Introduction: How to Make a Secret Door/book Case

My good friends recently renovated their attic and were able to close off some of the “unusable” space into a secret room. My friend has wanted to have a secret room his entire life, and with their first child on his way soon, the recent renovation was the perfect way to make it happen. The whole idea is for his son, in about four years, to find a secret playroom in his house!

The renovation left an opening for me to build the bookcase in, framed out simply as a short door frame. Even though the walls are new construction, the floor and ceiling have been around since the 1920’s. Old construction adds a whole lot of variables to making built in cabinetry, and I definitely ran into lots of hurdles because of it.

Step 1: How to Make a Secret Door/book Case

Picture of How to Make a Secret Door/book Case

The front face was made with pocket holes and fits the opening of the room. Then add pieces for the fronts of the shelves. The cabinet is made from MDF, sized to the inside dimensions of the face frame. It was a basic box, attached with glue and countersunk screws. Make pocket holes on the side panels, to connect the face frame.

Step 2:

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Using a square, draw reference lines for placing the shelves. Cut MDF for shelves, and drill pocket holes in the underside. Using glue, line up the shelves, before screwing them in on all sides. Fill holes on the frame with wood filler, then sand smooth. Add 1/8″ plywood to each shelf with a few brads, making it easy to remove in case of emergency.

Step 3:

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Glue on a reinforcing strip on the back of the hinge side of the frame. Use the included template to place the hinges. These hidden hinges work great for this application. Drill holes, per hinge instructions. Clean out the mortise with a knife and chisel. Place the hinge, pre drill the holes, then screw them in place. Attach heavy duty casters, angled AWAY from the hinge side.

Step 4:

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Cut pieces of wood, and wrap them in a book cover. Attach them with glue.

Step 5:

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Set the cabinet in place, and mark the center of the hinge. Cut hinges as before. Screw hinges to the door frame.

Step 6:

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Make a bracket the same depth as the cabinet, to hold the latch. Add pocket holes, for attaching it to the door frame. Screw the bracket to the door frame, from both sides. Attach the stationary part of the latch to the bracket. Add a support and the latch to the back of the cabinet.

Step 7:

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Cut out a slot, above the latch, for the wire to pass through. Add an eyelet and thick gauge wire to the back of the book. Using a hinge, connect the book to the shelf. Feed the wire through the slot you made previously. Attach the wire to the latch. Adjust so that the book opens and closes the latch.

Step 8:

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All done! Take your time, adjust as needed, and it will work out great!

Step 9: More Projects

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If you like this project, you might like some of my other ones! I make ALL SORTS of stuff, check out my site at


sara_101 (author)2016-12-28

i would like one! but idk what i would keep there!

D'ANGELOF (author)2016-01-01

His son is going to enjoy that when he does find it. Boys love "Secret rooms"

JamesW33 (author)D'ANGELOF2016-01-21

So do girls, my sister has always wanted one, even now.

BroWolf (author)2016-01-02

you sir, need to stop trying to rain on other people JUST for the sake of doing so....while your statements in and of themselves are correct

may I point out that few if any people looking for money in the pages of books DO SO IN A CHILDS ROOM

and as an ex-law enforcement officer I do know of which I speak, in direct difference to you

This is a WONDERFUL project, one I wish I had known about when my daughter was growing up. Guess I will have to save it for grandkids :)

kori261 (author)2016-01-01

Very cool... Will be adding this to my home when I find one. Haha still in an apartment but house shopping now. Will definitely have to make sure that I can integrate this somewhere in the house. Thanks for the guide.

GardenGranny (author)2015-05-05

You made me laugh, MichaelG9...I mean, hHow many people do you actually think will be grabbing books in their attic looking for hidden cash? AND, once they DO find the secret door, it isn't like they found their way into a secret vault holding valuables...they'll have found their way into a child's play room. WOO HOO! Won't that burglar be disappointed?

D'ANGELOF (author)GardenGranny2016-01-01

LOL you made my day @GardenGranny! so funny...

ziggybass (author)2016-01-01

Show us how to do it with Pallet wood, no cross cut saw bench, and workshop. I'm seriously interested! Thank you!

pmjett (author)2015-05-05

Is the snark necessary? I believe the intent here was for fun. Of course, if the goal was for a panic room, a whole different level of design would be called for. For a fun, not hiding from people with evil intent, secret room- I think it's great.

MexoplexJ (author)pmjett2015-05-06

the snark WAS necessary. He made a valid point-gruff but pertinent. When you do this Instructable, be wary of making it suspicious.

BenandreSTAR (author)MexoplexJ2015-12-31

You're the same person,giving yourself praise..hacked!:)

BennyD80 (author)pmjett2015-12-31

All true. And as we can see here, with G9, some people feel compelled to suck the fun out of everything.

Yonatan24 (author)pmjett2015-08-11

1. Burglar goes to rob a house

2. There is nothing in the expensive in the house, so nothing to steal

3 Goes to read a book...

boocat (author)pmjett2015-05-21

I think this project is fun and clever. Thanks for putting it together.

Addressing the "snark", I didn't get the impression this was in any way intended as a panic room, but someplace quiet to have a private tea party with Winnie and Rabbit and friends.

I think this charming idea sounds very pleasant and appropriate. So don't listen to silliness.

Questor (author)2015-12-31

I'm sorry for you

BenandreSTAR (author)Questor2015-12-31

Wow Michael...are you always so upbeat abd optimistic

Questor (author)2015-12-31

I've always wondered . . . . going in, without people seeing you, is one thing. But, how do you know no-one is around as you're leaving your secret place. IF someone sees you leaving, your secret lair is blown.

Questor (author)2015-12-31

he may be speaking from experience . . . one side or the other . . .

KristinK3 (author)2015-12-31

My childhood has been resurrected! Fantastic!

notabularasa (author)2015-12-31

I love these hidden doors. I made one with a sliding cabinet as a door. I mounted heavy duty drawer slides horizontally on the back of a wooden bookcase, then screwed the other portion to a wall. I attached wheels under the center of the bookcase to lighten the load. I cut a section of drywall between two studs for a doorway. The bookcase covers the opening but slides sideways to reveal the opening. I used a metal cable and pulley inside the room so that the cabinet can be pulled back into place from the inside. This was a father/son project I did and had a blast creating it. I've never seen another one like it. I'll throw up an instructable in a few days.

Seth Culver (author)2015-12-31

Outstanding....It is fun to see other people go...."nuts! it does quite fit" I am a subscriber now

Boomer1 (author)2015-12-31

"Put ze candle back!"

PatriciaD18 (author)2015-12-31

OMG why do SNARKS even visit sites like this. And if the thieves and burglars and crooks come in "LET 'EM EAT BOOKS"

PatriciaD18 (author)2015-12-31

I think this is the best thing since white bread. I absolutely love the total idea. I, too, love hidden rooms. My attic used to be "IT." Thanks for sharing t his great brainstorm.

jrobinson43 (author)2015-08-22

This is crazy cool.

Ashwin e i (author)2015-06-28

Wow! Why didn't my parents think of this :D Good job!

krazytechboy (author)2015-06-24


PikeMinnow (author)2015-05-17

In that case, wouldn't the solution be to just install a heavy latch for a master - lock or somesuch on the inside? This way, you can lock yourself in, but you can't lock yourself out.

reydepicas (author)2015-05-15

Simply Amazing!!! Good job.

crank_girl (author)2015-05-13

they'd stand less chance of finding a child hidden in this room than anywhere else in the house. besides which, duuuuuuuuh. you can't hold the op responsible for the badness that goes on in the world.

crank_girl (author)2015-05-13

woah! you made that look so easy. nicely executed!

jeffcole (author)2015-05-13

Great Stuff! Impressive. Thanks for sharing.

lgoins (author)2015-05-11

How many I LOVE IT and AMAZING (s) does it take to cancel out one persons negative feedback. MichaelG9. . . .if you have a better idea, please share. If not, please don't.

kylegilbert (author)2015-05-10

So cool! Love it!

kwhitacre (author)2015-05-07

I enjoyed how you solved problems to get the desired result. I also have wished for a "secret" room. I don't see it in my future however. I did want to ask if you've ever done anything with vertical movement...aka elevators? I want to put in something like that to stay in our home, but commercial ones are expensive and not really what I want. I want something I can maintain and that will hold two people one in a wheelchair that spans three to four floors. Any ideas?

braviscows (author)kwhitacre2015-05-09

You will need to check on the legality of homemade elevators. I have an uncle that repairs elevators, and apparently the safety code for elevators is rigorous. This may vary according to where you live, but I would guess it is still going to be hard to do, being that you need a license to even touch the elevators.

kgoodman09 (author)2015-05-09

That's cool, I'm planning on making a hidden gun safe & u gave me some good ideas. Thanks for sharing.

nickern (author)2015-05-09

Thank you for this! You are a genius! Please don't let the Nay sayers ever get to you. Wonderfully perfect!!

Bridgetamyp (author)2015-05-09


jermncoco (author)2015-05-07

Excellent build. Definitely inspired me

FyreAntz (author)2015-05-07

Four words, dude... Put ze candle BECK!

SuaK (author)2015-05-07

Love them I'm only a teen but I like all those secret door and stuff. Thanks for the wonderful video

Rich99 (author)2015-05-06

i love pockehole joinery.

how many step drills do you have and

do you send them out when they get dull.

i have an original kreg. it's aluminum!

nice project.

AikkuL (author)2015-05-06

That's great door/book case combination. I only wish I had a hidden place so I could make a door for that. =D

Thank you for sharing, great clip!

Greetings from Finland!

Giulia Art (author)2015-05-06

super:)love your videos:)

Giulia Art (author)Giulia Art2015-05-06

by the way:)you can check my channel too if you want:)

daveselinger (author)2015-05-06

Boom. Super cool.

beth.essington (author)2015-05-05

I just watched two of your videos, and I am so impressed. You do amazing work and make it look so easy. Wish I had your talent. I love the secret room and the cube clock. Thanks for such interesting projects; keep up the good work.

calyad (author)2015-05-05

Great 'able! And a lovely job. I have always loved secret spaces.

steveastrouk (author)2015-05-05

What's the weight limit on these hinges ?

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