Display case with false bookcase doors

Dan Tappo's seven-year-old son has a "mini-museum" of curios he's collected ("rocks, fossils, marbles, old film canisters"). For Christmas, Dan's built him a secret display cabinet hidden behind a false-front bookcase. He built a set of cheap Ikea shelves, fit hinged doors to it, and then surfaced them with sliced-off book-spines from old discards. Great maker parenting, Dan!

* On the sides at the front, attach two pieces of planed timber. You’ll be hinging the ‘bookcase’ doors onto this timber because the Expedit doesn’t have the structural integrity to hold the hinges (at least I assumed it didn’t). The timber I used was 34mmx34mm. I used that size only because the hardware store I went to had a bolt-screw that was exactly 34mm longer than the screw that comes with the Expedit unit. This meant I could screw through the timber into the Expedit and hold it together exactly as securely as normal. I then painted the timber white.

* The book case doors are 12mm MDF painted white (although timber would be better and a bit thinner better again). The ‘bookcase edges’ are planed timber 25mm x 25mm and then shelves are 25mm x 15mm. I cut all the pieces to size first – the doors, then the bookcase parts and then the books. I nailed the bookcase into place from the book and as for the books, I just cut them on a bandsaw and then glued them into place.

* I used 3 hinges per side to hang the doors but that was overkill – 2 would have been fine.

Fake bookcase hides secret cabinet

Notable Replies

  1. Alternate contents:

    Shrine to Elder Gods, with Raspberry Pi providing unearthly sounds and flashes of light.

    Fog machine, and small LCD screen displaying howling purple vortex to another plane.


  2. The cabinet of curiosities has a long history. Furniture expert John Bly of the Antiques Road Show said that the modern sense of a political cabinet of ministers came from the closeness of friends that you would allow to see what you'd collected in your cabinet, a few hundred years ago.

  3. That's odd, I used to have a cabinet full of ministers in the basement.

    But seriously, this is nice. I'd like to build something like it, but I could never bring myself to saw so many books in halve. Even really crappy ones.

  4. I would like to elect myself for adoption by this man. Mom, Dad, I love you guys but seriously, where is my cabinet of curiosities??? Hmmm???

  5. Can we have a check-back in 20someodd years to see what type of marvelous adult this child becomes?

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