Burned Wood Art With Secret Storage




About: I am a mechanic/wild land firefighter/carpenter/welder/artist/bee keeper/wild life control is all the things i get to do daily at my job. I'm a father of 3 beautiful little girls and married to my beautiful ...

For this wood project I'm using a combination of: Woodworking, wood burning, artwork, mechanics, metalwork, and pure awesomeness. This large 4 feet long Cedar Wood Art Mural is not only a piece of art, but a fully functional hidden storage compartment to hold valuables in plain sight. I'm from Texas, and people around here love two things: Guns and BBQ. I'm using this piece of wood decoration to store my hunting rifles and valuables.

With this secret storage, not only can hide your valuables, but you can also keep it locked with the magnetic lock and key. It uses a high power magnetic key to unlock the secret storage compartment. Why stop there, not only its awesome looking, but its even better with two motion sensor LEDs that light the compartment inside. "JUST CAUSE" you can....Go Big or Go Home....Well let's get this Instructable started....

See it in action: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2QIAwJ4nSrA

wood board cuts
2- 48in x 2 1/2in
2- 27 1/2in x 2 1/2in
4 - 48in x 8 in
1 - 48in x 29in

Note: the thickness of the wood used is 3/4in

-Scroll saw or jigsaw
-Kregs Jig - optional
-Wood screws
-Wood glue
-aerosol spray glue
-black felt fabric
-razor blade and scissors
-craft wood burner tool
-2 gas lift shocks
-2 motion sensor LEDs
-wall mount anchors
-Tot Lock magnetic lock kit
-metal ruler and tape measure
-3 of 35mm110-Degree Full Overlay Hinges
-power drill
-round drill bit

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Step 1: Joining the Wood

First cuts you need are the following:

Quantity/Size for the FRAME. Note. The wood boards for the frame and the front face are 3/4 inch thick
2- 48in x 2 1/2in
2- 27 1/2in x 2 1/2in

Quantity/Size for the FRONT FACE
4- 48in x 8 in

Quantity/Size 1/2in PLYWOOD BACKBOARD
1- 48in x 29in

I first joined the wood boards using a Kregs pocket jig and wood glue, but there are many other ways to do it. Start by making a basic rectangle with the following cuts: 48in x 2 1/2in and 27 1/2in x 2 1/2in. Drill out the pocket holes using the jig, making two holes on the ends of the wood.

Next, I joined the four 48in x 8in boards the same way making a rectangle, gluing and screwing in the pocket hole jig screws. After all the wood is joined and glued, go to the next step. Adding the hinges.

Step 2: Adding the Hinges

Start by getting the frame that you just built on the previous step, then I am going to make 3 holes for the hinges. I measured and marked about 5 inches from the outer edges where I'm going to drill the two outer holes. Drill the hole two holes about 1/4 away from the edge until the bit is evenly flush with the wood. Then make a center hole as well, using the same drilling process. Once all three holes are made, get the hinges, and place them in the holes and screw them in. Next is to the plywood backboard, I lined up the opposite ends of the hinges and evenly line the frame and the edge of the plywood. Screw in the remaining screws for the hinges to the plywood making sure the frame and the backboard edges are lined up then screw in the hinges. Once all the hinges are all screwed in then test the open and close operation to see if any issues with the closing process. On these hinges there is an adjustment screw to raise it up or lower it. It may need to be raised if the frame doesn't open properly.

Step 3: Adding the Gas Shock Lifts

I first started by purchasing the gas shocks from Ebay. Originally I bought two 22 Lb Force 90mm Stroke Lift Support Struts Gas Spring from ebay for about $7.00. Then realized after I installed them, they did not have the capability to lift the weight of the wood front face. So I had to sit down ad rethink about what I was going to do. I didn't want to give up on this project at this point. So I thought about for a while and then the light bulb in my head came on. I can get some pretty decent size gas shocks from the junk yard for real cheap. If those shocks can lift a car hood then they can definitively lift the wood for my project. I ended up using the hardware from the Ebay shocks and using it on the gas shocks from the junkyard to make it work. I combined the ends from the grey small shocked to the black shocks due to the different size of the metal ball that it pivots on. These metal mounting pieces that came with the EBAY shocks will be installed on to wood frame and backboard.

The angled metal ball bracket is going to be screw screwed to the backboard about 18in from the top of the backboard and at least 1 1/2in away from the end so it gives the frame clearance to close properly. The straight metal ball bracket will be screwed 6in. from the top of the inside face frame. Repeat the same for the opposite side. Once both sides are complete, install both of the gas shocks and test to see if it functions properly. If binding occurs adjust until it operates correctly. Once it can close with no issues, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Installing the Magnetic Lock

I am adding a magnetic lock to this piece to secure the valuables in it. I purchased this magnetic lock also known as: TOT LOCK from the Safety First brand. I first found the center of the backside lower face, then marked where I wanted to to install the lock part of the Tot Lock. I then measured down about 2 1/2in and marked the center point of the lock. I will need to screw a hole the same size and depth as the magnetic rod extension. Once it is deep enough screw in the lock with the part that opens and closes facing up towards the wood frame.

Time to make the opposite side that the latch hooks on, this part was a bit tricky for me. I had to measure the the distance of the latch and then make an extended wood bracket to add the other latch piece were it hooks on to the same distance. Make sure it doesn't block the frame when you close it. Screw in the small latch hook into the extended wood bracket and the test to see if the both line up and lock. Test by putting the magnetic key on the opposite side on the face where latch would be, and see it it unlocks. I ended up spray painting the key black to give it a better look.

There are also other different types of locks that could be used, for example the tradition key lock or even a12V wireless solenoid lock. The possibilities of customization are endless if you have the creativity to make it happen.

Step 5: Mounting the Motion Sensor LED's

I purchased two motion sensor LEDs from Amazon for about $15 each. They automatically turn on when it senses no light, but with movement it turns on automatically . I will need to make a bracket to mount it, because these LED's come with a sticky backing magnet on the opposite side of it. The sticky backside wouldn't stick to the rough side of the cedar board. So, what I did is cut a piece of scrape aluminum strip down the same size as the LED, the made two holes at each end with a drill. After cutting and drilling holes for both brackets, I then screwed them both into the inside of the face. Peel off the the sticker part of the magnetic strip and place it on the aluminum bracket. After that, the LED light assembly with attach to the magnet.

Step 6: Adding the Black Felt Fabric to the Back Board

I wanted to make the inside part of the hidden storage look equally as nice as the outside, so I added black felt fabric to it. It is senseless to put this much effort in a project and not make the inside just as nice. So what I did is purchased black fabric from the craft store or even Walmart depending on there selection. I learn the hard way that it is easier to just remove the shocks and the hinges from the backboard.

Start by laying the fabric directly on the backboard to see if you have the correct amount of fabric. I then used Loctite Clear Spray Multi Purpose Adhesive, that I bought from craftstore, but could be bought at any hardware store as well. I will start from one corner or side then make my way to the opposite end. Spray the one side with about couple inches of the adhesive then laying the fabric down and smoothing down the material to get all the creases flat, doing this in small sections at a time until you have the entire backboard covered. I recommend practicing with scrape fabric and spare wood before you jump straight into your project to get the results that you want. I had to cut a hole in the fabric with a razor blade to let the wood bracket that holds the plastic latch thru. Also make marks where all the hinge bracket and gas shocks bracket would be with a white crayon. This helps finding all the predrilled holes when you reassemble the hardware. Once all the fabric is laid down and dry, take a razor blade and cut the fabric along the edges of the backboard. After all the edges of the fabric are even with the backboard, then it's time to re attach the hardware.

Take a sharp point pen or metal pick, then find the white crayon marks, using the sharp end to find the holes just in case the marks are off. Once the holes are found reattach the metal brackets.

Step 7: Burning the Artwork

For this artwork used the picture of The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. The flag is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden (1724-1805), who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution. I first saved the picture as .gif image, then uploaded the image to into www.blockposters.com. From there it will ask you what size would you like, then it converts it to multi-page PDF that can be printed out then put together to create a block poster.

After I printed out my PDF image, I then taped it together and laid it on the front face of the cedar board taping it in place to the wood so it doesn't move during the tracing process. Trace the outlines of the image with a pencil or pen pressing firmly. It will leave an outline on the wood. After your done tracing all the image, remove the paper it will leave an outline.

Next part is the burning using the Wood Burner tool/soldering gun. Start by heating up the tool, once it's hot, trace the main outline of the image first. After the main image is burned the go in and burn in the detail of the image. The lettering was a difficult process but not impossible, it took lots of patience and a metal ruler to get it done. I used a flat tip on the burner tool doing the outline of the letter first then working my way in. This helps to outer portion of the number from burning unintentionally and gives you a smoother outer line and control. When you are done burning the outline of the number's outline, go in and start burning the inside of the letter going with the grain of the wood. Another trick I use is to use a metal ruler to make straight lines and metal protractor for the curves. For the lower grass portion of the artwork I shaded the grass with wood burner tip that is shaped of a tear drop and the round end to get the shade effect. I also lowered the burner temperature as well.

Step 8: Making the Gun Rack Hooks and Shelf

I will need some hangers to hang my rifles inside this storage piece, so I made them out of scrape wood. It was a little bit more time consuming but it is worth it in the end. I looked into buy some metal hangers from the store but either it cost so much or didn't have the size I needed. I first cut out the small rectangles the size of 2 1/2in x 5in. Then I drew a J hook on the wood, then I drilled out the holes with a round drill bit but you can also use a spade bit. After that I used a scroll saw to cut out the shape. After I had all the pieces cut out, I used an orbital sander to sand the edges down evenly and smooth out the rough spots. I predrilled the top and bottom of the hooks so I can screw them to the backboard with screws. After its all nice and smooth, I spray painted the finish hooks with Rust-oleum Hammered spray paint. I also made a quick little shelf from scrap wood I had laying around. The dimension of this shelf is 18 inch long x 2 1/2 inch wide to still be able to close the compartment up. Then painted it black with spray paint. This can be screwed into the backboard to hold whatever I want in it.

Step 9: Mounting to the Wall

First, I predrilled four holes on the corners of the backboard with a power drill. Next, you will need a level and a sharp pick that can fit thru the predrilled holes. After that have an additional person to hold the art piece against the way with the door in the open position. Level out the artwork then press the sharp pic or pencil thru the holes to mark where you will place next screw in the plastic wall anchors. This anchors are rated to hold 75 foot pounds. They are self tapping so all you will need is a Philips screw driver, locate the four holes an marks that and screw in an anchor in each one. The backboard against the wall again aligning all four holes together and screw in to the wall.

Step 10: Enjoy

Now step back and enjoy your handmade wood burned artwork and fully functional hidden storage, you can now hide your valuables in plain sight with style.

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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I think you did a great job. I just have a suggestion with the picture.

    try using a projector to project the image onto the wood. then trace it onto the wood. Just a suggestion.


    3 years ago

    What size did you have your graphics blow up to? I love the project, great job.


    3 years ago

    Awesome project! Thank you for sharing. Do you happen to have a rough idea how much the supplies cost you?


    4 years ago

    Awesomeness at its pinnacle. A just plain ol' WOW! Your descriptions and effort put into instructable *alone* ices the cake. I do not possess your jedi wood working skills, but this is so inspiring that I just hafta give it a try. Thanks for your idea and your effort, with special note to the Gadsden flag; it is my most favorite American symbol, with obvious exception to the Stars 'n' Stripes.


    4 years ago

    Awesome job, a little surprised that you didnt do the "come and take it" seeing that your a fellow Texan.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    That is actually my next build. This one was a prototype to see if could actually make a type of storage that could hold valuables discreetly in plain sight. This size and weight of the front wood almost didn't work out.

    Chris Logan

    4 years ago

    That is a really eloquent solution.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! I love the addition of that perticular release! So handy!!