The Plastic Baggie Trick You’ll Wish You Knew About Earlier

updated Mar 3, 2021
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Credit: Stacie Billis

If you’ve ever packed a lunch or snacks for your kids, you’ve probably found yourself frustrated at not having the right-sized plastic baggie. It’s happened to me enough times that I’ve dreamt of having a pantry modeled after a Martha Stewart-esque craft room where every size baggie is always stocked, neatly organized, and ready to meet my every food-packing need.

But recently I came across a tip on TikTok that might make that pantry renovation a moot point. In the video, the creator heats up a butter knife on the stove and then carefully runs it down the middle of a medium-sized plastic bag. The heat from the knife not only splits the bag into two, it also apparently seals the cut-side of the bag, creating two smaller plastic bags.

Despite this video’s over 30k shares, I did not have high hopes. It almost seemed too simple and obvious: I assumed that if it worked, we’d already know about it. So, I had to try it out for myself.

Credit: Stacie Billis

I Tried the TikTok Hack for Turning One Plastic Baggie Into Two Smaller Baggies

Well, you know what they say about assumptions … because this does work! Well, depending on how you want to use the baggies.

It turns out that the plastic doesn’t reliably separate and re-seal without tiny holes — some undetectable to the eye — that make the resulting smaller baggies useless for anything wet, liquidy, or superfine (eg., loose flour or sugar). You also wouldn’t want to use them to store anything that can go stale for any length of time because, well, the holes let in air.

That said, if you’re in quick need of smaller baggies than the ones you have on hand for to-go snacks, this trick can help you get the job done without a run to the supermarket.

Credit: Stacie Billis

If you want to try this at home, too, be sure to use press-n-seal baggies; it won’t work as well with slider storage bags. Heat your butter knife with a stovetop flame or the flame of a lighter, and use the dull edge to “cut” the larger baggie into whatever size baggies you need. Just be sure to go from flame to cutting quickly; the hotter the knife and swifter the slice, the less likely you’ll end up with tears or holes. You can always check your seal by blowing into the baggie or filling it with water to check for leaks. And even if you’ve managed to do this trick perfectly, I wouldn’t overstuff the baggie: there’s no saying how strong the new seam is. 

Still, you’d better believe I’m happy to know about this trick. At least until I get that dream pantry.

Credit: Kitchn