Hidden Money/paper Compartment in Pencil (With Stuff You Already Have!)




About: I am a teenager, building since I was 4 (and soldering since I was 7). I enjoy building things and inventing all kinds of little projects, some of which I share here!

You've seen it copied around the internet, but here's the original!

This is another SYAH (Stuff you already have) Instructable. In it, I will be showing you how I created a secret compartment for money or paper that fits inside a working pencil. It can also be used as a handy way to store a grocery list, reminders, or pass secret messages to friends. It may take a couple of tries to get one that comes out right, but it is pretty simple to do. I used a similar idea in a pen, but I was not as pleased with how that turned out. As a result, I have chosen to come back to give this one another try in a more effective, sleek, and clever design.
If you are interested in the original pen version, click Here.

Step 1: Supplies

Okay, so the supplies list is pretty short for this one. You will need...
- A paperclip
- Something to put into the compartment (Paper, money, note) and of course, a...
- Pencil!
For tools, we will be using...
- Pliers
-Wire cutters
-Drill press (With a vice or some other method of mounting the pencil vertically to the press)
-Drill bits

Step 2: Opening

In order to keep the compartment hidden, I found the one place we could keep it covered up: the eraser. Just give that a nice, slow tug and it comes right off. Hold on to both the pencil body and the eraser, we will be joining them together later.

Step 3: Prepare for Drilling

Before we can drill, we will need to choose our drill bit. By holding the end that goes into the drill, we can see how big a hole we will create. Choose your bit wisely: The bigger the hole, the easier it is to mess up. However, with a bigger hole comes the ability to hold more stuff.

Step 4: Prepare for Drilling Part 2

Once the bit is chosen, we will put it, along with our pencil, into the vice mounted on the bed of the drill press. Notice how the pencil is perfectly vertical, as found by the square tool. (That's the one that looks like a metal triangle in the second image.)
I also set the height of the bed such that the drill would bottom out before it hit the two-thirds mark of the pencil. When I was sure that the all of these things were true, I set the bit to line up with the center of the pencil. With everything set, I drilled away all that I didn't want, and I had a hollow pencil. When I was done, I marked how deep in the hole was. It's information that will come in handy later.

Step 5: Adding a Hook

We could just put the eraser back on and end it there, but sometimes the paper will get stuck inside the barrel. What we really need is a small wire that will pull the paper out for us, or at least give us a tool to use if we find ourselves in a jam. I choose to use a paperclip for this task.
To use the paperclip as a hook, I simply straightened one piece of a paperclip and cut off the rest that I didn't need. I compared the length of my wire to how deep the hole was, and found it was far too long. To fix this, I trimmed the excess off, too. When I had a satisfactory length, I pushed it into the eraser that we removed earlier. I then took two pliers to add a small bend in the end of the wire.

Step 6: The Inserted

Now that we have a compartment, what will we put in it? I choose to put in some paper, so to do this, I cut an appropriate height based on the length of the wire. I then rolled it into a loose cylinder and rolled it tighter. (See the photo for the best way to roll in order to tighten the paper.) When it was tight enough to slide over the wire and fight inside the metal holding for the eraser, I slid the paper over the wire and continued my rolling. At some point, it became tight enough to put into the compartment in the pencil, and so I slid it inside. Be careful that you aren't forcing it too much, as I did that and ended up getting the paper stuck inside the hole (and because I could not remove it, I had to start over). If it is too tight, you have a few options. You can widen to hole, trim the end off of the paper, or try to twist the further. A combination of these will probably works best for you.

Step 7: Completion

Now that's all of the pieces done. All we need to do is put it all together, but proceed with caution! As I said before, the paper can get stuck, and all of the graphite in there will get all over your paper. There is a simple solution: Take a piece of paper you cut to the right size, put it in, and swirl it around. Tear off the dirtied part, and repeat. You could also try to wash it out, but watch out for mold.

Step 8: TaDa!

And there you have it! With your new pencil, you can stash money, secret messages, or perhaps a grocery list, all at the convenience of a pencil. Please let me know what you thought, including your comments, thoughts, and suggestions. As always, have a nice day!

If you want to see the original pen I was talking about, you can see it Here.



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    69 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    this was done during World War 2 in the Derwent pencil factory in the lake district in England.
    The pencils had maps of the areas in Germany where paratroopers were dropped to help them escape. The Nazi's never worked this out and the pencils were not confiscated.
    There is a small museum at the pencil factory ( they still make great pencils) telling this story.

    3 replies
    Alex 2Q

    1 year ago

    Very cool way to create a hidden compartment!


    1 year ago

    It's a good idea for careless people


    2 years ago

    that is badass and awesome


    3 years ago

    I will do it ...


    3 years ago



    5 years ago on Step 8

    Awesome idea. Perhaps you could also use a tiny brush to cover the inside with a thin layer of paint, glue, etc. instead of cleaning out the inside?


    5 years ago

    If you just put a small piece of paper in it the graphite wouldn't be a problem awesome idea too

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Step 4

    Quick tip: Put the pencil in the drill press and make the drill bit itself stationary below. Then the bit will automatically self-center the hole in the pencil.

    2 replies

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I recently saw a product listed for purchase, and item supposedly employed by the former KGG. It's a variation on your idea but will almost certain require access to a mill or lathe, though some well chosen hand tools and a good vise and drill could make do in a pinch. I think the photo alone gives most of what anyone would need to understand about constructing a similar item, along with some understanding of basic tooling and machining. Beware hardened metals, if using such an item do some research on how to handle machining them before potentially ruining bits and other tools.

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