$2 Vacuum Sealer Life Hack





Introduction: $2 Vacuum Sealer Life Hack

About: I am a photographer and ex-Engineering Student with more than just a curious mind. I use my knowledge about photography and basic engineering to create stunning videos for my YouTube channel (madsciencehacks...

I entered this Instructable into the "First Time Author" contest on Instructables.com .If you feel that this post deserves to win, click 'Vote' button at the top-right of the screen.

Check out the contest here - https://www.instructables.com/contest/firsttime2015/

Lets get started!

In this quick life hack, I'll show you how to make a super cheap vacuum sealer that you can use to vacuum seal just about anything!

Here's what you'll need

  • Ziplock (Freezer) Bags
  • Clear packaging tape
  • 1 x Syringe
  • 2 x aquarium check valves
  • 2ft aquarium air line tubing
  • 1 x 3 way aquarium air line 'T' connector

Step 1: Watch the Video!

The easiest way to follow along with this Instructable, is to watch the video above or on my channel by clicking this link - http://bit.ly/1ODLIwG

Step 2:

Grab your air line tubing ,and a pair of scissors, and cut off three pieces of tubing about 2 inches (4-5cm) in length.

Step 3:

Attach one piece to each end of the 3-way air line connector.

Step 4:

Attach the INPUT side of one check valve, to the center of the 3-way connector and the OUTPUT side of the other check valve , to any other side.

If you're not sure which end of the check valve is the INPUT or the OUTPUT, just take a closer look at each check valve for markings that say IN and OUT.

Step 5:

You should have something that look's like this.

Step 6:

Attach the leftover air line tubing to the check valve that you installed last, making sure that both check valves are in the correct orientation.

You should also go ahead and attach the syringe to the side of the 3-way connector that doesn't have a check valve.

See images for how it should look.

Step 7:

Grab a toothpick and pierce a hole on ONE side of the bag.

Use caution. Do not pierce the back through both layers!

Step 8:

Place the items that you want to seal, into the bag. I used lemons, just for this demonstration.

Step 9:

Grab those scissors again and cut the end of the air line tube at an angle. This will make it easier to push through the hole you made earlier, without any hassle at all!

Step 10:

Push the air line tube into hole and seal the bag completely.

Step 11:

Pump the syringe several times, until you remove all of the air from the bag.

Step 12:

All that's left to do now is place a piece of packaging tape over the hole and pull out the airline (at the same time)

If you've made it this far, congratulations!

If you'd like to see this vacuum sealer in action, just watch the video here - https://youtu.be/QUAuFeHqPFA

Subscribe to my channel by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1ODLIwG

I entered this Instructable into the "First Time Author" contest on Instructables.com .If you feel that this post deserves to win, click 'Vote' button at the top-right of the screen.
Check out the contest here -

Step 13:

3 People Made This Project!


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114 Discussions

Thanks for posting this. I am going to have to take a trip to the local aquarium shop as soon as I can. I have wanted a vacuum sealer for a long time but they are too spendy. This is the perfect solution for short term, small scale storage.

10 replies

Actually you can get FoodSaver machines cheap at Goodwill and other thrift stores. I have gotten good sized units that were practically unused for $8-$12. I have rolls of bags I got for a few dollars each. The only thing you have to watch out for is a bubble in the electric heat sealer strip. It will cause a void in the seal that will leak.

That's a great tip. For some reason I never thought of looking for a second hand one. I just don't usually bother with the appliance section when I go to the thrift stores. I'll keep my eyes open and see if I can spot one. I still want to make this though, just so I can say I did, even though it will probably cost about the same. I can probably find some other uses for it, if I think about it.

I have gotten all kinds of incredible bargains at Goodwill and Savers. A classic all-metal chrome plated Vitamixer, like new, for $8, missing the dome for the stainless steel canister, which I got on craigslist for another $8. A Cuisinart DLC 10 like new with extra disks and a disk caddy for $8. Calphalon pans for $8-$10. Many other items for a fraction of the cost when new.

That's awesome. I should go shopping with you. ;-)

I have an aunt who is the best bargain hunter ever. She lived on welfare most of her life, due to a disability, but you would never know it to look at her, or her apartment. One time I remember she came up to me and said "here, try these" and dumped a huge pile of clothes in my arms. Everything was exactly the right size, in perfect condition, all good high end stuff. And this was after I had already looked through all the clothing racks myself and found nothing. I don't know how she does it.

It's not that hard to find bargains. But you have to go early, before the good stuff is picked over. When you see an employee bring out a new load of stuff to put on shelves, go immediately to the cart and look for the good stuff. If you're polite, they don't mind. You have to look at every shelf in the sections that interest you and look carefully for good items. They are sometimes hidden behind/under other junk. Test all electrical appliances. They can be bad. Savers is better than Goodwill. They have high end stuff, often mis-priced low. Occasionally you will get burned on something but you have 7 days to bring it back.

You just described all the things that I can't do, starting with going early. On a good day, I can muster up the patience to look carefully for a short time, provided the store is in good order and not too messy or cluttered or crowded.

Pretty sure we don't have Savers in Canada. Never seen one anyway. The only store close to me is Value Village, and you won't find any high end stuff that has been mis-priced low there. More likely to be the opposite, low end stuff that is over priced. I haven't been to Goodwill for awhile, but I remember getting into an argument with one of the staff last time because they had jewelry set in the "boutique" section priced at $50 that I knew for a fact was only $16 new. The best places for bargains used to be the not-for-profit stores, like Salvation Army, but they have all been driven out by the bigger, for-profits like Goodwill and Value Village. People started going there to shop, and to "donate", because they saw the ads on TV, and they just couldn't get enough stock or business at the little stores anymore.

It is better to go early but the staff keeps putting new stuff out during the day. If you can stay awhile, you might luck out. At the stores I go to, I've never encountered any fighting or negativity. One time I was at Goodwill with my neighbor and this woman had a big oriental carpet in her cart that looked like it was brand new and of very high quality, marked $12, and asked us if we thought it was worth it. We took it out and unrolled it and found it was perfect and on the back a price of $350! She was thrilled and everyone standing around looking seemed happy for her. One thing I forgot to mention, wear gloves. After going through all that stuff, your hands feel violated if you don't. I thought Goodwill was not for profit. I know Savers is a business. Their pricing seems almost random. High end things cheap and low end things very high sometimes.

My mistake, Goodwill is technically a nonprofit. But they came into town and opened up about 4 massive stores almost simultaneously, taking away a lot of the business from the little stores. Then Vallue Village came along and blew Goodwill out of the water.

It wasn't really so much an argument over the jewelry set as calling them out on overpricing it, which got me a nasty and rude response from the employee. I pushed the matter a little because I actually wanted it, and was willing to pay the full $16 that it was worth new, which was more than fair. When she refused to budge on the price I might have said something about never shopping there again. Which turned out to be an easy promise to keep since the store closed a couple of months later.

Gloves are a good idea. I usually just use lots of hand sanitizer. I can't spend too long there anyway, due to allergies. Vallue Village has really put a lot more effort into keeping things clean lately though and it's much better. Either that or my tolerance to dust is getting higher.

Anyway, I still want to get to the Aquarium store to buy the stuff I need to make this vacuum sealer someday. I almost made it last Sunday, but ran out of time. I might have to look at some of the stores closer to home to see what they have that would work.

Yes, that's what I meant. It's perfect for someone like me who only has a small family. Just enough to be able to keep the groceries fresh a little longer. And the price is right. :)


Brilliant re-purposing of some very common items. That is some very inventive science and engineering indeed. Bravo sir!

Wow ! ! What a great idea for us hobby farmers when putting food by (putting it in the freezer). Gotta show your video to a few friends and cheese makers.

One idea for leaking bags, for those attempting to use this ingenious Instructible to vacuum seal food for a longer shelf life would be to purchase bags used by poultry producers to bag chickens or turkeys and use a wood burner tool to seal the ends of the bags. Instead of packing tape the wood burner tool would be the final seal when the air removal tube comes out. Those bags run $.06 each in a case of 250 or so, but if you're freezing produce for the winter for a family of four a case will last several winters. And you wouldn't use one bag each time due to their size. Still less expensive than one of those seal and vacuum machines I covet. Great Instructible MadScienceHacks! You've got us all thinking.

2 replies

If you use the wood burner seal below where the hole for the pump is, it should keep air from leaking back into the bag when removing the pump

yes they do, however, l got mine on the internet for more thsn half off.

I made something similar to this but like yours better. Still llosemost of my vacuum before I can seal the hole. Maybe I am putting too much in the bag or just too slow. Still l give you a big 5 of 5 stars.