a guide on how to make a homemade water filter

How To Make A Homemade Water Filter:
A DIY Project for Proper Filtration

making a homemade water filter

Are you comfortably with your current water supply?

It's not out of the realm of possibility that your local water supplier or health department will call you and say your water is not safe for consumption.

You know things can go bad, and in a few cases around the United States, they have. But that's just in the USA, many countries around the world can't guarantee safety when you consume tap water.

A proper water filtration system which helps to remove many of the heavy metals, harmful neurological chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine, pathogens and much more, can be out of reach in price.

Can you afford to spend $1,000-$3,000 (plus installation cost) to have this installed?

If the answer is NO, then you can actually make your own DIY water filter. The homemade water filter shown below will have multiple components which will ensure you get the MAXIMUM filtration and purification.

The best part is, you can build your own for less than $25 dollars... heck maybe even free if you can look around for supplies in your home. Where you'll be limited is the size of the filter you'll build, this homemade water filtration system can be scaled UP to about as big as you want.

Homemade Water Filter in 10 Easy Steps

Now before you proceed to reading how to assemble this diy water filter system, follow this checklist of items to have to ensure your building process is as smooth as possible.

  • 1 2 Liter Bottle (empty) ($1.00)
  • 2x 29oz can's (de-labeled and clean) (Free)
  • 10' feet of 1/4" inch copper tubbing (coiled at center) with 1' foot of straight tubbing on both ends ($8.00-$10.00)
  • 1 Full Bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol ($1.00)
  • 1 Glass Jar (and metal lid with punctured holes for ventilation) (Free)
  • 2-4 Cotton Balls (Free)
  • 1 Bag of Activated Carbon Charcoal ($0.50-$2.00)
  • 8-16oz of Sand (Free)
  • 8-16oz of Gravel (Free)
  • 4-8 Brick Blocks ($3.00-$5.00)
  • 1 Lighter or Box of Matches ($1.00)
  • 1 Box Cutter or Regular Knife ($3.00)

Some of these things you can find outside, for FREE. Other you'll need to buy for less than a dollar or at worst, just a few bucks. Copper tubbing seems to be the most expensive. Adding it all up, you'll end up paying less than $25 dollars.

Step 1. TWO Liter Empty Bottle.

cut a 2 liter bottle

This part is quite easy, what you need to do is get an empty 2 liter bottle of water and cut it in half. Where you cut it actually matters, as it will determine how much of the filtering material you'll be able to pour inside.

We recommend you take the empty bottle, flip it upside down with the bottom facing up, and measure about 2.5" inches from bottom moving down.

What you did there is still leave most of the bottle to fill with materials so you get more filtering.

Step 2. Get An Empty 29oz Tin Can And Cut.

tin can to hold 2 liter bottle

Now that you've got your 2 liter empty bottle cut, let's take one of the 29oz empty tin cans and remove the lid completely.

From there, drill a 0.5" inch hole at the bottom side of the can so that you can input your 1/4" inch copper tubbing.

Now we are almost ready to place the plastic bottle inside, but first... lets pour our filtering materials inside the bottle.

Step 3. Stacking Filtering Material.

filtering material

We are now going to build the primary filter for our water. This consists of a few ingredients which I will list right below here.

Make sure you still have the cap for this 2 liter bottle, as you will need to drill a 0.5" hold in the center of the cap.

Once you are done, screw the cap on and then inside the bottle stuff 2-3 cotton balls through the bottom of the bottle where the cap is. This will act as the last stage filter for water before it leaves the plastic bottle.

Take the active carbon charcoal, rinse it, and pour it on top of the cotton balls. From the plastic bottle, there should be about 1.5"-2.0" layer of active carbon charcoal.

Next you'll take some sand and pour on top of the charcoal making about a 2.0"-2.5" inch layer.

Lastly, take the same 2.0-2.5" inch layer of gravel and pour on top of the sand.

When all filtering layers are done, take the plastic bottle and place it inside the 29oz can. You'll see that the tin can is acting as a holder of the plastic bottle.

Step 4. Coil Your Copper Wire Properly.

copper wire coiled up

This following step requires a bit of caution, as you don't want to bend the copper wire too abruptly resulting in a crimp, which will block flow inside the tubbing.

With your 10' feet of copper tubbing, you'll need to carefully bend it into a coil.

The way this can be done is by first, leaving 1' foot of tubbing straight on both ends, and the rest wrapped into a coil using something like a tin can to give the shape.

When you look at the tubbing, it should look like there is 1' foot of tubbing sticking out up top, with a coil in the center, and 1' foot of tubbing sticking out towards the bottom which will go towards the water collecting jar (but we will get to that shortly)

Step 5. Fuel Tank and Coil Holder.

fuel tank and coil holder

We have one more 29oz tin can that we need to use, and we are going to use it right now. You first need to remove the lid completely, then cut out a square piece of tin on the side so you have full view of the coil inside the can.

Looking at the tin can towards the side, there should be a 0.50" inch hold at the top and at the bottom of the can. As mentioned previously about the copper tubbing have one foot sticking out on both sides, well that is exactly what each hold is to represent.

It's important to create a "down-ward spiral" effect that will come from the left to the right. Left side will be feeding the water downward into a spiral, and then into the right side at the bottom feeding the distilled water into a collection jar.

... this is as best I describe it in words, look at photos to see exact samples.

Step 6. Collection Jar & Lid with Vents.

collection jar with holes

Now this second to last step is quite simple, as we have done most of the hard work. If you have any kind of glass jar (20-40oz), there is likely a metal lid which screws on.

What you'll need to do is take the lid, drill a 0.50" inch hole in the middle and a few slices around the hole using a knife in to expel pressure from the steam (an even look is preferred).

Once you are done doing that, it's time to put everything together.

Step 7. Putting It All Together.

Now this LAST step goes over everything we got so far and makes sure you have a complete filtration system ready to go!

Let's make this short and sweet, you cut the bottom 15% of your 2 little bottle and flip it upside down with the cap screwed on. You drill a hole in the cap, place cotton balls towards the bottle opening, pour some active carbon charcoal, some sand, some gravel, and then place the plastic bottle inside a tin can which is precut with holes to feed the upcoming copper tubing.

You take your 10' of copper tubbing and coil it around a tin can, leaving about 1' foot of straight copper tubing on both ends. Taking the second tin can and precutting it to fit the coil and acting as a fire chamber to heat up the coil.

Putting the copper tubbing into the first tin can and into the plastic bottle, you have the tubing placed into both holes of the second tin can, and then the bottom end of the tubing feeds into a glass jar lid. Remember to cut additional holes to the lid to ensure to pressure build up from the distilled water that is filtered through the copper tubing.

Take some isopropyl alcohol, pour it inside the tin can that is holding the copper tubing, and let it heat up.

filtration in action

Water Filtration In Action

What happens is quite simple, you'll feed the dirty water into the plastic bottle and it will slowly pass through the gravel, sand, charcoal and cotton placed inside. This helps to remove most harmful things found in water... however pathogens can still be found there. Next step...

As the water slowly starts to seep through, it still has about 8' feed of copper tubing to go through, and as it goes through it... the copper tubing is extremely hot. This will ensure all harmful bacteria is killed as it makes its way through the copper tubing.

At the end of the copper tubing, it collects inside a glass jar. The glass jar will be very hot with hot water, however once cooled... its GOOD to drink!

Is This Option For Everyone?

If you read through this and thought to yourself, "it seems like a big pain the a** to set it all up"...

Well, it likely isn't for you and it would be better if you bought filtration system that costs 3-4X what it would cost to build this (at least).

However you are missing the whole point here, this homemade water filter is for those who need an EMERGENCY water filtration where a typical method of buying a complete system isn't going to cut it.

This is a simple "2 Step" filtration and purification method, no one is stopping you from adding more layers to further filter and purify. While your output of clean drinking water will be drastically slowed down, you WILL have better water the more layers you put it through.

EXTRA: This Goes PERFECT With Rainwater Collecting

Did you know if you collect rainwater, you can send it through this type of filter and collect not only 100% pure water... but also 100% FREE drinking water. I have a complete guide on how you can actually collect rainwater at your home, no matter where you live.

BIG THANKs to desertsun02 on YouTube for inspiring me to make this video. I made this complete system at home, and it works like a charm.

My name is Ray. I’m a survivalist, an off-grid fanatic, and a proud married man to a beautiful woman. This website was started to be an educational resource for learning everything there is to getting off the grid and being self sufficient. Contact me if you’d like to connect, right here.

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