Introduction: Secret Bookshelf Drawer

Tired of people going through all your things? Hide them behind the one thing they definitely won't touch: books!

Hi everyone! I just got a new dresser from Ikea, and I wanted to tidy the look of everything but I was also too lazy to install a door. So I thought it would be cool to make a hidden drawer that looks like a bookshelf (which, in retrospect, requires a lot more work than just installing a door, but it's too late now, I'm finished and it's awesome). This Instructable is pretty self explanatory, so let's get started!

Step 1: Materials/Tools


  • a wooden box that will act as the drawer
  • enough books so that the width of the front side of the drawer is covered (I just used old text books, books I'd read that I knew I'd never read again, and a few fat books from a Goodwill bookstore, the softcover ones are 2 bucks a pop. Use books you know you'll never read, because when we're done you won't be able to no matter how much you want to) ***WARNING: You will end up basically destroying the guts of these books, so make sure you have another copy or you don't have any sentimental attachment to these books
  • 2 L-shaped brackets
  • enough nuts and bolts to attach the brackets to the drawer
  • a nut and bolt that's 1-2 inches short of the length of the front side of the drawer (mine was 10 inches)
  • drawer slides (for mine, I could have used bottom mounted drawer slides, but the side mounted ones I bought work just as well, so determine which ones you need for your specific project)


  • screws for mounting the drawer slides (apparently they don't come with the drawer slides, which is kinda weird)
  • clear tape for the finishing touches


  • drill and/or drill press (you can complete the project with one or the other but it's helpful to have both)
  • screw drivers/screw driver bits
  • a drill bit for metal that's wide enough for the large bolt to fit through (I used a 1/2 inch one, even though I would've liked to use something slightly larger
  • a hole saw bit that's larger than the head of the bolt and the nut (I used a 3/4 inch one, which was perfect)
  • a band saw (you can do what the band saw does with a box cutter, but the band saw is much easier)
  • a dust mask for when you cut the books

Step 2: The Box


Before you start cutting and drilling, you'll want to know where everything's going to go. I'd recommend figuring out these two things before starting:

  • Determine the order of the books that you want. You want the order so that when the nut is screwed on the bolt and flush with the end of the bolt, the books--not including the two books you plan to have at the ends--fit snugly with the metal brackets. You also want the books at the end to be fat enough so that you can hide the nut and the head of the bolt in them without it showing on the outsides (if that's confusing, just look at the pictures in Step 4). This process is just a lot of rearranging, there's no need to buy more books if it doesn't work in one order.
  • Plan where you want the hole in the brackets to go and where you want to place the brackets on the box. You want the hole to be as far away from the edges of the books as possible but not so close to the edge of the bracket that the hole is compromised, so plan accordingly


Now that you have everything planned out, go ahead and drill the large holes in the metal brackets and the small holes in the box for the brackets. Then just attach the brackets into place with the bolts.

Installing the Drawer Slides

I didn't actually do this step in this order because I'm terrible at planning, but I'd highly recommend doing this step now. Installing the slides to the cabinet should be fairly easy--if you're doing it on a cabinet shelf like me, just take out the thing and screw both slides in, and MAKE SURE THEY'RE PARALLEL. Attaching the slides to the box is a little trickier because once I positioned the box where I wanted it, I couldn't see the holes where I needed to drill into.

To avoid this, I did a bunch of easy steps that are quite difficult to explain via text, so bear with me. I took out the sliding part of drawer slides A, we'll call it Leonardo for clarity's sake and to keep with the "drawer" theme (hooray for terrible puns). By the way, most slides should be able to have this part taken out, just check the instructions they come with. For me, there was a little latch that I had to press, nothing too fancy. Then, I flipped over the box and screwed Leonardo in. Once that was done, I attached Leonardo back onto drawer slide A; flipped over the entire assembly, shelf, box and all; and extended Leonardo and the sliding part of drawer slide B, whom we will call Michelangelo, out as far as each could go. Then I screwed Michelangelo into the box twice to secure the position, and then just for security's sake, I unattached Michelangelo and Leonardo and screwed a third screw into Michelangelo where the shelf previously blocked it. And voila! The slides should work now.

Step 3: The Books


Now that your brackets are installed on the drawer, grab the book that you plan on being closest to the inside of one of the brackets, i.e. not either of the two books that go outside the brackets, the ones next to them. Position the book as high or low as you want it, just make sure you can't see the drawer from under the book but the book doesn't interfere with the drawer slides. Once you have the position, mark the bracket hole on the book and drill straight through. I highly recommend using clamps on both sides of the hole and drilling at a high speed, or else the pages will catch on the drill bit and bunch up and make the book thicker.

This book will be your hole template from now on. Grab the next book in order and align the back and bottom, just as it would be aligned on a bookshelf. Clamp the two books together on both sides of the hole template book, and then just use the template to drill straight through the other book. Easy peasy. Keep doing this until all your books are as holy as the Bible or the Quran (yay, more lame puns. Is that offensive? I apologize if it is... I'm delirious from writing this all in one go). If the bolt's width is too similar to the drill bit's, you may need to make a few drilling passes to widen the hole so the books slide on easily, because it's hard to get them off if the hole is too small.

For the two books that go outside of the brackets, use the hole saw bit to drill a section for the nut and the bolt head.

Cutting the Books

The first part of the cutting initially only involved notching the backs of the books that rested on top of the bolts that attached the brackets to the drawer so that everything is flush, as pictured above. And for some of you, this may also be where the cutting stops. But I realized that once I installed all the books, the drawer was way too front heavy because of the sheer amount of pages I needed to cover my drawer, so I decided to gut the insides of the books.

In order to do this without completely destroying the appearance, I simply grabbed tens of pages from the front and the back of the book, clamped them together so the cover and back are touching, and band-sawed everything on the other side within a border (I suppose I should've included a picture of the still-clamped book after I cut it, but you get the idea in the picture of all the books from the back in the next step)

***WARNING: Please please PLEASE wear some sort of dusk mask for this step, the cutting and drilling generate a lot of debris that is a lot finer and lighter than saw dust, making it super easy to inhale. Even if you don't have a professional dusk mask like me, just tape a paper towel over your nose and mouth like I did.

Step 4: The Books and the Box

All that's left is to thread the bolt through the holes in the books and the brackets and see if everything fits. Go ahead and test to see if the books interfere with the sliding motion of the drawer, because now would be the time to fix that. Hopefully all your measurements fit and you won't need to buy any more books, but it won't be too hard if you need to.

To cover up the brackets at the ends of the lineup, just roll up some tape and put it around the holes you drilled and stick it next to the brackets. To complete the illusion of a bookshelf, I used some clear tape to tape the end books closed so the covers don't accidentally fly everywhere and reveal my secret drawer.

Step 5: Finishing Up

All that's left is to put back the shelf where it belongs, add a few books on the other side to counter balance the drawer when it's pulled out, and to prevent any suspicion of your secret drawer in the first place. And there you have it! Your very own place to keep your secret items while also maintaining the illusion that you're well read! Just kidding, you're all kick-ass enough to be making your own projects on Instructables, which means you're probably very well read. Let me know how yours turn out in the comments! Also if you have any suggestions, cool upgrades, or new secret/spy gear projects that you'd like me to know about, I'm all ears.