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How-Tuesday: Build Your Own Seltzer Maker

Jun 28, 2011

by Julie Schneider

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

If plastic soda bottles are piling up in your recycling bin, perhaps it’s time to make your own seltzer maker! With a little tinkering and the right components, you can build a contraption to dispense the bubbly stuff with the help of painter and seltzer enthusiast Randy Stoltzfus.

Once your carbonated water is at the ready, a whole world of spritzers, sodas, ades, punches, and other effervescent beverages is at your fingertips. Try making an infused simple syrup or plum and ginger carbonated juice, then top it all off with a mustache drink topper, if you feel so inclined.

I’ve always loved fizzy stuff. It’s made its way into my art (take a look at my paintings — those could be bubbles) and definitely into my diet. However, my partner Callie and I started to get a little bummed about all of the bottles we were lugging from the store and subsequently pitching into the recycling bin. After learning about the soda price conspiracy, open-source cola, carbonation history, and physics, by reading Richard Kinch’s pioneering website, I set out to create a home seltzering set-up. Here’s how to make one of your very own.

 

Supplies you’ll need:

  • CO2 tank. You can buy one empty or just go to a welding gas supply company and pay a deposit for the tank. We purchased a refurbished tank from a dry ice supply company. This tank holds 10 lbs of CO2, the biggest that would fit upright under the kitchen sink. It lasts the two of us over a year before it needs a $20-30 refill.
  • Regulator. We got ours from the same place we got the tank. You need this to step the gas pressure down to around 50 psi. The dial gauges show you what the pressure is in the tank, the hose and when it’s time to refill. Make sure you have a regulator that will work with CO2.
  • Vinyl tubing. You’ll need enough to reach from the tank to wherever you want to fill your bottles.
  • A tire chuck. Look for this at an auto parts store.
  • A 1/4 turn ball valve. Since the tire chucks are leaky, you’ll want an easy-to-operate cut-off valve. While you don’t absolutely need this valve, it is convenient, and anything that keeps us from wastefully adding CO2 to the atmosphere is good, right?
  • Snap-in Schrader tire valve stems. You can find these at any auto parts store.
  • 3 hose barbs, sized to fit your hose. Use these to thread into your valve and tire chuck.
  • 4 hose clamps
  • An empty plastic soda bottle with a lid
  • Teflon tape
  • Gloves
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • A 15/32″ drill bit and a drill

Directions:

1. Cut the hose to length and slide a hose clamp on each cut end.

2. Thread your hose barbs into the chuck and ball valve. Wrap a bit of Teflon tape around each threaded end of the hose barbs.

3. Slide all the hose barbs into the hose ends, move the hose clamps into place and tighten. Be sure to wear some gloves! The clamps can be sharp, and you want to be able to focus on doing a good job lining things up so you don’t have any leaks.

4. Attach the regulator to the tank. Make sure the special washer is seated inside the regulator nut. You don’t want any Teflon here.

5. Open the tank valve and listen for leaks. Do this someplace quiet. Even the tiniest leak will empty your tank quickly. Adjust the regulator so you are getting about 50 lbs on the low pressure dial.

Here’s a close-up of what you need for your bottle fill-cap. A couple of extra screw tops are nice to have on hand:

6. Drill a 15/64 inch hole in your bottle cap. Use a Brad-point drill bit so that you get a nice centered hole.

7. Thread your tire stem through the cap and work it into place.

8. Now you have your complete assembly!

9. Make some seltzer! Fill your bottle with water. Leave some empty space (maybe 1/5 the bottle) at the top for CO2. Then just fill the bottle the way you’d fill a tire. You will be able to hear the gas moving, and feel the bottle getting full. Then give the bottle a good shake. You can actually feel the bottle get softer as the CO2 dissolves in the water. I usually repeat the fill-and-shake routine a few times, but it’s your seltzer: make bubbles to your personal taste. To maximize your carbonation, chill your filled water bottle before adding the gas, since cold water adsorbs more CO2.

Here’s how the seltzer machine looks installed under our sink at home. The cut-off valve makes a convenient place to store the hose, which is long enough to reach the sink. Installed this way, it’s impossible to hang up the hose without turning off the ball valve, a nice feature. Have fun!

If you make this project, share your results with us in the How-Tuesday Flickr group!

More How-Tuesday Posts | Recipes on the Blog | Plants and Edibles Category

108 comments

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice said 6 years ago

    Who knew? The DIY possibilities are endless...

  • MerCurios

    MerCurios said 6 years ago

    OMG! This is awesome!! I practically live off seltzer. Alone, or cut with Pomegranate juice is is my #1 fluid source. I will be building this shortly. Thanks!! xo, MJ

  • SweetestBugBows

    SweetestBugBows said 6 years ago

    Wow ~ this is truly amazing! I would love to try this myself since I love seltzer water so much. Good job on coming up with such an ingenious idea.

  • EcoChicHandKnits

    EcoChicHandKnits said 6 years ago

    Very interesting! This is making me want to try out some new cocktails this weekend! Thanks!

  • BRHDesigns

    BRHDesigns said 6 years ago

    No, I did NOT know you could make your own seltzer water! Amazing!

  • BlueRoseRetro

    BlueRoseRetro said 6 years ago

    WOW... ultimate DIY. Thanks for the superior step by step instructions.

  • redhardwick

    redhardwick said 6 years ago

    My husband would love this! Thanks for sharing!

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    What a great DIY!!! Thanks! =)

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 6 years ago

    Who would have thunk it, amazing DIY~! Thanks for sharing.....

  • CuffandCollar

    CuffandCollar said 6 years ago

    I love how to Tuesday, this is epic!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Very interesting!

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 6 years ago

    have i mentioned yet that i love how tuesday

  • rosemreyes

    rosemreyes said 6 years ago

    Awesome post! Will share with my love!

  • noonblueapples

    noonblueapples said 6 years ago

    This is so awesome! I cannot wait for this weekend so that I can build my own! Thanks!!

  • kateblossom

    kateblossom said 6 years ago

    so cool- thanks for sharing!

  • klittle212

    klittle212 said 6 years ago

    very cool

  • Kapriscli

    Kapriscli said 6 years ago

    sooo coool i m gonna try this! except ill make it soda - first make the seltzer water then add soda syrup & Enjoy! i guess , just got it offline correct me if i'm wrong!

  • melaniem55

    melaniem55 said 6 years ago

    I do believe that this is one of the coolest ideas ever. Time for me to hit the tank and auto parts store.

  • LightEnergyGlass

    LightEnergyGlass said 6 years ago

    Beyond Overkill...simply take a small chunk of dry ice and put it in water-presto carbonated water! Besides, the pieces this blog writer suggested to use are mostly NOT designed for food use. Therefor the parts that are non-food use items, will have levels of industrial chemicals, oils, etc. and would be not safe to use. Don't buy anything for use in your kitchen at a car parts store!!!!! Very bad idea...but only because it's way too expensive compared to dry ice, and will most likely contain poison, if you use parts from the auto shop. There's a reason for food regulations...I'm concerned that a good portion of these items are NOT FOOD GRADE MATERIALS!!! Regulators for soda fountains are food grade, make sure your using food grade materials, not tire valve stems made for bikes.

  • SoulFulSoapCa

    SoulFulSoapCa said 6 years ago

    What a fantastic tutorial. Perfect sugar free alternative for a refreshing summer drink!!

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 6 years ago

    What a cool tutorial. That is a lot of work for some two cents plain.

  • jewelkingthai

    jewelkingthai said 6 years ago

    Great one.

  • jewelkingthai

    jewelkingthai said 6 years ago

    I am going to try it. Great Idea

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 6 years ago

    Wowww Cooool!

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana said 6 years ago

    Yummy idea. Always love fizzy drinks.

  • TheWishingWardrobe

    TheWishingWardrobe said 6 years ago

    I heart this project! Thanks for the great project<3

  • DaintyChain

    DaintyChain said 6 years ago

    HOw cool?! I've been drinking so much sparkeling water lately but I feel guilty about drinking bottled h2o. I'll have to make some time to go to the hardware store! Thank you Etsy for making all of my dreams come true :)

  • DessertWine

    DessertWine said 6 years ago

    Reminds me of my dad's CO2 seltzer when I was a kid! Thanks for sharing!

  • shannondzikas

    shannondzikas said 6 years ago

    Science. Power tools. Fizzy beverages. I like it all. Can't wait to visit the hardware store and don my safety goggles. Bust out the nice glasses and the straws!

  • NowInTechnicolor

    NowInTechnicolor said 6 years ago

    Well put, LightEnergyGlass. I'm already enough of a toxin phobe. I wish more people would take a second to read what you just wrote.

  • voodoomaggie

    voodoomaggie said 6 years ago

    I agree with LightEnergyGlass, dry ice at my grocery is $1 for a block. Drop a chunk in and watch the bubbles go. Why in the world would you want to spend so much money on something like that? Isn't meant to either save you time or money? This does neither.

  • voodoomaggie

    voodoomaggie said 6 years ago

    Sodastream has a machine for 89$ food safe, no work involved and you save cash. Did I mention food safe because really, the materials involved in this are just not okay to use on food

  • redemptionart

    redemptionart said 6 years ago

    I like the energy and time etsy put into compiling this project and all of the diy projects that you do. Of course, with any project, it is important to do research, as recommended by comments above, however, thanks, etsy for the time you put into keeping us all connected! Aloha, Connie

  • vKnit

    vKnit said 6 years ago

    Wow! What a great DIY project :)

  • muffintopdesigns

    muffintopdesigns said 6 years ago

    omg. totally, unbelievably COOL.

  • PernillasSS

    PernillasSS said 6 years ago

    Fantastic!!! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!! :D

  • FaeryKissNaturals

    FaeryKissNaturals said 6 years ago

    I shared this on my facebook...amazing I love it, thanks!!!!! :)

  • LongLeafSoaps

    LongLeafSoaps said 6 years ago

    This is brilliant!!! I love sparkling water! Thank you so much for sharing this simple project!

  • LongLeafSoaps

    LongLeafSoaps said 6 years ago

    As for the "food grade" issue...none of the items actually come in contact with the liquid except the schrader valve. Perhaps an all brass schrader valve could be procured for this project. Just a thought...

  • Rewoodtoys

    Rewoodtoys said 6 years ago

    Love it...great timing for summer!

  • lilinspirations

    lilinspirations said 6 years ago

    Holy Guacamole! Amazing!

  • janellehaskin

    janellehaskin said 6 years ago

    Oh yum!! I've been drinking so much seltzer lately, this article just might come in really handy! ;) Thanks!!

  • tinylittleworlds

    tinylittleworlds said 6 years ago

    Most simple, clear instructions I've ever seen for a seltzer maker. Great work. I love the under sink mount setup!

  • TinderBoxTreasures

    TinderBoxTreasures said 6 years ago

    This is great! Thanks

  • TheeGail

    TheeGail said 6 years ago

    You must use only food grade co2, meant for human consumption. There is a difference!

  • ThePeachTree

    ThePeachTree said 6 years ago

    This is very cool :)

  • ModernShop

    ModernShop said 6 years ago

    Great idea!

  • erminespot

    erminespot said 6 years ago

    We already have a CO2 setup for a beer tap - that baby's gonna get a splitter this weekend, I think... :)

  • grannancan

    grannancan said 6 years ago

    Wow! What a Great, and helpful article! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 6 years ago

    There's nothing more refreshing during the summertime than a nice cold glass of seltzer water mixed with fresh soda syrups- you'll never want to go back to store brought ones again!

  • ErikawithaK

    ErikawithaK said 6 years ago

    Might be a little bit beyond me, but this is awesome!

  • AdornmentsNYC

    AdornmentsNYC said 6 years ago

    wow - who'd have thought? cool.

  • SaraAlana

    SaraAlana said 6 years ago

    If I get brave, I am going to do this. I drink so much bubbly water it would be worth it! saraalana.wordpress.com

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

    i love the vintage bottles!

  • tokenandpine

    tokenandpine said 6 years ago

    This is amazing! I didn't know one could make carbonated drinks at home. Awesome project!

  • HumbleOrigins

    HumbleOrigins said 6 years ago

    ...This is awesome! So kind of you to share this and thank you very much! :o) ...Blessings

  • theblondemoose

    theblondemoose said 6 years ago

    Even if the water isn't touching those parts, isn't the CO2 still going through them and into the water? Wouldn't you still want them to be safe?

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Wow seems like quite an intensive process but I guess once you've got the setup you can make a bit of fizz to your hearts content!

  • rinnyc

    rinnyc said 6 years ago

    wow this is so cool! Know anyone can make seltzer at their home!

  • Smurftobe

    Smurftobe said 6 years ago

    Well I'll be.

  • simpsonsrule0147

    simpsonsrule0147 said 6 years ago

    Love the DIY spirit, but i would suggest something like the carbonator instead of the cobbled together from tire parts setup. Example: http://brewstock.enstore.com/item/the-carbonator-cap It screws onto the bottle like a normal cap, and fits a standard corny keg (same as used in homebrewing) disconnect (available at any homebrew store or online). With that setup all parts would be food grade (the co2 bottle and fittings are already - same stuff they use for soda dispensing at any soda fountain you drink from in a restaurant or store or movie theatre). this assumes you get your parts at an appropriate place - like a homebrew store (great source for this stuff as it is very similar to a kegging setup). I agree with LightEnergyGlass on the rubber tire parts, but I should point out that most of the dry ice you get (even at grocery stores) is NOT food grade - look at the labels. They tell you to use it in a cooler, but the instructions say nothing about putting it directly into drinks. This is because industrial dry ice is a by-product of the liquid oxygen industry and NOT sterile or pure (oil and other contaminants in it). This is also why it is so cheap... Leave a bit of it do evaporate in a bowl sometime and look at the film it leaves behind. Probably won't do any real harm to you, but i though it germane to the discussion to mention if anyone is planning on consuming it. If you like, you can get Food Grade dry ice (compressed from the same gas that the OP is using above). just putting this into a bit of liquid does not really give you the best soda water though - with the setup above one has much better degree of control over the pressure (and it won't freeze your liquid on accident, which can happen if you put dry ice into a small volume of liquid).

  • VernonAve

    VernonAve said 6 years ago

    nice!

  • SimpleThrift

    SimpleThrift said 6 years ago

    YES! we go through so much seltzer, i'm going to put my husband right on this project. thanks!

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 6 years ago

    Great article! Wow! Thank you so much for taking your time to show us how to set this process up, step by step! Fun and money saving! Thanks!

  • beyondthelillypad

    beyondthelillypad said 6 years ago

    I too am going to get my husband to do this for me (if I tried this there would be a really bad out come LOL) cant wait to try it!! and the possibilities are endless!! thank you so much for this info and the step by step guide!!

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl said 6 years ago

    Now that is amazing-crafty! Not just the machine itself you made, but having it so conveniently installed under the kitchen sink. Wow!

  • MissJiggle

    MissJiggle said 6 years ago

    Has no one heard of Sodastream?

  • twostars321

    twostars321 said 6 years ago

    This would be a good thing. Thanks for sharing.

  • VintageHeather

    VintageHeather said 6 years ago

    This is awesome! Thanks for posting! I haven't decided whether this is in the Handmade category or Vintage, could go either way!! LOL

  • dorijenn

    dorijenn said 6 years ago

    I heart bubbles in my soft drinks!!

  • grandmamarievintage

    grandmamarievintage said 6 years ago

    The project seems a bit tricky, but totally worth it once all set up!

  • freshpikd4u

    freshpikd4u said 6 years ago

    Love it! Can't wait to build one of my own!!

  • artfoodlodging

    artfoodlodging said 6 years ago

    hmmm, you know- leave out the tank (give info on where to find one), throw in some drink recipes with all the rest of the parts and you have a great DIY kit that will SELL, don't you think? good luck!

  • FreshRetroGallery

    FreshRetroGallery said 6 years ago

    yum. making me thirsty

  • EmuArtTile

    EmuArtTile said 6 years ago

    Interesting! :)

  • DuettaDesigns

    DuettaDesigns said 6 years ago

    Very cool, thanks for sharing.

  • GracefullyGirly

    GracefullyGirly said 6 years ago

    This is so very cool! I may try it out. Thanks!!!

  • kknutson

    kknutson said 6 years ago

    Definitely making this, thanks for sharing!

  • KevinMcCain10

    KevinMcCain10 said 6 years ago

    Thinking of going to the hardware store right now to get the equipment!

  • rope

    rope said 6 years ago

    So cool! I love DIYs that are a little more unexpected. This totally fits the bill. Thanks for this. Anna

  • evhcreative

    evhcreative said 6 years ago

    Hmm. I love anything DIY, but yeah - we bought a SodaStream a few months back and haven't looked back. There are heaps of cordial recipes online, or you can actually get them via SodaStream. We love our G&T's so making tonic and not having any extra bottles is just fantastic. http://www.sodastream.com/

  • HouseOfMischief

    HouseOfMischief said 6 years ago

    Is it really a 15/64" drill bit? My husband and I are giving this project a try tonight and that seems way too small to get the valve through the cap.

  • natalienitz1

    natalienitz1 said 6 years ago

    This is incredible! I'm going to try this as soon as I can track down the parts :)

  • TwilaNesvold

    TwilaNesvold said 6 years ago

    BRILLIANT!

  • julieincharge Admin

    julieincharge said 6 years ago

    Update: The correct drill bit size is 15/32 (not 15/64, as originally posted).

  • kristencwatts

    kristencwatts said 6 years ago

    This is so cool! Thanks!

  • parallelbotany

    parallelbotany said 6 years ago

    I drink seltzer by the boat load when it's hot outside. Will need to look into making my own... Thanks for the inspiration.

  • emilyauthier

    emilyauthier said 6 years ago

    wow that looks so amazingly simple cant wait to make one

  • BradysPlace

    BradysPlace said 6 years ago

    Avoid using parts made for CARS!!!! AS someone else posted - There's a Reason for Federal Food Regulations!!!!! Try your local Home Brewing Supply ---- They have the proper stuff that won't make you sick.... Quick Sample, and there are 1000's of others places... http://www.homebrewit.com/beer-kegging-equipment.php

  • sweetsnthings

    sweetsnthings said 6 years ago

    Delightful! Without a doubt, the best tutorial I've ever seen on the blog, thank you so much!

  • EchoesOfSummer

    EchoesOfSummer said 6 years ago

    Restaurant supply stores and brew kits are better resources for food-safe supplies for this kit, but none-the-less a brilliant idea for home use. Will save us having to buy all those plastic and glass bottles of Shweppes too! Thank you for the instructions :) ~ Ned & Dana

  • PureBathandBeauty

    PureBathandBeauty said 6 years ago

    Very cool Idea

  • sandboxcastle

    sandboxcastle said 6 years ago

    I have too many weekend projects to count- but this one will definitely go on the list and jump the que a few spots too i think! I've been eyeing the soda machines at Costco .. but my bf has plenty of CO2 canisters he's retiring from his paintball arsenal....

  • sdmpaige

    sdmpaige said 6 years ago

    How about just going to Bed Bath and Beyond and buying a Soda Stream? They are fantastic and much easier!!! I use mine everyday.

  • nowvintage

    nowvintage said 6 years ago

    I love my soda stream too but I love how this is inspiring a lot of new home soda use! look at all of the responses! It doesn't matter to me how it gets there, but it is good to see lots of people inspired to stop lugging plastic soda bottles half way across the country and into their homes.

  • WhatIWishedFor

    WhatIWishedFor said 6 years ago

    I love my soda stream, too - but I think I'll try the flavorings - thank you! One thing - you can't carbonate water once it has flavoring in it, you must do it before adding flavor. My son in law gave me a scientific answer why - something about flavoring weighting down the water so it can't carbinate? I wanted to carbinate unsweetened tea, but found it it is better to make really strong tea and add it to carbonated water. . . . no sugar, no artificial sweeteners! enjoy!

  • RightBrainLeftBrain

    RightBrainLeftBrain said 6 years ago

    Nice! Just remember to secure your compressed gas cylinders. If they accidentally fall over and hit the regulator the wrong way, you've got a DIY rocket.

  • miniatureape

    miniatureape said 6 years ago

    Hi julieincharge, you updated the drill bit size in the parts list, but not the size of the hole in step 6. I just built this and was puzzled by how you got the valve through the hole. Otherwise, the instructions were great. Despite the daunting photos, this project was dead simple.

  • Design89

    Design89 said 6 years ago

    I have just 3 words -- CHOCOLATE EGG CREAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just sayin'...

  • Haazegirl

    Haazegirl said 6 years ago

    I totally made this and my co2 tank is food grade, as well as my pipe. The plumbing stuff is used in your water supply, and I'm not going to sweat the small stuff. However I can't get too much carbonation to stay in my water/soda/whatever. I use cold water and fill and shake and fill. But the bubbles are a bit of a let down. Is there another trick to get all the bubbles to stay?

  • SparrowPeak

    SparrowPeak said 6 years ago

    I agree with Design89 -mmmm, egg creams!

  • bethy0543

    bethy0543 said 5 years ago

    What is the cost to make one of these contraptions??? What is the cost to make the seltzer for one of the 2-liter bottles?

  • bethy0543

    bethy0543 said 5 years ago

    Oh, yes--and what does it look like from above the counter?

  • My Homepage said 3 years ago

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  • andrebeluchi

    Andre Beluchi said 2 years ago

    How much pressure does that co2 refill have and how long does it last for? It reminds me about doing the same thing for my gas tank. Since I have a big tank, I'm looking to see if there are any co2 refills that would be able to refill the heater and also be used for next time. http://azairboutique.com/co2-nitro/

  • janillyroswell

    janilly roswell said 1 year ago

    See our list of the best soda maker reviews for 2016. Read our best soda maker machine reviews and tips for maximum performance without wasting time.http://thesodamaker.com

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