Intro: Hidden Cabinet
WHY: My TV was mounted onto the wall using a bulky bracket. From the left and right sides of the TV, the brackets would show. I covered them up by making two smaller sized boxes to fit and block the bracket area. I just recently remodeled my room, so I thought it would be nice to do something a little more creative than a standard shelf. The hidden shelf looks like a stack of dvds, but is in fact a hidden door.
This secret door is also a fairly nice way to conceal electronics.
Cost: Roughly $25
Every part seen in this guide can easily be purchased at your local hardware store.
This project should probably be done before the assembly of the outer cabinet, it will make measurements easier. Otherwise be ready to be asphyxiated by bondo fumes.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
You will need:
1x metal rod (needs to be able to slip through the spring of a mouse trap)
1x mouse trap
2x Bottle of 5 minute epoxy
1x magnetic cabinet clutch (push in/out)
1x 2'x4' laminated 1/8 MDF board
1x Tube of PL glue
Bondo (too cover up mistakes)
Drill and drill bit
As many DVD cases needed to fill in the empty space
Step 2: Glue 'em Together
Gather your DVD cases together and align them as desired, the spine of the cases should all be alligned so that the wording is facing the same direction.
You may want to remove the outer plastic sheath, and glue the inner paper (using paper glue) onto the cases so that they do not come off later.
Mix the 5 minutes epoxy on a piece of tin foil, (use about half of the entire tube)... must work quickly
Using a spare piece of cardboard smear the epoxy on the sides of the cases... this only needs to be done near the spine region. Make sure not to get the epoxy on the spine for this is the area exposed. The inner dvds receive epoxy on both sides, only spread epoxy on one side of the outside cases.
Once glued, press down and make sure that the cases are all in line with each other. You can use blue tape to help hold them in place... I used my moms watering can.
Step 3: Saw Off the Spine
This step sounds like it came straight out of Dr. Nicks "how to do spinal surgery" book.
Once the cases have dried ( 5 minutes later) mark off a region that seems sturdy... about a half an inch away from the spine of the case. Use this mark to guide you when using the table saw.
Be careful when using the table saw, shards can and will fly off while cutting through this cheap plastic. Use goggles. Cut the glued cases with the shorter side against the table saw arm. you can cover the exposed side with paper if you are worried about scratching it.
Once cut, the case's spines will billow outward or curve, this is because the cases still have openings. This will be fixed with the MDF backing.
The spines have been removed.
Step 4: Backing the Cases
This is probably the second most difficult step.
The MDF serves two purposes: 1, to keep the cases perfectly aligned, and 2, to hold the mounted spring in place.
Place the cases on top of the laminated MDF and trace its shape. I used a miter saw to cut out the shape I wanted, a razor should work too. Now you should have the backing and the cases. The backing should fit perfectly on the the back of the DVD.
Using tin foil as a mixing plate, stir together the remaining epoxy. Using a new piece of cardboard smear the epoxy onto the NON laminated side of the MDF. Make sure it is completely covered, you may want to put excess epoxy along the edges.
You will then want to take some PL glue, and put it along the caverns of the spine's backsides. This will assure a solid and sturdy structure.
Now you will need to use the clamps to make sure that the backing sticks on the spines. I used four different ones, but it shouldn't matter as long as it all lines up.
Step 5: Drill Time
I waited 24 hours for the assembled unit to settle. You may want to wait this long, just because the drilling needs to be very precise and can not be subjected to flimsy areas.
This step can be pretty tricky because the drill hole really needs to be perfect if you want the spines (we can now call it the door) to flip up straight. I recommend using a drill press. Depending on how you set your cabinet up, will change where you orient your door's hole. I wanted my door to pivot upward so that the hinge would be pretty concealed.
Once the hole is drilled, you need to pass the metal rod through the door and make sure that it goes straight through. If it looks straight, take it out.
The hole that was just drilled is a pre-drill guideline. You will use this as a guideline for the wider drill bit.
You can use a hand drill to make the wider hole, which only needs to be on one side of the door. This second hole is designed to harness the mouse trap spring.
Step 6: Spring Loading
Now you will load the spring into the door.
First take apart the mouse trap and extract the spring. Slip the spring down the metal rod to see if it fits. If it does not, use pliers to loosen up the pitch. You are going to want to wedge the spring into the second larger hole that one of the springs legs is fastened against the MDF.
The spring should stay pretty fastened, but if it does not use some bondo to harness it in place. Bondo rarely fails.
Now you should have a spring loaded door... no metal rod should be inserted yet.
Step 7: Prepare the Cabinet
The ease of this step will depend on how well you measure. The external cabinet must have three holes drilled in it. Two for the pivot axis (metal rod) and one to wedge one of the springs arms into.
The third drill hole will vary depending on how springy you want the door to be. If the hole is parallel with the horizontal door, then it will be less springy. The more perpendicular the third hole is to the horizontal door the springier the action will be. I wanted springy... so I put the hold directly below the axis hole. You could also use two springs for heavier doors and apply this same method.
The first two holes drilled coincide with the holes in the door. Use a ruler to assure perfect alignment.
Once the holes are properly bored out, the door should be place inside the cabinet and lined up with the holes.
This part is tricky.
Wedge the spring arm into the third hole, and push it upward so that the door holes, and the cabinet holes align.
Now you can wedge the metal rod through, completing the axis of rotation. Since no clutches have been used yet, the door should swing open horizontal to the floor.
I cut an area out so that you can see the hidden spring... I later covered it with bondo.
Step 8: Adding the Clutch
Place a magnet on the bottom surface of the laminated MDF. I used epoxy to hold it in place.
To mark off where the clutch should go, I taped a pen onto the back of the door and pushed back. This allowed me to see the farthest point back that the clutch should go.
Using the mark as a guideline I used epoxy to harness the clutch.
Once the epoxy dries, you can press the door down. It should fit in perfectly.
The hinge is virtually invisible, and makes for a great hidden door.
Step 9: Cleaning Up
If you made countless errors like I did with the drilling, you will need to cover up the areas with bondo.
I also got some glue on the dvd covers. At first I thought I ruined everything, but i just got another dvd, took the paper out, cut it to size, and glued it on the dirtied spine with paper glue. It worked pretty well.
I also made a little overhang for the cabinet to add some style. The little thing seen, was made using MDF as well.
Step 10: The Finished Cabinet
I hope you enjoy using your new hidden cabinet, it makes for a great storing place.