Gasket From Food Box




This is an old trick that im surprised that I didn't see on here before (Or of it is I missed it). Here we will make a new gasket for a small engine out of a cereal box, soda box or in this case hamburger helper box. I have heard of people doing this with success on a car/truck engine but I would just buy the gasket for that and not take the risk of having to walk home by using a cereal box.

What you Need:

  • Empty Food Box cut open and laid flat
  • Scissors
  • Razor Blade (X-Acto knife is a godsend here)
  • Something to trace the part with. Marker, Pen, Pencil
  • Hole Punch for Paper (Optional but recommended)

Step 1: Step 1: Trace Old Gasket/Part

**IMPORTANT** When tracing be aware that the shiny/printed side will be facing the high temp side. Here I am making a gasket for a carburetor for a lawnmower so the printed side will be touching the engine and the cardboard side will be touching the carburetor.

If you have the old gasket and it can be traced onto paper perfect. Trace that the best you can and move on to the next step.

If you are not that lucky its ok because most times this is the situation.

Take the part and place it down on the cardboard where the gasket will sit and trace the outline of the part.

While holding the cardboard to the part exactly where you traced the outline use the back-end of a screwdriver and outline the bolt holes and the center area. This will make a small crease/outline of where we need to cut.

Step 2: Step 2: Cut Out the Gasket

It is all downhill from here. Carefully cut out the gasket with your scissors and razor and if you can use the hole punch to cut out the bolts. The important part here is to make nice clean cuts especially in the center hole. Don't tear the cardboard because you don't want the fibers/chunks to get into any engine compartments.

Congratulations you now have a new gasket that is ready to be installed.

Step 3: Step 3: Install the Gasket

First completely clean all areas that the new gasket will touch. I usually use mineral spirits or engine cleaner with a rag to make it very clean. If you have pieces of the old gasket there we need to remove that. There is gasket cleaner that will break down the old gasket so you can wipe it off or if you are very very careful you can use a razor blade to remove it but you must be careful not to scratch or gouge the machined surface.

Once clean place the new gasket and using your fingers screw the bolts in. When tightening the bolts slowly tighten them in a star pattern if possible much like you would do if you are changing a car tire. If you only have 2 bolts like I do here on this carb tighten on then the other and back and forth like that until you have it tightened to the spec.



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    11 Discussions


    1 year ago

    It's like using a wrench as a hammer. Not the "perfect" solution but but it definitely works. I've taken apart many (working) small engines and found cardboard box gaskets doing the job.


    BUT, make sure it's a gasket you're replacing, not a diaphragm (as in the Pulsa-Jet carburetor).

    Jose R.M

    1 year ago

    thanks, great


    3 years ago on Introduction

    This is really a cool idea.

    I have a brush fixture that goes to my vacuum cleaner and somehow I lost one side that holds the brush in place. It is a small piece thicker than a gasket but could I not use thicker material and do the same thing? Or do you think the suction might interfere with the homemade (I don't know what to call it). What do you think,, Mr bmrtin?

    Would really appreciate your help.

    Thank you for sharing your idea. Never thought of anything like this. I remember using a pantyhose for the broken fan belt to get us to a gas station.


    pde marco

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Dude where i live some workshops here cut any copper gasket with any spec for a good price. using paper trash or plastic leaves u with nothing but trouble

    very weak instructable. i thought it's gonna be the metal paper gasket


    4 years ago

    That's like a .75cent part just seems like alot of work for .75cents but if your in a bind I guess you do what you got to do


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Done this several times, many, many years ago. If you use it on a motor vehicle, you can try it on the cold side of the engine, such as at the carburettor or inlet manifold. At the exhaust side, things will be too hot for a permanant repair and the cardboard will burn through.


    4 years ago

    I used to do this quite a bit I had a piece of brass rod that I would tap along the part to cut the gasket.


    4 years ago

    One way to cut the gasket is to hold it in place and tap around the edges with a ballpien hammer. You just tap hard enough to cut the cardboard without marring the metal. A plastic faced hammer would work as well. Similarly the bolt holes can be cut using the head of a carriage bolt as a punch.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Yes I have seen this done before with great results. I have never tried it myself. My problem is that most times im making these for carbs and other small parts and usally dont want to tap them with a hammer. On a big part I would try the hammer method