Hidden doorways are becoming a trend in home design. Building one can be an exciting and innovative project for your home because it fulfills our childhood wish of having a secret place. It also adds to the magic of having a hidden door that leads to a private room where you can stay cooped up and enjoy your solitude.

A hidden doorway can be disguised in many clever ways—a hidden passageway in the basement, a secret door in the wall, under the stairs, on the floor, or a hidden bookshelf door.

If you’re planning to create a space of your own, this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to make a hidden doorway. Below is the step-by-step instruction on how to make a bookcase door, one of the most popular hidden door ideas today.

Making a Hidden Doorway Step-by-step

1. Create the Structure

Before you start, consider the location where you will install the hidden doorway first. If you’re going to build a hidden doorway in the wall, make sure that you avoid a load-bearing wall or spaces with electrical or plumbing through them.

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Make sure you have all the materials and tools you’ll need prepared for this project. You also have to take out your old door first if you’re building it in an existing doorway. 

You can either opt for fully-assembled bookcase doors/hidden doors, which you can purchase from available manufacturers or stores, and then install them, or you can build a bookcase door from scratch yourself instead.

To build a hidden bookcase door, start by choosing the wood. Plywood, oak plywood, maple, and birch are some of the good wood choices you can use for the bookcase. Next is to measure the door frame, which will act as your basis for the size of the hidden door or the opening of the room. 

Measure the height, width, and depth of the opening to the hidden doorway and cut the boards or selected wood sized to the interior measurements of the face frame. To connect all the pieces, it’s best to use pocket holes because they’re hidden and helps build the frame flat.

To create the structure of the bookcase, cut your wood choice with a diagonal measurement of the cabinet smaller than the opening so it can swing-out. You can use glue and nails to hold the pieces in place and countersink the screws to increase the durability of the bookcase.

Once the actual structure is done, you can now connect the bookcase to the face frame by applying wood glue and adding pocket holes around the box to permanently secure the sides in place. 

After that, fill any imperfections or holes using wood filler and sand the entire bookcase. Don’t forget to paint, stain or finish your bookcase after.

2. Make the Secret Lock or Latch

For the hidden lock, you can create one by carefully cutting out all the pages as one chunk and replacing it with wood that will act as the fake interior of the book and the opening mechanism where you will mount your hinge.

Make sure that the wood has the same height and width as the chunk of pages you removed earlier. Next is to adhere the wood inside using glue, put the cover on, and clamp together to dry. 

3. Screw the Hinges into the Door Frame

One of the most important aspects when constructing a hidden doorway is its ability to pivot open with ease. It’s best to use a pivot hinge instead of a regular door hinge because the regular ones tend to sag as the bookcase gets heavier.

To attach the hinges, you have to mark the center point, drill the holes both at the top and bottom part according to the provided instructions, and make sure not to go too deep when drilling because the hinges will not sit securely. Next is to put the hinges in place, pre-drill the holes and then screw them in. 

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Moreover, to make sure that the bookcase is moving with ease, you can attach heavy-duty caster wheels at the bottom of it. Make sure to attach them away from the hinge side or attach them at an angle on purpose.

4. Mount the Bookcase

To mount the bookcase, you have to get the hinges lined up, push them in place, and then add the screws. It’s also best to have someone hold the bookcase in place while you’re adding the screws. 

5. Build an Offset for the Latch

Cut a piece of wood to create an offset with the same depth as the cabinet, which will then be screwed in behind the door frame. This bracket will hold the latch in place, acting as the opening mechanism. 

Glue the pieces together, countersunk screws on both sides, and add pocket holes to attach the offset into the door frame. Next is to screw the bracket around the opening of the door frame. 

For the latch, screw the self-adjusting gate latch right into the bracket to keep it sturdy, and add a piece of wood that will act as a support to the back of the bookcase, where you will attach the latch. Drill holes and screw the latch in place, and add a handle so you can close it from the inside.

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Don’t forget to test the latch and make sure it is lined up and working properly.

Next is to cut an opening above the latch where the wire will pass through. Ensure not to cause any tear-out on the inside of the shelf.

6. Connect the Book to the Shelf

Screw an eyelet to the backside of the book and add a thick wire to it. To attach the book, fasten a hinge on the bottom of the book and screw it into the shelf. Ensure that the book is moving easily and then insert the wire into the opening you made above the latch previously.

Connect the wire to the latch and adjust until you get the right tension for the book to open and close the latch with ease. Try to tilt the book and see if the hidden latch is working well.

Now you can load the books to disguise the secret latch you made and you’re all set up!

Your Hidden Doorway Installation Is Complete

Aside from bringing an element of magic to your house, building hidden doorways can also be a practical home project as it can also serve as your hidden reading room, office, playroom, or just a perfect hideaway place for your valuables.

Building a hidden doorway can be challenging at first because of the intricacies of the method, but following the instructions above will help make the process easier. With creativity and patience, you can finally make your childhood dream come true.

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avatar for Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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