How to Hide a TV
Sliding doors, using artwork, is a convenient and creative way to make the TV room a family room again.
IntroductionI’m willing to bet that a TV is the focal point in at least one room in your home. That’s great for movie nights and sporting events, but when you’re focusing on friends or family, you’d like the TV to disappear. I developed a system that lets you hide your TV with artwork!
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Wire stripper/cutter
- 18-gauge brad nailer
- 18/2 wire
- 1/2" x 4' x 8' Baltic birch plywood
- 3/4" x 4' x 8' Plywood
- Two-door 72" pocket door kit
- 24V DC Motor
- Motor bracket
- Belt kit
- Drive wheel
- two channel RF transmitter
- 24V power adapter
- Limit switches
- Hook and loop tape
Figure A: Shelves
Figure B: Belt Line, Motor and Doors
Prints in frames: Aesthetic Apparatus
This double sliding door belt system is slick: When you slide one door, the other slides, too. To make it happen, all you need are a belt and pulleys (about $20). Even better, I added a motor and remote control ($50).
It took a lot of experimenting, but now that I’ve figured out a system, you can replicate it in an hour or two. The automation is optional. You can keep it simple and slide the doors by hand.
Project step-by-step (15)
Mount the Cleat
Determine the height of the floating shelves, making sure to leave three inches between the cleat and the TV. Locate the wall studs, but before attaching the cleats to the wall, fasten the shelf end supports (G) to the ends of the cleat.
Build up the Support Arms
Fasten the center spacer (B) to the cleat with glue and brad nails, then glue and nail track support arms (C) to each side of the spacer. Add narrow spacers (D) and arms the full length of the pocket door track. I’m using a two-door pocket door kit, and I cut the tracks to 60-3/4-in. The track support arms are one inch narrower than the cleat to hide the track inside the finished shelf.
Mount the Track
Drill holes in the track to line up with the track support arms. Hold the track in place, flush to the front of the arms, and drill pilot holes into the arms. Fasten the track to the arms with wood screws. Then fasten a nailer (H) behind the tracks and cap the outside ends with full-height shelf arms (F) to contain the wheels.
Hang the Doors
Pre-drill and screw two door brackets to the top of each door, about four inches from the door’s edges. Slide the door hangers into the tracks and connect the door brackets to the door hanger.
Install the Motor
Fasten the motor bracket to a mounting block, then bolt the motor to the bracket. Secure the mounting block to a support arm near the end of the track. Slide the drive wheel over the shaft, making sure the wheel is level and just below the track. Then tighten the drive-wheel setscrews.
Place the Pulleys
At each end of the track, screw a pulley to the shelf arm, centered on the track. I attached two more pulleys to add tension to the belt, screwing them to the nailer on each side of the drive wheel, three inches from the motor.
Route the Belt
Glue and clamp one end of each belt around the door hanger posts. I used polyurethane glue and a binder clip. Center the doors on the track in their closed position, then route the belts around the pulleys and clamp the other end around the post on the opposite door.
Don’t glue the ends of the belts yet. Just clamp them until the motor is hooked up in case you need to adjust the belt tension.
Wire the Transmitter
This transmitter uses two channels — one to make the motor spin clockwise, and one for counterclockwise. I used the included wiring diagram to make the connections but added limit switches between the (+) lead and each “NO” terminal.
Figure C: Wire Diagram
Position the Limit Switches
You’ll need limit switches at each end of one track. When the wheels contact them, they tell the motor to stop.
Connect lengths of wire to the “common” and “normally closed” terminals on the limit switches, then feed the wires through a hole in the top of the track. I secured the switches with strong hook-and-loop tape so I could adjust their positions.
Skin the Shelves
Nail the shelf top to the arms. Then trace and cut a large notch out of the underside to fit the pulleys and the track. Nail the shelf bottom to the nailer, the cleat and the arms at the ends of the shelf. Finish it off with a hardwood fascia to cover the plywood edges. I tacked scraps to the top of the fascia to hold it while I nailed it on.
Assemble the Picture Frames
Put the picture frames together using glue and pocket hole joinery. To keep the frame pieces flush, clamp the joints to your work surface while you drive the screws.
Rabbet the Frames
Rout a 1/2-in. x 3/8-in. rabbet around the inside of each frame’s back. The frame screws are close to the action here. It’s a good idea to remove them and reinstall them after routing. Don’t make my mistake and nick the router bit!
Square the Corners
The router leaves a rounded corner in the rabbet. Mark the corner square and chisel it out to fit the matting and glass. Your chisel work won’t be seen, so don’t worry if it’s a tad sloppy.
Install the hardware
Drill a recess for the turn buttons. Use a 5/8-in. Forstner bit to ensure the screw heads are flush with the frame’s back surface. You’ll need to do the same with the keyhole hangers.
Trace the hangers, then line up the Forstner bit and drill out just enough material for the hanger to sit flush with the surface. Drill a little deeper in the center to allow room for the screw head, then clean up the recess with a chisel.
Hang Your Artwork
I had custom matting and glass cut at the local frame shop to fit the frame and the artwork perfectly. I carefully placed a screw in the door to accept the keyhole hanger and then hung my artwork.
Framed artwork: Christina Keith Studios.
Rotate Your Art Collectiong
You can easily change up your décor by replacing the artwork in the frames. Just take the frames down to switch out the current artwork with a new set.