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

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:

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:

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:

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

Step 5:

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

Step 6:

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:

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:

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

Step 9: More Projects

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

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