I have read every Nancy Drew book there is. I would get them out from my elementary school library - their yellow spines were a beacon in the stacks. Even though my feminist-self had yet to emerge I sought out stories of independent girls, intelligent girls, and ambitious girls often - I think I knew what garbage lay ahead and was trying to fortify myself against it. Well, probably not, but whatever. I did love that George though.

When I saw a HUGE pile of them at my new favorite store LOOT I knew I had to have one. What for I wasn't sure, until Christmas came and I found myself perplexed, as I am annually, as to what to get my 9-year-old friend Lucy, daughter of Katherine. Having gotten her a locking diary last year that she actually uses I thought I might just do that again. But then it occurred to me that 9-year-old girls like secrets and hiding and locks and such and that if I could find a hollowed out book for her newly-earned cash-moolah (mother's helper!) she might think I was the coolest gift-giver ever, which is always my objective with 9-year-old people.

Well folks, if you want to make some money, steal this idea: make hollowed out books for kids. Dear Amazon: lame. Hello Nancy Drew!

I Googled "How to hollow out a book" and came upon this very helpful guide. Okay! So here's what I did. Also, I haven't given this to Lucy yet, so if you know her, don't tell her!


Start with a paperback book that has a strong spine and feels sturdy.


Make a glue solution: I did 2 spoonfuls of Mod Podge to 1 spoonful of water (you can use Elmers too). Reserving the first couple of pages at the front, hold the pages together firmly while you paint the glue on the 3 exposed edges. You don't need much, just enough to get it wet and covered.


Put something between your reserved front pages and your glued pages (I used post-it notes) and put something heavy on top of it for 20 minutes. Measure and mark a 1/2 inch border around your glued pages.


Begin to cut away your center rectangle with an X-acto knife or box cutter.


It will not look perfect. It will never look perfect. Keep going anyway. I did this over the course of two days. I think if I tried to do it in one sitting I would have hurt myself. Stop at the last page or back cover.


It's okay if the edges are torn up: that is why you reserved some at the front. We will get to them later. Now, glue very thin and very narrow magnets onto the edge of your book with pure glue, not the solution you made earlier (if you want to try to be fancy, hollow out holes for them). Let them dry for 20 minutes. Make sure they are facing the right way so as to attract the corresponding magnets you are about to install in the reserved pages.


While your magnets are drying, carefully scrape out and try to smooth your inner edges. They will never be truly smooth, so give yourself a break and do the best you can. Apply the glue solution to the 4 inner edges as well as the bottom of the hollow. Mod Podge dries clear, so this just helps make the inside of the book more protected.

When your magnets are dry take the closest reserved page and glue it to the rest of the book, closing the hollow up.


Now cut away the page, revealing the hollow. Be as clean and neat as you can. I didn't figure this part out very well - my edges were pretty jagged. But now the magnets and pencil markings are gone at least.


Now here is the tricky part. Take the next two reserved pages and glue magnets between them, again corresponding to the other magnets and facing the right way. Put a heavy thing on them and let dry.


Now glue all your reserved front pages to the front cover. You don't want any loose pages. Let dry.


Even though the magnets are minimally visible, I do wish I had carved out holes for them. Next time. Maybe with a Hardy Boys.

last hollow.jpg

I hope she likes it!

AuthorSarah Reid