Tortilla Press




About: Retired Army, Dad to a teenage boy, husband to a wife who's patient with my tinkering.

A tortilla, flat-bread, Naan bread or any dough that needs to be thin and flat can be pressed quickly with this simple Tortilla Press. My design is not new and is readily available from other Instructables. Mine is "special" because it was an EPIC FAIL on the first time use! 

Step 1: Tools & Parts/ Materials

Jig or Saber Saw
Table Saw
Sandpaper- 80,150, 240 grit
Files, metal and wood
Lag Bolt ( I didn't have one the right length so I cut down a longer one based on the width of my hinge point of the handle.)
Wing nut
Drill with 1/2 inch bit
Tape Measure
Carpenter Square


2 Wood plank ( at least 9 inches wide and 12 inches long.)
2 Hinges 2 inch square (ensure each side of the hinge is at least as wide as the wood is thick.)
1 Wood Dowel approximately 1 inch diameter or greater by 12 inches long.
Wood Glue (Gorilla, Titebond, & Elmer's all make good ones, just make sure it is Wood Glue.)
Wood Oil (optional, there are various opinions on oiling wood for food prep surfaces but ensure that it is a food safe oil.)

Step 2: Design Flaws and Outcome (EPIC FAIL!)

My wife recently was looking for a Tortilla Press but didn't want to pay $25-50 USD for a 10 Inch one. Instructables to the rescue: Tortilla press. by Computothought got me started. Never one just let it be, I started tweaking it. I took one of the cabinet sides, cut out the pieces I needed; sanded, sanded some more... Some wood glue, screws, a lag bolt , wing-nut and a dowel, half a day later a very nice looking useful kitchen tool!
Other pieces recycled: the feet are from a printer, attached with upholstery tacks. The hinges are from an old music CD cabinet. 

It failed at the hinge because I didn't know how strong it needed to be for pressing the dough. While my hinge saddle looked nice it was not nearly as strong as it needed to be!  The first press of the dough my wife  leaned into it and BANG, smashed her finger (sorry hun.)

Update: 30 Sept. 2013 Replace the broken upright with 90 degree brackets. They were ugly but much stronger... unfortunately my wife has opted not to use it so I'll re-purpose the parts, again.

Step 3: Finished? Not Yet... But Wait, THERE's MORE!

I will post updates as I find a suitable replacement hinge or re-make the wooden hinge support. In the meantime my wife's tortillas look like the shapes of the different states! 



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    9 Discussions

    Billjollie 63

    1 year ago on Step 3

    The best instructable post I ever read, I am still laughing about the BANG, SHE SMASHED HER FINGER, AND TORTILLAS THE SHAPE OF STATES,HAHAHAHA WOW
    BUT the best is, you let her be the first one to try.
    Sorry but the visual is amazing. Thanks for the post


    2 years ago

    Very very cool! I would like to try to make this happen this week. Would you recommend I do the L brackets, and if so, exactly in which step? So grateful for these plans and very excited!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Definitely go with the L-brackets, I was surprised but the amount of force it took to flatten the dough. I'd recommend after you've finished sanding to keep the surfaces even looking, install the brackets.

    Good luck!


    3 years ago

    Thanks Joel2! I agree that cast iron is better but I wanted to try to build one that was somewhat in style with our kitchen and use material that were re-purposed. Technically my build was a failure but learned a lot about the material's strength required to use in this kitchen tool. I did replace the broken hinge with a metal one but it wasn't nearly as attractive. It was a fun build and I encourage everyone interested to try and let me know about their experience.


    3 years ago

    First until I started looking on E-bay for a tortilla press day before yesterday, I never imagined one made of wood. There are presidents, however, there is a history of this in Mexico. I still think cast iron is better, but keep trying. I saw some with the hinge very large to take the pressure sure to be put on it. Good luck!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for all the feedback and encouragement!

    DIY Dave; I have looked at using those brackets, but I had to use them on the spice rack I built for the inside of our pantry door.

    rimar2000; I thought it was very interesting that the glue didn't fail, but I think the L-brackets DIY Dave suggested are the best bet. I had hoped to keep the natural look of the wood. Maybe I can carve out a cover for aesthetics.

    sunshiine; My beloved "Suzy Sledgehammer" knows my love language is food, especially the spicy kinds. I can't cook worth a darn so this project was partially selfish!
    ; )

    DIY Dave

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Have you tried using small metal L brackets (maybe 2'') ? They would hold up well. You could even bolt them all the way through to the bottom, then you wouldn't have to worry about screws stripping out or loosening


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Do not worry, it is very common to underestimate the strength to do a task, and consequently to sub-size the pieces that bear it. Recently I did a wood contraption that "exploded" at first try.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I will check back to see the updates! Thanks so much for sharing, maybe I can get my hubby to make me one! Have a splendorous day!