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Rolling Paper Alternatives and Substitutes

So, you left your rollies at home, huh?

We’ve all been there, ready to smoke, realizing that your rolling papers are nowhere to be found. It always seems to happen when you're far from civilization or after every store within a ten-mile radius is closed. Luckily, for those on vacation, staying in a hotel room, on a camping trip, hiking, or travelling, there are so many ways to make your own smoking pipe on-the-go!

Rolling paper substitutes and alternatives can be made from common household items, cheap produce and even things you can find in a hotel room. You may be surprised what awesome pipes and smoking devices you can make quickly and easily when you’re stuck without papers. The issue with these rolling paper substitutes is that they should NOT be used on a daily basis and only used as a last resort. Nevertheless, if you're in a pinch, read on to find out how to craft great rolling paper alternatives:

Toilet Paper Roll

The Steamroller

If you forget or lose your rolling papers, instead of tossing out the cardboard found in the middle of a paper towel or toilet paper roll, you can save your camping trip in more ways than one! Toilet paper roll pipes, or better known as a “steamroller”, are super easy to use for smoking and require minimal materials. Here’s what you'll need to DIY a cardboard tube pipe:

  • Empty roll of toilet paper or paper towels
  • Something sharp like a knife
  • A small piece of tin foil
  • Clear tape
  • Pen or pencil

The toilet paper roll should be cardboard (remove all of the T.P. from the roll). First, tape one end of the roll so that air can’t get through. Then, using scissors or a knife, cut a square or circle hole about an inch in diameter on one side of the toilet paper roll. To make a carb, make another hole to the left or the right of the first hole (about 1/2 inches away) using a pencil or pen (or anything sharp), and make sure your finger can cover it. Next, cut a piece of foil that is big enough to cover the first hole you cut out. This will be the ‘bowl’ for your tobacco. Poke small holes all around the foil piece with something sharp like a toothpick or knife so that air and smoke from the tobacco can travel through it when you’re smoking. Once assembled, throw the tobacco on top of the foil, and light up for an easy fix on the road!

Bible

Holy Smokes

We’ve heard that receipt paper and phone book paper don’t quite work as well as other rolling paper substitutes. Receipts are coated with a light plastic and the ink is heavy, while text and texture of phone book paper aren’t ideal either. Surprisingly, the potentially controversial use of Bible pages come highly recommended to roll tobacco with. It is thin and many smokers say that it rolls just like traditional rolling papers. It is recommended to use pages without ink found in the front or back. Once you find the perfect inkless page, roll it up just as you would with your traditional rolling papers.

Apple Pipe

Forbidden Fruit

So you’re at the farmers market without rolling papers… Instead of finding household items to build your new pipe out of, why not try something all natural?

In just a minute or two, you can make an apple pipe that many smokers prefer because it produces such a smooth hit. To create your own eco-friendly pipe you will need:

  • One large apple
  • Knife or sharp, small object
  • A hollowed out pen or hard plastic piece resembling a straw, but something that won’t burn

First, cut out the core and stem of an apple, and cut the top portion into a circular shape to make the bowl (enough room to fit your tobacco or herbs). Then use a pen, stick, or pencil and stick it straight through the side of the apple, so that it intersects with the bowl that you cut out at the top of the apple before.

To make the carb, cut the apple with a pencil or knife on one side. Carve one tunnel through the apple that goes from the side of the apple and connects with the bowl where the tobacco sits, and a smaller tunnel or hole to use as a carb. Take out any excess apple from the pen/utensil. For a filter, shave a little piece off of the apple and place it at the bottom of the bowl. If you used a hollowed out pen, you can stick it into the ‘tunnel’ you carved, and use that to smoke– just place tobacco over the top of the apple and light it! You will be surprised how smooth this is compared to many other methods – including rolling papers – and some smokers actually prefer this method! If you don’t have an apple handy, you can also use a potato – just follow the same steps as you would with an apple, but no core or stem to remove.

Tin Foil

Tin Foil

No rolling papers around but have your tin foil hat handy? Using tin foil for a substitute pipe is an easy and convenient method. Wrap a piece of aluminum around a pencil or something around the same size (straw, pen, screwdriver, etc.) and make it into a cone or cylinder shape. Make sure to leave extra tin foil at the end of the rolled portion so you have room to gently bend and lightly twist the foil cylinder/cone upwards to make a bowl. Be sure there is a small air path so air and smoke can pass through. Nothing else is required but filling the bowl and lighting it up! Tin foil pipes are easy, quick and disposable for when you need something in a hurry.

Empty Cigarette

Empty Cigarette

Next time your buddy offers you a cigarette, but you want your preferred herb of choice instead use the cigarette paper to roll your own. A simple way to get the taste of your own tobacco and herb products is to empty out the cigarette by twisting the contents around until they leave the paper. Once you have the empty cigarette paper, fill it with your tobacco of choice. Make sure you are careful during this process as the paper can be easily torn or ripped. Tear the filter off carefully, but seal it by twisting a bit, so you don’t swallow the contents and you’ll also get the full taste and effects of what you put into it. After that enjoy your herb of choice and all that’s left to do is puff puff pass it along.

Soda Can

Soda Can

Instead of throwing out your PBR cans after a night of partying, recycle them into an easy to make pipe! After the can is empty and rinsed out, simply dent the area to put tobacco on and poke small holes in the dent. You smoke out of the top of the can (where you would drink the soda from). Using the can method is good in a pinch, but tends to be a harsher hit and can get hot to the touch pretty quickly, so proceed with caution.

Gravity Water Pipe

Beloved by many smokers, the gravity water pipe has been saving the party when there were no rolling papers around for decades. All materials needed for this D-I-Y project can be found around your home and are easy to come by. To get started you will need:

  • 2-liter bottle
  • 1-liter bottle
  • Paperclip
  • Aluminum foil
  • Knife or box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Dried herb of your choice

First thing is to cut off the bottom of the 1-liter bottle, but only about 2 inches using scissors. If you cut off too much, you won’t have much room to fill the bottle with smoke. Next, cut the top off of the 2-liter bottle and fill it up with water. Using the box cutter or knife, cut a hole in the 1-liter bottle lid, making an “x”. Then, place the aluminum foil over the bottle cap and poke a few holes for ventilation. Push the 1-liter bottle down into the water making sure the cap stays above water. Carefully twist the cap onto the bottle and put the tobacco on top of your makeshift “bowl”. Light the tobacco and lift the 1-liter bottle as it fills with smoke. And all that’s left to do now is Inhale and enjoy.

There are a lot of ways to put tobacco in a pipe and smoke it! It's best to have rolling papers handy, but sometimes it's just not an option. All of the alternative options and substitutes for papers above are tried and true, though some are definitely better than others! Have fun trying them out, and let us know what you’ve used when you ran out of papers.