The Key To The Dresser Hidden Compartment - How It Works

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Project by ND2ELK posted 07-20-2010 03:10 PM 11823 views 7 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am in the process of finishing a crib and dresser for my first granddaughter, Haidyn Reese, who was born on June 30th. I decided I wanted to put a hidden compartment in the dresser somewhere that she could have for her own secret hidding place. Mom will know where it is at, just in case she wants to check it out once in awhile. I needed some way to open and close the compartment and had my brother and lovely wife carve and paint a fairy house for me. They are the talented ones in the family. Without the fairy house, you cannot get into the compartment. I am posting this now to give credit to my brother and wife and thanking them for the beautiful job they did on the fairy house. I also thought some people might like to guess where the compartment might be and how it works. I did do a blog series on how I built the crib if you care to look.

#2 The hinged arm on the right attaches to the back of the cabinet and keeps the drawer from opening too far. If you want to remove the drawer you push it up out of the way. The center slide arm attaches to the back of the cabenet with a earth magnet. This allows you to remove the slide arm when the drawer is out of the cabinet.

#3 The center slide arm has a magnet on the end that holds it to the back of the cabinet. There is a magnet on the back of the drawer that holds the drawer bottom in when opening and closeing the drawer.

#4 If you want to open the secret compartment, open the drawer, place the fairy house in front of the hand crafted plate and close the drawer. The magnets in the center slide arm come in contact with the magnets in the fairy house. As long as the fairy house stays in place the compartmet stays open.

#5 If you want the compartment to disappear, you remove the fairy house and close the drawer. When you reopen the drawer the compartment is gone. There is a piece of wood on the back of the center slide arm that pushes the bottom closed.

Thanks for looking and I hope this might want you to try putting a hidden compartment in one of your next cabinets.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

26 comments so far

View patron's profile


13421 posts in 2427 days

#1 posted 07-20-2010 03:26 PM

it looks like we could ‘unscrew’ the roof
of the house to get the key .

drag the dresser across the room
blocking the door .
(so nobody can watch) .

and open the back compartment with the key ,
like a vault .

then drag it back in place ,
and sit on the bed innocently ,

when mom want’s to know ,
what all the ruckus is all about .

“what ruckus , i was just getting some clothes ready , mom “

(how’d i do) ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 2860 days

#2 posted 07-20-2010 03:44 PM

David – The top does not come off the fairy house. The dresser is so heavy, I cannot lift it without taking the drawers out and getting other people to help me move it. You do not need to move it to get into the compartment.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View a1Jim's profile


113817 posts in 2663 days

#3 posted 07-20-2010 04:38 PM

I would guess that the hidden compartment is behind the pilaster and the top window comes out of the fairy house used as a key?

-- Custom furniture

View WoodSimplyMade's profile


188 posts in 2406 days

#4 posted 07-20-2010 04:43 PM

Does the fairy house contain a magnet that when placed in the right place lifts the locking lever inside the dresser? My guess would be the compartment would be behind one the drawers?

-- Mike, Florida,

View Bearpie's profile


2600 posts in 2104 days

#5 posted 07-20-2010 04:51 PM

I think a1jim is right about the location and mikeswoodshop is right about the key. Both projects are outstanding!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2395 days

#6 posted 07-20-2010 04:56 PM

It is operated and opened strictly by magic cause it is for a child. Ya’ll should know that.

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 2782 days

#7 posted 07-20-2010 05:07 PM


-- Chuck, wiswood2

View tdv's profile


1139 posts in 2156 days

#8 posted 07-20-2010 05:23 PM

Is it the door step? Actually I ike magnet idea we fit those in kitchens in the UK to childproof chemical cupboards
I’m intrigued do tell. By the way they are both great I love the chest,nice job

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View shopmania's profile


698 posts in 2269 days

#9 posted 07-20-2010 06:29 PM

Beautiful dresser! There is obviously some space beside the drawers on each side where the pilaster is, so it makes sense that the compartment would be there. As for how to use the fairy house to open it, I don’t see any clues about that. I Want to put some secret compartments in some furniture, so I am very interested to see how you did it!

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3333 days

#10 posted 07-20-2010 06:51 PM

Very thoughtful and cute to step into a child’s world. Magical and mystical something that will be in her memory a lifetime, nice job, love is what it’s all about.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2759 days

#11 posted 07-20-2010 10:54 PM

Thats a beautiful dresser.

View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 2254 days

#12 posted 07-21-2010 02:47 AM

Tom, are all the drawers made the same size?
Is that fairy house a solid piece of wood?
I think it would be neat if you were able to use the side areas behind the pilasters.
Is there hinges on the top of the dresser which allow the top to flip up for some shallow storage space.
This would involve the whole top with all the trim folding on hinges, but I don’t know how you would lock it with the fairy house.
I hope it involves magnets, trap doors, levers, and magic words. LoL.
Can we have more clues?

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 2784 days

#13 posted 07-21-2010 02:50 AM

Good idea Tom

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 2860 days

#14 posted 07-21-2010 05:07 AM

I loved Greg the WhoDat answer the best. I certainly hope my granddaughter thinks that for a long time.

All the drawers are the same size.
The fairy house is a solid piece of wood.
The top is not hinged.

Nobody has guessed where the compartment is at yet.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Roz's profile


1684 posts in 2873 days

#15 posted 07-21-2010 06:21 AM

I think it has something to do with the top window based on the shadows in the photos here. Very nice.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

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