Hi Pandas! My name is Kara, and I started making hollow books in 2009 when I came home from my day job as a museum guard in Chicago. (After hours of “Please do not touch,” it was great to get my hands on a project at home). I got ideas for making hollow books from clicking around online, and being a shy bookworm, carving out a hidden spot inside a book 100% clicked with me.

So I grabbed a book, an x-acto blade, and set to work in our second bedroom. Later, my husband bought me a scroll saw and we soon developed a way to craft books smoothly and beautifully. Within a couple months, crafting hollow books let me quit my day job. (I had popped some of my books on Etsy which sold within a few days, the first one being a vintage Nancy Drew). Orders started pouring in, so my husband joined the business full time as well. In a few years, I moved from the tiny second bedroom “workshop” into our converted garage workshop.

In the beginning I worried, “How will booklovers react to my crafting of new and beloved books?” (I didn’t want to just do worn out library discards and Reader’s Digest eBay bulk lot fodder). As it turned out, booklovers want hollow books that are close to their heart, to put their treasures inside a beloved book; many even send me their own editions which they’d memorized passages from already. The debate about “ruining” a real book is always a spicy one when I post to social media, and I must say I do relish engaging with fellow bibliophiles regarding how we consume real, paper books in this digital age. (Our buying real books for any reason supports the print industry which is in danger of dying due to digital!)

There are many more stories about hollow-bookmaking I could tell, but to wrap I’ll just say, for the past 8 years or so, we’ve made our living from crafting hollow books and my love for secret hiding spots and literature continues to grow!

More info: Etsy

Sherlock Holmes

Image credits: www.etsy.com

I wonder if Holmes would think to look inside a book for clues?

A Game of Thrones

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It’s fantastic when a book comes with great map endpapers.

The Hobbit

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Tolkien books come out with amazing editions featuring his own drawn maps and illustrations. This one had Thror’s Map endpapers.

Love Stories Heart Ring Bearer

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One of my favorite things is hearing about couples who got engaged or married with one of my books.

The Hobbit Heart Ring Bearer

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For that precious ring.

The Return of the King

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Keep it secret, and keep it safe.

The Secret History of the CIA handgun keep

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I love finding books that seem fitting to what can fit inside of them.

The Secret Garden

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I like crafting books with stories that connect to the idea of a secretive spot.

Alice in Wonderland

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Keys play a big role in Alice’s story, but there’s no key needed to open the hollow book. It looks completely natural from the outside, so it hides in plain sight with no keys to lose.

The Count of Monte Cristo

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This is one of my favorite reads and one of my favorite book safes as well.

Gone with the Wind

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At first I assumed people would want books without the dust-jackets, but it turns out the dust-jacketed ones are desirable.

Fantastic Beasts

Image credits: www.etsy.com

All of my books have magnetic closures so your magical secrets won’t slip out.

The Great Gatsby

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Lots of inspiration for photographing my books comes from the “bookstagram” community on instagram.

The Handmaid’s Tale

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I love reading books as much as crafting them and instagramming them.

Edgar Allan Poe

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I never cut into rare books. As you can see here, I treasure my early 1900s Poe for reading (and btw the little reading copy fits inside the hollow book).

How to Fix Damn Near Everything

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I get a kick out of making puns – here’s where you can get a little fix, or refill in order to get hammered!

Harry Potter “Unbreakable Vow” ring bearer

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A customer sent me a pic from Pinterest with the “Unbreakable Vow” idea, and I found a smoother way to recreate the idea.

Wuthering Heights

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This tumultuous story of doomed love is one of my favorites; I like to think people might hide love letters inside.

Little Women

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I get as much satisfaction from making photos of books as crafting them.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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I wish I could afford all the amazing Harry Potter props like mini horcruxes to show tucked into a secret safe book.

The Godfather Flask Book

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I wish I had some cannoli to add to this pic.

Anne of Green Gables

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This book has a secret: there are high quality looking endpapers and beautiful cover, but the publisher made the inside pages a pulpy inexpensive type (which good for me– pulpy paper is the easiest and quickest type to cut through).

The Constitution of the USA Handgun Keep

Image credits: www.etsy.com

There’s a magnetic closure in all of my books, and in the gun ones there are extra magnets strong enough to keep inside a fully loaded Glock19 plus extra magazine when the book is held upside down.

H.P. Lovecraft

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Lovecraft holds a special place in my heart; I’m a proud worshipper of the Old Ones.

On the left I was using an x-acto blade & on the right I’m at the scroll saw

Image credits: www.etsy.com

On the right is a rare moment when nothing is covered in sawdust!