How to Make a Secret Compartment in a Book - the Easy Way!




About: I'm a Mechanical Engineer who has been a part of this community for over 10 years! My interests have evolved over time, and now center around 3D printing.

I was discussing the possibility of hollowing out a book with a classmate of mine, and she thought the only way it could be done was with a razor blade and a ruler, not to mention the hours of effort and patience.  I had just bought an oscillating cutting tool, and was certain I could hollow out a book more efficiently.  When I looked online, it seemed like all the tutorials described gluing the pages of the book together, and then using a razor blade to cut out the desired section.  And so, I decided it was my mission to bring ease to everyone's life by sharing my hollow-book theory with the world!

Then, Instructables decides to have a spy contest, making a secret compartment in a book the perfect entry!  Just think of all the awesome spy-type thing that could be hidden in a book!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

The tools and materials you'll need for this project are as follows:
  1. Oscillating Cutting tool
  2. A Book. 
          This should be one that you don't mind destroying, and preferably have a hard cover.
  3. C-Clamps. 
          Or another sort of clamp that you can make work
  4. Scrap Cardboard.

Step 2: Sizing and Clamping

First off, you'll need to decide how large, and what size compartment you want to carve into your book.  This will be largely dictated by the size of your book, and/or the size the the object you wish to store.

This project was largely performed for the purpose of attempting my method of book-hollowing.  Therefore, the book I am using was the largest hardcover book available at the dollar store.  My compartment is a rectangle, as large as I thought I could make without risking the pages falling apart.  (It would be awesome to cut a compartment shaped like your weapon of choice, as you embark on your epic spy mission.)

Once those two things are figured out, cut two pieces of cardboard roughly the same dimensions of your book.  The front piece is where you will mark where you want to cut, and the back piece is to prevent cutting through the back pages or back cover.  The reason I chose to use large pieces instead of strips is to try to keep all the pages firmly together all along the page, rather than just at the points where the clamps are in contact with the pages.

It's important to note that I chose to skip the first chapter of my book, and the last few pages.  This is more preference than anything, but I thought it would help the secret compartment to keep its shape and structure if it had more of a top and bottom than just the cover.

Step 3: Cutting

At this point it's time to cut.  Using the attachment that came with my cutter, I slowly and carefully cut along the lines I had marked. 
I ended up bending back both the front and back cover, and cutting through both pieces of cardboard to try to get complete cuts. 

It's also important to try to keep your cuts as continuous as possible.  This means that it's best to cut from one corner to the other in one straight line, as opposed to cutting from one corner to halfway down the page, then starting at the other corner and trying to get the cuts to line up. 

Once you are finished cutting, carefully remove the center from your secret compartment.  There will be a LOT of paper dust, so you may want to do this over a piece of newspaper to catch anything, with a vacuum cleaner nearby.

It was difficult to take pictures while I was cutting, so there's only a few.

Step 4: Conclusion

Clear away all the paper dust, finish cutting any pages that didn't quite get all the way cut through, and you're good to go!  No long hours using a razor blade, no glued pages, just an easy secret compartment.

Thanks for reading!  I like comments, so if you would like to leave one, don't be shy!  They help keep me motivated to keep posting Instructables.  Also if you wanted to rate this Instructable and follow me, that would be awesome too. : )

If you really like this Instructable, it is entered into the Spy Challenge contest, and I would really appreciate a vote.

Thanks again, and good luck making your own secret compartment!



    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge

    11 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great project. You made this seem very do-able to me. I think I have that same saw from Harbor Freight.

    Also a note to keep in mind when choosing a book. Choose one that someone wouldn't be likely to pick up and want to read. Regardless of how you hide it whether it be on a book shelf or lying around your room. Situational awareness can also play significantly into this. Personally I prefer something that looks tedious like old accounting books which being in a college town I pick up at good will rather cheaply. Hiding on a shelf with all the other books can seem logical. But if you pull if off the shelf and lay it on your desk or out of place someone visiting might pick up on this. Especially friends who know what you will be studying. I only bring the second half up because a friend of mine had a stash can made out of a red bull can. He drinks the stuff by the case but when you spend enough time around them you learn particulars. He hates to drink red bull hot, yet he always had 1 can lying out. So one day being curious I picked it up. When I suggested how I arrived at this conclusion he started storing the can in his mini fridge along with the other cans more difficult to accidentally discover. Just my 2 cents, plus lack of situational awareness has gotten even government spies caught.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I was using a dremel tool and it took forever and the pages were a mess. I have an oscillating tool in the garage and cant wait to try this. thanks for the idea!!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I wonder if you could take the middle "to be cut" paper and clamp it just as shown and then cut whatever shape you wanted by drilling a hole and using a jigsaw ideally or even coping saw (with the blade mounted inside the hole) or other small hand saw. You could probably get a pretty good shape in there if you wanted to and had the pages clamped nice, even, and tight. I love instructables - thanks for this one!!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this. Other methods used tools I don't have, but this one is in the garage. I'm going to try it tomorrow, there are lots of old hardbacks hanging around the house.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I was currently making a book with a box cutter, when I decided to search instructables. I will dry it with my dremel tomorrow (Makes too much noise to do at this hour)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    how can ı cut with out that kind of cutter and still make it easy