How to Build a Secret Wall Safe

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Secret wall safes are the sort of thing you see in movies and on television, not often in real life. You can build one of your own if you want to stash valuables where they're hidden and secured.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder Pencil Bubble level with measurement markings Yardstick T-square Hammer Chisel Keyhole saw Small electric drill Framed picture or mirror Nail or wall hook
  • Shop for a wall safe. There may be some retail locations in your area where you can buy safes, but the easiest way to compare the greatest number of options is to shop online. Restrict your search to low-profile models that will either fit flush against the wall or only stick out slightly. Choose the size and lock type that best meets your needs.

  • Choose the exact spot in your home where you want to install the safe. Make sure it's at the appropriate height and that it is along a wall that is thick enough for you to be able to slide the wall safe into. Slide a stud finder across the spot to ensure there are no wall studs in the area where you plan to install the safe. Make sure that there is plenty of room to hang or mount a picture or mirror to hide the safe. Refer to the installation instructions for your safe for other considerations and measurements that must be checked before selecting the spot.

  • Mark your cutting lines on the wall with a pencil. You should refer to your safe's installation instructions for model-specific details, but marking the square hole is relatively easy. Just check the dimensions of the hole in your instructions, then use a measurement-marked bubble level to draw the line across the bottom. Use a T-square to draw the first few inches of each of the sides to make sure they're at perfect 90-degree angles, then use a yardstick to complete both sides and the top line.

  • Score the edges of the marked hole with a razor knife. Use a hammer and, if you choose, a chisel to break a hole somewhere in the middle of the marked area. Using the hole as a starting place, cut toward the nearest scored line using a keyhole saw. When you reach the line, follow it all the way around to cut out the hole completely. Remove all of the pieces of wall you've cut away.

  • Slide the safe into the cavity in the wall, then finish the installation by following the specific mounting instructions for that model. In most cases, you will need to screw retention bolts into the wall studs from inside the safe. Bolts and brackets are usually included with each safe, but you will need a small electric drill to complete this step.

  • Select a framed picture or mirror to hang in front of the safe. If your safe sticks out from the wall, measure the depth and choose a picture or mirror that is recessed in the back by at least that much. Make sure that the picture or mirror you select is bigger than the wall safe by all dimensions.

  • Have a friend use a pencil to mark the appropriate place for a nail or hook on the wall while you hold the picture or mirror in place. Then drive a nail into that spot or install the hook style of your choice. Finally, hang the picture or mirror over the safe.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider buying a wall safe with a biometric lock, such as the kind that can read fingerprints. Biometric technology has become so affordable that biometric lock safes are often roughly the same price as safes with other types of locking mechanisms.

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