Hello, Pandas, I’m Kara! I started making hollow books as a hobby in 2009 after coming home from my day job as an art museum gallery guard when I used to live in Chicago. I’ve done tons of odd jobs after graduating art school, (including horse-carriage driving, selling luggage, and a horrible stint at the Gap). As a shy bookworm, I often felt uncomfortable with showing my art, but I’ve always enjoyed drawing in a sketchbook. A sketchbook can be closed, which is much less terrifying to me. One night I was web-surfing when I ran across some images of hollow books. It just clicked with me. A book. A safe. A secret spot.

Coming home from days of “Please don’t touch,” at the museum, I wanted to get my own hands on something. So I started crafting hollow books with a simple x-acto knife. Then I heard about Etsy.com. On a whim, I popped up a Nancy Drew hollow book. I clicked the refresh button not long after, and it had sold! Other sellers had made hollow books from crappy library discards and titles nobody had heard of. Instead, I started doing classics and popular titles; soon I found out that booklovers wanted books that meant something to them, to put their treasures inside a beloved book.

In 2010, my husband bought me an electric scroll saw, and after months of trial and error, I figured out how to effectively use it to craft books more smoothly. Not long after, Etsy made me a featured seller on their blog which kick-started my business, and I quit my day job to make hollow books full time.

It’s been satisfying to make real money after years of the starving artist gigs. I finally feel comfortable in my current occupation as a hollow-bookmaker. When my husband got laid off from his job, he joined Secret Safe Books and now we make our living solely from crafting book safes. 

More info: secretsafebooks.com

Keep it secret, keep it safe

For the magical next chapter in your love story:

Like all of our book safes, there’s a magnetic closure so your ring won’t pop out before you’re ready to pop the question.

People tell us ministers love these:

Our cat Remus is being groomed to take over the family biz one day