of a paperclip and cut off the rest that I didn't need. I compared the length of my wire to how deep the hole was, and found it was far too long. To fix this, I trimmed the excess off, too. When I had a satisfactory length, I pushed it into the eraser that we removed earlier. I then took two pliers to add a small bend in the end of the wire.

Step 6: The inserted

Picture of The inserted
17.JPG
18mod1.jpg
Now that we have a compartment, what will we put in it? I choose to put in some paper, so to do this, I cut an appropriate height based on the length of the wire. I then rolled it into a loose cylinder and rolled it tighter. (See the photo for the best way to roll in order to tighten the paper.) When it was tight enough to slide over the wire and fight inside the metal holding for the eraser, I slid the paper over the wire and continued my rolling. At some point, it became tight enough to put into the compartment in the pencil, and so I slid it inside. Be careful that you aren't forcing it too much, as I did that and ended up getting the paper stuck inside the hole (and because I could not remove it, I had to start over). If it is too tight, you have a few options. You can widen to hole, trim the end off of the paper, or try to twist the further. A combination of these will probably works best for you.

Step 7: Completion

Picture of Completion
20.JPG
19.JPG
Now that's all of the pieces done. All we need to do is put it all together, but proceed with caution! As I said before, the paper can get stuck, and all of the graphite in there will get all over your paper. There is a simple solution: Take a piece of paper you cut to the right size, put it in, and swirl it around. Tear off the dirtied part, and repeat. You could also try to wash it out, but watch out for mold.

Step 8: TaDa!

Picture of TaDa!
21.JPG
And there you have it! With your new pencil, you can stash money, secret messages, or perhaps a grocery list, all at the convenience of a pencil. Please let me know what you thought, including your comments, thoughts, and suggestions. As always, have a nice day!
/AssemblyRequired

If you want to see the original pen I was talking about, you can see it Here.
1-40 of 62Next »
sarawelder1 year ago
this was done during World War 2 in the Derwent pencil factory in the lake district in England.
The pencils had maps of the areas in Germany where paratroopers were dropped to help them escape. The Nazi's never worked this out and the pencils were not confiscated.
There is a small museum at the pencil factory ( they still make great pencils) telling this story.
Very interesting.
assemblyrequired (author)  sarawelder1 year ago
That's a fascinating piece of history... Thanks for sharing!
sonisimi3 months ago

this is awesome

_H31 year ago
Nice idea
mirar11 year ago

Awesome idea. Perhaps you could also use a tiny brush to cover the inside with a thin layer of paint, glue, etc. instead of cleaning out the inside?

jimbob14001 year ago
If you just put a small piece of paper in it the graphite wouldn't be a problem awesome idea too
assemblyrequired (author)  jimbob14001 year ago

Thanks for the idea and comment!

telfon1 year ago
Quick tip: Put the pencil in the drill press and make the drill bit itself stationary below. Then the bit will automatically self-center the hole in the pencil.
assemblyrequired (author)  telfon1 year ago
Thanks for the tip!
assemblyrequired (author)  telfon1 year ago
Thanks for the tip!
Ravirar1 year ago
Wow! Cool! Faved
GrfxGawd1 year ago
I recently saw a product listed for purchase, and item supposedly employed by the former KGG. It's a variation on your idea but will almost certain require access to a mill or lathe, though some well chosen hand tools and a good vise and drill could make do in a pinch. I think the photo alone gives most of what anyone would need to understand about constructing a similar item, along with some understanding of basic tooling and machining. Beware hardened metals, if using such an item do some research on how to handle machining them before potentially ruining bits and other tools.
Bolt Storage Project.jpg
iceng GrfxGawd1 year ago
My family enjoys geocaching and this would be fun stocking suffers :-) 

Would you please point me to the web site that sells these bolts?

A
GrfxGawd iceng1 year ago
Do not fall for those inferior Western Capitalist Pig fakes comrade! Accept only product Mother Russia provides, dah!
http://shop.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=1344362
http://www.spyville.com/spy-bolt-hidden-safe.html
http://www.lockpickshop.com/SPY-BOLT.html
http://www.amazon.com/Spy-Covert-Hidden-Contents-Container/dp/B0036QVSN8
http://www.amazon.com/Diversion-Valuables-Clever-totally-stealth/dp/B001IZ2VYE/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_img_z
http://www.amazon.com/Nut-Bolt-Secret-Diversion-Safe/dp/B007RZ3KXA/ref=pd_sim_hi_11 (Most convincing I see outside Mother Russia)
Many more found using simple search. One drawback, almost all are machined so that anyone trained to spot such things will easily see it for what it is. When I do my instructable, my method will make a nearly undetectable connection between screw head and body. I have also considered ways to secure the top so it can be threaded and unthreaded from an actual bolt hole without the top coming off and revealing interior. Two trick to this - One to make it look like naturally occurring damage/distress mark, and second, simple to get small object into it to remove the pin.
assemblyrequired (author)  iceng1 year ago
Actually, I did see a version of this available from the geocaching website store... here's a link: http://shop.geocaching.com/default/magnetic-bolt-geocache-container.html
:D
Thanks for finding that pointer.

BTW I was amazed how big a drill bit you used without splintering the pencil body.
  • Did you choose s soft lead pencil ?
  • Do you think a pilot hole could let you get a clean bore hole ?

Obviously, I enjoyed your ible ;-)
assemblyrequired (author)  iceng1 year ago
I did not specifically choose a soft lead pencil, and the pencil used is one of those ones you can get a box of 75 for 5$. I got them from staples, and they are plain old number 2 HB. I think a pilot hole is a great idea, and could make things a lot easier. The main way I was able to get such a big hole was by making sure the pencil was perfectly vertical, and I drilled slowly to ensure a clean hole that did not put too much pressure on the body. I did have one that I went to quickly on, and it created a noticeable crack all the way down. One method for creating a perfectly centered hole was brought to my attention by "Matt2 Silver" and he posted a link to an article explaining just that: http://vik-olliver.blogspot.com/2010/02/drilling-down-middle.html

I am glad to see you enjoyed it!
I was just thinking what a great gift Instructables is.
People like you put a lot of effort into showing what they do, and how they do it, and what they use, and shoot pictures and write descriptions and tool lists and materials lists.
And they ask nothing from their students, but a kindly "Thank you."
Well,
Thank you.
The Instructable makers would be nowhere without the viewers that enjoy the work they put into it, so Thank you! it is the thoughtful comments like yours that make Instructables such a great environment for thinkers, makers, and doers. I am glad to see you enjoyed, so with great gusto I reply, "You are welcome!"
RingoWild1 year ago
brilliant!
assemblyrequired (author)  RingoWild1 year ago
Glad you enjoyed!
jtdvasquez1 year ago
Another way to drill down the center of the pencil would be to use a spare block of wood and drill a hole with a drill bit the width of the pencil. This would give you a hole where you can insert the pencil and be assured it's lined up with your drill press. This also protects your pencil from teeth marks from the vise.
assemblyrequired (author)  jtdvasquez1 year ago
That's a very clever solution, thanks for posting!
an air duster with the long, red skinny straw nozzle would clean out the graphite nicely.
very nice 'ible, btw!
Thank you, and thanks for the suggestion!
You should enter this in the secret compartment comp
I actually can't because of when I posted this... Maybe I'll do an improved version of it, or something. Thanks for bringing the contest up, I never would have known otherwise!
Sometimes I need to take a note and I have just a pencil and no paper. Perfect
Glad to be able to help!
GrfxGawd1 year ago
I recently saw a product listed for purchase, and item supposedly employed by the former KGB. It's a variation on your idea but will almost certainly require access to a mill or lathe, though some well chosen hand tools (tap and die for instance) and a good vise and drill could make do in a pinch. I think the photo alone gives most of what anyone would need to understand about constructing a similar item, along with some understanding of basic tooling and machining. Beware hardened metals, do some research on how to handle machining them before potentially ruining bits and other tools.
Bolt Storage Project.jpg
assemblyrequired (author)  GrfxGawd1 year ago
that is very cool, thanks for sharing!
I fully intend to make it one of my first projects when I get my new mill uncrated and ready for use. I'll be sure to "ible" it for the posterity of all. :)
assemblyrequired (author)  GrfxGawd1 year ago
I look forward to seeing it!
Excellent !
But beware the pencil doesn't betray you by automatically, albeit unwillingly, writing or drawing the content of the hidden message when being put inadvertently on a shit of paper while you're not there !…

Great spy stories ended up in the gallows for things as stupid as that…
Excellent !
But beware the pencil doesn't betray you by automatically, albeit unwillingly, writing or drawing the content of the hidden message when being put inadvertently on a shit of paper while you're not there !…

Great spy stories ended up in the gallows for things as stupid as that…
Kasm2791 year ago
This makes me think of something Light would do... (Death Note reference)
assemblyrequired (author)  Kasm2791 year ago
Better hope he doesn't read this 'Ible then!
Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1-40 of 62Next »