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Secret Love: Make This DIY Valentine's Day Keepsake

Every love story has a few secrets. This Valentine’s Day, carve out a special place to keep them with this hollow book safe. It’s a thoughtful, romantic surprise for a special sweetheart: the inside of a book is hollowed out so a secret gift can be placed inside!

The toughest part of this project might be choosing the right book. Head to Goodwill or any used items story and peruse their inventory. Maybe you’ll find one that has your sweetheart’s name scribbled in the page or a book with a romantic or personally relevant title.

For my safe, I chose a red, title-less encyclopedia. It was a lonely volume separated from a set that was also the initial of the person who would ultimately receive the gift. A perfect find! Though I have to admit, the idea of cutting open a book was a little painful for me. However, because it came from a set that was missing, I felt this was the perfect book to repurpose.

So when you do your book shopping, keep an open mind. Give old books a new usefulness, wash off any dirt, think of water damage as giving the book an antique patina, and get to work.

Hardcover book
White glue, decoupage glue, or acrylic gel medium
Plastic wrap
Masking tape (or any low tack tape)
Utility knife


1. Choose the page you want to be on top of the hollowed out section, and turn it, so it’s bunched with the other pages that won’t be cut.

2. Wrap those first few pages in plastic wrap and secure with some low tack tape like masking tape.

3. Mix some white glue with water (about 70% glue, 30% percent water), so it has a runny consistency. This will help the glue seep into the pages, so they stick together.

4. Paint the inside back cover with the glue-water mixture.

5. Close the book. Paint the exposed page edges with the glue-water mixture. Don’t worry if the glue drips; it dries clear.

6. Place something heavy on the book and let the glue dry.

7. Mark the stack of pages that will be cut at least an inch inside the edge.

8. Cut the pages with a utility knife. To make really straight cuts, it helps to use a straight edge for the first cut. Also, make sure the blade is really sharp. Cut the pages a few at a time, and change the blade throughout the process when cutting becomes more difficult.

9. Once the desired depth is reached, paint the inside edge with the glue-water solution. Re-coat the outside edge, and seal up any openings that may have been made during the cutting process. Then paint the top edge of the opening.

10. Remove the plastic wrap. Carefully place the reserved top page onto the glue. Shut the book and let dry about an hour.

11. Neatly cut the top page to expose the opening.

12. Cut a nice ribbon for a bookmark and place a Valentine’s Day gift inside.

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