Introduction: Secret Box Book

Picture of Secret Box Book

No childhood is complete without a book that's really a box. I used to make them all the time out of old phone books but of course they never lasted long, so when I finally found a hardcover book that nobody was going to miss (I got it as a white elephant gift) I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. When it was done however, I felt like it was still missing something. It wasn't until a year or two later when I saw an antiqued book that my sister made as a Halloween decoration that I knew what my book needed to be complete.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

All you need for this one is:

A hardcover book that you don't mind gutting

Something to gut it with (all I had at the time was an exacto blade, but I hear a drill or scroll saw is the way to go)

Glue (elmers works great)

Paper towels

Things to decorate the book with (I'll get into this more in a bit, but it can be basically anything, you'll just want to keep it to a low profile.)

Paint

Optional: Soda cans for the edge guards

Step 2: Gut the Book

Picture of Gut the Book

As mentioned before, all I had at the time was an exacto blade for this step. It took a while and didn't come out very clean; I spent a long time fixing the edges and it still looks subpar, but if that's all you have you can make it work. I'm not going to give a ton of detail on this step because it's simple enough and there are plenty of ways to do it. Just be sure you leave enough of a border so that your pages don't rip out.
When it's all cut how you want it glue the pages together; there's no need to individually glue each page together, bruising glue on the outside of the pages as well as on the inside of the cutout is enough to do the trick.

Step 3: Make It Look Old

Picture of Make It Look Old

Now for the fun part.
Decide how you want your book to look; this can range from just an old book to steampunk to a witch's spell book. Just remember to pay attention to details on this step because it will show. I went with a fairly simple design so all I did was draw my design on with liquid nails; I hear you can also use hot glue but I just used what I had. you can also add objects like toy snakes or small gears, the sky really is the limit on this one.
Once you have your design picked out (you can see from the pictures that I drew out a few ideas before settling on one), glue your stuff in place.
Squeeze some glue into a bowl or cup and add a little bit of water; you want it just runny enough to brush in the book, about the consistency of paint.
Use single ply paper towels or separate them so that they are single ply and be sure the pattern stamped on them is one you like because it will show up. Lay the paper towels on the book and paint over then with glue, being sure to get in the cracks and ridges. Don't worry about it wrinkling, it adds to the effect and you may even want to purposely wrinkle it a bit. Be careful as you go around the edges of the spine, you want to cover the whole outside cover but you don't want it sticking to the pages. Let it dry, this will take around an hour but it may be longer if your glue was really watery.

Step 4: Paint It

Picture of Paint It

Once it's dry you can paint it. Almost every tutorial I found said you will need chalk paint, antiquing paint, or a special rub on oil. They all seemed to be sponsored by a company that makes one or more of these expensive specialty paints. They do make it easier to achieve specific effects, but are by no means necessary. simple craft paint will work fine.
Most old books are one or two earth tone colors, but you can do whatever you want. In order to make it actually look old and not just old fashioned, use a dark color and lightly dab it in the cracks and then very lightly brush it over the face of the book. You can also dab some along the edges of the book using a sponge or paper towel. If you want it to also look kind of beat up you can brush thin streaks to make it look scratched.
By the time I was ready to paint my book I wasn't as interested in making it look old but instead just wanted it to be unique, so I chose light blue and tan because they matched the decor of our house and, honestly, I kinda just wanted to see how it would turn out. I'm happy with how it turned out though I can appreciate that it doesn't fit the taste of some people.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

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If you don't want to add the metal then your are done. If you do, then simply cut a soda can so that it will cover the corners of the book with about a1/2 inch flap to fold over the edge of the book.
If you like you can add designs to the metal by drawing it on the back of the can with a pen, pushing hard enough to press the design into it. You can also paint the cans to look like gold or brass, but I choose to leave them as they were.
Once they are the shape you want, fold the tabs over the edge of the book and firmly press them together to sort of clamp them onto the book. If you want you can glue them in place, but if you press hard enough you shouldn't need it.
And that's it. Now it's ready to be used as secret storage in plain sight; and since it used to be an exercise book I thought it was only fitting to use it for my secret stash of candy. I hope you enjoyed this, and thanks for reading!

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Bio: I like trying new things and cheaper or better ways of doing old things. I like making things out of natural materiales such as wood ... More »
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