I freely admit that I am a bit of a prepper. I want to be ready for what life throws at me. These small “hiding in plain sight” safes are an easy way to stash your cash or valuables right in your pantry or refrigerator. I don’t have any valuables but I do like to have a bit of cash on hand if I ever need it. You can buy similar items with false bottoms that are fantastic but I really enjoy the idea that I can make these myself for very little money.
Just remember if you’re prepping for the apocalypse, if all you have stashed are $20s to conserve space, then when the SHTF, everything you might try to buy is going to cost $20 or $40 or $60…do you get what I’m saying? (also, don’t count on being able to use actual money for long, it will become tinder at some point).
Step 1: Materials
For the safes I’m showing here, you will need:
Plaster of Paris
Off-white (mayo colored!) paint
Empty and clean mayo jar
Empty and clean food can that has been opened on the bottom
(the Progresso soup cans are a great size, but harder to open than other cans I’ve used. Most will open with a regular can opener, but I had to use a hammer and screwdriver/chisel with the Progressos, and then use a pliers to pinch down the sharp spots. A hassle for sure, but the size of those cans is good and I usually have a lot of them in the pantry).
Empty vitamin or spice bottles with lids
Step 2: The Mayo Jar Safe
Start with a clean jar, be careful when washing it to leave the paper label in good shape. Paint the inside of the jar, you can use acrylic paint applied with a brush, I used spray paint. It took several coats, the plaster will hide some imperfections, the upper half of the jar is the most important to get covered. Let it dry.
I’ve made mayo jars with an internal container and without. If you fill the jar 2/3 or ¾ full with plaster, you can be done. Your items will just sit on top of the plaster, super easy.
In this Instructable I’m using an internal container, a glass spice jar. Because the neck of the mayo jar is sort of small, you want to be sure your internal container sits below the neck, low enough that you can still get your fingers inside and are able to screw the lid on and off. If you have large hands, this may not be the best sort of safe for you.
Glue the internal container to the bottom of the mayo jar. I use weighted items to hold the containers in place, especially if I’m using Gorilla glue since it foams up a bit. Let it dry.
Mix up some plaster. If you are using an internal container you will need less plaster as the container will take up space. If you’re doing the mayo jar with no container inside you will need more.
Pour plaster into the jar, keeping it off the internal container and stop just before it reaches the bottom of the screw cap.
Let the plaster dry (it can take a long time!) you do not want to put the mayo jar lid on until the plaster is really dry or you will probably get mold growing in your jar.
(I rushed and poured the plaster before the glue had set so a couple of my internal containers floated up as I added the plaster, no worries, I just used the same weights I used before to hold them in place. When the plaster sets the containers will be secure).
Step 3: The Can Safe
Remove the can bottom with a can opener, if possible, or chisel like I did. Eat the contents, then wash and dry the can, taking care not to damage the label.
Glue the internal container (be sure it fits, not taller than the can and with a narrow enough lid so your fingers can grasp and screw/unscrew the lid) to the bottom (actually the top) of the can. I use weighted items to hold the containers in place, especially if I’m using Gorilla glue since it foams up a bit. Let the glue dry
Mix up some plaster. If you are using an internal container you will need less plaster as it will take up space. I found that the progresso can with a spice jar inside weighs almost the same as a full can.
Pour plaster into the can, keeping it off the internal container and stop just before it reaches the bottom of the screw cap.
Let it dry.
Step 4: That's It
I usually put some little silica packs inside the internal containers to keep the contents dry. I save them from vitamin bottles and dried seaweed packages. Once I had a roll of cash that got a super musty funk to it, now I use the little packs in all my safes.
That’s it, really easy and cheap! Put them in the pantry near similar items or in the back of the fridge (your actual mayo will already be in there-2 jars up front might look weird).
Thanks and Be Ready!