Step 1: Materials
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)
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.)
Optional: Soda cans for the edge guards
Step 2: Gut the Book
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
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
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
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!