Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not-a-Secret Book Safe

I remember seeing a secret book safe in a movie as a kid and I instantly wanted one. This had to be the coolest thing ever. My husbands birthday was coming up and I decided that I was going to make him one, because everyone wants a secret book safe. 

The Original Pin
Source: via Marquette on Pinterest

Sitting at work one day I sat and mapped out my plan and came up with the method I was going to attack this thing and the next day I went to work. I found a good book from the free shelf at the public library and took it home where my ruler, x-acto knife, and mod podge were waiting. This was going to be awesome...I didn't have to buy anything! 

I marked the space I wanted to cut out on a page, and then began cutting away with the x-acto knife, cutting a few layers deep at a time. That went well. Then it came time to seal the pages together. I started mod podging each page down one by one. Talk about tedious. But it seemed to go well, until I noticed that the pages were drying wrinkly. I did everything I could think of to combat this. I even stood on the book...and all it did was give a weird curve to the book. I then changed to spray adhesive to see if that would minimize the wrinkling. Nope. Didn't hardly work. Getting frustrated I just slathered the whole book in mod podge. Of course right I as finished I realized I now couldn't close the book to let it dry because it would all just seal together. So I let it sit out over night. Here's my secret obvious book safe that I found all dried up and "ready" this morning:

The Pinstrosity: 

What I Should Have Done:
Of course it's after the Pinstrosity is finished that I actually look up online how to make a book safe. I found a great tutorial on The Art of Manliness. Reading this tutorial I did a number of face-palms. I made this way more difficult than I had to. I'll just give what I did really wrong, I won't give their whole tutorial because they do an excellent job at it (so go read it there). 

  • Instead of mod podging each page down one by one, I should have just slathered the edges all together to seal them all at once. 
  • I should have covered the parts I didn't want mod podged with some sort of covering (plastic grocery bags look like they would have worked great). 
  • I needed something to press the book with, to keep the pages flat. I don't have a vice, but I could have stacked a bunch of other books on top of it. 
You want to know what's funny about this? Apparently this happens to a number of people trying to make these book safes. My Cam-man told me he'd tried making one for me for Christmas and used my same method and it ended up like mine. A guy at work tried making one using regular school glue and ran into the same problems as well. Maybe I'll try this another day using the method from The Art of Manliness and see if I have a little more luck. 


  1. I am a librarian, and I suspect rather strongly that you'd want to use book glue for a project like this rather than school glue. Sometimes they're sold as "liquid plastic adhesive" and it takes only the tiniest amount to glue to pages together without wrinkling.

  2. Hi, I also understand that rubber cement doesn't wrinkle the paper so may be that could be a good adhesive for this project.

  3. I did this same pin and it worked pretty well. I used "non wrinkling" rubber cement and it lived up to its name. It took one whole bottle but I also glued every page. Don't get the rubber cement on the out side, rubber cement is sticky in its normal it attracts dirt and lint. But my biggest flub-up was that i glued the pages together THEN cut the hole. (I should have cut then glued.) It wasn't perfectly need but it worked. :) I keep my kindle in mine now and i carry it with me everywhere and no one suspects what so ever. Ive shown a few and they are shocked. :)

  4. I have made several of these and I use "puzzle glue"... i get it at walmart next to the puzzles... Then i use the art of manliness technique...

  5. I have done this with great success. I currently have my kindle fire in a book safe just like this. A few tips.. use plastic wrap to wrap the cover and a few pages together to save from getting glued. This way you can close the book and put something heavy to let it dry. Second tip... you don't cut your compartment until the book has dried. This helps to prevent swelling from the pages. The type of glue you use effects this the most. Ive made a few safes and the best is white school glue with some water so it spreads better.

  6. I know this is an old post, but I've made two or three of these, way before I ever heard of Mod Podge (we're talking decades ago), so I always used Elmer's glue and it worked out fine. You're right in that you have to just glue all the pages together and stack a lot of heavy books on top of your safe.

    There are a variety of ways to do this, including putting several books together to make a deep on (as seen here: I haven't tried that one yet, but it's on the list.


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