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Top 5 hacks for when you run out of smoking papers

Every dedicated cannabis user ought to be carrying around a kit of essential items at all times. Omitting this crucial aspect of the stoner routine is just unprofessional. But even the best of us get caught out at times, and go to roll a joint only to discover there are no smoking papers to be found. You may find yourself asking: what can I use as rolling paper?

1. Find a substitute for paper

We all remember schooldays when someone managed to smuggle in an eighth but—surprise surprise!—didn’t manage to steal any smoking papers from out of their big brother’s stash box.

And then eventually you all end up huddled behind the sports hall frantically trying to roll joints out of toilet paper, magazine covers and old receipts, and you’ve wasted most of the weed so far trying to do it…

So thank heaven that those days are long behind (most of) us, and we now have an array of superior options to go for, in the astoundingly rare event that we plan poorly enough to run out of OCB’s and there’s nary a head shop to be found.

If you happen to be artistically-minded, or just the type of person that likes to do brass rubbings when out and about, you may be the kind of person who carries around tracing paper in their pocket!

Tracing paper is actually a pretty good alternative for smoking papers, if you have the thin, high-quality stuff. Much better than a magazine or a receipt, anyway—but yeah, perhaps not the most common pocket item.

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2. Gum paper

On the other hand, if you’re just a regular, uncreative Joe with no tracing paper about your person (you poor peasant), you may still be in luck if you happen to have a few sticks of gum in your pocket. That silvery foil stuff that your sticks of gum come wrapped in?

If you can rub the foil part off without damaging the paper underneath, that paper can act as a pretty reasonable substitute Rizla—and as a bonus, all the sugary-gummy residual goodness left on the paper should help stick it together, with a little help from your tongue.

3. Roll up a corn husk

Although this technically counts as a replacement rolling paper, it’s so good it deserves a section of its own. The outer layers of an ear of sweetcorn can be dried and used as a natural rolling paper, and probably represents the least harmful option listed so far!

The husk is naturally soft, flexible and fibrous, and retains these qualities even when dry.

Many countries that produce both corn and cannabis use corn husks to roll joints as a traditional method of consumption. In Jamaica, an island that is globally known for its high-quality cannabis, sun-drying corn husks to later use as rolling papers is a widespread practice.

Here they are typically soaked in water briefly prior to rolling, to ensure that their flexibility is maximised.

Mexico and the USA are other countries where cannabis users report use of this method—in the USA, pre-dried corn husks can be purchased in the Mexican section of many large supermarkets, particularly in the South.

As well as corn, fibres from several other plants can substitute for rolling papers—and may even prove preferable in terms of flavour, as many report the ‘papery’ taste to be absent. The fibrous inner membrane of bamboo is one substitute, and the bark (or the layer beneath the bark) of several trees is light and flexible enough to be used.

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4. Make a bucket/lung

Making substitute pipes is another approach to the problem of being caught out without smoking papers or bong. There are various different ways to achieve this, from using an apple or a bell pepper to constructing ambitious devices out of old electronics and scrap metal.

Here we’ll briefly describe two related methods that are capable of packing a serious punch, but do not require any hard-to-find items.

Both techniques require a 2-litre (or similar) empty bottle, such as one used to contain water or soft drinks. The bottle must be cut in two, approximately 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. A piece of tin foil shaped to fit the mouth of the bottle and pierced several times to allow airflow is also needed.

To make a lung, simply use tape to attach a plastic bag to the cut end of the bottle; once secure, scrunch the bag up inside the bottle.

  • Then place some cannabis onto the foil ‘gauze’, which should be loosely placed on the mouth of the bottle.
  • Use a lighter to burn the cannabis while using your other hand to pull the plastic bag out of the bottle—by doing this you create a vacuum inside the bottle, which causes air (and smoke) to rush into the chamber.
  • When the bag is fully extended, remove the foil from the bottle and inhale the smoke from inside the bottle.
  • A bucket (also known as a gravity bong) functions similarly, but uses a large (at least 10 litre) bucket filled around 2/3 full with water. The bottle is placed into the bucket and held down so that it does not float up.
  • The foil is placed on the mouth of the bottle, cannabis is placed on it and burned, and the bottle is slowly raised up, causing the vacuum inside to become filled with air and smoke.

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5. Do hot-knives

“Hot-knives” is one of the oldest and most well-known methods of consuming cannabis in the absence of a paper or pipe. It is also one of the simplest—but can potentially be quite dangerous, so great care must be taken especially if already intoxicated! All you need is a heat source such as a gas or electric stove, two knives and some cannabis.

Some also prefer to use a straw or a rolled-up piece of paper to inhale the smoke, to avoid getting too close to the source of the heat, but this is not always necessary.

  • Simply switch on the stove and bring it up to a medium-hot temperature. Once it is hot, hold the blades of the two knives immediately above the heat source for a short time (usually 1-2 minutes is sufficient).
  • Ensure that the handles of the knives are away from the heat source to avoid damage to them (and injury to you!). Then, carefully place a small piece of cannabis on to one of the knife blades, and press the other knife blade down onto it so that the cannabis is ‘sandwiched’ between two hot metal blades.
  • The cannabis should begin to smoke immediately, so be ready to inhale as soon as contact has been made to avoid wastage. The advantage of this technique is that it can be used for any type of cannabis—flowers, hashish and even concentrates! This wide ranging application is the reason that hot-knives remains one of the most popular and well-known techniques in the book.

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6. Buy a vaporizer

A permanent solution for the forgetful cannabis users is to find a different way of using. If you never want the problem of getting caught without smoking papers again, have a look at the pocket sized vaporizers that are out there.

It happens to the best. You go to roll a joint only to discover there are no smoking papers! What to do? Don't panic we have the best alternatives for you.

Rolling Paper Alternatives and Substitutes

What Brings You to Rolling Paper Alternatives and Substitutes?

Table of Contents

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 traveling, there are so many ways to make your own smoking pipe on the go!

Have Your Rolling Papers Delivered

We’re open, and delivering! Your order will be shipped from our place of business within 2 days of you placing your order. We ship our products quickly, and discreetly in an unmarked postal service box, or an unmarked brown box. No need to worry about those pesky neighbors! Let us be your one stop shop online smoke shop.

Ballin On a Budget, Cheap Rolling Papers

While you might currently be out of papers and are looking for a substitute, we suggest ordering a few cheap rolling papers now, so they can be shipped to you ASAP and you won’t find yourself in this predicament again anytime soon. Lucky for you, RPD has a huge selection of rolling papers and we deliver them discreetly, straight to your door!

Three of our most cost-effective rolling papers are RAW single wides, Plain White 1 1/4, and Elements King Size, which will let you roll your own smokes for just pennies!

Nevertheless, if you’re in a pinch, read on to find out how to craft great rolling paper alternatives.

Elements King Size Slim

Plain White Rolling Papers 1 1/4

RAW Classic King Size Slim

The Dangers of Substituting Household Items for Rolling Papers

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 at what smoking gadgets you can create 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. These makeshift pipes are meant to be used when impromptu emergency smoke sessions arise and aren’t ever meant to replace your rolling papers, pre-rolled cones, or pipes.

When you use tin foil, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, or anything else not meant to be smoked, you put yourself at risk for health issues. When these items are heated up, they release toxins which will then end up in your lungs. Please remember to think twice before you DIY a pipe with household items as they are unsafe for your health.

How to Make a Steamroller Pipe at Home

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 “steamrollers”, 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
  • Toothpick

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, 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. Create a “bowl” by forming the tinfoil over your thumb and stick it in the hole on top of the tube. Poke small holes all around the foil piece with a toothpick 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!

How to Make a Tin Foil Smoking Pipe

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.

How to Use Bible Pages to Roll Your Own 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 the 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. The paper is thin and many smokers say that it rolls just like 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.

How to DIY an Apple Pipe

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
  • Pen
  • Toothpick

First, scour the farmers market or grocery store for a nice, large apple. Once the perfect apple has been acquired, rinse with water and remove the stem. Using a toothpick, poke holes straight down, halfway through the core. Next, using a hollowed out pen, make a hole halfway down by sticking it straight through the side of the apple. Make sure the hole made by the pen, lines up with the toothpick holes you made earlier. To make the carb, use the pen again to poke a hole where your thumb rests naturally. Remove any bits of apple from the pen and use as a mouthpiece. All that’s left to do is to 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!

Using Empty Cigarette Tubes for Legal Smoking Herbs

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 delicately, but seal it by twisting a bit, so you don’t swallow the contents. This way you’ll get the full taste and effects of your herb of choice. Just like that, you’re done and all that’s left to do is puff puff pass it along.

Recycling a Soda Can Into a Smoking Pipe

Instead of throwing out your PBR cans after a night of partying, recycle one into an easy to use pipe! After the can is empty and rinsed out, simply dent the area to put tobacco on and poke small holes in the dent to allow smoke to pass through the can. Once the can is assembled, place the tobacco in the dented, makeshift bowl and light it! Draw the smoke from the top of the can where you would usually drink the liquid 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.

Presto! Make an instant pipe with the Presto Pipe

The Presto Pipe is a great way to being prepared, when you aren’t prepared. Throw it in your backpack, center console, nightstand, or anywhere you need to be ready to smoke at a moments notice. It’s so easy to use, just cut a hole in the side of the can or bottle towards the bottom, and screw in the presto pipe. Add your herb of choice and light it up! When you’re done, unscrew the Presto Pipe and recycle the bottle. This smoking accessory is perfect for the hiker, camper, festivalgoer, or outdoorsy type who enjoys smoking on the go.

How to Make a Gravity Water Pipe at Home

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

First, 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 enough 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. Once you’re ready to smoke, remove the tin foil bowl and push down as you inhale the smoke.

This classic method is probably the most popular among seasoned smokers who know how to keep the party going.

These are all wonderful ways to smoke on the go, but for the best smoking experience, it’s better to be prepared. Check out some of Rolling Paper Depot’s top selling products, and enjoy a better smoking session.

So, you left your papers at home? Luckily, there are several ways to make your own smoking pipe on the go! Here are some of RPD's favorite alternatives!