Instead of building a secret room you can open by pulling down a lever disguised as a book or purchasing an expensive safe to hide behind a painting, you can create a secret hiding place using things you can find around the house or at a thrift store. A DIY magnetic book box is easy to make and will fit in with the rest of the books on your shelf so no one can tell it’s hollow. Here are the 5 easy steps you can follow to make a magnetic book box:


  • Elmer’s glue
  • Plastic cup or similar container
  • Paint brush
  • Exacto knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 2 small magnets for crafts
  • Large book


  1. Before you start gluing and cutting, separate a small section from the beginning of the book to glue. This section should be thick enough for one of the magnets. For example, if you buy a cube magnet that is ¼” by ¼” by ¼” then the section at the beginning of the book should be about ½” thick. But if you buy a disc magnet that is ⅜” by ¼” then you might want to make the first section slightly thicker. The thickness of the first section should reflect the dimensions and shape of your magnet as well as the overall thickness of the book. You don’t want it to take up more than a quarter of the whole book.
  2. Once you check the dimensions for your book, mix some Elmer’s glue with water in the plastic cup. Apply the glue and water mixture to the outside of the book pages using the paintbrush. To avoid a sticky mess, glue the bottom section of the book together and let it dry before gluing the top pages together.
  3. Once the glue has dried, use your ruler and pencil to outline a rectangular section in the middle of the book. You want to leave at a ½” perimeter around the section you’ll be hollowing out. Before you start cutting, keep in mind the size of your magnets. You should leave enough room at the border to cut a small hole and fit the magnets in so they don’t stick out.
  4. Use your Exacto knife to hollow out the book. This is the most time-consuming and messy part. After you’ve hollowed out the middle section, there will be leftover shreds of paper. Clean these out and use your paintbrush to apply the glue mixture on the inside edges of the pages where you just cut.
  5. After this glue has dried, measure a small hole to fit your magnets on the top and bottom sections of the book. These holes should be on the long edge and they should match up with each other. Once you have hollowed out the holes using your Exacto knife, use Elmer’s glue (not the mixture) to secure the magnets in place.

When everything has dried, you should have a large, hollow book box secured with magnets! If you have a bookshelf full of books, you have the perfect hiding spot for your valuables. This craft will work best with large books over 500 pages long. When buying magnets for this project, disc magnets or cube magnets will work best but there are tons of magnet shapes to choose from. Which shape do you think would be most effective?