Hide your pot, porn, money, spare keys and jewellery.
July 30, 2007 3:35 PM   Subscribe

How to make a secret hollow book.
posted by Sully (37 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
I did this myself the other day with a book I never look at anymore and it was surprisingly satisfying. I liked the process so much I even made a hollow book for some friends as a wedding present. Read the comments following the instructions for more suggestions on how to fine-tune your book. Definitely take the suggestion to use a drill to poke holes in all four corners before you start cutting the pages out.
posted by Sully at 3:38 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is this something people really need a how-to in order to figure out?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:38 PM on July 30, 2007


You mean I shouldn't have used a library book? Live and learn I guess!
posted by puke & cry at 3:39 PM on July 30, 2007


In a bookstore, we used a hollowed out copy of Books In Print as a makeshift 'safe.' It worked; the store was burgled, and they only got the loose change in the drawer. It would have to be a different book now; BIP is digital.
posted by theora55 at 3:42 PM on July 30, 2007


Harry Potter and the Deathly Totally Hollow Finale
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2007


I did this for Christmas last year for my family. They all looked confused, except for my grandmother.

She rocks.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 4:09 PM on July 30, 2007


I do this all the time. I hollow out a hard back of Proust's Du côté de chez Swann and put a Stephen King paperback inside.
posted by tkchrist at 4:25 PM on July 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


I loved this and I'm going to do it.

However, I remain shocked - SHOCKED I tell you - that no one has whined about this being a link to a single blog post from February 06.

..Selects hard-cover crappy Christmas present from years back, grabs Stanley knife..
posted by Sk4n at 4:34 PM on July 30, 2007


The key to this is picking a book of appropriate thickness with an appropriate name on the spine. Any suggestions?
posted by sciurus at 4:34 PM on July 30, 2007


Thanks, Sully. I've been planning to do this sort of thing for Christmas gifts this year, and hadn't Googled the process yet.

I guess some people (like me) do need a how-to.
posted by chudmonkey at 4:37 PM on July 30, 2007


cool.

sciurus, the key is to pick something no one would be likely to pick up to look at or read--Readers Digest condensed books work great, or old encyclopedia volumes or something. (but if they're the only one of those on your shelves they'll stand out--i did it with an old Let's Go once amidst other travel guidebooks--it's not as secure with paperbacks, but if it's tight on the shelf you're ok)
posted by amberglow at 4:39 PM on July 30, 2007


Awesome now I have a place to hide my first edition pocket dictionaries.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 4:39 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


(also, i find it works better if you leave like 75-100 pages up front as-is, and a bunch in the back too)
posted by amberglow at 4:40 PM on July 30, 2007


I love that this is posted right after the porn post.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 4:42 PM on July 30, 2007


The trick is to choose a book that I don't value, and that absolutely none of my family, friends or acquaintances would ever think to pull of the shelf. The Fountainhead seems like just the thing!
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:43 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've been making these for gifts. I got a lot of great tips for poetry on secrets, hidden things to paste inside as a decoration on AskMe.
posted by Staggering Jack at 4:50 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I do this all the time. I hollow out a hard back of Proust's Du côté de chez Swann and put a Stephen King paperback inside.

tkchrist, I did something similar. I took a well-written novel, full of compelling and complex characters, tightly-structured plotlines, and beautiful turns of phrase. Then I hollowed it out, and submitted it as a manuscript for the last Dark Tower book.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:53 PM on July 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


Now I just need a rock hammer to stick into my hollowed-out Bible. And a poster of Rita Hayworth.
posted by Xere at 4:57 PM on July 30, 2007


You can also spring load the cover. Some springs behind a sheet of polystyrene cut to fit the hollowed out area work great. Then press down and pack with confetti. Carefully squeeze the book into an already tight shelf and wait for some hapless student shelving assistant to come along to shelf read. Student pulls the book, cover pops open and if you've positioned the book in the right place, confetti dumps down on their head.

I was said shelving assistant and let me tell you, summers in the BU engineering library were sssslllooooowwwww. We all learned to be fearful of the Mysterious Misshelved Bound OMNI Serial.

As the days grew longer and the serials librarian madness advanced, the OMNI volume was packed with more and more interesting objects. Condoms, chalk dust, and even a family of fruit flies that spent a weekend in darkness with a bit of apple for a snack. It all came to a crashing halt, though, with the Acid Book modification backfired, burning the librarian horribly, melting his flesh like tallow.

Some say he returned to the engineering library late one night where he dwells now in the maze of stacks, air conditioning vents, and HVAC rooms beneath the reading room. They say he's still there to this day and if you listen late at night before closing, you can still hear him cackle and mutter, planning his next filling for his hollowed books. Hollowed books.... OF THE DAMNED.

He's why I became a librarian, he was.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:04 PM on July 30, 2007 [13 favorites]


Now I just have to find a hardbound edition of Gravity's Rainbow.
posted by sciurus at 5:19 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been collecting Whitman children's books for years and my favorite find was one I scored at a huge AAUW used book sale. Whitman were the publishers of the Big Little books, but they were also pioneers in cross media licensing for books and did many so-called TV editions. This was one of those. It was for a television show I'd never heard of called The Restless Gun. Inside, apparently completely double entendre and irony ignorant, its previous teen-aged owner had stored his diary.

The diary was a bit more tame than I had hoped. Girls he likes, then doesn't. Teachers he hates. Summer at tennis camp. By the end of the summer he had almost completely stopped using it. Still it was a pretty cool find. Often thought about posting some of the pages to Post Secret but never found the time.

Here's a picture of said diary, and the book cover. As you can see he went with the staple the pages route, rather than glue. But it did keep that sucker hidden for almost forty years.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:48 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I did this waaaay back in Jr. High, had a hot little business selling outlawed candy at 200% markup.
posted by edgeways at 6:07 PM on July 30, 2007


I did this waaaay back when I saw it on AskMe
posted by conch soup at 6:22 PM on July 30, 2007


And now I notice Staggering Jack already pointed that out...
posted by conch soup at 6:25 PM on July 30, 2007


Damn, I read that as "boob". *goes to wash the blood off*
posted by Eideteker at 6:28 PM on July 30, 2007


I am with monju_bosatsu on this. This is the bleeding obvious, set to html.
posted by caddis at 7:02 PM on July 30, 2007


Good titles with which to make a hollow book:

Introductory Statistics by Neil A. Weiss
Menu Mystique by Norman Odya Krohn
Davies Principles of Tax Law by David William Williams
The Joy of Mathematics by Theoni Pappas
Standing Firm: A Vice Presidential Memoir by Dan Quayle
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 7:43 PM on July 30, 2007


I made these as Christmas gifts for two nephews (and some adults) last year, filled them with small toys, little packets of candy, and dollar bill origami. They were a big hit!

Only after Christmas did I stop to think: right now, the boys are just psyched to have a secret book safe. But in a few years, it might be a stash box.

Oh, dear.
posted by Elsa at 8:16 PM on July 30, 2007


yeah, that's what they invariably turn into, but if it's a bible you can bet there's a gun inside.

Honeydew: I'd have looked in two of those out of interest and one out of sheer horrification. IIRC my book was about Brezhnev-ian econimics
posted by edgeways at 9:28 PM on July 30, 2007


This is a really awesome idea. I think that I'm going to make my first one out of Simulacra & Simulation, which was the secret hollow book that Neo pulled the optical disks out of in the beginning of the Matrix.

OK I've got no real need for something like this but now I'm doing it to this book and store a flash drive with a truecrypt header backup within.
posted by Mitheral at 9:19 AM on July 31, 2007


I'm buying a beautiful hardbound edition of Simulacra & Simulation, hollowing it out, and putting a paperback edition of Simulacra & Simulation inside. The paperback edition will also be hollowed out, and will contain a flashdrive with a text file of Simulacra & Simulation on it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:37 AM on July 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


I remember trying to do this as a youngster. Couldn't get the cuts to line up properly, so it wasn't very neat. But still fun to have a special secret hiding place. And as I recall, I never really had anything fun to hide.

And just out of curiousity... What's the point of gluing? To hold pages in place while cutting? Or to keep heavy hidden items from working their way out?
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:09 PM on July 31, 2007


It's like asking George Costanza how to properly eat a Snickers Bar....
posted by ReadingGuide at 1:43 PM on July 31, 2007


Heh. I got one of these as a present years ago. Only the cover was "real" -- it was never a printed book. The title? Michael Korda's Worldly Goods.

Yes, I did put my weed in it.
posted by dhartung at 6:08 PM on July 31, 2007


I liked 'How to make Thermite'
posted by notreally at 1:17 PM on August 1, 2007


And just out of curiousity... What's the point of gluing? To hold pages in place while cutting? Or to keep heavy hidden items from working their way out?

Gluing makes a real box/pocket that's securer than loose cut pages.
posted by amberglow at 2:25 PM on August 1, 2007


I made one of these years ago, but like others here, I never had anything really cool to keep in it. Now I just use it to hide my ipod in when I'm out of town.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:17 PM on August 1, 2007


« Older The Internet is for porn. Never before in the hist...  |  Else Marie Pade (b. 1924) is a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments