Homemade videogame-inspired gifts for the craft-impaired

Presents! Everyone likes presents! But, what if you want to take a different route and give the favorite gamer in your life something different from the norm? Sure, we’ve got an awesome game-free gift guide, but nothing says “You’ll always be my Player 2” more than something handmade.

Here you'll learn how to make a Dragonborn secret compartment book, console button magnets and Portal mirror ornaments. Since none of us are Martha Stewart we’ve only picked out projects for the craft-impaired. Sewing, sculpting, crocheting, knitting, etc. aren’t necessary for any of these. If you can use a pair of scissors and don’t eat paste anymore then you’re more than qualified to venture forth.

Skyrim Dragonborn secret compartment book

As dohvakiin we have a tendency to hoard a lot of stuff, some of which is actually valuable. Here’s a perfect gift for the dragonborn in your life.

- old book
(old encyclopedias would work great, but we found ours at a thrift store for $3)
- white glue or Mod Podge (found in the glue aisle in craft stores)
- paintbrush
- utility or exacto knife
- ruler
- plastic wrap
- Dragonborn print out

Optional materials:
- tea bag or coffee
- sandpaper
- paint to weather the book

Above: Set aside a 3-4 pages at the front of the book then paint the sides of the rest with white glue. Don't worry about being neat or too thick, you'll add another layer later

Above: Lay a piece of plastic wrap between the section of the book you just glued and the loose pages. This will prevent the loose pages from sticking

Above: Close the book and set aside to dry. Adding some weight on top will keep the pages together

The book we used was about 1 1/2" thick and took about 30 minutes or so to dry. Your time will vary depending on the thickness of your book and how much glue you used.You'll want to wait until it's completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Above: Measure at least an inch in on all four sides of the first glued page and draw a box. This will be your guide for creating the compartment

Above: Using your ruler and either exacto or utility knife cut along the lines you just drew

Pro Tip: Try to keep your knife perpendicular to the book to prevent a beveled edge as you remove more pages. Cutting out these pages will be the longest/most involved step in this process so keep that in mind when choosing your book. The more pages it has the more you'll be cutting!

Above: You won't need your ruler after you start removing layers of pages

We couldn't determine the language of the book we found at a local thrift store, but we're seriously hoping we didn't deface some important Tibetan religious text. Don't use a rare or important book when creating this project, guys!

Above: Don't worry if you cut past the corners, we'll clean that up in the next step

Above: Add another layer of glue to the top page of the compartment and the three sides of the book

Above: Glue down the page above your compartment. This page will hide any imperfections from the previous steps

Close the book, put some weight on it and let it dry. When it's ready, it will be easy to slide your knife around the page you just glued down to reveal the compartment underneath. 

Above: Cut out the Dragonborn symbol and glue to your cover

At this point you can choose to weather your book to make it look older. Use a fine grit sandpaper to sand down the corners and cover, tea and coffee can be used to stain pages and brown and black paint can make the cover look dirty. Our example is pretty clean, with only a light sanding on the edges.

Above: Congratulations, your valuables are now safe from bandits

Maybe this project is too involved? Maybe you hate dragons? Read on to learn how to make console button magnets.


  • Sjoeki - December 12, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    These are awesome!!! Could really use some of those portal mirrors to pimp out my home!
  • ObliqueZombie - December 11, 2011 9:05 p.m.

    Gifts? BA humbug! These gems are mine! >:D
  • MrDobble - December 8, 2011 4:37 p.m.

    Love the magnets & portals. Fatastic idea :D
  • TheCakeIsaPie - December 8, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    Cheryll, you are amazing. Those button magnets are pure genious.
  • Oeysoph - December 8, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    how do you see the picture of the button if theres white glue over it?
  • Oeysoph - December 8, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    im stupid
  • TheCakeIsaPie - December 8, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    It's OK, you found your mistake! :) *pats head*
  • jackthemenace - December 8, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    Those are AWESOME. Seriously wish I had someone to MAKE them for/ for me D:
  • ultimatepunchrod - December 8, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    You guys really knocked these out of the park. Simple and cool.
  • CaptCOMMANDO - December 8, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    Cheryll gets to do the coolest projects at GR.
  • DBLDTheWise - December 7, 2011 11:52 p.m.

    Another great article. Really cool ideas guys!
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - December 7, 2011 10:03 p.m.

    I have to try out the secret compartment book.
  • comaqi - December 7, 2011 9:32 p.m.

    Articles like these are some of my absolute favorites! Keep up the great work guys!
  • Zeos - December 7, 2011 7:59 p.m.

    Coolest magnets ever.
  • nomis - December 7, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    These are pretty cool ideas. I could totes see myself doing these, thanks!
  • Rubberducky - December 7, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    I'm not so much craft impaired, more like lazy. No one ever writes articles for people like me, lazy bastards. Though I do like the idea of the portal things but only if I could also put holes in the wall to make it more realistic...
  • D0CCON - December 7, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    I'm lazy AND craft impaired. Even when I do try this stuff, it looks like crap and I make a complete mess. At least none of this requires drawing. I'm a senior in high school and my drawings are equal to the second graders in my elementary school.
  • obviouslyadouche - December 7, 2011 8:32 p.m.

    It's the same with me, i'm not allowed to turn in essays hand written anymore because my hand writing is so awful, also the dragonborn book is pretty cool
  • Valcrist - December 7, 2011 6:46 p.m.

    Amazing article! Maybe you could make more like this about making videogamey stuff? Really loved the book idea. These tipe of original articles are what makes me come back to gamesradar everyday
  • DualWieldingIsNotFeasible - December 7, 2011 6:40 p.m.

    I'm gonna make those controller button magnets for me. Nobody I know would appreciate them like I would.

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

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