There is nothing more satisfying than reaching into a DIY humidor and pulling out a good cigar. Not just any humidor, but a humidor that you made to age your fine cigars.
This guide will show you how to make a humidor that will keep your cigars properly maintained. It will help you save money that can be spent on more cigars. Discover how to make a DIY humidor from almost anything, including tupperware, an ice chest, ammo case, wood box, wine cooler and easily sourced materials.
How to Make a DIY Humidor
You don’t need to buy a humidor when you can make one with simple household items. From your kitchen to your garage, you may already have everything you need to create a reliable space for storing and aging your cigars.
Tupperware has long been a versatile tool in the kitchen, the laundry room and pantry, and can also make for an economical yet effective way to store your cigars. Tupperware and other tightly sealing containers come in many different sizes, so you can usually find one perfectly suited for the number of cigars you need to humidify.
You will need:
- Tupperware or any airtight container
- Scissors for cutting the sponge to size
- Spanish cedar (optional)
This is the simplest DIY humidor. All you do is load it up the container with cigars and add a damp sponge to act as a humidification device. That’s all there is to it! If you have any Spanish cedar sheets leftover from full boxes of cigars, lay a sheet on the bottom and even the top of the cigars to enhance the taste and aroma of your smokes.
You don’t want your cigars dripping wet, so never let your cigars touch the sponge. Whether you are using Tupperware, a glass jar or other container, you can add a small dish or cup to hold the sponge. You can even make a sponge holder out of a salt shaker to make for a super cheap humidor that is also incredibly effective. Just be sure to use distilled water as it will limit the chance of mold and bacteria.
Depending on how many cigars you keep, you might need to cut the sponge into a smaller size. If the sponge is too big, the cigars could split from being over-humidified. Too small a sponge and cigars can become dry and brittle. It might take a little experimenting to find the happy medium, but once you do, you will have an affordable and fully functioning humidor!
Convert a Wine Cooler into a Humidor
A wine cooler humidor will add pizzazz to any home or office, while giving your cigars a home equal to any high-priced cigar humidor. Coolers are perfect for the job as they usually have a tightly fitting seal to aid in climate control, along with plenty of storage space for all your Cubans.
Adding a humidification device to the cooler is usually all that is necessary. Electronic or “active” cigar humidifiers will provide the greatest control and versatility. The drawback is that many require an external plug, so you might have to drill a hole in the cooler to accommodate the cord. There are battery-powered active coolers you can convert, yet these can be quite expensive and require the added frustration of recharging.
Standard or “passive” humidifiers provide humidity without the need for electricity. Just add water and let them do their thing. No plugs, no cords, no recharging. You won’t have the flexibility to adjust humidity settings, but passive humidifiers are easy to use and maintain. There are plenty of large-size options that can be used for wine cooler humidors.
Adding Spanish cedar lining, shelves or drawers to your wine cooler will help optimize humidity control and enhance the aroma of your cigars. If you plan on storing single cigars alongside full boxes, you can create a display tray to help keep your cigars better organized and more easily accessible.
Create an Ammo Case Humidor
A converted ammo case is both innovative and a safe place for your cigars. Whether the case is wood or metal, all you will need to do is add some Spanish cedar wood and ensure the lid provides a quality, airtight seal.
There are several ways to make an ammo case humidifier. One of the most popular is to build a Spanish cedar insert, quite literally a box that you can slide into the ammo case. Just measure, cut, and glue the Spanish cedar. Ensure that it fits snugly inside the case and provides a good seal when the ammo case is closed. Then add a humidifier and hygrometer, and you have yourself a DIY ammo case cigar humidor.
Another option is to line the interior of the case with Spanish cedar and then create removable cedar trays that you can stack inside the lined case. Trays provide more flexibility with how you store your cigars and can improve air circulation in the humidor. Just cut ventilation slots into the bottom of the tray so that humidity can circulate and reach every cigar. The possibilities of how to make an ammo case humidor are many, so use your imagination to take your DIY humidor to the next level.
Massive Ice Chest Humidor
If you want lots of cigar storage space, but don’t want to cut too heavily into your cigar budget, then a large ice chest or cooler makes for a great DIY humidor option. The same functionality that keeps ice chests cool also helps to keep moisture in as a humidifier.
If an ice chest already has a tight-sealing closure there is not much to do.. Just add cigars and a humidification device. You can use humidification packs, sponges, floral foam, or other moisture-absorbing materials to humidify ice chest humidors.
For long-term storage, adding Spanish cedar to the interior is highly recommended. Also, adding Spanish cedar dividers or even cedar trays can drastically improve cigar organization, as some ice chests will hold hundreds of cigars. These are just some of the ways to improve your DIY humidor.
To create a next-level ice chest cigar humidor:
- Ensure the lid forms a good seal. If needed, you can use foam weather stripping around the rim to create a more efficient seal.
- Enhance the interior with Spanish cedar. You can construct a cedar insert that slides in the ice chest or simply use adhesive to cover the interior walls with cedar.
- Install an electronic humidifier with adjustable climate control. If you need to drill any holes for cords or cables, be sure to seal the openings.
- Allow time for any odors from any adhesives or chemical compounds to dissipate.
- Test the humidifier for several days before adding cigars to make sure it is working properly and allow humidity to reach the desired level.
- If all looks good, fill it up with cigars.
- Savor tasty smokes stored in your new DIY humidor!
Cigar Box Humidor
Can you make a DIY humidor out of a cigar box? The answer is yes, you can. Just note a few conditions. Not every cigar box shares the same ability to maintain humidity levels. So,there are several features you need to consider when choosing a cigar box for a homemade humidor.
- Solid Wood
A solid wood box will make for an efficient cigar storage space. Avoid paper covered boxes made of plywood or cardboard as they won’t sufficiently hold in moisture.
- Good Seal
Look for a box that has a lip and provides a good seal. Slide top boxes or boxes with flush lids are not recommended.
- Spanish Cedar Interior
Ensure the box is lined with Spanish cedar for maximum moisture absorption. Stay away from boxes that have painted or heavily lacquered interiors. These prohibit moisture absorption and can drastically affect the taste and aroma of your cigars.
- Solid Construction
A box that is solidly built with proper joints, as well as heavy-duty hinges and clasps to further aid in efficient climate control.
Select a box that is large enough to handle all of your favorite cigar sizes and has room for the number of cigars you want to keep on hand. Cigars need room to breathe and absorb humidity, so they shouldn’t be squashed into the space.
- Space for a humidifier
Make sure the lid will easily close when filled with cigars while still having room for a humidifier.
Once you have your box, you will want to add a humidification device best suited for the number of cigars you plan to maintain. While it is best to mount a humidifier on the underside of the lid, there are other space-saving options available that might work better for you.
Cigar-shaped humidifiers, for example, fit neatly inside a cigar box humidor, only taking up the space of one cigar. Traditional lid-mounted humidifiers will take up an entire row. Replaceable humidification packets are also handy as they too take up very little space.
Wooden Homemade Humidor
Building a homemade wood humidor can be a wildly gratifying DIY project, letting you flex your creativity while creating the ideal home for your cigar collection. Whether building a wood humidor from scratch or repurposing an old wooden box, it’s amazing how creative you can be.
There are a few features you should include in your new humidor or repurposed box to make it a high-quality cigar storage space:
- Thick walls, top and bottom with tightly fitting joints to ensure humidity retention.
- Interior lining of Spanish cedar or acceptable substitutes, such as mahogany or okume.
- Properly sealing lid and heavy-duty hinges for efficient humidity control.
- Humidifier and hygrometer.
Integrate these basic elements into your design to have a reliable wood humidor that will keep your cigars safe and sound for years to come. Having addressed the basic functionality of the box, you can then focus on the exterior design of your homemade humidor, along with a myriad of possible enhancements.
You can customize your humidor any way you want. Add dividers or trays to help keep cigars organized. Use exotic wood veneers to add a little extra jazz to the look of the humidor. Keep your cigars locked up tight by adding a lock and key set. The possibilities are endless.
Build the ultimate homemade humidor and savor the satisfaction of creating a one-of-a-kind work of art that can be loaded with your favorite Cuban cigars!
How to store cigars without a humidor?
So, you have cigars that need to be humidified, but you just don’t have the time to build a DIY humidor. What to do? Well, first of all, shame on you for being unprepared! Ok, so maybe you ended up with a handful of Cohiba cigars unexpectedly. It happens, but you don’t want those precious cigars to go to waste. You do, however, have an option!
Creating a humidor out of Tupperware, glass jar, or small cooler, is easy and relatively inexpensive, yet perhaps you just don’t have access to the items needed to make one. If not, then you can use a trusty Ziploc bag. While not ideal, the bag will serve as a temporary fix that will at least keep your cigars in smokable condition.
You will need to add some sort of humidification to the Ziploc bag. If you don’t have access to humidification packs, a small sponge will work just fine. If all else fails, you can use a damp paper towel. Yet you should replace it often to avoid mold or bacteria build-up. If the cigars are not in cellophane, just make sure they don’t touch the sponge or paper towel.
A Ziploc bag should be used as a temporary storage solution only. Try to get your cigars into a permanent, humidified home as soon as possible, so that you can better keep your cigars in optimal condition.
How long do cigars last without a humidor
Cigars need to be kept in a range of 65% to 72% humidity to remain pliable and hold their shape. As cigars dry out, they shrink and will not smoke as the cigar maker intended. Over-humidified cigars can swell and eventually split open. Figurados or shaped cigars are especially susceptible to this.
How long a cigar lasts depends entirely upon climate conditions. A cigar will last much longer outside of a humidor in a high-humidity tropical climate, for example, than it will in moderate, dryer areas. In general, just a day or two outside of a humidor can have tragic results for a cigar. So, it is crucial to have regular cigar maintenance and a consistently humidified space that is optimized specifically for cigars.
If a cigar does dry out, you can restore it. You must do so by gradually increasing humidity over several days so that the cigar does not take on too much humidity too soon and split. Just know that the cigar will most likely lose some of its body and taste along the way.
Whatever you do, do not place cigars in a refrigerator or freezer! Modern appliances utilize a frost-free function that removes moisture. This can make cigars excessively dry and cause irreparable damage to the leaf. The cold environment can also make tobacco less pliable and brittle. It’s just not worth it.
So be sure to get your cigars in a proper cigar humidor as soon as possible so that you can enjoy your smokes to their absolute fullest.
Where to find the best cigars to put in your humidor
Now that you have learned a variety of cigar storage solutions there is only one thing left to do. Fill that humidor up with fine Cuban cigars so you can make every occasion a special one!