How to make a book safe

Crafting with Damaged Books: How to Make a Secret Book Safe

Making a secret book safe is a lot easier than I thought. It’s one of those things that I thought I’d have to buy because I thought it’d be a really cool gift. But before I spend any money to buy one, why not try to make it myself. Here is how to make a secret book safe.


  • Thick hardback book
  • Decoupage medium or glue and water mixture
  • Paint brush
  • Sharp knife
  • Metal straightedge

Step One:

How to make a book safe

Step Two:

I used Mod Podge, a decoupage medium, and a paint brush to seal the three edges. Make sure you saturate them with approximately three coats. Allow the Mod Podge to dry (about 15 minutes), meanwhile set something heavy on top of the book to create pressure.

How to make a book safe

Step Three:

Next, using a straightedge and a pencil, I marked the area I wanted to cut out.

How to make a book safe

Step Four:

Using a sharp knife and a metal straightedge, I carefully cut out a few pages at a time, making sure to remove small bits and pieces along the way. Take your time while doing this step.

How to make a book safe

Step Five:

After I reached the desired depth, I sealed the inside edges with Mod Podge and allowed it to dry completely.

How to make a book safe

Step Six:

I then used Mod Podge around the top edges and glued the extra front page on top. After a few minutes, I used the knife to cut out the center. This top page gives it a nice clean look.

How to make a book safe

How to make a book safe


Save the book pages for other book page craft projects. Also, consider using ribbon to cover the inside edges or decorative paper to cover the inside back for a more finished look.

I destroy books for fun and profit, and I’m here to tell you how to do it too.

Book safes (aka Hollow Books, Secret Books, etc.) are a fantastic way to hide your stuff in plain sight, but they also make great gifts (and great gift boxes). This site explains my techniques, which I use to churn out several hundred book safes a year. After you’ve checked out my tutorials, feel free to drop me a line or see more information on Every Trick in the Book, my book safe crafting business.

Basic Scroll Saw Book Safes

These instructions will lead you though the process of making a basic book safe. Requires a scroll saw and a plain hardcover book.

How to make a book safe

Hardcover with Dustjacket and Magnets

Dust jackets allow for hidden magnets in this upscale version. This process requires a scroll saw, and a bit more work than the Basic Hardcover procedure.

Stacked Book Boxes

My original method to turn multiple slim books into a single safe. Perfect for old "Book of the Month" club volumes and cookbook series.

How to make a book safe

Original Hand-Made Method

No scroll saw? No problem. This is the original book safe tutorial that uses nothing more than a box cutter and some basic supplies. It won’t look as good as a scroll sawed version, but it’ll still hide your stuff in plain sight.

Supplies and Book Buying Tips

All the tools you need and why you need them. Also, get tips on where to find books.

How to make a book safe

Other Methods and Embellishments

Companion tutorials to add special touches like padded fabric interiors and background images. There are also instructions for different hand cutting methods and how to use paperback books.

How to make a book safe

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How to make a book safe

How to make a book safe

How to make a book safe

People invest a lot of money buying safes to keep their stuff protected from thieves. Safes can be very expensive and there is always the option that they will be picked. An alternative solution would be the book safe, in this project I will show you how to recycle an old book and make your own hidden book storage that will be very cheap to make and will blend perfectly in your book shelve. It is also a great chance to recycle if you clean your house and you have some books you don’t need..

Step 1: Materials

For this project we will need:

– A book (I got mine from the school’s library, the librarian had a few books she wanted to throw away so she was happy to give it to me).

– Something heavy like a weight.

– (varnish might be needed).

Step 2: Preparment to Glue

Wrap the upper cover and a few books with foil. Now apply glue to the sides of the book, put on something heavy and leave to dry.

Step 3: Sizing

After the glue is dry draw a rectangle on the top glued page (I left about 1.5 cm on each side).

Make sure that you make the box big enough for your stuff and not to big that the sides can break.

Step 4: Cutting

This step requires patience.. use a sharp knife to cut the rectangle you sized. the ruler can be used to cut straight lines. If cutting the corners is hard an improvised knife will do the job.

When you reach the last page be careful not to cut through it.

Step 5: Finishing

When i finished the box the bottom wasn’t very attractive so i glued a white paper to it and sprayed the inside with varnish.

When I was a kid, I loved hiding my treasures in a book safe. They’re fun and actually practical too. I’m showing you how to make a book safe to hide your cherished possessions.

How to make a book safe

I have a sweet spot for book safes! Is that weird? Above are some excellent examples of some cute ones that you can make your own or find on Etsy. Below, you’ll find a tutorial on how to make a book safe.

A. A ring pillow book safe for the ring bearer. Source: Etsy.
B. A book box for the remote control. Wouldn’t this be a great way to hide coffee table clutter?
C. A secret book safe for love letters.
D. Intricate book safes from Hollowed Secrets on Etsy.
E. Heart shaped book safes from Conduit Press Etsy shop.
F. Candy bar book safes from Hollowed Secrets on Etsy. I need one of these to hide my chocolate!
G. A Marilyn Monroe cut out book safe from Hollowed Secrets on Etsy.
H. A hollow book safe to store your charging phone. Source: Etsy.
I. Another sweet book safe, patriotic-style, from Hollowed Secrets on Etsy.
J. A jewelry box book safe. Source: Etsy.

How to make a book safe

So fun, right?!
How to make a book safe of your own:

Step One: Find a book. Deep and thick works best. Our library always has a shelf of books for sale: 3 hardbacks for $1. By the way, this might not be the best craft for intense book lovers, unless you don’t feel heartless slicing them up!

How to make a book safe

Step Two: Wrap the front and back covers in plastic bags so that the front and back cover stay clean, then paint the three sides with glue. Several layers of craft glue should do fine.

How to make a book safe

Step Three: Clamp it shut for at least an hour.

How to make a book safe

Step Four: Hack away! I first started burning away the pages with our Dremmel, but after the 4th smoke alarm in 10 minutes, we figured we’ve leave the neighbors alone and just took a blade to it.

How to make a book safe

A box cutter works great, with an xacto knife for tight corners. Clean up the shreds and line the inside with more glue, a coat of paint, or even a layer of fabric!

How to make a book safe

Can you tell which book contains my treasures?
Can you guess what I’m hiding?!

How to make a book safe

POP Projects is a collection of new and classic projects from more than a century of Popular Mechanics. Master skills, get tool recommendations, and, most importantly, build something of your very own.

Some things are meant to be a secret (we won’t judge). But if you don’t quite need the maximum security and high price tag of an uncrackable safe, a well-placed hiding spot can do the trick.

That’s where we turn to the trusty book safe. This simple, one-day project only needs a 300-page hardback book (the more boring the better), an X-Acto knife (or oscillating tool if you’re fancy), and a little bit of patience. Soon your book safe will be hidden among your crowded library without anyone expecting a thing.

The Tools You Might Need

How to make a book safe

How to make a book safe

How to make a book safe

How to make a book safe

The Step-By-Step Process

– Pick a hardcover book that has at least 300 pages, one that people aren’t so likely to pick off the shelf. Like a thesaurus or maybe War and Peace (sorry, Tolstoy) .

– Open the cover and first few pages and secure the remaining pages with clamps.

– Use a ruler and carpenter’s pencil to mark your cutting area. The border should be at least one inch wide, measured from the page’s edge.

How to make a book safe

How to make a book safe

How to make a book safe

– Cut the rectangle out with an X-Acto knife, removing about 20 pages at a time. Or if you really want to have fun, put on safety glasses and a dust mask and use an oscillating tool with a semicircular blade to saw along the perimeter of the rectangle. Stop once the cuts are 3⁄4-inch deep. Switch to a straight blade to get the corners.

– Flip the book upside down to dump out the cut-out pages. Remove dust with a brush or shop vac. Clean the edges with an X-Acto knife.

– Mix white glue with water to create a brushable mixture. (It should be roughly 70 percent glue, as too much water will cause the pages to pucker.) Paint the edges of the clamped section of pages as well as inside the cut surface. Remove the clamps and let the glue dry under a weighted object. Ten pounds should do the trick.

Soon, you should have a fully-functioning book safe. Now. what are you going to put in it?

How to make a book safe

Making something to store your small treasures in is akin to a pirate burying his treasure. But hiding your treasures in a book is a lot easier than finding the “X” and digging it up. Making a book safe is a very simple project that can be done in a day. This is not a project for children, however, because it involves razor blades (but a child would love to receive this as a gift to hide their own treasure collection in)!

Step 1 – Get Your Book

Go to your local thrift shop or used book store and find an appropriate book. I was lucky when I went to the thrift shop because they were trying to get rid of their overflow and put their books on sale for ten cents apiece. Make sure you get one with a title that works with the rest of your collection. You don’t want the book to stand out on your bookshelf like a sore thumb.

Step 2 – Get Ready to Glue

Cover the front and back covers of the book with plastic wrap. This is to prevent the glue from sticking to the pages. I also took several of the front pages and wrapped them up with the front cover to be extra careful.

How to make a book safe

Step 3 – Get Your Glue On

Now that the covers are protected with plastic, close the book and hold it at the binding. Make sure the book is closed tight. Brush a coat of glue on the edges of the pages. Some puzzle glue brands come with an applicator inside the bottle, but I find it better to use a soft bristled paint brush since it gets into the grooves of the pages better. You don’t have to glue every page — just the closed edges.

Place the book on a hard surface and put something heavy on top of it until the glue dries thoroughly (about one to two hours depending on the thickness of the glue). If you have a vise, use that to hold it together while it is drying.

Once the glue is dry, open the book’s front cover. Some areas might stick to the plastic but will peel off easily. Check the edges to make sure they are stuck together. If they are, move on to the next step below. If the page edges are not stuck together, apply another coat of glue and place a heavy object on top again. Leave the plastic on the covers because you will be doing more gluing later.

Step 4 – Cut Out the Center

Open the book’s front cover and make ruler lines about one inch from each edge on the first page.

How to make a book safe

Start cutting with your box cutter or Exacto knife along your lines. Only do a couple pages at a time when you first start out. Once you get a little deeper into the opening, it will be safer to cut a little deeper. You will see that you are creating a square “well” within the book. Stop cutting at the depth you would like your well to be. I left about ¼” of pages because I wanted a solid backing (not including the back cover).

How to make a book safe

When cutting the pages you will find that the corners may get jammed up. Stop every few cuts and clean up the corners. This will be especially important if you want to line the cutout with felt.

Step 5 – Finishing Touches

Now that the well is cut out you will need to glue the inside cut pages, which will be jagged. Apply the glue in the same way that you did to the outside page edges. Once again, place a heavy object on top to press the cut pages together while they dry.

After the inside glue has dried, you can use a piece of felt to line the inside and cover up all those jagged edges. This touch gives it a professional-looking finish.

How to make a book safe

Now you have a safe to store cash, jewelry, or other important items inside. No one will suspect that the book sitting on your bookshelf is hiding anything.

Leave a few pages in the front untouched, so the compartment is covered and the book looks normal when initially opened. Wrap the cover with plastic bags. Brush glue on the outside of the pages. Place the book in a vice or under a weight. Draw the outline of your secret compartment. Cut out the secret compartment.

How do I make a safe out of an old book?

Instructions Cut a Square Hole into Your Book Pages. Open the book to somewhere between page 50 to 100. Apply Mod Podge to the Edges of the Book. Apply Mod Podge or glue liberally with a paintbrush to the inside pages and cut edges of the book. Hide Your Finished Book on a Shelf.

How do you hide things in a book?

Items can be concealed in books in a number of ways. Small items such as a photograph or a note can be hidden in between the pages of the book. Thicker items can be hidden by removing the interior portion of some or all of the pages, creating a book safe or hollowed-out book.

How do you keep a book closed?

Using a long, thin piece of material to wrap several times around the book to hold it closed is one of the most popular choices for soft cover bindings. The choices for your strap material are endless – cord, ribbon, thread, leather, fabric etc.

How do you hide books from your parents?

Wrap your item in tissues or put it in a plastic bag (or both!) and hide it in the basement under some old clothes. Camouflage the item so that it looks like it “belongs” wherever you hide it. Make sure to use things your parents are guaranteed not to use, move or throw away.

What is a song fake book?

The Fake Book, in case you’re not familiar with it, is basically the simplest version of sheet music available. It is a collection of songs written with only the melody, lyrics and chord changes over the appropriate beats. Fake books were essential for my personal growth as a musician.

Is the hollow a book?

The Hollow Trilogy Series/Books.

What is a book Safe called?

What is a Book Safe? Whether its called a Book Safe, Book Box, Stash Book, Secret Hollow Book, or Secret Safe Book, a bookbox is a real book that has been hollowed out to create a hidden storage area inside.

What are hollow books called?

Secret Storage Books, aka Hollow Books, Book Safes, Stash Boxes, Hollowed Out Books or Book Boxes, are created by hand from real books in our studio off the west coast of Canada.

How do you hold a book open without hands?

Clips Book Brackets. Book brackets are a great, inexpensive way to hold books open. Music Book Clip. Sure, these are advertised as music book clips, but who’s to say you can’t use them on your novels and memoirs? Booktopus. Black Cat Page Holder. FlipKlip Treadmill Book Holder. Page Partner. Book Bones. Leather Bookmark.

What can I use instead of a hole puncher?

Pins, Needles and Nails Push pins, thick needles and nails may also be used to punch holes through paper, cardboard and other materials without nails. These items all create relatively narrow holes, which can be widened by placing a skewer through the hole once you puncture the project material.

How do you hole punch a thick book?

2 Answers remove the staples. take the top 5 pages. punch holes through them. take the next 5 pages. punch holes through them. repeat until done. staple the pages again (if needed at this point).

Where do burglars not look?

Your attic is not likely to be visited by a burglar because they are usually hard to find and access. So, it is always a good idea to store valuables in attic storage containers. As an extra safety precaution make sure to mark them with labels like “winter clothes” or “old shoes” to throw a burglar off of your scent.

Where do burglars look first?

Aside from the master bedroom, the office or study is one of the first places burglars check for valuables. Like the living room, some people have the habit of displaying valuables in their study shelves or office. That well-earned diamond necklace can serve as a motivation for you to work harder.

Where should you not hide money in your house?

Hiding Places to Avoid: areas that can damage your valuables with water or invasive matter, such as the water tank of a toilet, inside a mayonnaise jar that still has mayonnaise in it, or a paint can filled with paint. a jewelry box. your desk drawer, bedside drawer, or underwear drawer. inside CD cases.

Is Gorilla Glue good for book binding?

Gorilla Glue can be used for bookbinding. The glue is strong enough for bookbinding and waterproof but Gorilla Glue can wrinkle thinner paper when it dries, so it might not be the best choice for every kind of bookbinding project.

How do you harden a book page?

All you need to do is brush a thin layer of Mod Podge on your paper and let it dry. Flip over your paper and repeat the process. Mod Podge does take longer to dry than any other method. Also, it leaves a sheen on your paper and affects it’s texture.

Are Fake books illegal?

What are fake books called?

Fake Books & Lead Sheets A Fake Book (also called a Real Book) is a collection of lead sheets used by Jazz musicians. They are so-called because they allow a Jazz musician to ‘fake it’ even if he/she doesn’t know a song. Lead sheets contain the skeleton of the song, specifically the: Basic Melody; and.

Why are books called fake?

It was meant to be used as a textbook of standard jazz tunes. The publishers wanted to pawn off the tunes in the book as “real” versions of the songs. However, legal battles ensued, so any other future books had to have a different name. Thus, the term fake book was born from The Real Book.


“I purchased more ‘books’ to give away as gifts. They have an unassuming
appearance and do not draw attention on a book shelf. I think these
will last forever. Heirloom potential!”

How to make a book safe


One of a kind titles, ready-to-ship

How to make a book safe


Multiple copies, ready-to-ship


Forget the box, pop the question in a book! Customization possible.

How to make a book safe

Book Safes: Real, Hollow Books. Handmade. 100% recycled.

FREE SHIPPING (no minimum!)

Secret Storage Books, aka Hollow Books, Book Safes, Stash Boxes, Hollowed Out Books or Book Boxes, are created by hand from real books in our studio off the west coast of Canada. Our book safes are finely crafted and sturdily made to last for decades. After 15 years in business, tens of thousands of book safes have been shipped worldwide – saved from the landfill.

WE give unwanted books a new purpose in life. And YOU give the perfect gift! Titles suitable for everyone.

Keep your valuables hidden away with this secret storage compartment. By Suzanna Drew-Edwards

How to make a book safe

You will need:

● Book – we used an old hardback – if you use a paperback, make sure the cover isn’t too flimsy
● PVA glue and paintbrush
● Clingfilm or plastic bags
● Scalpel, ruler and pencil

Prepare the book

Image 1: If the book has a fly cover, remove it so it doesn’t get spattered with glue. You can put it back on later.

Protect the cover of the book by putting clingfilm or the plastic bags over it.  

Start gluing

Image 2: We watered our glue down a little so it wasn’t too thick and gloopy. 

You’re going to start gluing a few pages into your book so there’s about 15 to 20 pages covering the ‘safe’ area.  We started on page 36!

Begin painting the PVA on to the pages, giving each page a light covering and sticking them together as you go.  

Image 3: The pages can become creased near the spine area which makes it difficult for the book to close naturally.  Avoid this by holding your pages so they are vertical (or at a right angle to the table) and keep opening and closing the book as you go to make sure it closes naturally.
Keep gluing the pages until you reach the last page of the book.  

Cut the secret compartment

Image 4 and image 5: With your ruler and pencil, mark the rectangle that you are going to cut on the uppermost page of your chunk of glued pages.

Using your ruler and scalpel (make sure it has a new blade otherwise the paper will tear rather than slice), start slicing away the layers around your pencil lines.

When you’ve sliced through, you should be able to lift away the glued paper.

We did ours when it was still slightly wet, which meant that pages tore a little and came away in layers – however it is still possible.

Finish it off

We left our edges so the layers of pages could be seen. To seal them we painted them with PVA.
If you prefer, you can line the sides of the hole with paper to make a smooth edge. Simply cut pieces of paper to size and glue on with PVA.

Tuck your valuables into the compartment and replace the book on your shelves. Make sure you remember where it is!

How to make a book safe

I love books. It’s no secret. I’ve always dreamed of having a Beauty and the Beast-esque library of my own someday. So it’s no surprise that I frequent used book sales.

A year or so ago, I found some cool old Reader’s Digest books at the East Grand Rapids Library used book sale. They were touting them as perfect for Pinterest projects, and they weren’t wrong.

I scooped up a beautiful blue book, and I’ve been debating what to do with it ever since. Until I decided I would make it into a lazy version of a DIY book safe and phone charging station to beautify my bedside table.

This project is super easy. In fact, I did it while some friends were over to watch a hockey game. (I did it during the intermission, of course.)

First, you’ll want to measure out how big you want to make the box inside. I have an iPhone 6, so I had to make sure it would fit inside. I opened the front cover and traced around my phone, then increased it a little bit on every side.

Then, cut! Go as many or as few pages deep as you want. I’m using mine just for my phone, so I only went as deep into the book as I had to.

How to make a book safe

I just kept testing out the thickness by placing my phone inside and closing the cover. Once the cover laid flat, I stopped! Easy peasy.

Then, if you want to make it into a charging station for your phone, just make a divot at the top that’s a few pages thick for the cord to stick out of. That way, the cover still lays flat when your phone is plugged in.

How to make a book safe

And voila! You’re done. I wanted to make a lazy girl’s guide to this, because, well, I’m a bit lazy sometimes. A lot of other tutorials will have you clamp the book shut and seal the pages together with Mod Podge, but I haven’t found the need to do that yet. Sometimes the cord gets a little mixed up in the pages, but that’s rare.