Secret compartments are extremely useful (and awesome!). If you're a deep-cover government agent trying to keep important documents out of the hands of sinister enemy agents or just a kid trying to keep their cash out of a greedy sibling's hands, you have probably wanted a secret stash spot at some point. I'm not a secret agent risking it all to save the world (yet), but I do like to have a place to hide my stuff. I was drawn towards building a false bottom because of the obvious advantages; they are
A) simple: no fancy electronic locks required
B) easily adjustable: you can change the depth of the compartment to suit your needs, or remove it altogether
C) easily made without major structural modifications: I'd love to have a secret wall compartment, but my mom would kill me if I cut a hole in the wall, and
D) they are just plain cool.
Now lets get to work!
Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Secret Doors and Compartments Contest!
Step 1: What You Need:
- 1/8" drill bit
- Wood glue
- Sandpaper around 80 grit
- Metal rod or bar, 1/8" in diameter or less
- Tape measure
- Four objects identical in size, preferably under and inch high; these will be used to support the false bottom, and the shorter they are the less noticeable the secret compartment will be. I used four identical corks, but you can really use anything; Lego bricks, bottle caps, erasers, it doesn't matter as long as they are the same.
- 1/4" thick plywood
- Old t-shirt (optional)
Step 2: Making the Bottom
- First, find out the dimensions of your drawer. Mine measured 14 11/16" x 14 3/8".
- Go to your nearest hardware store and find a sheet of 1/4" plywood that looks like the bottom of your drawer. Most hardware stores will cut wood to custom sizes, so ask them to cut a piece of plywood the dimensions of your drawer for you. They have extremely accurate equipment which makes nice straight edges, so it is a lot easier to have them do it.
- Test the piece of plywood to see if it fits into your drawer, but do not let it fall to the bottom and don't drop it straight down! I did that, and it was a HUGE hassle to get the piece out of the drawer. Let one edge of it rest above the top of the drawer (see picture 5). Test to make sure both length and width are correct. If it fits snugly but can still be removed again without too much effort, disregard the next few points. If not, read on!
If the Piece Doesn't Fit
- This isn't a big deal, it just means a little more work.
- Use the sandpaper to remove about 1/32" from the length and width of the piece, then test again. If it still doesn't fit, repeat this step until the plywood fits snugly but can still be removed.
Step 3: Supporting the False Bottom
- Get your four identical objects that you are using as supports. You want them to be less than an inch high, or the compartment won't be as well hidden (a 10 inch deep drawer with a 9 1/2 inch depth is less suspicious than a 10 inch deep drawer with a 8 inch depth).
- Glue the four supports into the corners of the drawer.
Step 4: The Opening "Mechanism"
- Flip the drawer over and drill a hole about halfway between where two supports would be on the other side. Flip it back over and check the position of the hole.
- Cut a 6" piece off your metal bar or rod. Bend it at a 90 degree angle about an inch from the end, making a sort of hook.
Step 5: How to Open the Compartment
- Flip the drawer over. Insert the straight end of your hook into the hole you drilled and push. One edge of the false bottom will now be raised up.
- Rest the drawer on its side with the raised edge of the false bottom pointing up.
- Use the bent end of the hook to pull the raised edge out further until you can easily grip the false bottom, then pull it out.
- Fill up the compartment or remove what you need, then drop the bottom back into place.
*Ironinspired suggested lining the drawer with some sort of fabric to prevent rattling. I thought that was a great idea, so I did this:
- Cut/fold an old t-shirt to the shape of the bottom of your drawer.
- Cover the bottom of the drawer with the t-shirt. Make sure that the t-shirt isn't covering the supports.
- Fill up the compartment then drop the bottom back into place.
Runner Up in the
Secret Doors and Compartments Contest
Participated in the
Participated in the
Manly Crafts Contest