Make a Hollow Book Box

Like the Tennessee flag print? It’s one of my favorites from The Old Try.

Confession: I *love* the free book bin at our local used book store. It’s often full of big, thick, leather-bound books and sometimes you can find some real treasures. Other times, however, there are old books that either have out-of-date content or have simply been damaged, making them hard to read. Today I want to show you a simple way to repurpose those books into a box for your desk or hiding place for your treasures.

Need to hide the vices when Granny comes over (lest she drink all your bourbon)? This post’s for you!

Want to find more projects involving repurposed books as well as some already handmade items that can be purchased online? Check out my Find It post where I’ve logged a few of my favorite repurposed book findings.


Step 1

 Open Gallery

Find a hard back book that you’d like to repurpose. I recommend one that is at least two inches thick. Wrap the front cover (and cover page, if desired) in wax paper and secure with tape. This will protect the cover from the Mod Podge you’re using to bond and seal the rest of the pages.

Step 2

 Open GalleryWith a brush, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge all around the exposed page edges to bind them together. Put a few books on top to weigh the pages down and let dry 30 minutes between coats. I used 3 coats on the outside of my book. (The first time I didn’t use other books to weigh it down during the drying process, which was a mistake. The extra weight really helps your seal!)

Step 3

 Open GalleryNext, open your book and trim off any excess glue with your X-Acto knife.

Step 4

 Open GalleryWith a pencil, mark the space you’d like to be the interior box. This should be at least an inch from the outside edges just to prevent splitting what you’ve already bonded together.

Step 5

 Open Gallery

Next, with an X-Acto knife and a ruler, use light strokes to begin to cut out the interior pages. A light touch is especially important in the beginning because you don’t want to tear the top pages. Once you get further down, you will need to be a bit more aggressive, especially with the corners. This stage in the game will require changing your blade a few times. You’ll also probably need a vacuum afterwards because bits of paper get everywhere! (Our poor dog looked like he’d been playing in the snow for days after.)

Step 6

Once you’ve cut down to your desired depth, clean out all the little scraps left inside. If you have any cracks that opened on the outside during cutting, use another coat of Mod Podge to repair. Otherwise, simply apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the inside and allow to dry.


  • old hardback book
  • wax paper
  • Mod Podge matte


  • brush
  • X-Acto knife
  • extra blades
  • ruler
  • pencil
About Hannah B. Slaughter 


I’m a graphic designer for HGTV and DIY who loves taking something old, making it new and then adding sparkle. Weekend activities include thrifting with my handsome husband, writing for ...

More About Hannah B. Slaughter

4 Responses

  1. jerry says:

    I left some loose pages front and back. If you want to use the jacket, don't glue the last pages to the back. I used my scroll saw to cut the interior pages. Place a thin piece of wood or mat board to hold the pages firmly while cutting with the scrollsaw, the pages vibrate.

  2. Amy says:

    I have made these for years. 1 tip: Use the Hodge Podge AFTER you have cut your pages. This allows you to turn the already cut pages to the front, thus allowing cleaner blade penetration and resulting in almost perfect cuts beginning to end!

  3. Sherman says:

    The book hide a place is GREAT!!! I can not hide any thing, but for one of the kids or husband to pick up a book to read, is NOT going to happen!!! I have seen them on sale on line but the family would notice if a new book was put on the shelf,, they will look just not read them! Thanks for telling how to do this!

  4. Michele says:

    Great project!

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