In a survival situation, one of the most important items you will need is a rope, cordage, or twine. This is because it has so many uses. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to make a plastic bottle rope cutter also known as PET bottle thread. Here are some plastic bottle rope use cases.
- Making animal traps and snares
- Building a shelter
- Lashing down branches
- Using it as a fishing line
- Making a tourniquet
- Emergency tie-downs
- Strapping and supporting a broken bone
But what happens if you don’t have any nylon or fiber rope? You can’t just give up, and curl up into a ball. You will have to make your own, so today we will learn how to make a fishing line and rope out of discarded plastic bottles.
Table of Contents
How to make a plastic bottle rope cutter
For this procedure, we will require the following items
- Razorblade, Stanley knife blade, pencil sharpener, or very sharp knife.
- A flat piece of wood
- 4 or 5 flat washers. The thinner the better.
- Wood screw to fit through the center of the washers
- Wood saw
- Plastic soda bottle
- 5 minutes of your time.
Start by measuring the length of your sharp blade and setting it between two metal washers. The washers are designed to provide thickness and to secure the blade to the piece of wood.
To set your desired plastic bottle rope just add or take away an equal number of washers and then tighten them back up using the large wood screw. If you want thicker rope then pack in more washers. For a thinner line only use one washer.
Make a cut with the hand saw directly under the sharp blade this is the guide for the plastic bottle to fit in. If you don’t have a razor blade you can use a pencil sharpener blade. Or a spare knife blade.
How to start the first cut.
We need to first prepare the plastic bottle for our rope tool by cutting off the bottom. Use a permanent marker or scribe to mark around the bottle by using another small piece of wood as a stabilizing tool and spinning the bottle on its axis.
Use a knife or a pair of scissors to cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle by following the pen mark line. Make sure that this cut is perfect all the way around the circumference of the bottle. If it is not perfect the bottle cut will fail on the first pass. If your first cut does fail don’t worry just start again. You will quickly find an easy way on how to shred plastic bottles.
Once the plastic soda bottle has the bottom cut off, feed one side of the bottle into the razor blade and twist the bottle until a small piece of plastic string is exposed. You can now begin to pull on this string until the whole of the bottle is fully unwound down.
How strong is plastic bottle rope
Depending on how thick you have made your plastic string will determine the load it can carry. To keep the experiment equal we used 3 Coca-Cola (coke) soda bottles cut into the following sizes.
The different rode sizes were made by just adding extra spacers or washers under the razor blade. As each metal washer is 2mm in the thickness you can quickly stack them together to make extra tough bottle rope.
These are the most common cut sizes I have made and after putting some weights onto each length of the line we were able to work out how much load each plastic bottle line could take.
Each line size was cut into 1m lengths and loaded up in increments of 1kg. Now what I found was quite amazing. Rather than just snapping once the weight was too much, I found that the line started to stretch quite a lot. Once the stretching reduced the size enough the line would then break.
Now be aware that the soda bottles are thicker than the normal water bottles. This is because soda plastic bottles need to be able to withstand the high pressure of CO2 contained in the bottle.
You can still make rope out of the water bottles but it won’t be as strong and say a Cola or Fanta bottle.
These cutters will successfully cut any plastic bottle so experiment with different bottles such as juice and milk containers.
Now some third-world countries have been making twine out of plastic bottles and repurposing the plastic rope into a useful item. The great thing is that this process is easy and you control the thickness of the line you are making.
Aluminium Metal Rope
The same process can be used to make strands of aluminum rope from soda cans. It is a lot harder to get going and you must wear leather gloves to stop the shart strands from cutting into your hands. A very sharp blade is key but it will dull in time.
The aluminum metal rope is strong but sharp. As long as the angles are not too short the cord twine with be very strong. But continue bending of the metal rope with break it.
What are plastic soda bottles made of?
Plastic bottles are made out of a product called polyethylene terephthalate also known as (PET). This flexible plastic is perfect for bottles as it makes it strong and resistant to breaking down over time.
PET bottle thread has become very popular in western counties now as a survival item. It is a great skill to learn and you can use the PET thread in many everyday scenarios such as using the rope as a cheap plastic tie for fruit trees. My Dad likes to use it to tie down his tomato plants as they grow tall to a wooden stake. They are much cheaper than the store brought plant tie-downs.
Reusing these plastic bottles also keeps them out of the landfill. If you can please recycle your bottles. Some recycling centers will even pay you for your aluminum and plastic bottles.
So now you know how to make a plastic bottle rope cutter. It’s so easy and fun to make your whole family will enjoy this simple DIY plastic rope project. I have even seen online some people making their own whipper snipper line using this process. It is all trial and error so have fun.
There are many different designs and some work better than others. I like that this design that you can change the thickness of the bottle rope by changing the thickness of the washers.
As an electrician and a survivalist prepper, I want to share some of my ideas, thoughts, hardware, and survival techniques I have learned over the past 20 years. The world is changing fast and we need to be repaired for what may come if society breaks down.