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DIY Book Safe to Hide Your Coolest Valuables

Learn how to make a DIY book safe using an old book and Mod Podge! It’s the perfect place to hide your valuables on a bookshelf.

Skills Required: Beginner. You’re going to be using a craft knife to cut a book and then Mod Podging it. It helps to have previous experience with crafting, but this is sa project anyone can done.

DIY book safe

When I was little, I loved Nancy Drew mysteries. My mom had nearly the whole set, and I read them all. This book safe is just the kind of thing that would have been in one of those mysteries! I firmly believe that solving a mystery needs to involve a book safe at one point or another, don’t you?

I personally would have loved one of these when I was younger. Of course my valuables consisted of junk jewelry and about $.83 in change, but you have to start somewhere.

What was once a love of Nancy Drew has turned into a full blown adult obsession with true crime. I love mysteries. I love twists and turns. I love hidden stuff in bookcases. I think you see where I’m going with this.

DIY Book Safe

Due to both my past and current obsessions with crime and mysteries, I’m all about hiding things in plain sight. It intrigues me now just as it would have when I was young. I’m going to show you how to make a book safe the easiest way possible. Before we get started I’ve got a few tips for you; I suggest you read these especially if you are a beginning crafter. Otherwise, please scroll down to get the how-to.

How to make a book safe

Choosing a Book

There are a few things you need to take into consideration when selecting a tome for your safe. The first thing is that it needs to be thick enough to support cutting into the pages and providing a recessed area to store your goodies.

My book was 1 1/2″ deep, but you can go as deep as you like (that’s what she said!). But seriously, you might want to consider first what you are going to be storing in the safe before you select your book. There’s nothing more disappointing than doing a project and realizing it doesn’t work to fit your needs. Any depth of book is fine – the technique is the same regardless.

Second thing I wanted to address: I know some people get up in arms about cutting books. There are a lot of places to get old books that would otherwise be thrown away (check out Freecycle). You can also visit the library and ask them about books they are planning on trashing/recycling. That way you are cutting up an item that would go into the garbage anyway.

DIY-book-safe-on-a-shelf-with-other-books

Razor Blade or Craft Knife

I used a craft knife for this project, but you can also use a razor blade with a handle. The most important thing: make sure your blade is very sharp! You’re going to be doing a lot of cutting, so you’ll probably want a new blade to make life easier.

Mod Podge to Use

We used the Hard Coat formula for this DIY book safe but that’s only because it’s what we had available. Hard Coat has a Satin finish. You could use Gloss, Matte, or Satin too. Matte will likely most closely match the finish of the pages, but honestly it doesn’t matter.


Are you ready to get started making your safe? Learn how below!

Gather These Supplies

  • Book
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Clamps or clothespins
  • Painter’s tape
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler
Flipping the book pages

Decide how deep you would like your safe to be. I mentioned there was about 1 1/2″ inches worth of pages in my book. I held about 1/4″ worth of pages at the front of the book and then 1/4″ worth of pages at the back to be the bottom. Technically I suppose you could open the cover and there is the safe, but I wanted there to be some pages before the recess.

Clip the book with clothespins

Hold the pages with clamps or clothespins so that you can cut easily.

Drawing a rectangle on the book pages

Using a ruler and pen or pencil, draw a rectangle that will be used as your cutting template. This is going to be the size of the book safe. You can make the rectangle as large as you like, but you should leave at least 1/2″ around all sides that will serve as the edges.

Clamping book pages down

Now that you’re ready to cut the pages, it will help to clamp them down. It’s not required, but if you can clamp them down (or even tape with painter’s tape, which is removable), you’ll keep the cuts more even.

Using a ruler and craft knife to cut into the book pages

Using the ruler and craft knife, make cuts on the lines you drew. Go as deep as the knife will let you go; don’t try to do too many pages at once.

Pulling out the center of the book pages

You’ll be cutting out 10 – 20 pages at a time with your craft knife. You may have to go more slowly at the corners. Once you’ve cut out several pages worth, remove them.

Tracing the safe portion of the book with a pen

Before flipping the pages of your book safe to make additional cuts, use the previous cuts as a template – draw another rectangle with your pen just inside the rectangle.

Once you’ve traced the new rectangle, flip the pages you’ve already cut and reclamp the book. Then you’re going to use the ruler and craft knife to cut additional pages.

Cutting out additional pages of the book safe

Complete this process over and over. Repeat cutting and removing pages until the recess is as deep as you would like it to be. You can go down as far as you like, just leave about 1/8 – 1/4″ worth of pages in the back to be the bottom of the safe.

Securing the back cover of the book to prevent seepage

Once you’ve cut enough pages, you’re going to Mod Podge the book. To prevent the Mod Podge from seeping into the back of the book, use painter’s tape to tape down the back cover as shown. Hold up the front pages of the book in front of the recessed portion.

Applying Mod Podge to the edge of the book

Apply Mod Podge around the pages of the book using a paintbrush. Apply one coat all the way around, let dry. Repeat. You do not need to go onto the top of the pages with the Mod Podge.

Mod Podge the book safe and let dry

To finish the book safe, apply Mod Podge to the inside rim of the recess as shown. Go around the rim with the paintbrush and let dry. Repeat.

DIY book safe drying on a shelf

Let your DIY book safe dry completely – open – before placing stuff inside and placing back on the shelf.

Book safe amongst a collection of books

Can you tell which ones are the real books and which one is the book safe? What if there are multiple book safes on this shelf? You just never know . . .

Yield: 1 safe

Book Safe

DIY book safe

This is the easiest way to hollow out a book and turn it into a DIY book safe. Get the tutorial here!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1

Materials

  • Book
  • Mod Podge
  • Painter's tape

Tools

  • Craft knife
  • Clamps or clothespins
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paintbrush
  • Ruler

Instructions

  1. Clip approximately 1/4" of pages to the front cover of the book using clothespins or clamps.
  2. Using a ruler and pen or pencil, draw a rectangle that will be used as your cutting template. Leave at least 1/2" around all sides that will serve as the edges.
  3. Clamp the pages down that you'll be cutting.
  4. Using the ruler and craft knife, make cuts on the lines you drew. Go as deep as the knife will let you go; don't try to do too many pages at once.
  5. You'll be cutting out 10 - 20 pages at a time with a craft knife. Once you've cut out several pages worth, remove them.
  6. Before flipping the pages of your book safe to make additional cuts, use the previous cuts as a template - draw another rectangle with your pen just inside the rectangle.
  7. Flip the pages you've already cut and reclamp the book. Use the ruler and craft knife to cut additional pages.
  8. Complete this process over and over. Repeat cutting and removing pages until the recess is as deep as you would like, leaving at least 1/4" of pages at the back of the book.
  9. To prevent the Mod Podge from seeping into the back of the book, use painter's tape to tape down the back cover. Hold up the front pages of the book in front of the recessed portion.
  10. Apply Mod Podge around the pages of the book using a paintbrush. Apply one coat all the way around, let dry. Repeat.
  11. To finish the book safe, apply Mod Podge to the inside rim of the recess as shown. Go around the rim with the paintbrush and let dry. Repeat.
  12. Let the DIY book safe dry completely - open - before using.

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!


If you enjoyed this DIY book safe, you’re going to love these other ideas with books and book pages. Check them out:

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Lucy

Sunday 25th of March 2012

I have lots of my old Nancy Drew books. I still like them. I don't think I could give up one of them for a book safe, though it would be very fitting, wouldn't it? I keep forgetting to say I like the new blog design.