Instructables
I  got a food sealer today so that I could store the processed meat from my SCRAPS project for long periods of time. [Actually I got two but I will explain that later.] I figured that I might as well use the sealer to save my leftovers too! Previously I just covered the leftovers with aluminum foil for a week and whatever's left on Sunday gets tossed. Using a food sealer will allow me to store leftovers for a month or more!

The only problem that I came across is the bags that are “specially made” for the food sealer cost a fortune! They aren't even made from recycled goods! I searched google to no avail on solving the problem, the closest I got was budget rolls $10 for a 8”x50' roll [33 square feet] and that is still outrageously high. I was perusing the plexiglass section when I saw painters plastic in 10'x50'x3.5mil rolls for $7 [500 square feet] so I picked up a roll [I splurged and got the recycled roll. The non recycled rolls are cheaper, but wheres the green in that?] .

I got home and made a bag using the sheeting and couldn't get it to vacuum. The problem was that the sheeting created its own seal too high up on the bag and wouldn't suck the air out of the lower part of the bag. A bit more googling and I found that the reason for this is that the “special” bags have air channels to allow the vacuum to suck all the air out.

I started trying to make my own vacuum bags by ironing the sheet over a window screen [didn't work] by using a tube to suck out the air and then sealing the corner [didn't work] and by attaching a straw to the bag and trying to seal it [didn't work] I was about to give up when I looked over at my hot glue gun and got the idea to make an air channel using hot glue.

The advantage of using hot glue is that it is non toxic, cheap [$3 for a 100 pack], and hot melt! I made a channel, made a bag, and tried it out. Shazam! It worked wonderfully! It worked so well that I decided to make an ible out of it!


Before I knew it I was vacuuming everything I could, marshmallows, bread, even a cassette tape [it was there, I had a bag, now I have a vacuumed cassette tape.]

Want to learn how? Of course you do, you read the whole intro didn't you? 
 
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JohnE32 months ago

I am concerned that the plastic you are proposing to use is not rated as food grade. It may contain chemicals that are harmful if left in contact with food fora long period of time. For non-food items this is a great idea.

jcastaneda53 months ago

Well, if you made me a cookie, in such bag... why cant you address it to me. im sure it would be fine when it arrived =]

anyways, thank you very much for this ible, and thank you for taking part in the schooling of all of us that are here to learn how to save a buck and make the most bang out of it.

Again. Thank you

cbennefeld1 year ago
Why not use the expensive stuff, at least a little bit of it. Here is what I mean, Every time you seal a bag use a zip lock bag and cut a small strip of the expensive vacuum bag to slip into it. It already has the channels and you would only a very little bit of it. That make sense?
Project Upcycle (author)  cbennefeld1 year ago
I like the way you think good sir! A $10 roll of the good stuff could make over 400 bags with that method! I think I smell another ible! (Or maybe its lunch)...
Ok I think I've got a handle on it. I went to Aldi's (grocery store type place) and bought some quart bags. I noticed (see picture) on top of the bags there were ridges. I cut the ridges off, then cut the "Zip Lock" off.

I placed seeds (in this demonstration) in the cut up bag then slid two small strips of the "top ridge" portion that I cut off, into the bag (see picture) closed the vacuum sealer and wa la. works like a charm.

I don't know if all "Zip Lock" bags have this at top, but, I bought 50 bags for $1.29 and given that you only need an inch or so of the ridges then this could conceivably allow you to seal hundreds of bags for a $1.29
DSCN2340.JPG

Thank you for the 'ible and for the suggestion about zip loc bags. I just sealed up some bags of coffee, a few bags of gummy bears and an egg. I just wanted to see if the egg would bust and it didn't!

Project Upcycle (author)  cbennefeld1 year ago
I like it! Just make sure your ridge portion isnt too thick (it will change with your bags/sealers so you have to try it out for yourself) thanks!
elliot54458 months ago

Why is the cat in the fridge?

slicearoller10 months ago

I am starting a kickstarter project called slice a roller, it will make cutting vacuum rolls into bags so much easier.

diy_bloke1 year ago
I love it when non recycled items are cheaper than recycled :-)
When I was young, recycled stuff was cheaper. I remember greyish paper and toilet paper that was cheaper than the new stuff coz it was recycled material. Nowadays however, recycling is a 'green statement' and of course the public has to pay for that :-)
I really doubt if the recycled plastic should be any more expensive, it is just because it is a fashion that shopkeepers will ask a higher price. I dare say it probably is all from the same factory, after every 100.000 rolls of 'non-recycled' they probably only change the label to 'recycled'
If i were you I would go for the non recycled cheaper stuff next time :-)
toddmc4511 year ago
There is a vacuum sealer on the market that resolves these issues. I purchased the Sinbo DZ-280 Vacuum Sealer from Amazon (~$95.00) after purchasing (and returning) several different models of sealers (including the latest FoodSaver and ZipLoc models) because they wouldn't work with the flat bags or Mylar. The key to the success of this model is an automatically retracting vacuum 'snorkle' which pulls the air out of the bag by reaching past the seal line of the bag, then retracts just before the bag seals. Check out this video (the 'snorkle' shows up at 0:12): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTNJDEr1Z9g
PS1184 years ago
Great idea! Those vac sealers are a great idea, but the stupid bags are just unfeasibly expensive. I mean, who would pay $2.50 to seal half an avocado when you can just go buy a new one for 99 cents?

Some questions:
What is the reason for the lines of hot glue?

Also, are plastic sheeting/hot glue toxic? (Just wanted to ask cuz, you know, they're not really designed with food in mind.)

You have my 5 stars! :)
Project Upcycle (author)  PS1181 year ago
The hot glue makes air channels to evacuate the air. if you dont have some kind of channel, the flat plastic of the bag will make a seal and the air wont get sucked out. I always use non toxic, bpa free etc etc...there are lots of sheeting types out there that isnt so check. If you are unsure use a ziplock bag. THANKS!
Project Upcycle (author)  PS1184 years ago
The hot glue and the plastic sheeting aren't toxic. The sheeting might not be food grade clean [because it wan't intended to store food to begin with] but I just sterilize them with my steam cleaner before hand.

If you look closely at a store bought bag it has tiny ridges all the way along its length, the plastic sheet doesn't. [when you try to vacuum a bag without channels it can't get the air out because the two flat sides make an airtight seal under pressure] The hot glue provides a channel for the air to travel out of the bag, making a vacuum!

I have been vacuum sealing for a bit now and I haven't had any bad experiences using this method.
Sweet! I'm SO trying this!
This is uuhhhh-maaaazingg (singing)...i got a foodsaver 2 Christmases ago and thus far have barely used it bc i'm being stingy with the way-to-expensive bags...excited to try this ible out!

question...at this point, have you had any seal failures after time? Have you tested any of the seals over a longer time period, say a month or more?

Project Upcycle (author)  thedestroyer1 year ago
I kept a piece of bread sealed in a bag for a month passed it's expiration date before it started to mold and i threw it out...i still have a spice girls cassette tape sealed up, its been a year or so since I posted this up?
skeptic7772 years ago
Update on my last post. I found that the nylon screen strip worked really good. However even though it looked like it had a good seal, it has a tendency to leak very slowly. I cured this problem by installing the strip approx. 1 1/2 inches from the top opening. Your first seal will be across the screan while evacuating the air and then make a second seal on the clear portion just above the screen. It has been approx. four hours since I made a test bag and it is still holding it's seal.

Another method is to cut a one inch wide strip and run it from top to bottom of the bag, again leaving room at the top of the bag to make a second seal on the clear strip at the top. I found that this works just as well and I am using less screen in the project.
skeptic7772 years ago
I tried the glue strip thing and a few other things and today I came up with something that actually works. I kept looking at and thinking about the commercial vacuum bags and how they are made. A year or so ago I purchase some vinyl screen for a home project. Today, I got the bright idea to cut a piece about half the length of my homemade sealer bag. I placed it inside the bag and proceeded to vacuum and seal just to see if it would work properly. Walla, it worked. Sucked all the air out and gave me a good tight seal. I will do it this way from now on. It really mimics the commercial bag.
skeptic7772 years ago
First of all, I purchased a roll of 6 ml plastic sheeting. I followed the instructions to a "T" but kept having problems with my vac melting the bag. I finally came up with the idea of laying a piece of three ring binder paper between the plastic material and the vacuum sealer. Walla, it worked. Good seal with no leaks. I followed the instructions by using a glue gun and found it to be a hassle. Instead, I cut two thin strips of 6 ml plastic placed one on top of the other and laid them about a quarter inch a part down the inside center of the bag. It worked but again, I found using two stips a hassle. I decided to use a thin double strip of 6 ml plastic laying it about a quarter inch from one side of the bag. You can secure it with a small piece of scotch tape as long it is not located in the sealing area. It worked. The bag I sealed has been laying on my end table next to my recliner for three days and there has been absolutely no leakage.....

**** I tried using printer paper instead of three ring binder paper and found it to be to thick.
steved56003 years ago
You need to make sure it's not PVC plastic. PVC out-gasses real bad and is toxic. It will also add a plastic flavor to the food. metallized polyester, polyethylene wrap are some of the best for bags. Mylar is also excellent. I steer clear of plastics from china that do not specifically state what kind of plastic is used. They have a terrible record when it comes to safety.
Good rule of thumb is if the plastic has a strong smell it's out-gassing and will flavor the food.
e1ioan4 years ago
I have to make a note to never eat in your house.
Project Upcycle (author)  e1ioan4 years ago
Why not?
Because of the cat in the refrigerator touching the food ;-) Thanks for the instructions on how to make Vacuum Sealer Bags, very helpful.
Project Upcycle (author)  e1ioan4 years ago
lol yea, except for the fact that EVERYTHING in that fridge is vacuum sealed [except the eggs] I got a little carried away...but hey, on the bright side, that avocado is still fresh as the day it was cut in half!