January 16, 2019

Get Secret Storage with a Faux Book Hideaway Box

Nice set of books, right? Ah, but it’s a trompe  illusion, art that tricks the eye into thinking it’s looking at a three-dimensional object. What you’re actually seeing is a book façade hiding a secret storage box.

The key to making the façade look real is to line up the spines of actual books on a photocopier so that the photocopy captures the shadows between the books. The photocopy is then mounted on a piece of foam core board, trimmed and glued onto a box. To the casual visitor, they look just like any other books on the bookshelf. Only you know that they’re not really books, but a secret compartment that hides precious valuables — like your personal stash of Girl Scout cookies.

What you’ll need:
Books of your choice
Foam core board
Hobby knife
Cutting mat
Glue or spray adhesive


1. Line up the spines of your books on a color photocopier. Choose enough books so that they measure about a foot. I recommend using a laser copier at the copy store instead of your inkjet printer at home. The resulting image will be more realistic, capturing both shadows and reflections. Oh, and you’ll probably have to use the 11-by-17 paper.


2. Apply glue or spray adhesive to the back of the photocopy, and adhere it to a piece of foam core board. I used spray adhesive for this project because it provided a more even coating of glue, but it does get everywhere, so many people prefer regular glue or a glue stick. Then I cut around the image of the books with a hobby knife.


3. Find a box that is narrower than the width of the books. My box happened to be almost exactly the same width. It can be shallow or tall, as long as it doesn’t extend over the top of the book façade. Apply glue to one side of the box, and adhere the “books” to it. This storage box is best displayed at or above eye level so you can’t see behind the façade.