Opening a String-sealed Bag Without Scissors

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Intro: Opening a String-sealed Bag Without Scissors

Occasionally in life I've come across one of those string sealed bags - you know the kind that are IMPOSSIBLE to get to open. Often times they seal big bags of rice, or large sacs of dry ingredients and when I come across them I have been able to get them open every 5th time or so without frustration. Most of the time though, I resort to just cutting the whole top of the bag off to avoid the trouble!

I know this feeling well, and so when I was recently at a farmer friend house he to show me the mysterious trick to opening these string sealed bags without any scissors, knife or special tool required! For him it's a necessity as he opens several of these string sealed grain feed bags every week to feeds his chickens and cows.

Meanwhile, my world has been changed - I hope yours will be too!

Step 1: Examining the Bag and String

It seems the trick lies in which side of the string you start unraveling from. But to me it all looked the same, until I was told what to look for.

Take a look at the string closely on both sides of the bag. On each side there is a different stitch.

  • On one side: there is a doubles-stitched string
  • On the other side: there is a single-stitched string

In order to open the bag, make sure the single stitch side (second photo) is facing you.

Step 2: Pick the 'right' Side, and Pull!

To open the bag now, you literally have to pick the RIGHT side of the string. (just remember, right single-stitch side is correct, and left is not).

Steps to open the bag:

  1. Again make sure you turn the bag so the single stitch side of string is facing you
  2. Looking at the single stitch side and follow it to the far right end of the string.
  3. Undo the first little loose knot by pulling the string tail out of the loop.
  4. Pull the tail of the string gently and it will slowly unravel the stitching.

The string should come off in one piece without any fuss!

Note: if you pick the other side (left side with single string facing you), it will be frustratingly impossible!

I hope you find this helpful! For me, after coming across string bags every once in a while, its a really satisfying feeling to be able to open this type of bag quickly and easily! Plus, now I can open grain feed bags like a pro - and the cows really appreciate that !

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    83 Discussions

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    J.D.W1

    8 months ago

    Thank you so much. I have worked in various places receiving and handling all manner of dry goods in my checkered career. No one I've worked with has ever given me a definitive answer for the method to open. The reply received most often? "Don't you have a knife?" I followed your instructions and the 10# bag of string-sealed kitty litter yielded. I almost got a rush. Thanks, again.

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    NeightR

    2 years ago

    As a person who brews beer at home, I buy my barley in 55 lb (20 kg) bags to save money. Much like you I get it right every fifth time. Glad to have learned the technique to get the bag open the right way.

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    NeightR

    2 years ago

    As a person who brews beer at home, I buy my barley in 55 lb (20 kg) bags to save money. Much like you I get it right every fifth time. Glad to have learned the technique to get the bag open the right way.

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    jeanniel1

    2 years ago on Introduction

    Ah, it's the RIGHT side with the single line to unravel and open the bag! It was always 50:50 whenever I did it before. Ha ha!

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    satoko68

    3 years ago

    I learned this trick while living in South East Asia because all of our rice bags were stitched like this. With my other half being Asian & eating rice with every meal, we had to buy huge bags, so this was a very much necessary life skill. Sounds like the simplest thing ever, but I was surprised when we returned to my country of birth several years later to see how many people were hacking their bags apart to get into them. The looks on their faces when I showed them how to do it properly was priceless LOL :-)

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    hammer9876

    3 years ago on Introduction

    The story is that back during the Depression (1930s), cotton feed sacks were sewn together like this. Not only were the sacks taken apart so that women could make clothes or quilts out of the fabric, but the strings were kept to tie quilts together.

    5 replies
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    244 Jakehammer9876

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    this is the stitch I was taught to wrap up and store electrical cords. Use it by plugging both ends together, place your hand through the the loop and pull another loop, over and over again.

    The cord is more then one third shorter, and the cord is not twisted during the next use, and rolling into one loop would have done.

    - 244 Jake

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    TinkerJohn244 Jake

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Nooooooo!!! I've just gone and watched some vids on this looping cords idea and... Eeeeek!! I work in the music/arts/theatre industry and if anyone did this with ANY cable, they would be 'shot'!! You should never bend a cable like that and knot it and close loop it like that as you'll damage the strands inside and over time it will eventually break. You should loop the cable up using the 'over-under' method. Easy to deploy when needed as you simply hold one end and throw out the rest of the cable and metre after metre of cable will lay itself out completely straight every time.

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    244 JakeTinkerJohn

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Oh YES! you way in

    When you roll the cable up, your way, 90% of people plug in one end, then grab the other end and walk to where the power is needed or to be used, weed eaters, drills, lights ect.. This in general creates twist near the ends, which damages the cables. Other power cord users will notice twisted cable near the ends of their cables after 10 to 20 uses.

    The fun part in the way I was taught is you can plug in power, walk with the other end of the cable to the work area without having to unroll all the cable. The cable does not tangle, only uncoils what is needed. This is great when most of my power cables are 12 ga. 100 foot long. I have two cables that are over 10 years old and are as good as new. Oh, power cords rolled up this way never tangle when dumped in storage boxes.

    Try it once or twice when no one is watching.

    But Warning the unwinding must be Started by pull out both ends together.

    Very Best Regards to All

    - 244 Jake

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    loony1

    3 years ago

    Thanks for the nicely worded instructable. I had sadly resorted to opening all of these bag types with a knife or of sheer frustration; one time in like thirty I would get it right somehow.
    You've defined this to get it right every time.

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    lgooms

    3 years ago on Step 2

    It -IS- satisfying! Do you mind if I link to this in my onion bag to kitchen scrubby Instructable?

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    jessyratfink

    3 years ago on Introduction

    No more fighting with huge dog food bags!! YAY!!!

    This is awesome, thank you for sharing. :D

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    pechenique

    3 years ago on Step 2

    Whyyy didn't I find this yesterday when I was trying to open my bag of flour! Great instructable, thanks!

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    kenyer

    3 years ago on Step 2

    Thank you, I needed this. I knew this, but not exactly, so after trying to pull all the wrong strings, I grab the scissors again :P

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    clem79

    3 years ago on Step 2

    Another one of life mysteries answered. Thanks