Secret Bookcase Doors

Introduction: Secret Bookcase Doors

In the process of finishing my basement I decided I wanted to hide my unfinished spaces behind some nice, fancy, secret bookcase doors. Check out my wiki to find some handy calculators to tell you how wide your doors can be and still swing cleanly.

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Step 1: Swing in or Swing Out

First you have to decide if your door will swing in or swing out. This will depend on how much space you have behind the door and how much you want to spend. The Swing In door is cheaper and easier to hang and finish. I didn't have space for all my doors to swing in, so I had to buy a $150 pivot hinge to make a couple of my doors swing out.

Step 2: Build the Bookcase

Next you have to build you bookcase. The image above shows my Swing In bookcase. The sides, top, bottom, and center shelf are 1" x 10" boards and the back is a sheet of 1/2" sanded plywood. I drilled the sides for movable shelves, but wanted the center shelf fixed for added stability. My Swing In bookcase has small legs on the side to make the bottom about the same height as the Swing Out cases and allow enough space to mount trim at the bottom. Dust off your geometry skills to figure out how wide your shelves can be and still fit cleanly in the door frame or check out my wiki to find some handy calculators.

Step 3: Mount Your Doors

The next step is to mount the doors. My swing In door uses 5 standard, butt hinges spaced evenly along the frame. To maximize my bookcase width I sanded divots into the side of the bookcase for the hinge to fit flush against the case. It may be easier to mount a 1" x 4" spacer strip to the hinges and then attache the bookcase to that, but it will reduce your bookcase size.

A swing Out door requires a special, pivot hinge to swing out cleanly and get a nice finished look. They're not hard to install, but require more calculations to get the spacing right. They attach to the top and bottom of the bookcase instead of the side and require a piece to be mounted on the top and bottom of the door jamb.

Step 4: Add the Trim

Finally it's time to add your trim. The swing in door is fairly easy. For the top and sides you just have to make sure the trim overhangs the door opening enough to cover the gaps between the bookcase and the door frame. For the baseboard molding I slid a shim underneath just enough to make a clean clearance before attaching to the bookcase.

The swing out door is a little more complicated. The side that swings out should have the trim attached to the bookcase. The rest of my trim is attached to the door frame. Make sure you leave space for the hinge attached to the top and bottom of the case to swing out. I added a strip of wood to the top and bottom of the case, but above and below the trim to get a cleaner look and hide the hinge.

I also added square rosettes to the bottom corners of my bookcases to get a clean finish with just enough space for the moulding to swing cleanly. All that's left is to cut the rest of your shelves and paint or finish the wood.

Check out my wiki to find some handy calculators and let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!

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    4 years ago

    Such a cool project! Thanks for sharing!