How to Make a Secret Door/book Case

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My good friends recently renovated their attic and were able to close off some of the “unusable” space into a secret room. My friend has wanted to have a secret room his entire life, and with their first child on his way soon, the recent renovation was the perfect way to make it happen. The whole idea is for his son, in about four years, to find a secret playroom in his house!

The renovation left an opening for me to build the bookcase in, framed out simply as a short door frame. Even though the walls are new construction, the floor and ceiling have been around since the 1920’s. Old construction adds a whole lot of variables to making built in cabinetry, and I definitely ran into lots of hurdles because of it.

Step 1: How to Make a Secret Door/book Case

The front face was made with pocket holes and fits the opening of the room. Then add pieces for the fronts of the shelves. The cabinet is made from MDF, sized to the inside dimensions of the face frame. It was a basic box, attached with glue and countersunk screws. Make pocket holes on the side panels, to connect the face frame.

Step 2:

Using a square, draw reference lines for placing the shelves. Cut MDF for shelves, and drill pocket holes in the underside. Using glue, line up the shelves, before screwing them in on all sides. Fill holes on the frame with wood filler, then sand smooth. Add 1/8″ plywood to each shelf with a few brads, making it easy to remove in case of emergency.

Step 3:

Glue on a reinforcing strip on the back of the hinge side of the frame. Use the included template to place the hinges. These hidden hinges work great for this application. Drill holes, per hinge instructions. Clean out the mortise with a knife and chisel. Place the hinge, pre drill the holes, then screw them in place. Attach heavy duty casters, angled AWAY from the hinge side.

Step 4:

Cut pieces of wood, and wrap them in a book cover. Attach them with glue.

Step 5:

Set the cabinet in place, and mark the center of the hinge. Cut hinges as before. Screw hinges to the door frame.

Step 6:

Make a bracket the same depth as the cabinet, to hold the latch. Add pocket holes, for attaching it to the door frame. Screw the bracket to the door frame, from both sides. Attach the stationary part of the latch to the bracket. Add a support and the latch to the back of the cabinet.

Step 7:

Cut out a slot, above the latch, for the wire to pass through. Add an eyelet and thick gauge wire to the back of the book. Using a hinge, connect the book to the shelf. Feed the wire through the slot you made previously. Attach the wire to the latch. Adjust so that the book opens and closes the latch.

Step 8:

All done! Take your time, adjust as needed, and it will work out great!

Step 9: More Projects

If you like this project, you might like some of my other ones! I make ALL SORTS of stuff, check out my site at http://www.iliketomakestuff.com

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81 Discussions

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sara_101

1 year ago

i would like one! but idk what i would keep there!

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D'ANGELOF

2 years ago

His son is going to enjoy that when he does find it. Boys love "Secret rooms"

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JamesW33D'ANGELOF

Reply 2 years ago

So do girls, my sister has always wanted one, even now.

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BroWolf

2 years ago

you sir, need to stop trying to rain on other people JUST for the sake of doing so....while your statements in and of themselves are correct

may I point out that few if any people looking for money in the pages of books DO SO IN A CHILDS ROOM

and as an ex-law enforcement officer I do know of which I speak, in direct difference to you

This is a WONDERFUL project, one I wish I had known about when my daughter was growing up. Guess I will have to save it for grandkids :)

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kori261

2 years ago

Very cool... Will be adding this to my home when I find one. Haha still in an apartment but house shopping now. Will definitely have to make sure that I can integrate this somewhere in the house. Thanks for the guide.

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GardenGranny

3 years ago on Introduction

You made me laugh, MichaelG9...I mean, hHow many people do you actually think will be grabbing books in their attic looking for hidden cash? AND, once they DO find the secret door, it isn't like they found their way into a secret vault holding valuables...they'll have found their way into a child's play room. WOO HOO! Won't that burglar be disappointed?

1 reply
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ziggybass

2 years ago

Show us how to do it with Pallet wood, no cross cut saw bench, and workshop. I'm seriously interested! Thank you!

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pmjett

3 years ago

Is the snark necessary? I believe the intent here was for fun. Of course, if the goal was for a panic room, a whole different level of design would be called for. For a fun, not hiding from people with evil intent, secret room- I think it's great.

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MexoplexJpmjett

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

the snark WAS necessary. He made a valid point-gruff but pertinent. When you do this Instructable, be wary of making it suspicious.

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BenandreSTARMexoplexJ

Reply 2 years ago

You're the same person,giving yourself praise..hacked!:)

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BennyD80pmjett

Reply 2 years ago

All true. And as we can see here, with G9, some people feel compelled to suck the fun out of everything.

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Yonatan24pmjett

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

1. Burglar goes to rob a house

2. There is nothing in the expensive in the house, so nothing to steal

3 Goes to read a book...

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boocatpmjett

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

I think this project is fun and clever. Thanks for putting it together.

Addressing the "snark", I didn't get the impression this was in any way intended as a panic room, but someplace quiet to have a private tea party with Winnie and Rabbit and friends.

I think this charming idea sounds very pleasant and appropriate. So don't listen to silliness.

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BenandreSTARQuestor

Reply 2 years ago

Wow Michael...are you always so upbeat abd optimistic

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Questor

2 years ago

I've always wondered . . . . going in, without people seeing you, is one thing. But, how do you know no-one is around as you're leaving your secret place. IF someone sees you leaving, your secret lair is blown.

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Questor

2 years ago

he may be speaking from experience . . . one side or the other . . .

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KristinK3

2 years ago

My childhood has been resurrected! Fantastic!

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notabularasa

2 years ago

I love these hidden doors. I made one with a sliding cabinet as a door. I mounted heavy duty drawer slides horizontally on the back of a wooden bookcase, then screwed the other portion to a wall. I attached wheels under the center of the bookcase to lighten the load. I cut a section of drywall between two studs for a doorway. The bookcase covers the opening but slides sideways to reveal the opening. I used a metal cable and pulley inside the room so that the cabinet can be pulled back into place from the inside. This was a father/son project I did and had a blast creating it. I've never seen another one like it. I'll throw up an instructable in a few days.