Introduction: Stack O' Books Box

Picture of Stack O' Books Box

Notjust another box made of books!! This one has style, this one has class... and it hides your stuff!!

I was inspired for this project by some of the other Book Boxes here on Instructables,

However, I hadn't found an Instructable that used a stack of books to make one large box. So I figured if I lay the books on their side (less conspicuous than four books stuck together standing upright) and make the box compartment out of more than just one of the books, I could achieve a bigger more covert box, able to be seen from all sides and still seem as if it were an ordinary stack of books. Vuala, The Stack O' Books Box was born!!  

Step 1: Materials/Tools

Picture of Materials/Tools

You will need for this project:

    *Stack of Hardcover Books (each 1 1/2" to 2" thick)
    * (optional) Package of Basswood (can be found here)
    *3/8" wooden dowel
    *Piece of 100 Grit Sandpaper
    *A bottle of "Puzzle Preserver" (found here) (This is essentially watered down Elmer's Glue but the "Puzzle Preserver" does have a handy brush attached to the inside of the lid and it's pretty cheap)
    *A Tube of E-6000 Glue
    * (optional) Wood Glue (not pictured)
    * (optional) Wood Stain and Polyurethane

    *An Ex-acto Knife
    *PVC Pipe Cutter (optional - you can use a saw) (not pictued but one like this)
    *Drill with a 1/2" Paddle bit
    *Dremel Tool w/ Cutter and Barrel Sanding Attachments

Step 2: The Basic Structure/Outline of the Box

Picture of The Basic Structure/Outline of the Box

Picking your books
First you need to pick the order of your books and which ones you will be cutting holes through to make the interior of the box. You should pick four (or more) books that are relatively the same size as far as length and width but the book on top (the box lid) needs to be at least 2" Thick or more.

The Stacking of the Books
The book on the bottom of the stack will remain untouched except for gluing the pages together and both covers down to make it one solid piece. The next two books (or how ever many middle books depending on how deep you want your box) will be hollowed out and the top book (the "lid" book) will have four holes drilled in the back cover. But we'll get to all that later.

Step 3: Hollowing the Books

Picture of Hollowing the Books

Hollowing the books out is similar to how you would make a secret hollow book box ( ) except that you cut through both covers and all the pages. I wanted a place to keep my remotes for the TV and what-not in the box so I measured the hole for my box according to the size of my largest remote.

It's a good idea to trace an outline on the cover of the size you want before you begin to cut. I cut through the covers using a Dremel tool and then cut the pages out using the Ex-acto knife (be patient, this can take some time depending on how thick your books are). When I reached the back cover I flipped the book over and using the Dremel once again cut the back cover out.

The inside page edges can be filed if need be with a Dremel barrel sander attachment to make them cleaner and more uniform. This will be helpfull when adding in the Basswood lining in the future steps.   

**Note** I removed the paper cover from the second book while hollowing and added it back to the book after the holes had been cut. Then using the Ex-acto knife removed the portions of the paper covering the holes and glued down the edges. This gives a better "finished" look to the box. This can be seen in the finished product picture above where the lid is removed.**

Step 4: Lining the Inside of the Box (optional)

Picture of Lining the Inside of the Box (optional)

I didn't like the look of chewed up and slightly burnt (from the dremel) paper on the inside of my box so I thought to give it a little more style and class, I'd line the inside with Stained and Polyurethaned wood.

**This step is totally optional, your box will function properly without the lining... but it may be looked down upon by the other more refined, wood lined boxes**

Measure, Cut, Sand, Stain and polyurethane

Take a few basswood panels from you craft bag (from here) (or use any sort of wood to line the inside) and measure and cut them to size. You will need two long sides and two short sides. Make sure you mark these in some way because depending on how straight your box is the sides may be ever-so slightly different in size. also you want to measure the width to be the two boxes stacked on top of each other.

For the bottom or "floor" piece I had to glue two of the panels together with wood glue to get a big enough piece. Once the glue dried I then placed the back cover previously cut from the bottom book on top of the "floor" piece and traced the shape. This gives you a perfect fit for the floor and allows the books to sit flat. Once you have all your pieces cut you can then sand them down nice and smooth and apply the Stain and after thats dry the Polyurethane.

Assemble the Inner Box
Once you have the floor in, it's just a matter of placing the sides into the bottom book of the middle books in the stack (see pics). When those are placed you can then slide the higher book(s) down over the basswood sides. You can add a bit of E-6000 glue in between these books for added stability. You may have to do a little triming with the dremel to get a good fit as the book's holes might not line up perfectly, but that's why we saved the paper cover earlier!! Glue the base book (the uncut book) to the others with E-6000 and clamp them all together and wait to dry. ** NOTE** I twisted the two middle books a little so that it doesn't look like a perfectly stacked set of books. 

Step 5: The Dowels

Picture of The Dowels

While you're wating for the glue to dry you can make the 4 posts for each of the corners that will keep the lid in place. Take the 3/8" dowel and cut to length with the PVC cutter or saw so that about an inch or so is above the book. Mine came out to be 4 inches in length.

If you didn't line the inside of your box then there's no need for this next part, you can just cut your pieces and glue them in place with the E-6000 glue and wait for them to dry.

For those of you who did line the inside of your boxes, take your cut pieces of dowel and using the sandpaper round each end and then stain them. (I held them with tweezers and dipped them directly into the stain, flipped them and dunked again for full coverage. Seemed to work pretty well.) once the stain is dry you can then glue them in place with the E-6000 glue. One in each corner as straight up as possible and wait to dry

. **NOTE** I did not polyurethane my dowels but you are welcome to if you'd like, I found it too troublesome and they look great without it.

Step 6: Drilling and Placing of the Lid

Picture of Drilling and Placing of the Lid

Now for the final piece!!

The Lid
Once all the glue has dried and everthing is strong, take some lotion and dab just a tiny bit on the tips of each dowel. This will help you find where to drill the holes in the "lid" book. Once you have the lotion on the dowels then gently place the 2" (or more) book on top of them and then lift straight back up. This will give you 4 spots to drill. When you drill the holes in the book to avoid the pages seperating and bunching put a clamp on either side of where you will be drilling (pic). Drill four 1/2" holes (notice i said 1/2" not 3/8" - this will make picking up the lid easier) where the dots of lotion are. Make sure they are deep enough for the dowels to completely dissappear, just be careful not to drill all the way through the book.

**Notice** I lined up the lid with the base book, so the two books in the middle are lined up and the "lid" and "base" books are lined up

Step 7: Finishing Touches

You can now take the "puzzle Preserver" glue and paint around all the outside page edges, making them all solid and completeing the "Stack O' Books" Box, making it truley viewable and covert 360 degrees all around. No one will know it's true identity... That is if you can resist telling them!! Thanks for looking at my Instructable and post a pic if you make a box i'd love to see it!!

**If you like the box and think it's worthy, I'd appreciate a vote in the contests, Thanks!!**

Step 8: **Update** June 29, 2013

Picture of **Update** June 29, 2013

New and Improved
I made another Stack O' Books box. This one was for my Dad's Birthday. This time I used old encyclopedias and made the cover of the top book into the lid as suggested in some of the comments. Thanks for the comments and all the views!!


Delhia (author)2016-11-14

This is the best looking book box I have ever seen!

cherilynnreno (author)2015-06-06

I want to try this project.

MaskMarvl (author)2013-04-19

Cool idea... :) I would suggest adding a couple of hinges to the the top and second books instead of the dowels.

Treknology (author)2013-02-01

Thank you for this clever approach. I now having a valid use for L. Ron Hubbard books. Way less class but, who's going to want even to touch them?

AmyCat59 (author)Treknology2013-02-11

Trouble is, that would mean having L.Ron's crappy books on display in your house...

DeeRilee (author)2013-02-07

Love this...but not sure I have the patience! lol

oleshooter308 (author)2013-01-31

I have made several of these for friends, some with concealed safes (that part is a trade secret). The first few, I cut up old books, but I love books, and hate cutting them up- old or not. Besides, the whole "it's a bear to cut a book". So I came up with the idea (I'm also a photographer) of taking the book covers, spreading them out on my photo stand and making a laser copy. Looks just as good as the original. Cover the wood (or steel) core with fiberboard and then just kinda "lay" on the "cover" with craft glue. Photocopied and laser-printed edges look legit, too. Top it off with a real book from the owner, and good to go. The core is bolted down, so if a thief even figures it out, he's still gotta get away with it. And it looks "purty". Maybe I'll do an Instructible one of these days!

legomum (author)oleshooter3082013-02-02

Definitely would love to see an instructable for that!

ibwebb (author)oleshooter3082013-02-01

I would be interested in seeing that intructable and the pics of that. I would hope that you would include the 'trade secret' concealed safe as well.

CrLz (author)2013-02-01

Classy & elegant solution! Perfect use for coffee-table art books.

BigMrTree (author)CrLz2013-02-01

Thanks!! Coffee-table books would make a great box.

lfiorentin (author)2013-02-01

I am also an ardent book lover, however there are always extra copies of books available at thrift stores, library sales, yard sales, etc. I love your instructable and will be trying it myself soon!! Great job!

BigMrTree (author)lfiorentin2013-02-01

So glad you like it!! make sure to post a pic of your finished product!!

ibwebb (author)2013-01-31

Great project and love the way you present it! The only thing I can think of that I would have liked to see more of is of you actually doing the cutting, but I understand it isn't that easy to cut and take pics at that same time. You got my vote and I marked this as a fav too! This is something I want to do! I see a visit to my local Half Price Books store!

BigMrTree (author)ibwebb2013-02-01

Yeah that would be somewhat difficult, maybe when i build another I'll get my wife to snap some pics and i'll update the 'ible. I'm glad you like the project and thanks for the vote and fav!!

framistan (author)2013-01-27

Hello bigmrtree... Your book box is pretty cool. I like the wood lined interior too. I own a lifetime collection of about 500 books. Some of them are beautiful. Some of them are priceless (to me).Some of them are rare rare and expensive. I would find it difficult to choose 4 worthy of sawing holes into. I guess it would be ok to use something obsolete like encyclopedias or law books/medical books though. I am curious about how you made the choice. Do you consider all books as obsolete? How did you choose those 4 out of your collection?

ibwebb (author)framistan2013-01-31

@framistan: I would imagine that you wouldn't use books that had value (whether it is value just to you or monetary value) but instead go to a booksale, half price books, etc and find some books that fit what you want. Maybe titles that speak something about your style/room or just ones that look good stacked together. Some books that are either no longer wanted or perhaps some of those books out there that were published but flopped. I know that I have a stack (not literally) that I could never get rid of even though I also have them on my fiancee and I's Kindle.

haugenka (author)2013-01-31

Great project and nicely done. Just a thought: why not put the dowels in the lid instead? That way, more of the interior is useable for storing blocky stuff... I want to try this idea with my kids to make some birthday and holiday gifts! PS - it's fun to hunt through the books at Goodwill to find titles like, "City of Thieves" or "Crime and Punishment" for projects like this...

oleshooter308 (author)haugenka2013-01-31

Crime novels are a nice thought, got to remember that. Might be a give-away, though.

chuckyd (author)2013-01-31

I could never bring myself to cause such harm to a book. Well, unless it was written by a Democrat. But then, I would never have a book written by a democrat.

oleshooter308 (author)chuckyd2013-01-31

Libs, I have found, are happy to share books.......

dll932 (author)2013-01-31

Just a thought: How about making rectangular frames out of scrap wood and COVERING them with book bindings, painting the edges gold so it looks like a real book?

thumpik (author)2013-01-31

I like it! Cool way to hide something.

woofman (author)2013-01-31

I like the tone of this project---lite hearted and fun. Thanks!

ithica2012 (author)2013-01-31

just an idea wouldent it be easer to glue the padges and book covers togher drill four holes and cut out with a coping saw ?

BigMrTree (author)ithica20122013-01-31

possibly, i didn't think of that. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. The ex-acto knife gets the job done but is time consuming.

stevenvachon (author)2013-01-31

Instead of making the entire top book the lid, why not make its cover the lid? That way, you don't need to take a book off to open it.

BigMrTree (author)stevenvachon2013-01-31

I had thought of this but after cutting through the other two books I really didn't feel up to the task of hollowing out another, especially one that was twice the size!! But yes that would be a nice feature, maybe the next one I make I'll use a smaller book on top and incorporate the "cover lid". Thanks for the suggestion!!

samfelis (author)stevenvachon2013-01-31

That's exactly what I was going to suggest: Open the top cover (along with a number of pages, glued together on the edges as in your instructions) and there's the interior of your box.

1inspirit (author)2013-01-31


BigMrTree (author)1inspirit2013-01-31

Make sure to post a pic when you're done!!

Jooks (author)2013-01-30

At the post secondary I attend the library often has old text books that they want to get rid of. Whenever I walk past I try to pick something out from the free pile. Maybe other schools work like this too...

BigMrTree (author)Jooks2013-01-31

That's a great way to get some "project" books!!

Minxie3 (author)2013-01-30

I love your book box!! But I too, have a hard time cutting into books! I did go to Goodwill & buy some books for a project I wanted to do (decoupage/mixed media books) but I didn't have the heart to cut them up! lol.

jessyratfink (author)2013-01-27

Excellent! As someone who worked in a used bookstore for most her life, thanks for destroying Patterson and Brown to do this. :D

BigMrTree (author)jessyratfink2013-01-28

Thanks!! Yeah I guess there's enough copies of their stuff out there huh?

hjjusa (author)2013-01-27

Good Idea, I think I will do this, line it with metal and a combination lock and make a pistol safe.

BigMrTree (author)hjjusa2013-01-27

Very Cool, I like That idea!!

BigMrTree (author)2013-01-27

I have a collection of books as well. while not quite as extensive as yours i wouldn't want to cut any of them up either. So when I decided to do this project I went to Goodwill and picked out a few books that were the right size and the right price. The Da Vinci Code in particular was surrounded by 5 other copies!! That's pretty much it. Thanks for looking at my instructable and I'm glad you like the box.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm tall (6'6") and no I don't play basketball!! But I do enjoy sitting at my bench making things!!
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