How To Build a Bookshelf with Hidden Doors: Custom Bookcases

Hide Valuables in the Secret Doors of Your Bookshelf

Every kid wants to be Batman. You get cool gadgets. You have a cool looking costume/armor. You even have the baddest car out there. But no Batman fantasy is complete for a child without having a Batcave of his own. Now that we are older, we cannot go running around in a Batman costume. We would look silly driving a car with flaming afterburners. And, at this time the only gadget we can afford is a mobile phone or a Palm. As we grow old, we have to let go of our delusions to become Batman. Or do we?

A modified version of the Batcave is still within our reach. With a little work, you can make your own hidden door bookshelf.  A secret door and room is all yours simply by following these steps. You'll learn about making custom bookcases with hidden doors. Here's how to make secret doors in your bookshelves.

  1. Pull out your tape measure. It is time to check the dimensions.  We all want a big space to do whatever we do in our room of solitude, however people will get suspicious if you build it too big.  You also have to take in consideration the pivot of the hidden door. With a pin and piece of yarn, measure the length of the bookshelf door. Imagine where the bookshelf will move. It should be free from obstructions.
  2. Build a steel frame. You cannot hinge the shelves directly. It would break and your secret room wouldn’t be a secret any longer. You need to build a steel frame that can hold all the books. It should be able to hold approximately five hundred to a thousand pounds. This is the weight of the shelves once all the books are in there.
  3. Install the frame to the wall. Start by measuring the ceiling anchor. It should span 3 joists. To avoid any rocking, install a short arm aligned to the joist. Then make a pivot point using a three-fourths inch brass bearing inserted to a one-inch hole inside the 2x2 box. You can do the same steps for the floor anchor. Place the ceiling anchor, floor anchor and frame in the position. Before you secure the anchors into place, hang a plumb bob to make sure both sides are vertical. Now you can secure the frame into place by using some concrete or by welding it into place. Test the frame by getting three or four people to hold onto the frame while you swing it. If it swings without getting bent or being misaligned, then you can proceed to the next step.
  4. Build the shelves on the frame.  The shelf has to be two inches shallower, because it has to clear the other shelves as it opens and closes. The gap between the fixed shelves and the swinging shelf has to be about the thickness of a credit card. Add trim to the bookshelves to hide any other gaps. You will need to round the edges of the trim where the door is hinged to make sure the door swings freely.
  5. Stop the door.  You are going to need to stop the hidden door from swinging too much. Attach a magnetic catch like the kind that you usually find in cabinets. Also, put in a door stop to stop the door from swinging open freely.

Now you can build custom bookcases with secret doors. This is a cool addition to any home but it does require a lot of hard work. It is an advanced project that will test your welding and carpentry skills, but if you complete, you might be amazed as to how proud you will feel. Too bad you can’t brag about it--it wouldn't be a secret then, would it?.


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