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Easy Open Hack for DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs

The DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs article I published in June of 2011 is by far the most popular post on my blog. It has been shared, pinned, referenced, and republished over and over again because it is a simple idea with thousands of applications and uses. However, there is one question that gets asked about this hack more than any other and that is the question of how easy these little packs are to open?

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs

If you carry a pocket knife, small scissors, or other sharp tool with you then there really is no issue at all. For times when you don’t, you can try squeezing the opposite corners at one end until the sealed edge ‘pops’ open. I’ve had a lot of success with this method. Yet this doesn’t seem to be working for everyone – and you are not afraid to tell me :)

Since sharing the article and reading through the hundreds of comments I’ve often wondered if there might be a better solution to making these little packets easier to open. Oddly enough, the answer came to me recently while tearing open a packet of Starbucks VIA coffee one morning at camp…

Simple Once You Know How

These days just about everything is packaged in a plastic container of some sort or another. I mentioned the Starbucks VIA packets earlier which packaged in a foil laminated material. The VIA packets would be extremely hard to tear open were it not for a special section at one of the top corners that is designed to be easy to tear. Other similar packets that I’ve seen has small nicks or cuts in edges of them that are too small to let the packets open accidentally, but just large enough to help get a tear started. That’s what these tiny packets needed.

Easy Open Hack for DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs

The Easy Open Notch

I experimented on several small anti biotic pouches that I had recently made, by cutting tiny ‘V’ notches with the tip of a sharp knife into one of the sealed ends. The idea being that these tiny notches would be all that was needed to start the tear if two corners were torn in opposite directions.

Easy Open Hack for DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs

It took a few attempts to get it right, but it was immediately clear that the additional up-front effort of making a small notch when making these pouches was going to pay of big time when it came to having to use them. Success!

Easy Open Hack for DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs

Easy Open Hack for DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs

From this point forward, all new DIY pouches that I make from drinking straws will have a tiny ‘V’ notch cut in one end so that when it comes time to use the contents I won’t have to worry about being able to open them. For those of you that have asked about opening these packets – I highly recommend performing this extra little step. One day you will be very happy that you did.

Have fun, share this, and happy DIY repackaging! Original Article: DIY Single Use Antibiotic Packs

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  • Matt in Oklahoma

    Thats neat. I already carry my firestarter (dryer lint) in there for waterproofing

    • That’s another great use for this, thanks Matt.

      • Matt in Oklahoma

        Yep just make sure and re-fluff it before trying to light it. Makes it easier

    • amber.l

      For fire starters,if any of you or your wives use scentsy warmers.. dip the make up rounds into the melted wax once it’s time to switch scents and it makes a firestarter.

      • Nancy Hazen

        We make fire starters by getting free sawdust at our local lumber yard (they let us know where the waste bins are that DON’T have pvc from cutting laminate). We then melt our stubbiest emergency candles from after the holidays,melt them down in a double boiler, fish out the bits of wick and add sawdust until we have thick cookie dough consistency stuff that we pack into cardboard egg cartons. Once their cooled, we tear them apart. They are very easily started by lighting a corner of the cardboard egg carton. Best firestarters ever!

      • jamesAD

        In my experience, tampons (the compressed cotton wool type) make the best fire starters. Just break one open and fluff it up a bit. Then drop some sparks from a magnesium fire stick into it. Reliable kindling every time. Fine grade wire wool works well too and is less susceptible to damp

  • Allen Bishop

    Thanks Brian, nice follow up tip.

    • So many people have been asking me for an easy way to open these. Wish I had thought of this sooner. Easy once you realize it eh?

      • s g

        I carry nail clippers in my emergency kit, so i just use that to clip a corner.

  • Becky

    The other option would be to have a safety pin that you could use to poke a hole in it.

  • hookmom

    Cuticle nippers – which resemble very small wire cutters would make quick work of notching a batch. A good pair is easy to find and endlessly useful. I carry one always with my mini tweezers and prefer them to many tool choices in my fishing gear.

  • Toki Tover

    thats interesting, how do you even make those small pouches to begin with?

    • Toki, there should be a link in this article to the original post that explains step-by-step on how to make and fill the pouches.

  • Rochelle

    Will these make it through baggage check sty the airport?

  • amber.l

    For fire starters,if any of you or your wives use scentsy warmers.. dip the make up rounds into the melted wax once it’s time to switch scents and it makes a firestarter.

  • Karen Rohrkemper

    I still can’t tell you how much I appreciate this tip! Super easy way to bring small amounts of lots of stuff and “container” it!

  • ScoutMom

    Do you sterilize the straws, and pliers before starting?

  • Connie Smith

    An even better idea would be to use them for all the spices you’ll need on your trip.

  • Wanda Firmingham

    I love the small pouches idea!! There are so many other places besides camping/hiking….the small first aid kit in the vehicle? A teens purse? Donations to homeless shelters with not only antibiotic ointment, but toothpaste, mouthwash and more.