How to Make a Wooden Box With a Secret Compartment

Things You'll Need

  • ½-inch thick wood, 10 inches wide by 8 feet long
  • ¼-inch thick wood, 1/2 sheet
  • Tape measure
  • Marking pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Circular saw
  • Fine grit sand paper
  • Small nails, ½ inch
  • Hammer
  • 2 small hinges
  • Scissors
  • Felt
  • Hot glue gun

Wooden boxes with secret compartments can be hard to find, but with a little effort and a few tools, you can make one yourself. A secret compartment allows you to hide things or keep things safe. Anyone who opens the box will think the bottom is where the box ends, but what they don’t know is that the bottom of the box is actually the top of the secret compartment.

Using a tape measure, straight edge and a marking pencil measure and mark your wood. Measure two pieces of ½-inch thick wood to be 2 feet long for the sides of your box. The box will be 2 feet long by 1 foot wide. Measure and mark two pieces to be 11 inches long for the ends of the box. Measure and mark two pieces of the ¼-inch wood to be 2 feet long by 1 foot wide for the top and bottom of the box. Measure and mark two pieces of ½-inch thick wood to be 4 inches wide by 10¾ inches long. These are the end insert boards for the secret compartment. Measure and mark one piece of ¼-inch wood to be 1 foot, 11¾ inches long and 10¾ inches wide for the faux bottom. Label each piece as you mark it to avoid later confusion.

Put on eye protection. Use a circular saw to cut the wood to size. Use a fine grit sandpaper to sand roughly cut edges.

Find the side pieces and the end pieces. Find the top and the real bottom pieces of the box and lay them out in front of you. Place the bottom on your work surface. Place the sides and the ends on the bottom board, not beside it. Set ends in between the sides. The side boards will cover the ends of the end boards. Now, the way it’s set imagine the top is the bottom. The top and the bottom pieces are the same size. Instead of having to flip the box over and reset all of the pieces simply imagine the box top as the bottom and nail it on. Use a hammer and 1-inch nails to secure the bottom board to the side and end boards by tapping in a nail every 2 inches around the perimeter of the box. Nails should be tapped in the center of the ½-inch thickness of the wood, ¼ inch from the edges on the top board. Do the same where the side boards meet the end boards.

Turn the box over. The remaining board is the top of the box. Set it on the box, making sure all edges are straight. Lay the hinges on the box 3 inches in from the box's back side edges. Use a marking pencil to make a dot inside of the screw holes of the two hinge plates. Do this on the top of the box. Turn the hinges so they are folding closed on the top of the box. Both plates will lay together. Open the hinges, hold them into position according to the dots and tap in ½-inch nails to secure them. Flip the top of the box over. Allow the hinge plates to fold down the back side of the box. Line the cover up so that it is straight and even. Tap nails into the holes of the hinge plates to secure them to the back of the box.

Make the secret compartment by tapping ½-inch nails down through the ¼-inch wood onto the ½-inch thick end insert boards. Make sure the edges are flush. This will create secret space and a faux bottom. Insert the faux bottom into the box once it is attached to the insert end boards.

Use sharp scissors to cut the felt to size. Cut one piece to be 1 foot, 11 ¾ inches long by 11 inches wide. This is for the bottom. Cut two pieces to be 11 inches long by 6 inches wide. These are for the ends. Cut two pieces to be 1 foot, 11 inches long by 11 inches wide. These are for the sides. Use a glue gun to glue in the side pieces by running a bead of glue directly on the wood on each edge and laying the felt onto the glue. Once the sides are glued in, do the same for the ends, and then the faux bottom. The box is complete.


  • Measure carefully.


  • Use care and caution when using a skill saw or a hammer. Wear eye protection.