How to build a secret decoy outlet wall safe

Written by contributing writer
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Disguise your hiding place and lock away your valuables at the same time by making a wall safe that disguises itself as an electrical socket. Use basic skills to put this unit together from parts found in a hardware store and around the house.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Steel electrical socket box
  • Dremel with cutting disk and 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Metal outlet cover
  • Plastic outlet cover (to match the others in the house)
  • Outlet plug receivers (to match the others in the house)
  • Superglue
  • Lock
  • Wire clothes hanger
  • Steel faceplate
  • Stud finder

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  1. 1

    Cut the tabs (the ones the screws go into) off the electrical box and smooth the edges where they were attached using the cutting disk in the Dremel tool. Switch to the 1/4-inch drill bit, and drill three holes on one of the large sides of the box next to the open face that will later be used to screw the electrical box to the wall.

  2. 2

    Superglue one side of the hinge to the lower side of the box and the other to the metal faceplate so that makes a lid that closes on the box.

  3. 3

    Cut the front off of the outlet plugs so that they may be glued into the plastic faceplate to create the illusion of being a normal outlet. Do this cutting using a Dremel. Glue the outlet plugs in to the plastic faceplate with superglue, putting the outlet plugs into the faceplate at the proper depth so that they stick out the same distance and resemble those on other outlets in the house.

  4. 4

    Open the box and place the padlock into the box standing on the keyhole. Snap the lock into the closed position. Mark the lock where it sticks out of the box at both parts of the loop (shown by a dotted line in the photo). Cut the lock at this location with the cutting disk. Keep the part of the loop that clicks into the lock and set aside the bend of the loop that came off when you cut it.

  5. 5

    Superglue the lock behind the front faceplate so that the keyhole lines up with the large outlet hole at the top plug.

  6. 6

    Grind down the part of the key behind the section that fits into the keyhole so that it still fits into the outlet hole when the key is turned (see the dotted yellow line on the key in the photo). This means that you will have to use the cutting disk on the Dremel to cut the key behind the part that goes into the lock until it is the diameter of the coat hanger.

  7. 7

    Test the key periodically by inserting it as you carefully take off the minimum amount of key. Make sure that the side you turn still has a place to hold as you turn the key where it is wider than the part that fits into the keyhole. Reinforce the remaining metal with a layer of superglue.

  8. 8

    Put the box on the table face up and opened. Get the part of the lock bend that you kept. Put a big glob of superglue onto the cut side of the lock so that you can close the box, allow the glue to cure and keep that part of the lock stuck to the inside of the box. Make sure that the bend is positioned so that it clicks into place when the lock is closed, with the notch facing the inside of the lock.

  9. 9

    If the glue is too runny you can use the glue in combination with a non-flexible material like steel wool to reinforce it, but be careful not to get any on your hands. Work quickly before the glue dries. When the glue is dry, make sure that it is strong enough to hold the lock. Test the lock before putting anything in the box.

  10. 10

    Install the safe by screwing it onto a stud from the inside at a location like any other outlet would be located.

Tips and warnings

  • Use black paint inside of the outlet holes to help disguise the lock. Put the key in a safe place. If the key bends at all at the thin part, remove it from the lock and snap off the thin part. Solder the thin part with silver solder (no lead) to a 2-inch section of coat hanger as the new handle. If you leave a lamp plugged into the outlet (the plug without the lock) the only way that anyone would notice a problem is if he attempted to use the other plug or turn on the lamp.
  • Do not snap the key off in the hole.
  • Use superglue only in a well-ventilated area.
  • This safe relies mostly on concealment and should not be considered otherwise adequate except as a measure to "slow down" the thief.
  • Wear goggles and read/follow all directions/safety information that comes with the equipment that you will use.
  • Do not use the wall safe in front of children or the mentally disadvantaged, or they may attempt to stick things into wall sockets. Keep the key in a safe place out of reach of others.

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