How to build secret rooms

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Many people dream of becoming secret agents - or a diabolical genius plotting the end of the world and becoming the supreme ruler. Anyone who has watched Agatha Christie or Alfred Hitchcock is very familiar with the concept of a secret room, a place where a hidden doorway, typically behind a bookshelf, is located. This article will show you how to build a secret room in your home using a bookshelf as the doorway.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Steel; 2 inch square tubing
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Welder
  • Measuring tape
  • 3/4 inch bolts
  • (2) 1/4 inch wide metal plate
  • Bookshelf plans
  • Wood for bookshelf
  • Paint for bookshelf
  • Scrap wood
  • Nails
  • Magnet
  • Drill
  • Rope
  • Eye Hook

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    Building a Secret Room

  1. 1

    Locate the room where you want your secret room to be. A single doorway into it and no windows is ideal for this. Remove the door.

  2. 2

    Calculate the dimensions where your bookshelf will be located and create plans for your bookshelf. Based on the bookshelf dimensions, determine where your door will be and where the doors' pivot point has to be in order to open far enough to clear the wall.

  3. 3

    Calculate the size of your secret door based on the bookshelf drawing, keeping in mind your secret door will be the size of one full section of bookshelf.

  4. 4

    Create a metal frame for the secret door. This allows your bookshelf door to support a shelf full of books.

  5. 5

    Weld your metal plate to the top and bottom of your metal door frame where your pivot points will be.

  6. 6

    Cut the bolts to be two inches long and weld them into place at the pivot points on the plates.

  7. 7

    Create a ceiling anchor out of steel, boring out holes to match up with bolts that you will need to crew into your ceiling joists as well as a hole for your pivot point and attach to the ceiling.

  8. 8

    Create a floor anchor out of steel to match your dimensions with holes bored to bolt it into place as well as a hole for the pivot point.

  9. 9

    Insert your metal frame onto the anchors, lining up the pivot points with the pivot holes you made in your anchors.

  10. 10

    Following your plans, build the first set of bookshelves inside the secret door's metal frame.

  11. 11

    Create a "T" bumper out of scrap wood by nailing a piece to the wall above the door and the "T" section jutting out from the centre of it so when the door closes the metal frame stops and hits the bumper. Add a magnet to the bumper piece of wood to lock onto the metal frame.

  12. 12

    Add a piece of wood to the stop point of the door to act as a bumper to keep the door from opening too far.

  13. 13

    Create your remaining bookshelves around the steel frame.

  14. 14

    Measure the space between the stationary bookshelves and the secret door and cut decorative trim with your bookshelf material and affix around the secret door bookshelf. Add more trim to cover the area above the door where your bumper assembly and top pivot points are. Repeat for the bottom section.

  15. 15

    Screw in your eye hook to the back of the secret door and knot your rope to the eye - this will allow you to close the secret door when you are inside the room.

  16. 16

    Open the door by pulling on the side of the shelf unit closest to the magnet.

Tips and warnings

  • Try creating plans with movable parts in order to really judge distances and gaps.
  • Always test fit before bolting or welding anything.
  • Add the shelves to your secret door last.
  • When working with any power tools always observe strict safety precautions.

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