I am certainly not the first person to post about how to make a book safe, but I sparked some curiosity when I recently shared photos online, so I’m illustrating my process here. The photos are from 2 separate book projects, since I didn’t document the initial steps with my first book.
First, choose an interesting book. It should be at least 1-1.5 inches thick, and you can choose the size based on what kinds of treasure you want to stash inside.
Group together some front matter pages with the front cover and wrap/protect with cling wrap/tape. You want to do this so that when you open the book, you see intact pages, and the hollow is more hidden. When I did this I carefully selected interesting pages so you would see cool stuff when you first opened the book and when you looked inside and saw the “floor” of the hollow.
Do the same for the back cover.
The remaining “brick” of pages in the middle will be what you hollow out.
Paint the exposed page edges on 3 sides with glue (80/20 white glue/water preparation or Mod Podge).
Put the book under a huge pile of heavy books (or – in my case – one insanely large dictionary) while it dries so the pages don’t warp.
Open the front cover to expose the top page of the middle “brick” and mark off where you want your edges to be.
The narrower the margin is, the more difficult not to rip the page edges when cutting. That said, you might want to use a page border as your guide (see example below), so you might not be choosing the margin yourself.
Cut out the pages (with a very sharp utility knife) in small sections (maybe 10-15 pages at a time) and remove them as you go. My example shows 1 main compartment, but there’s no reason you couldn’t do 2 or 3 smaller ones if you wanted to hide jewelry or something.
Clean up corners and edges as you work your way through the brick. Once you’re done, remove the top page of the brick, so that no one can see the lines you traced before cutting. Be prepared to make an utter mess of your immediate surroundings by the time you finish.
Glue the now hollowed-out brick to the page behind it so the hollow has a “solid” bottom/back. Paint the inside edges of the hollow, the bottom/back of the hollow, and the back of that first connected page with Mod Podge or your glue mixture, so that objects you put in the hollow won’t rip the page underneath or tear up the sides.
Paint the outside page edges with gold or silver acyclic paint, depending on what color was originally there (or what matches best with the cover color scheme).
Leave the book under your heavy book pile for a few hours to compress it all together and better hide the modifications on the shelf.
Hide some treasures in there.
Et voilà! Finished product on the shelf, and you’d never know.