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  • Writer's pictureVicki Liston

Secret Bookcase Door

Who didn't want a secret play room hidden in plain sight when they were younger?!? Unseen passageways and wardrobe portals feed the imagination and bring a little bit of unexpected magic into your home. Indulge your inner child - or your actual child - with this fun project - a secret bookcase door. Before you start, consider the location. Avoid load bearing walls as well as those spaces with electrical and plumbing running through them. I chose a wall where I could cut through and take advantage of the unused space under a flight of stairs. We'll turn this into the perfect little reading nook or play hideaway for the girls who share this room.

Affiliate links provided for your shopping convenience. Proceeds are donated to animal rescue organizations and no-kill animal shelters! You'll need: A bookcase or shelf unit with a back


This project involves cutting through drywall so please wear goggles and a dust mask for safety...even if you don't want to. Attach the caster wheels to the bottom of your bookcase. Two of them should go four inches back on the book case and the other two on the back corners.

Place the bookcase against the wall and line up one side with a stud. The stud will serve as an anchor for the bookcase so this is really important. I have access to the back of the wall but if you don't, use a studfinder. Mark the wall around the bookcase with the pencil. Following your guide marks, cut through the wall and any studs. The reciprocating saw makes quick cuts...

but I also like to use a serrated knife for especially close cut lines.

When you're done, you should have a hole the same size as your bookcase.

I'm leaving the 2x4 on the floor of the wall opening so I can anchor the new trim and the rosettes to it. The caster wheels raise the bookcase just enough to clear it and the wheels sit back far enough so the bookcase can float over the 2x4 and line up against the back of the wall.

Determine where your hinges will sit on the anchoring 2x4. I placed the bookcase nearby so I could eyeball where to place the hinges near the top and near the bottom. I'm using four total. Ensure the hinge's knuckle sits just off of the 2x4 and screw in with the drill.

Roll the bookcase up to the opening in the wall and against the anchoring 2x4. Place it the way you want it to sit in its 'closed' position. From the back side, mark the location of the hinges on the bookcase.

Move the bookcase away from the 2x4 so you can access the hinge. Line the hinge up with the markings on the bookcase and screw in. The bookcase should now be able to swing open and closed like a door.

Add some construction adhesive to half the back of each rosette and press on to the four corners of the wall opening. The rosette should sit halfway on the wall and halfway into the opening. Use painters tape to secure the rosettes in the upper corners.

Measure between the rosettes. Cut the trim to size with the miter saw. Add construction adhesive to half the back of the trim. Press into the space between the rosettes. The trim should also sit halfway on the wall and halfway into the opening. Secure in place with a few shots from the nail gun. Continue until you have trim all the way around the opening. Fill in the nail holes with wood filler. Then, run a bead of caulk between each rosette and trim as well as along the wall for a seamless finish. Paint the trim, rosettes, and floor 2x4 to blend in with the bookcase and finish out the look - your secret door should now look like a built in bookcase!

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