How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items

Written by cheryl starr
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How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items
A drinking glass used as a listening device is a classic spy technique. (nayneung1/iStock/Getty Images)

Agent 86 of the "Get Smart" TV series had a shoe phone. James Bond had a camera built into a cigarette lighter. The list goes on. But the spy world of today is getting sneakier. You don't have "Q" to present you with necessary spy gadgets -- you have to do it solo. You can make spy gadgets out of everyday items ... and there will be no paper trail of your covert activities. You just have to use your noodle ... or your wristwatch ... or maybe some duct tape. You get the picture.

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Things you need

  • Walkie-talkie
  • 9-volt battery
  • Duct tape
  • Jacket (with fold-down collar)
  • Velcro strips
  • Mini-light (flexible)
  • Two small magnets
  • Small compact mirror
  • Mini voice recorder
  • Super glue
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Small digital camera
  • Large cardboard box of candy
  • Small box of candy

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    Eavesdropping gadget

  1. 1

    Insert a fresh 9-volt battery in a high-quality long-range walkie-talkie set. Test the set to make sure both units are functioning properly. Tear off a small piece of duct tape and tape one unit's talk button down so that it will remain in the "talk" setting.

    How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items
    Walkie-talkies need to be hidden. (walkie talkie image by mangia from
  2. 2

    Hide the rigged walkie-talkie within the room in which you wish to eavesdrop. Ideas could be within jacket pockets, plants or behind books. Be cautious not to set the walkie-talkie beneath a cushion or in a drawer that might muffle voices.

    How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items
    Plants disguise spy devices effectively. (living room shot image by Tracy Horning from
  3. 3

    Sit in the vicinity of the rigged walkie-talkie, where you have a clear connection. Hide your walkie-talkie listening unit in your pocket, beneath a hat or in a bag as you listen.

    How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items
    Try to look inconspicuous when eavesdropping. (James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
  4. 4

    Calculate the amount of time you are eavesdropping and the battery life that is being used on the unit that is sitting in the talk position as you are eavesdropping. When the battery drains, it will emit static and its disguise will be discovered. Be sure to retrieve the unit before the battery is drained.

    Gadget jacket

  1. 1

    Cut four small Velcro squares. Sew two squares under the jacket collar on the left and two under the collar on the right side. These should be sewn along the collar line. The Velcro will allow you to choose from a variety of tiny gadgets that can be hidden beneath the collar for spying by using the double-stick tape for easy on-off removal to change gadgets as needed.

    How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items
    What's a spy without his gadget jacket? (KenTannenbaum/iStock/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Mount a square of Velcro on a mini-light with a light at the end of a flexible antenna. You can easily hide this beneath your collar for a hands-free light when needed.

  3. 3

    Glue a small, round magnet onto the side of the flexible light's end. Remove a mirror from a small compact and glue it to the magnet. Mount the mirror on the end of the shaft. This gadget will give you an adjustable rearview mirror for spying.

  4. 4

    Mount a mini voice recorder beneath the collar. This gadget will give you the ability to record conversations. You can also place it in a jacket pocket or within the sleeve.

    Hidden camera gadget

  1. 1

    Gently cut the back out of the large box of chocolates.

  2. 2

    Hide the camera inside the large box of chocolates. Position the camera. Mark the position on the box where the shutter will be. Cut a small hole where the lens is positioned so that it can receive light. Position the camera again inside the box so you can activate the camera's button.

  3. 3

    Insert the small chocolate box beside the camera within the large box. Cut a hole in the end of the large box and the small box so that you can actually pour chocolate out of the boxes into your hand and eat it now and then. This makes for a clever disguise. You can hold it on your lap and snap photos or hold it to your face and pretend to be reading the ingredients as you take photos.

    Other everyday gadgets

  1. 1

    Remove a battery from an extra torch to use as a secret compartment.

    How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items
    A torch can hold spying gadgets. (flashlight image by Marek Kosmal from
  2. 2

    Remove a button from the gadget jacket and replace it with a mini compass. You can sew a button over it to disguise it or a snip of material that you removed from inside of the jacket or sleeve.

    How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items
    A gadget jacket compass will help you get back to base. (compass image by Stepanov from
  3. 3

    Remove the bottom of a boot heel to use the hollow inside to hide items such as maps, compasses and more.

    How to make spy gadgets out of everyday items
    Boot-heel gadgets may get you arrested in airports. (fashionable leather boots image by terex from

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