How to Build Your Own Tortilla Press

Written by jacqueline gonzales
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How to Build Your Own Tortilla Press
Making tortillas at home can be simple once you have a press. (cheese on tortilla image by Kathy Burns from

Fresh homemade tortillas can often be better than the store-bought version, which may have been sitting on a shelf for weeks or months. The easiest way to make homemade tortillas is with a tortilla press. Yet finding a tortilla press may prove to be a challenge in certain areas. Also, a tortilla press can be quite expensive, since many are imported from Mexico. Instead, with a trip to the local hardware store, you can make your own tortilla press.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1-inch-by-10-inch-by-3-foot select grade pine board, cut into pieces
  • 1-inch dowel rod
  • 1/4-inch wide by 1 3/4-inch long carriage bolt
  • 1/4-inch wingnut
  • Two 1 1/2-inch pin hinges and screws
  • Saw
  • Electric drill with a 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Wood clamps
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Mineral oil
  • Thin cardboard

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  1. 1

    Cut your pine board into pieces. If you prefer, most hardware or lumber stores can cut this for you. You will need one piece of each of the following dimensions: 11 1/4 inches, 9 5/8, 1 1/2 and 3/4. You will also need two pieces that are 2 1/4 inches by 1 inch.

  2. 2

    Cut your dowel rod to 9 inches tall. This will make the handle of your press and should not be too long.

  3. 3

    Line up the edges of the 11 1/4 piece of pine with the 1 1/2 piece. Clamp and glue them together. This will be the bottom portion of your press.

  4. 4

    Line up the edges of the 9 5/8 piece of with the 3/4 piece. Clamp and glue them together. This will create the top of your press and the mechanism that actually presses the tortilla together in combination with the handle.

  5. 5

    Clamp the two 2 1/4-by-1 pieces of pine to your dowel rod. Drill a hole through, approximately 3/4 inch from the top of the wooden pieces. Insert the bolt into the hole and secure with the nut. This will be the arm of your tortilla press.

  6. 6

    Sand all the pieces of wood and coat with a thin coating of mineral oil. Do not substitute wood oil or vegetable oil, as these can cause issues in the future with the tortilla press.

  7. 7

    Screw the hinges into the top and bottom of your tortilla press. Both the top and bottom should have the extra wood facing up. The hinges should go on the opposite side of the top and bottom from the extra wood, since the extra pieces work with the actual press. Place the cardboard between the pieces before screwing on the hinge so it creates some space for the tortilla later on.

  8. 8

    Glue the arm to the bottom of your tortilla press, on the opposite side from the hinges with the dowel rod facing the hinges. Allow the glue to dry completely before making tortillas.

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