Intro: $3 Secret Drawer Lock
This is a magnetic secret drawer lock. It is simple to build, can be added to any top drawer, and only costs $3 per lock. The video has full details on how it works and how to build it. I hope you find it useful.
You can also find the video on my YouTube channel by typing: youtube.com/dougdstecklein into your browser.
The 1/2" x 1/2" neodymium magnet is the only part that has to be ordered. This link will take you directly to It on Amazon:
Step 1: Parts List
1 - hinge pin (4 for $0.67 at Lowes)
1 - non-metallic guide (I used a plastic poker chip)
1 - 1/2 inch cylinder neodymium magnet ($2.50 on Amazon)
1 - wood screw
Step 2: Tools Needed
1/2 inch drill bit
1/4 inch drill bit
hacksaw or dremel
Step 3: Drill Hole for Hinge Pin
1) The hole should be drilled up into the underside of the top of your nightstand and should be located 1/4 inch in front of the back edge of your drawer. (When the pin drops, you want it to catch the back edge of your drawer.)
(Alternative) If it is too difficult to reach the back of your nightstand you can drill the hole in the front, but you will need to attach something to the back of the drawer face to catch the hinge pin.
2) Measure the depth of your drawer
- My drawers are flush with the front of my nightstand, so I measured to the outside of my drawer face. If your drawer is not flush, you will need to measure to the inside of your drawer face.
3) My drawer depth was 14 inches, so I measured back from the face of my nightstand 13 3/4 inches and marked the location.
4) Use your 1/2 inch drill bit to drill a hole into the location you marked. If your board thickness is 3/4 of an inch, drill a 1/2 inch deep hole.
- TIP Measure 1/2 inch down from the tip of your drill bit and wrap a piece of tape around the bit. This will let you know when you are at your desired depth while drilling. Also, if your drill bit has a pointed tip you may need to add an 1/8 of an inch to this measurement. (5/8 inch) Be careful! You will only be 1/8 of an inch away from drilling a hole through your nightstand.
Step 4: Cutting Hinge Pin to Length
1) Insert the head of the hinge pin completely into the hole you just drilled and mark the hinge pin at the level of the underside of the nightstand. (Your mark should be 1/2 inch down from the head of the hinge pin)
2) Now measure from the underside of the nightstand to the top edge of your drawer.
3) Use this measurement to measure down from your previous mark on your hinge pin. Subtract 1/8 inch and mark the location. Cut the hinge pin at this mark using a Dremel or hacksaw.
- This will give the hinge pin 1/8 inch of clearance when it is in the up position and 3/8 inch of overlap with the back wall of your drawer when it is in the down position.
Step 5: Assembly
1) Drill a 1/4 inch hole into your poker chip or any non-metallic guide you choose.
2) Drill a small pilot hole into the poker chip for the wood screw
3) Insert the head of the hinge pin into the hole you drilled into the nightstand. Then slide the poker chip over the hinge pin and secure it to the underside of the nightstand with a wood screw.
- Make sure the hinge pin can move up and down smoothly when positioning the poker chip.
- Slide the magnet over the hinge pin location to ensure it functions properly.
- Re-attach the drawer and have fun with your new secret drawer lock!
Step 6: Troubleshooting
1) The magnet does not pull up the hinge pin.
- The hinge pin should move up/down freely. If not, you many need to drill a bigger hole in your poker chip.
- Make sure the back edge of your drawer is not touching the hinge pin.
- Make sure only the hinge pin is attracted to the magnet. If your guide is metallic, it will stick to the hinge pin.
- Make sure the distance between the head of the hinge pin and magnet is not greater than 3/4 of an inch.
* If your distance is greater than 3/4 of an inch, you can either purchase a bigger magnet or add spacers to raise the head of the hinge pin while it's in the down position.
2) The drawer does not lock tight enough.
- You can attach spacers to the back of your drawer. (see attached picture)
3) Hinge pin has too much side to side movement.
- You can use 2 or more poker chip guides if needed to prevent side movement, just stack them.
If you have any other issues with this drawer lock, let me know in the comments and I will try to add a solution to this troubleshooting section.