The Legendary Secret Fort

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Introduction: The Legendary Secret Fort

About: I'm just a normal human, like yourself, with an imagination like a child, and a do-it yourself'er at heart.

I let my inner child run wild with this one. Posted to tiktok several months ago and it blew up with over 20 million views! Never knew there were so many child-minded grownup's like myself out there. Check out the full video in this instructable to get an overview of what I did.

The first thing you need to do is find empty spaces in your home to build the secret room and determine how you are going to conceal it. You want to use common household items that at first glance look quite normal. I chose a mini-fridge and a fake air vent, but let your mind run wild. There are endless possibilities.

I will start by saying that this instructable focuses more on the approach and doesn't to go into tons of technical detail because I realize every house is different. I also added tons of pictures because a picture is worth a thousand words. Feel free to message me if you want to recreate something similar and I can go into more detail if you get stuck.

Supplies

old/broken Mini-fridge, 25x20 Air Return Grille (with fixed hinge door), Oscillating MultiTool or Angle Grinder (for cutting), Cordless Drill/Screwdriver, Safety Wear (mask, gloves, safety glasses), various lumber materials(2x4,2x6,screws,nails,etc.), Mitre saw (for cutting your lumber) and your imagination!

Step 1: Discovery and Planning

The planning phase is most important. You will need to find an area in your house to build your secret room or fort. Look for areas with lower ceilings or areas that butt up to the attic or empty spaces between walls. This may require crawling around in the attic to find these. Typically, builders never use 100% efficiency when mapping out floor plans, so there's always some wiggle room for expanding into small crawl spaces. I started the fort in my closet because it butted up to my shower, which had a lower ceiling. And then found an upstairs room that backed up to the attic for the mini-fridge exit.

Step 2: Cuting Your Entry/exit Holes

Above you can see the before and after pics of the small room above my shower. I had to replace the shower light with a slim profile LED recessed downlight, so I could get the floorboards to lay flat. Make sure to chalk around the light after install, otherwise you will get alot of moisture in your secret room.

For the Air Return Grille, I used a TRUaire 190-25X20. This is the only one I could find with a fixed hinge so that I could open and close the door. Most of them have a removable face which I didn't want. Pro tip: DON'T get the 190RF. When using an air return vent, they come in various sizes. Mine was 25"(tall) x 20"(wide). The first number (25) is the side with the hinges. Be careful because they also make 20x25. (with 20" being the hinged side). I had to learn this the hard way :( I found that 25x20 is the perfect size for a human to crawl through.

If you are not construction savvy yourself but still want to build this, you might consider hiring a general contractor or framer as this does affect the sound structure of your walls. If your home was built with 24" studs you may be able to do all the work yourself quite easily. However since most houses use 16" spacing between studs this means you will have to cut a stud and add a header beam in order to crawl through the opening. You can use (2) 2x4 glued&screwed together to make your header as seen in the picture above. Make sure you use a studfinder before you cut your hole in your sheetrock so you can find the right placement for the entry frame.

Step 3: Construction Time

Once you have your entry hole cut and framed then it is just a matter of finishing out the space, (hopefully you don't have to move any wires). If you see crossbeams like the ones in the picture above, do not cut or move these without consulting a structural engineer and obtaining the proper permits. They are used for the structural integrity of your home. I would also highly recommend adding fiberglass insulation so your fort or secret room doesn't get too hot or cold. These come in rolls and are available at your local hardware store. They can be cut to size with a razorblade knife but make sure to wear gloves and protective eye glasses when handling.

Use sheet-rock or plywood, cut to size, to finish out the interior of your new crawlspace. You may need to add extra support for the flooring if installing on a 2nd floor. For my black light room, I used chalkboard paint and liquid chalk markers so they didn't rub off on your clothes.

For the hidden ceiling trap door that leads to the attic make sure to cut one of the sides of your door at an angle so it opens and close easily. Then you can just use hinges on the opposite side. See images for details.

Step 4: Mini-Fridge Entrance/Exit

I had an old fridge that I used in the dorm in college that wasn't cooling very well, so I cut off the back of it using the Angle Grinder and Oscillating Multi-tool to create an open back. Then I used 90 degree angle brackets to mount it to the wall. You want to cut the opening in the sheet-rock much smaller than the outer dimensions of the fridge, so that you can't see it from the outside. Then use GreatStuff spray insulating foam to seal the gaps. This will also help with bugs getting into your secret space. Use sparingly because it does expand quite a bit.

Step 5: Final Thoughts

All in all this took me about 3 months to build the entire secret fort, working on it several hours each day after work. I build it in sections, expanding as I went so dont feel like you have to conquer it all at once. If you have questions about anything I did that i didnt go into detail about don't hesitate to ask.

Happy Building!

I'm also working on expanding the tunnel system as we speak so stay tuned for more info.

Follow me on instagram or tiktok for future videos. @partyweave

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    42 Comments

    0
    bladerunner68
    bladerunner68

    7 weeks ago

    It's really a kid's dream come true. I like the dark part very much, with those fluo writings and purple lighting. What kind of wall paint, writing colors, and tube lamp have you used?

    0
    craftyMC
    craftyMC

    11 months ago

    Maybe you should add a movable panel so that when you open the fridge, you can't see the fort.

    0
    throbscottle
    throbscottle

    Reply 11 months ago

    My thoughts exactly.

    0
    s4wbl4d3
    s4wbl4d3

    Reply 2 months ago

    i agree. there could be, like one of the beer cans makes it open!

    0
    woodlouse
    woodlouse

    11 months ago

    Great idea for a secret den, but, and a very big but, I am not sure it is such a good idea to encourage children to get into old fridges, in fact, I am shocked that this might even be encouraged.
    Perhaps a less dangerous entrance might be more appropiate?

    0
    throbscottle
    throbscottle

    Reply 11 months ago

    Children? No child is going near my secret fort!

    0
    Syncubus
    Syncubus

    Reply 11 months ago

    Also, no worries on refrigerators, anymore. They've used magnetic seals and haven't locked in well over half a century. They're exactly as easy to open from the inside as the outside.

    0
    SylvanB
    SylvanB

    Reply 11 months ago

    Unless the frig should happen tip over either onto the door or where the door is blocked by something or even just so the door has to be lifted up to open.

    I don't see a problem with crawling THRU the frig rather than INTO a frig, but INTO a frig is still dangerous.

    0
    woodlouse
    woodlouse

    Reply 11 months ago

    And children would know the difference?
    Would they not get the idea that any fridge is fair game?

    0
    s4wbl4d3
    s4wbl4d3

    Reply 2 months ago

    my kids wouldn't

    0
    partyweave
    partyweave

    Reply 11 months ago

    #nokids grownups only.

    0
    woodlouse
    woodlouse

    Reply 11 months ago

    And of course, kids are so aware that they would not try anything
    especially when you tell them not to ????

    0
    Meglymoo87
    Meglymoo87

    Reply 11 months ago

    Good looking out, Woodlouse! But he said their house doesn't have kids. So this, in reality, wouldn't be a problem at their home (and they aren't encouraging kids to use it). If someone else built it, they could make any secret entrances they wanted to accommodate if they have children or not (so they could omit the use of a fridge if desired). :)

    0
    mread
    mread

    Reply 11 months ago

    You do know they don't make locking fridge doors anymore, right?

    0
    woodlouse
    woodlouse

    Reply 11 months ago

    But they haven't solved the problem of them tipping over.
    Just to illustrate a child sees this idea as exciting and would be tempted to open a fridge door just for devilment. They get inside, the fridge is unstable, the fridge topples forward onto the door, the child is now trapped in an airtight box, oxygen levels minimal, insulation on fridge renders child's cries mute. Air runs out, child falls unconscious......result.
    The whole point is that there are enough dangerous things around to harm a child without giving them further ideas.
    I am not criticizing the idea of the secret room, it is to be commended as a great project, but I will not defer from saying that using a fridge as an entry point is dangerous.
    Maybe C. S. Lewis might have agreed when he wrote his famous novels.

    0
    raameigh01
    raameigh01

    Reply 10 months ago

    woodlouse, from what I've heard most fridges are bolted to the wall. So, yes, your scenario could potentially happen, but it's not likely. And even if the insulation on the fridge quiets the child inside, the sound of the fridge falling would be loud enough for someone to come investigate.

    0
    woodlouse
    woodlouse

    Reply 10 months ago

    Does a tree in an empty forest make a noise when it falls?
    The scenario conjures up a lot of suppositions don't you think?

    0
    pichirichi
    pichirichi

    Reply 11 months ago

    there are many old fridges in yards and there were multiple incidents of kids death while hiding in them.

    0
    47th street
    47th street

    4 months ago

    How long did this entire project take?