Making a Book Safe to Hide Your Valuables
Have you ever seen one of those hollowed out books, that when you open it there’s an empty space in it…for you to put money, jewelry, and other valuables? I saw one once and wanted one right away, and then thought about making one to give to a family member at Christmas.
The bad part is that it turned out to be a little trickier than I thought….(but I’ll share with you what not to do) The good news is that the recipient loved it! Without further ado, let’s get on with how we make one of these mysterious hollowed-out book safes.
Also remember this will not in itself substitute for a bonafide security system- (but you already knew that I’m sure – you just wanted a creative approach to small-scale item safekeeping!)
Choose a hardcover book. Anything in your library that you haven’t looked at in years and would be OK parting with. If you love all your books too much to consider hollowing out any of them, you can get one cheap at a used bookstore. There are thrift stores all around me and one has all kinds of used books, I was able to get 2 for 50 cents a pop.
Appearance-wise, try to pick a real “dud” when it comes to the book’s title and cover design…something boring. I don’t know if the rogue burglar community knows about these yet but it’s best not to tempt fate right??
Choose a book that is at least one and a half inches thick….too thin and you may have not enough room to put your valuables.
(You can “pretty up” the INSIDE of the book later if you wish…More on that later!)
You will also need:
An X-acto knife, ruler, pencil, rubber bands or clamps, wax paper, Mod Podge, and two random heavy objects for clamping (e.g. bricks)
1) The first step is to measure the proposed cavity that will be eventually holding all your valuables. How big you want it to be is up to you but I would leave an inch of space at least, all around the inside of the book’s perimeter. Take your ruler and mark the area off so you are left with a rectangular space that looks like this image:
Tip: You know how most hardcover books have a thick blank page before the written material? Leave this page alone and start on the page right after it. It will give your book safe a little extra buffer of protection.
2)Before you cut you may need something to hold down the pages firmly to make it easier. You can use rubber bands, metal office clips (if you can find some large enough) or some painter’s tape which should pull off easily without leaving straggly paper fibers behind.
3) This step is probably the hardest, as it’s not easy as it looks to saw through a thick mass of paper and do it neatly without accidentally leaving fiber stragglers. Master this step and you’re well on your way! Obviously, the cutting part for hollowing out the book. You can use several tools at your disposal, such as a crafting saw with a special blade or a regular old X-acto knife.
My first book safe, I glued down the pages and then proceeded to cut-it was a major pain! For the love of Pete please don’t do that. (Good thing I got 2 books and the second time around turned out great)
The best tool for me was one of those plain old box cutter knives. Those babies are sharp-and they make great creases which made it easier for the pages to cut more neatly. I had an ace up my sleeve and sectioned off the pages in half to make it easier.
4) There is probably going to be a fair amount of paper “dust” remaining…blow it off (I know I left a mess!) after the cavity is complete. Now we’re getting back on Easy Street 🙂 Brush the perimeter of the cavity with Mod Podge to secure it and finish it off. (Temporarily out of Mod Podge? See my easy recipe here)
5) Get your bricks (or other heavy objects) and some wax paper. Tear off a sheet of wax paper and lay on top of the cavity area you varnished and lay the bricks on top. This will hold the pages down firmly for step 6.
6) Now brush a coat of Mod Podge around the book’s perimeter…there may be a little runoff, which is OK.
Letting it set
The heavyweight objects on top will ensure that your hollowed out book safe dries secure. Let it set a good 24 hours. The wax paper over the inside page will keep it from sticking to the cover as the Mod Podge sets.
Optional -You can certainly paint the inside of the cavity if you want to get real fancy! I painted mine in gold to pretty it up before officially gifting it.
(But I may just keep this one for myself haha, you know?)
That’s it! Now you have a secret place to keep your valuables, and you only needed a few cheap materials including the book itself.Another reason why books can be your best friend!