Introduction: Travel Toothpaste Refiller - SUGRU STYLE

Picture of Travel Toothpaste Refiller - SUGRU STYLE

If you travel, you have probably purchased a small quantity of some product that you already buy in regular quantity or bulk.
Toothpaste often comes in 6.4oz tubes or greater, but the TSA allows 3oz or less.

For the last several years, I have occasionally transferred toothpaste from a large tube into a small tube in order to travel by plane, and actually, I am a minimalist and I prefer using a travel tube at home so that it takes up less room on the vanity.

I am frugal, and creative, and for years i simply made a little bit of a mess while squeezing the big into the small and I end brushing my teeth with the over-fill or spillage (quantity 3-5 times more than normal brushing)

This easy tool will save me time and money and will probably last the rest of my life.


Picture of WHAT DO YOU NEED???

- at least 2 toothpaste tubes(or LIDS) to start with.
one "sachet" of SUGRU (uncured silicone rubber)
scissors (to carefully open SUGRU)
drill with proper drill-bit

Tweezers to remove drilling shreds if there are any

Step 2: SUGRU Is Awesome 1 Million Uses

Picture of SUGRU Is Awesome 1 Million Uses

I used this one sachet for 5 purposes:
1) 1st toothpaste converter
2) 2nd toothpaste converter
3) a dab for the top of a silly towel-hook that always lets the towel slip off
4) 6 dabs to make the spigot near my garage a little grippier
5) a cord holder on the rear edge of my desk

all in about 30 minutes
and after 24 hours I was ready to finish the toothpaste converters

Step 3: Less Is More! It Is Very Powerful Stuff.

Picture of Less Is More! It Is Very Powerful Stuff.

There are plenty instructions on SUGRU so read 'em

Make a ring on one of the lids first.

Step 4: Mold the SUGRU to Create a Good Bond.

Picture of Mold the SUGRU to Create a Good Bond.

i guess you could do this with just about anything you use often
this application is really ideal given the grooves in the items being stuck together.
Once the shape is right set the tubes down and let them dry for 24 hours.

it may take a little less than 24 hours, but don't rush it.

in 24 hours you won't be able to pull them apart, yeah, go ahead, try it, haha

Step 5: The Converters Need to Be DRILLED

Picture of The Converters Need to Be DRILLED

obviously this is useless without a hole

Step 6: Drill a Hole Throuh the Converter

Picture of Drill a Hole Throuh the Converter

if you get lucky there will be no plastic shards that don't stick to the drill

Step 7: Perfect Hole for Toothpaste to Flow Through

Picture of Perfect Hole for Toothpaste to Flow Through

all of the gunk is toothpaste, but to be safe brush out the lids with a toothbrush. whooda thunk?




Step 9: A FULL TRAVEL TOOTHPASTE for Less With No Mess

Picture of A FULL TRAVEL TOOTHPASTE for Less With No Mess

Once you have squeezed the little guy full you should screw and old empty back on the regular sized tube to keep it fresh.
Good Luck


ddevine2 (author)2011-11-07

I travel quite a bit, and the brand of toothpaste I like best is just not available in small tubes. With this method.. I can switch brands and get exactly what I want. Brilliant!

EnergyHandyman (author)ddevine22011-11-07

I want to see your photos

banker (author)2011-11-07

These work great. I used hot glue on mine. Clean them out after use with hot water and a toothbrush. Ha Ha.

AmyLuthien (author)2011-11-07

Ah! Smart idea! Now that's thinking with your noodle!

daryl.bookout (author)2011-11-07

Excellent idea! Now if I could just learn how to refill the travel sized shaving cream cans I'd be all set!

Damien.Wise (author)2011-11-07

Elegant hack!
This is what SUGRU is all about. :)

erwin (author)2011-11-07

Love it!!!
Great idea!

Manny B (author)2011-11-07

Holy bahjebus! It's awesome seeing this Instructable. About 10 years ago, i mentioned to someone that the small toothpaste things were convenient but wasteful. I wondered if they could be refilled someway using a DIY cap system. Man, i was laughed out of the room and called 'cheap' :(
Thanks for putting this out there.

iOskr (author)2011-11-07

Goood Idea!!!

Mr.Sanchez (author)2011-11-07

so clever...

projectsugru (author)2011-11-07

I love this, it's awesome :)

Jack A Lopez (author)2011-11-06

Puttingtoothpaste back in the tube is said to  be like putting the cat back in the bag.  In fact both of those phrases are used figuratively in the English language to describe processes that are easy to do, but difficult to undo.

But now conventional wisdom might have to rethink the cliche about putting toothpaste back in the tube.  Nice instructable!

nickodemus (author)2011-11-02

Great instructable!

mrstan (author)2017-02-21

I made a instructable just like this one. I did not see this one here! I hope I am not a copy cat.. Here are pictures of mine if you are interested... I welded my caps together using heat so they could not come apart. Sorry to copy your process.. How embarassing!! LOL

brighterfusion made it! (author)2015-11-17

Here's mine.

EnergyHandyman (author)2015-10-14

I made another one without the air-space between the two caps.

pasternak (author)2015-07-30

Haha super:D

grannyjones (author)2015-07-13

Syringes can be bought at veterinary/farm supply stores. 20 cc is a good size.
No need for a needle. Just suck up what you need and squirt it into the desired container. Good for custom mixes.

SparkySolar made it! (author)2015-02-01

I am having a lot of fun, Thank you for this wonderful Instructable


SparkySolar (author)2015-01-23

So far I have made 5 sets!!!!!

SparkySolar made it! (author)2015-01-03

I finished it tonight. It is a very clever idea


cbraden-williams (author)2011-11-10

I will make these for our toothpaste and for hair color tubes because my daughter and I are cosmetoligists and use a lot of hair color.

I also have several of these 'Tube Keys' that we use on toothpaste, hair color,Neosporin, Hydracortzone cream, hand lotion and anything else that comes in a tube. They are $2 each but we didn't pay that much for ours because we got them at a beauty supply store in packages of 12. Add this to your cool refiller and you'll save some money and feel better about not being wasteful. It keeps a lot of empty tubes out of the landfill, too.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&ion=1&biw=1366&bih=554&wrapid=tlif132096847324410&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=9834854737315582061&sa=X&ei=KGG8ToekNpGlsAKU85jdBA&ved=0CGIQ8wIwAA#

this is what the TUBE KEY is

mkslocomb (author)EnergyHandyman2014-09-08

Instead of an expensive uni-tasker like this, I just use medium "binder clips" that I get by the dozen at office supply store. Binder clips also work great for chip clips (all metal, so a simple magnet on the refrigerator keeps them handy). They also work great on bags that need to go "back" into the freezer (no brittleness from freezing).

Those things worked a lot better with the old soft metal type toothpaste tubes... The new tubes that are made from plastic just keep unrolling...

EnergyHandyman (author)2013-05-13

Thanks Guys! So now it has become a game, that when I need SUGRU for something (I often need just a fraction of a pouch) to have other potential projects lined up, so do the clipping and drilling ahead of time, and mix and match all your old lids. YES! The thread varieties are increasing.

Telvroi (author)2011-11-13

Whats the point in this?

EnergyHandyman (author)Telvroi2013-04-15

to get toothpaste all over yourself and the bathroom before you go on a plane,
to buy toothpaste in the least economical amounts,

no really,

if you don't get it, it's not for you!

3366carlos (author)2013-03-26

very cool. you beat me to it. Thanks.

JakeBlanton (author)2011-11-08

I made something similar a couple of years ago, but instead of gluing the two tops together, I put both of them into the flame of a gas burner just long enough to get the ends molten (but not burning) and then pressed them together so that the two plastics fused together. I soon learned that not every toothpaste tube has the same size / screw threads.

More often than not, I just grab the two tubes of toothpaste, hold them firmly together and squeeze from the large tube to the small tube. If you don't do it right, you will have a bit of a mess on your hands...

Its all about the free hand squeeze! What mess?

You are sooooo amazing that you can do it freehand with no mess.

just kidding,

I consider myself incredibly coordinated, but it is tricky to get the transfer to work when the source tube is nearly empty, let alone trying to keep it neat, and this device really makes it super easy, even for my wife, whose thumbs bend like Gumby

To each their own....solution and flavor of paste. LOL

It works better if the source tube is nearly full. You just grab it in your fist as squeeze. If the source tube is not pretty full, I don't use it without the adapter...

dpitts4 (author)2011-11-08

Just a little add to make faster and easier. I am a painter and use a paint tube extuder for both toothpaint and my paint tubes. It is awesome and my kids love to use it (only when present ;) ) Anyway here is a link for one on amazon

rickets (author)dpitts42011-11-08

tried to use the link......unable to get it to go through in address bar and won't go on amazon

lanceearlhaines (author)rickets2011-11-10

link worked for me.

dpitts4 (author)rickets2011-11-08

soory about that. Here try this one

you can also find it by google paint tube wringer or paint tube squeezer

mkanoap (author)2011-11-09

What's a GOOG bond?

scm64 (author)2011-11-09

The rule is that you're supposed to change your toothbrush every few months and more often if someone is sick. It seemed to me that rubbing your toothbrush against the same tube of toothpaste as everyone else in the house is the same as sharing the same toothbrush. I don't know how bad it actually is but because it gives me creepies, I buy a travel size tube for everyone in the house....our own personal tube.

If I were to make the refillable thingy, I'd make one for each member too. I'm not really a big germ-a-phobe in other areas. But when I heard about how often to change toothbrushes and how they should be covered when you flush the toilet, I got a bit anal about it. (ohh. no pun intended).

bio_Med (author)2011-11-08

I found an even simpler way to do this, and I've been doing it for years.

will show you how!

agis68 (author)2011-11-08

well when i did this some summers ago with the suntan creme my wife said iam too stingy....ofcorse the coming green thinking approved my "stingy" job....hhehehehe

projectsugru (author)2011-11-08
check out this video by Do The Green Thing, it's lovely :)

agis68 (author)projectsugru2011-11-08

excellent video!!! with great big band era music

mik1700 (author)2011-11-07

I like the idea, nice job. I have always thought of something like this, but in the end, I just put the two tops together and squeeze one into the other. Works every time, no tools necessary.

RichardBronosky (author)2011-11-07

Any time I see people doing projects like this with products that touch food (or other ingestibles) I have to recommend J B Weld. The product is safe if you aren't using it at cooking temperatures.

cvbritton (author)2011-11-07

Great idea. I started carrying small tubes when backpacking (before TSA).

In step three you'll notice that most caps have a sizable indention opposite the threads. I use epoxy for these 'adapters' and fill the indention. This makes it easier to clean out the adapter after the filling is done. I keep a 'set' of adapters in a drawer rather than on the big tube.

The variety of thread sizes keeps expanding.

EnergyHandyman (author)cvbritton2011-11-07

The less my toothpaste touches foreign chemicals the better.
The fewer materials needed the better.

I want to see pictures of your version.

The whole point is to save time, and for that reason I am just gonna leave the tubes connected to empty travel tubes and never clean anything. it is actually easy to keep the toothpaste off the threads.

cvbritton (author)EnergyHandyman2011-11-07

Not much to see really.
I used epoxy BETWEEN the caps instead of your RTV AROUND the caps.
I chose a slightly larger drill bit also (or so it would seem).

I gave 'adapters' to two friends who also appreciate the ability to 'put toothpaste back into the tube'.

I rinse the 'adapter' after I use it.
Don't use it that often now that I'm doing less backpacking and other traveling.

Manny B (author)2011-11-07

It doesn't break apart? I havent' had much luck with hot glue and rigid plastics like that. Pray tell! I was thinking Gorilla Glue?

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