Make a Secret Compartment Book – Weekend Projects Podcast

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This weekend, make a secret compartment book project that you can give as a gift. This project is perfect for valuables or you could customize the compartment to fit a gift exactly.

Sponsored by Ponoko: Ponoko is a new concept that’s perfect for Makeziners. Use it to make and promote your product ideas. Ponoko supplies the digital manufacturing technology and the materials, you supply the creativity. Plus you can sell your product ideas in their showroom. Ponoko is this week’s sponsor of our weekend video podcast.

Make a design, upload it – have it cut on laser cutter and delivered to you.

If you’re one of the first 10 Makeziners to make a product using Ponoko you’ll get shipping for free.

Now *before* you grab up all the free shipping requests please please upload your designs and consider *making a product* a lot of folks out there uploaded designs but didn’t get a product made (yet) that’s ok – but ideally Ponoko would like to see more folks getting something made to take advantage of the free shipping, thanks.

Ok, click here to get going!

48 thoughts on “Make a Secret Compartment Book – Weekend Projects Podcast

  1. CammoBlammo says:

    Of course, if I were to show what I put in my secret compartment, I’d have to kill you…

    That’d be a pity, ‘cos it’s a good project.

  2. Peter says:

    So, when I’ve tried this in the past, the trouble I had was not ripping the pages as I cut and eventually pulled them out. Did you use something as a stencil? Maybe I just got impatient, and maybe I should have used something with heavier pages than just a phone book.

  3. T. Lord says:

    Is there a way to download the videos from

    My niece does not have high-speed internet, but this looks like a project I’d like to show her when I visit.

    Are there tools akin to the various youtube video downloaders that would let me put this video on my hard drive for viewing when off grid?


  4. Tsubasa says:

    You can download via the mp4 link below the video.

  5. Alex says:

    I made one of these about a year back and used it to propose to my now fiance(it worked). I bought a blank leather journal and then the first few pages were stuff I had written for her and reflections on the past four years. I brought her down to a spot that has meant a lot to us and read her the first few pages and then when I flipped the last page, there was a ring sized hole cut out and I proposed. So, be creative these secret compartment books are pretty cool.


  6. Andy says:

    I made one of these in a very similar fashion. It was a fat book, but the cutting went okay. I clamped the pages to make sure to get a straight cut.

    One important thing I’d do in the future is to use a non-water-based glue, like urethane glue (Gorilla Glue is a popular brand) or oil-based varnish-like whatever. With the wood glue I used, some very distinct wrinking happened over the course of several days, ruining the illusion of “book.” Since urethane glues foam a bit as they cure, I’d tightly clamp the book between rigid whatevers (boards, etc.) to prevent weirdness. Glueing the outside might have helped prevent the wrinkling with my initial water-based attempt, but I decided against that for the sake of realistic book appearance. With the clamped urethane glue and subsequently reduced wrinkling, I would not glue the outside.

    With the one I made, I tried a lining with black faux velvet and it worked great. I just cut a rectangle much larger than the book cutout and lightly (don’t want it to soak through) glued it onto the bottom, then the sides. I snipped it flush with scissors and cleaned up the flaps with carefully applied glue. The lining turned out great despite the paper wrinkling.

    Peace out and best of luck with your compartment book. HEY, side note: my next compartment book will be a hardcover edition of John Grisham’s _The Chamber_. Ha ha ha!

  7. extracrispy says:

    when i was a freshman in high school i saw one of these.the hardest part was getting a book i would be allowed to destroy.parents watched kids in those days.after a lot of”are we there yet”complaining my dad took me to a secondhand store.i searched the books and selected “kent knowles :quahog”(a story about a summer vacationer in new england being accepted by locals.)title does matter.i took it to school.while the teacher wasn’t looking i would show my friends a lizard i caught that day.then i would slam it in the book.the results were rewarding.a stamp cost 3 cents then but the fun hasn’t changed.

  8. T. Lord says:

    Tsubasa: Thanks! I must have been blind; I knew that previous ones have been as MP4 downloads, but I didn’t notice it this time. Like parking spaces, only there when you’re not looking for one ;)

    I’m thinking about making one of these books, but preserving the book illusion as much as possible by doing it like this:

    1) drill holes about 1/2 inch in from each corner (not drilling through the covers, of course, just the inner pages. Might start 20 or so pages in, depending on the book size.

    2) fill the resulting hole with a thick slurry of (glue and fine sawdust, perhaps?).

    3) *Then* do the page slicing to make a nice hole.

    This way, the outside edges of the books don’t get a glued-together feel, but (I hope) the pages would be stuck sufficiently together for the thing to work.


  9. bgraham111 says:

    I just put up an instructable the other day on how to make a book press (for the gluing step), although using several heavy books is easier… Of course, if you need to make 100’s of secret books…

  10. Moonbat_One says:


  11. Moonbat_One says:


  12. popov says:

    Pretty clever! I never would have thought of cutting holes in the pages!

    What’s next – how to make a toothpick?

  13. popov says:

    Pretty clever! I never would have thought of cutting holes in the pages!

    What’s next – how to make a toothpick?

  14. Katie says:

    There is also this altered book safe on Craftbits.

  15. Felix says:

    Didn’t the preacher do this in the Treasure of the Sierra Madre, with a space for a revolver? I’ve been thinking about this ever since I saw that movie, but never got around to it.

  16. kellyhofer says:

    A scroll saw worked well when i did the project, and it had a nice edge and good corners, and it took me only 5 minutes to cut

  17. kellyhofer says:

    A scroll saw worked well when i did the project, and it had a nice edge and good corners, and it took me only 5 minutes to cut

  18. kellyhofer says:

    A scroll saw worked well when i did the project, and it had a nice edge and good corners, and it took me only 5 minutes to cut

  19. ryan says:

    cutting our the pages took me like an hour…

  20. NewtSack says:

    Make your compartment with rounded corners, it will make your life not suck when cutting out the hole.

  21. CamilloMiller says:

    I made one of these books, thanks for the idea bre, she really loved it, for my girly last week and then another one for my personal use. I chose a Barbara Taylor Bradford’s novel to do it so I’m sure noone’s here’s gonna ever touch it…

  22. taylor says:

    HI everone heres a kool thing that really works!!!wow
    ok here it is.There are many different snow dances… one that i use to do was…
    1. turn your pagamas inside out and put them on.
    2. then gather white beads and a couple pieces of white paper.
    3. when that is done, rip up the paper into small pieces.
    4. then turn your music on real loud and dance until you get tired.
    5.While you dance, throw the paper and beads around your room. it symbolizes snow.
    6. when you are so tired that you can’t dance or throw the paper and beads around any longer. pick up the beads and pieces of paper put them in the under side of your pillow case and go to sleep.

    IT WORKS!!!! :)and im not joking

  23. 2MuchSxyTime says:

    Cool BUT,
    I think you should try to make a secret compartment in like a bookcase or Shelf
    That is just a sujestion
    thx :D

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