Introduction: 100 Year-Old Secret Wall Mirror
Don't let the title confuse you, the white oak boards that we made this mirror out of came off an old barn. When my dad first got it over a decade ago, he counted the tree rings and found that some of the pieces had well over 100 rings! The secret compartment on this project is really quite simple, but very difficult to figure out if you don't know it's there.
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Step 1: Materials
- Find One 100-Year-Old Barn That You Can Harvest Siding From
- Just Go to Your Local Lumberyard and Buy All of the Necessary Wood (probably this one)
- One 1/4" Sheet of Plywood
Step 2: Cutting Your Mirror
Depending on whether or not you buy your mirror to size or not, you'll have to cut out a decent piece that you can use. All we used to cut the mirror was a glass cutter. In hindsight, we wished we would have gone a little slower so that our brake line would have broken off cleaner.
Step 3: Squaring and Cutting Your Lumber
Because the lumber that we were using was super old, we had to square up all of our pieces on the table saw. We then cut all of our pieces to size including the sides, knick-knack shelf, coat rack, and headboard. The overall width of our mirror was a nice round 3' and the height was 2' and 1/2" from the top of the headboard to the bottom of the coat rack.
Step 4: Making Dadoes and Notching
Since you'll want to have a place for your mirror to sit comfortably, you'll need to put some dadoes along the back of your side pieces including the left, right, top and bottom pieces. You'll also need to notch out some sections on your side pieces so that your top and bottom boards have inserts to fit snuggly.
Step 5: Coat Rack Construction
Now that the majority of your setup is done, you can start assembling the pieces for your coat rack box with glue, nails, and screws. Make sure to use screws wherever you can because as we all know, screws hang on tighter than nails. You'll definitely want to start with your coat rack box first as this is important for your next step. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you want your mirror to have a secret compartment, you'll have to leave at least 3" of space inside of your box so that you can actually store things inside of it. Just don't add the door yet.
Step 6: Drilling Your Shaker Peg Holes
This is why you want to start with your coat rack. Once it's constructed, you can go ahead and drill the holes for the shaker pegs on the front of your box. Try and stagger them so that you'll have room for all of your coats on the rack.
Step 7: Hidden Door Construction
Besides having your door already cut out and drilled, you'll need to attach it to your box (obviously). You could go with some fancier hinges, but me and dad just stuck two screws in the corners.
Step 8: Lock Construction
For our locks, we used some leftover pieces of 3/8ths plywood and two 1" long dowels. You'll need the one-inch dowels as an extension to your shaker pegs as by themselves they can't reach all the way through the board. You'll then need to attach the dowels to your pegs.
Then for the actual locks, you'll need two latches and 4 notched pieces that look something like the pictures above. I won't give you the actual dimensions for these as you will have to repeatedly tweak your cuts to get your latches fitting tightly. Your first notched board will go under the latch and fit securely around your 1" dowel, this helps with keeping the latch tight and firm when it's at rest. Your second notched board will go on the side of your box so that the latch can fully lock. You will probably want to just install the two outer most shaker pegs as these will be the easiest to turn into locks, DO NOT GLUE THEM INTO PLACE!
Step 9: Framework Construction
Now you can finally start assembling your framework around your mirror with glue and nails. Make sure to test if your mirror fits in your dadoes before you fully tighten everything up. You can also add an additional knick-knack shelf to store things on like we did.
Step 10: Full Shaker Peg Installation
For some reason, our shaker pegs didn't fit as snuggly as we wanted them to. So in addition to brushing on some wood glue onto the inserts, we also filled in the backsides of the pegs with glue just for some added support.
Step 11: Backing and Finishing
For the back of our compartment and mirror, we used a piece of 1/4" plywood. As long as the wood you choose for your back is thin enough to let your mirror be mounted on the wall, you should be good.
To seal our project, all we used was some good old-fashioned tongue oil to give it a nice dark caramel color.
Despite setting up the locking mechanism, the rest of this build was super easy. If you are interested in building one of these for yourself I would suggest watching the video at the top as it goes into the tinier details that I didn't list here. If you have any additional questions let me know in the comment section, I love having deep discussions!
4 years ago on Introduction
I have always wanted a secret storage compartment to avoid my precious possessions from being uncovered by the pesky little munchkins. I guess I would need to finally get my hands working again on this great idea soon.
Reply 4 years ago
That's awesome! We are glad this inspired you. We hope you get started soon. If you need some help we will do our best to point you in the right direction. Thanks for your encouragement!
4 years ago on Step 11
Yes, I felt your pain as you used up the last of your barn wood leaving only enough for a small project. --Kink--
Reply 4 years ago
We have just a little bit left over for maybe one or two small projects. We actually are just finishing up one of the projects today. And I have to say, it is one of the coolest things me and my dad have ever built! I have no idea how we're going to top it. Should be ready for instructables by next Friday.
Reply 4 years ago
I will be on the lookout for it!
Tip 4 years ago on Step 2
Make sure to wear proper safety gear when cutting glass.
Reply 4 years ago
All too true. Often times we get so caught up in filming and creating that we forget to keep ourselves out of harm's way.