Whether inspired by James Bond, Anne Frank or Scooby-Doo, it seems many people long for a secret/hidden bookcase door. They can be used to conceal safe rooms, vaults, wine cellars, or simple closets and utility rooms. No matter where a hidden door goes, if it’s made public, it’s a novelty that’s sure to be a hit with kids and visitors.
I’ve put together a list of do-it-yourself articles on how to build a secret bookcase door. Each one has a slightly different method, but they all share good information and have detailed pictures on the installation. If you’re dream is to have a secret lair behind a hidden passage, you should take a look at what these folks have done.
How to Build a Hidden Door Bookshelf
– This is a nice example of custom floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookshelves, with a central case that swings out to reveal a hidden door. The author uses a welded, steel tube frame for the structure, and mounts it to the ceiling and floor. It’s a heavy duty method with homemade frame and hinges built to hold 500-1000 pounds. If you have the tools, this is a great long term hinge solution that will last the ages.
Plans for Hidden-Pivot Bookcase Door
– Woodweb has detailed diagrams and measurements here for where to place the pivot and trim to make a bookcase door that swings out into your main living area. These are good details for someone that doesn’t have time for a lot of trial and error for placement of the pivot.
How to Turn a Closet Door into a Bookcase
– This is a great article with pictures on how to turn closet doors into nice, not very deep, bookshelves. This is a simple approach to gain some shelf space and conceal a room or passageway. This uses standard hinges and hardware.
Front and Rear Pics of Hidden Closet
– While not a specific “How-to” article, you can see how this hidden bookcase door was made using standard hinges on the back, and leaving space on the opposite side for the bookshelf to swing back into. I’m guessing this one has wheels on bottom to support the weight. Using wheels on the bottom is more common on bookcases that swing inward like this, than outward into the main room. This is because wheels will wear on the floor and leave tracks over time, giving away your secret!
Hidden Door Bookcase
– Here is a great how-to article with pics on this small secret bookcase door concealing a closet. He shows a close up pic of the hinges/pivots, and the caster wheels he uses below the shelf that are hidden by wooden panels at the bottom of the bookcase. Since this is an outswing shelf, and uses wheels, it might develop tracks from the wheels after time. However, this is a price some people pay for an easily constructed novelty bookshelf door. He uses a cabinet lock, hidden at the top to keep it secure. Inspired by Scooby-Doo, this bookcase will look excellent with some stain on it, and the paint patched up.
Hidden Pivot Bookcase Door Installation
– Beautifully crafted swing-out bookcase door with hidden pivot hinges, this how-to includes a lot of pictures from an experienced secret bookcase door builder. This door conceals a closet, and opens above the baseboard to leave no trace of a door at the bottom. In the room it’s installed in, it looks like it’s a custom inset bookcase that’s been there since the house was built. Great planning and craftsmanship result in an excellent, natural looking secret door.
How to Build Hidden Bookcase / Han in Carbonite Door
– This do-it-yourselfer picked up a bookcase from WalMart and a couple IKEA CD racks, and turned them into a killer swing-out hidden bookshelf door. The build, not including his killer Han in Carbonite, was right around $150, and looks great. He used hidden hinges, and wheels underneath the cabinet.
How to Build a Bookcase Door
– A couple guys take a long weekend and make a built-in bookcase door without excessive tools or a real plan. A few of the problems they ran into are mentioned, as well as their solutions. In the end it looks like it’s been there forever.
How to Build a Bookcase with Fake Books to Replace Your Door
– Here’s a different twist on the revolving bookcase door. This on is built to replace a standard door. It is narrow, and includes adding fake books to make it look realistic, but to keep space and weight down. It will take cutting up quite a few books, but the end result is a fine looking, space saving, hidden door.
How to Make a Hidden Bookshelf Door
– This quick tutorial has plenty of pictures to show how to make your own secret bookcase door. He modifies the bearings from heavy duty caster wheels to work as his bookshelf pivots. This provides adequate support for the weight of the shelves. He also shows how to make a door lock/latch that’s controlled by moving a Grapes of Wrath book.
– This tutorial contains a ton of pictures that shows exactly how to build a small bookcase door, including details on building a pivoting secret book that opens a gate latch on the inside. Hidden hinges are used to make the bookcase butt up directly against the wall. The end result is a very sturdy bookcase, supported with a wheel, that will allow easy access to a hidden space. Now you need to know which book to pull.
Looking for someone to do the heavy lifting and hard word for you? We’ve compiled a list of places that do custom hidden passages of different kinds below.
Hidden Passage Doorways
– The offerings here, presented by Creative Building Resources, is the mother load in innovative hidden doors to conceal closets, wine cellars, vaults, safe rooms, and more. They make easy to install “Builder Doors” that come pre-hung in a jamb, to custom hardwood installs and bi-fold shelves on tracks. They also have pantries, wine racks, ticket booths, and anything else you have or haven’t thought of.
– Whether you need a simple moving bookcase door for your kids, or a complete vault and safe room, it looks like these guys can build what you need. Services appear to be pretty upscale. Check out the gallery for hidden pantry doors, sliding bookcases, and stairs that lift up to reveal hidden passageways. They work with wood, but also show doors finished in stone and are completely concealed. Creative Home Engineering is the parent company of this site, and their emphasis appears to be on quality construction and longevity.
– A cheaper alternative to custom installation might be SpaceXDoors. They offer a couple options, and most of the shelves appear to be made out of MDF, but they do offer hardwood fluting on the bookcases. These are built to fit your space, and the bookshelves fold in the middle like a closet door, gliding on tracks from both the top and the bottom of the bookcases.
Hidden Door Company
– After doing a couple custom hidden door constructions for homeowners, this company was founded to fill additional requests. They do custom doors of all kinds, be it bookcases, wine racks or secret wooden panels. The pictures look good, and show some upscale, “elegant”, installs that swing in and out.
Hidden Doors by Design
– The hidden doors listed here include fine cabinetry, cabinet doors, and drawers. They offer swing-out and swing-in styles, and use high grade veneers. Each bookcase is designed to replace an existing door, so they can be used in new construction and remodeling existing structures.
– Offering doors to accommodate art niches, billiard cues, wine racks and other unique utilities, here’s a company that does everything custom. Unfortunately there isn’t much info on their site to get into details, but some of their creations are definitely interesting.
DIY Mystery Bookcase Door – This Instructables tutorial includes 8 pictures and a complete breakdown on how to make a swing-out bookcase coat closet door. It uses a lazy susan for the bottom hinge and a bed caster wheel to support the weight. They also created a secret book latch that you pull to open the door.