DIY woodworking projects for every budget and skill level

DIY Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Hidden Bookcase Door Back – AKA The Mullet

(Bookcase in the front party in the back)


hidden bookcase door with rustic weathered wood. Opens to a arcade with red floor.

Life is more than a pretty face, it’s the behind that’s on our mind

If you follow this website then you know that I am a dad, my search metrics will inevitably be hurt by my choice to prioritize two separate dad jokes over the keywords associated with this post.

That’s okay, you made it here anyway. In truth,  Hidden bookcase doors are so cool that most people stop when they are done with the front. I have no qualms with you building a bookcase door that opens to a towel closet, but for the love of nerdy please give the back some love too.

For this reason, I decided to leverage a goldmine of a facebook find and create a wall and bookcase door that blend seamlessly.

Let’s be clear traveler, this guide is specifically for the back of the bookcase door. It assumes that you already have a bookcase door. Whether you built one yourself or purchased one like a Murphy Door. Don’t have a secret door yet? Have no fear! Click below to access our full guide on how to build one. 


DIY Hidden Doorway Bookcase - back of the bookcase door. Hidden Door ideas. Rustic barn secret door
DALL·E 2022-08-17 13.52.13 - _studious bro cat with hat and headphones and Dewalt safety glasses_, _sitting at a workbench with a clipboard_, _scrappy bro cat pointing to the clip

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Dalle 2 Images of cats Scrappy Cat

House Cat

Tools required for the DIY Hidden Door Bookcase back build

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If you don’t have weathered wood, 1x8x8 pine boards will work. You can weather the wood using the below technique.

Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Find your Style

If you haven’t read my post about how to find wood on facebook marketplace then I suggest you take some time to read it (see link below).

The video to the right shows most (but not all) of the wood that I was able to get for $40. When I loaded up the SUV with the wood I wasn’t sure what I would use the wood for but immediate after unloading it became clear that they would work extremely well for the rustic arcade/bar that I was working on.

You can likely find deals like this if you are patient. If you completed part 1 of the bookcase door build then you have a fully functional door that I am sure you love. I started working on the back of the bookcase door about seven months after I finished the front.

Don’t want to wait? No Problem! While the collection in the video featured everything from 100 year old hand hewn board to old bookcase wood it actually had a fair amount of naturally weathered 1x8x8 pine boards. I chose these boards for the back of the bookcase because they were light weight and I didn’t want to put any unnecessary stress on those beautiful Tambee pivot door hinges.  


Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Lay Out your Design

weathered pine boards 1x8x8 naturally weathered laying on a garage floor

My bookcase door needed three (3) 1x8x8 pine boards.

Considering this was all improvised, I nearly hit my head on the ceiling jumping for joy when I dry fit the boards and confirmed that the three fit nearly flush with the edges of the book casing.

I laid the four (4) boards that I had down and took a vote on instagram to see what people preferred (check me out @thecraftycatsman).

I like to take votes on projects but in this case almost everyone voted off my favorite piece (the one with the holes in it). Be yourself, and for that reason I kept my fav in (sorry guys).

The important part here is to plan your design, this really isn’t a complicated project but take the time to lay your boards down, find the pattern that is the most visually pleasing. Note that naturally weathered boards may have weathered alongside each other and it is better to match the weathered pattern up.  


Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Dry Fit the design to the back of the Bookcase Door

Dry fitting is critical in the process, this is a swinging bookcase and we need to make sure that the bookcase can still swing!  I brought each board down and measured the fit. 8′ was too long for my door and so I lined the boards up with the bottom of the bookcase and then marked the excess at the top with a pencil. 

As you can see in the picture, I have some hardware to remove from the book latch. 


Secret door, swinging bookcase secret room. White bookcase with weathered wood opening to a bar arcade.

Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Installing the Boards

Whether you have a nail gun or not, hanging the boards on the back of the bookcase is easy. The most important thing is to make sure that you use nails that are long enough to go through the pine board and into the bookcase but not so long that they poke through the other side.

If you have an outswing bookcase door like me, I suggest lining the board that is most visible to the edge. For me, that is the board that has the book latch mechanism attached to it. 

I applied a generous amount of wood glue and put the boards up by nailing putting a few nails in the top and bottom. I then put a few in random places throughout the board. If your boards are weathered then they may be warped, mine were as well. 


hidden bookcase door with rustic weathered wood. Opens to a arcade with red floor.

Hidden Bookcase Door Back

DIY Rustic Bookcase Door Back and Wall

Rustic wall with 100 year old beams. Secret door bookcase back with weathered wood. Dartboard and patio lights on corrugated metal

As you can see, I took things further. My secret room is a bar arcade with a rustic theme. I couldn’t be happier with the result of the wall. I used almost every piece of wood from the facebook find to make the wall and the secret bookcase door back. The ceiling is corrugated metal from an old local barn, the AC duct is cased in scrap boards that were “weathered”, the nail barrel was $20 on facebook and the PVC pipes in the background were spraypainted with copper metal spray paint. I will do a writeup on each of these things separately.

Making a rustic wall like this was super simple, literally just some long nails and a hammer.

If you are interested in making a wall like this, see the steps below. 


Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Building a Rustic Wood Wall

The only wall in the secret room that had studs was the wall that bordered reality (aka the finished basement). I lined the rest of the room with other material (that’s for another post) but nothing seemed to click for me with the studs. I considered putting drywall up but it really didn’t go with the vibe of the room.

As mentioned above, I found a pile of old wood on facebook for $40. This picture was my first test to see if I thought the idea would work.

If you already have drywall installed then your process needs one addtional step – you need to find the studs! Using a studfinder, mark the wall with a pencil where the studs are. It’s extremely important that you drive your nails through this wood and directly into a stud.

Also, be sure to cut around any switches or outlets. We will fill any gaps in with dark paint.


unfinished wall and bookcase door, exposed studs, unfinished basement

Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Rustic Wall, Blending the Not so Rustic Pieces 

I wanted a combination of boards running horizontally and vertically. To achieve this, I measured and cut boards with my miter saw. A circular saw would work fine for the job. Caution if you are using old boards like me, be sure to keep an eye out for nails in the wood. Wear your safety glasses (like you always do). 


rustic wall wood secret room bookcase door, hand hewn beams

Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Swinging Bookcase Door – Masking the White

I mentioned this above, but this picture illustrates it best. Weathering parts of the wall and bookcase door will really help blend things together. We will use the weathering technique that I mentioned above to cover up both the white strip on the bookcase door and the switch plate (remove the switch plate and weather it the same way as the wood).


Bookcase Door Progress, rustic speakeasy with barn beam wood, 100 year old wood.
old paint, cans spray and acrylic.

Materials for weathering wood

DIY Secret Bookcase Door, outswing secret door unfinished, white open

Before weathering


bookcase door with rustic weathered wood. Opens to a arcade with red floor.

After WEathering

Hidden Bookcase Door Back

Rustic Bookcase Door and Wall, The Details

This picture is important – for the most part the bookcase door and rustic wall is complete. It doesn’t look nearly as good as the final picture, that’s because of the details. The white switch outlet is like a little field mouse just running across the floor…pounce on it like the craftycatsman you are. There are also gaps on the wall that show the studs, I took a small brush and painted all of those areas with a dark grey paint. The two other major distractions are (1) the exposed beams and (2) the uneven light distribution. 

1) Unfinished ceiling covered with corrugated metal. I mulled over the ceiling design for months, some people talk about painting the beams and of course some people just put drywall up. Neither really suited my design and so I decided to  install old barn corrugated metal roofing that I picked up from a facebook marketplace ad. The entire ceiling was done for less than $100, it was also extremely easy to put up, much easier than painting or drywall.

2) The speakeasy only had two standard light bulbs hanging from the rafters. This created shadows that I couldn’t stand. I didn’t want to hang light fixtures because it would sacrifice space and make the room feel small. To go with the rustic speakeasy design I decided to hang a set of Govee RGB patio lights. These lights have all sorts of cool patterns and can be turned on/off and dimmed via voice commands. 


secret room ideas, rustic wall, secret door, swinging bookcase with rustic wood back.
Rustic wall with 100 year old beams. Secret door bookcase back with weathered wood. Dartboard and patio lights on corrugated metal

Thanks for reading Try your next project below!  

Next Up.

Speakeasy Bar Arcade

Who wants a shiny duct taking the spotlight, not me.

Next Up: Hiding the AC Duct

AC Duct with weathered wood

Click the picture above to learn how I hid the unsightly metal ductwork. 


Click below to see all of my DIY Arcade Bar Projects.

TheCraftyCatsman - Speakeasy Arcade

A collection of projects explaining how I built my arcade bar for less than a contractor wanted to charge to put up studs. All free for my feline loving friends. 

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