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How To Make a Crutch: a Step-by-Step Guide

The art of rolling a joint is sacred within stoner culture, the gospel of group smoke sessions and true cannabis connoisseurs. To make the most of that freshly twisted joint, most weed smokers lean on the simple, yet effective crutch when rolling up.

Also known as a filter or tip, a crutch is an essential part of the joint rolling process. You can’t roll the perfect joint without one. It functions as an extension that keeps fingers and lips from being burned by the fiery cherry, and also makes it easier to hold and pass around in a social setting.

Another benefit of using a crutch is that it allows for better airflow, preventing the bottom tip of the joint from closing in on itself or becoming clogged with sticky resin buildup. Not to mention, you also use your weed more efficiently, as the crutch allows you to burn through all of your bud before you reach the end of the rolling paper.

Still wondering why the crutch is such a coveted part of the joint rolling process? Here’s what the internet has to say about it …

I’m not rolling up or smoking a Joint without making or adding a crutch ☝🏾🤷🏾‍♀️ https://t.co/BxHNrkTO9f

[rolling a joint]
Friend: Do you have any crutch paper?
Me: *hands them my social security card*

It may seem like origami, but relax, creating a crutch isn’t hard. In fact, it’s incredibly easy to do and, once you get the process down pat, takes just a matter of seconds. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make a crutch and bring your joint rolling skills to the next level.

Materials

  • Cardstock paper or index card
  • Joint papers
  • Grinder
  • Ground weed

How to Make a Crutch

Step 1 – Tear Cardstock Paper

Take the cardstock paper or index card and evenly tear off a piece that is roughly a half-inch wide, or a little more than 1 centimeter. If you’re rolling with longer king-size papers, you may want to increase the width to three-fourths of an inch, or about 2 centimeters. You don’t have to be extremely accurate with the width, just eye it out to the best of your ability if you don’t have a measuring tool handy. Fold a crease into the paper to help ensure that you get an even tear.

Step 2 – Fold the Paper

Take one end of the paper and fold it into a zig-zag “M” shape. To do this, make four creases folded back-to-front until the tip of the paper resembles the letter M. Try to keep an adequate amount of length leftover for the next step.

Step 3 – Wrap it Up

Taking the remaining length leftover from the folded tip, wrap it around the folds until there’s a circle surrounding the zig-zag M-shaped pattern. If there’s not enough paper left over to complete the wrap, you can unwind your M and try to remake it with smaller folds.

Step 4 – Crutch, Meet Rolling Paper

Once you have the perfect crutch folded and rolled up, drop it into the tip of the rolling paper.

It’s easiest to grind up your weed and put it inside of the rolling paper after inserting the crutch. Depending on whether you want a pinner or cone-shaped joint, place the crutch at the end tip and disperse the ground weed accordingly throughout the inner crease of the rolling paper.

Step 5 – Roll it up

Now that you have your crutch and weed situated in the rolling paper, you’re at the final stretch. Simply roll it up, seal it up, sit back, spark it up, and enjoy.

And remember, when desperate times call for desperate joint rolling measures, a potential crutch can come to you in many unexpected forms.

your business card a crutch in my joint

Frequently Asked Questions

What Material Can You Use for Joint Filters?

Thick paper or cardboard makes for the best joint filters, commonly called crutches. A crutch allows for better airflow through the joint, prevents excessive moisture from making the end wet and reduces waste. Glass and wooden crutches are great alternatives to paper and can be found at tobacco shops, head shops and some dispensaries.

Where Can You Get Joint Papers?

Most dispensaries and delivery services carry joint papers, also called rolling papers. Brand-name joint papers like Joker and ZigZag are for sale behind-the-counter at most gas stations and grocery chains. Papers are also available at head shops, your local tobacco shops and online.

Can You Reuse Filter Tips?

Whether you can or should reuse a filter tip depends on what it’s made with. Paper crutches absorb oil and resin left behind in the process of smoking a joint. While you can use a crutch more than once, it will likely alter the flavor and become less effective with each re-use. Glass tips are meant for reuse and can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol.

Can You Use Cigarette Filters in Joints?

Yes, you can use cigarette filters in cannabis joints if you have them available. The generic cigarette filter tip is made of cotton, cellulose acetate fiber, paper or activated charcoal.

Feature image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

How To Make a Crutch: a Step-by-Step Guide The art of rolling a joint is sacred within stoner culture, the gospel of group smoke sessions and true cannabis connoisseurs. To make the most of that

How to Roll a Better Crutch for Your Joint or Spliff

A crutch—also called a filter or a tip—is one of the easiest improvements to make to the standard joint. It’s effectively a mouthpiece, and it serves a number of purposes: It keeps the end of your joint open (even when sharing with your wet-lipped friends), blocks bits of plant matter from getting in your mouth, and ensures you don’t burn your kisser as you puff your way down to the roach.

Some people, including a few of my best friends, insist on rolling joints without crutches. I think those people are silly. Others include a crutch but treat it as an afterthought. While I respect that everyone has their own methods, I thought I’d share my preferred way of building a crutch. It’s quick, easy, and has earned the seal of approval from co-workers here at Leafly.

What are Crutches Made From?

Unless you opt for a reusable glass tip, the best material for a crutch is stiff paper. You’re looking for something thicker than printer paper (which is too flimsy) but thinner than a cereal box (too bulky). Some of my favorite options include:

  • An index card
  • A manila file folder
  • The back flap of a checkbook
  • A magazine subscription card
  • Some business cards (not the thick ones)

There is also a bunch of pre-cut crutches on the market these days. My favorites are RAW’s standard tips, which use long-fiber paper made on a special mill. They’re designed specifically to roll up smoothly and have enough rigidity to hold their shape in your mouth. (I initially thought these were dubious marketing claims, but after two years of using ‘em, I’m convinced.)

I’m partial to use these RAW tips, which is what I’ll be using to demonstrate. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

The Easy (but Flawed) Way

Most people I’ve smoked with tend to roll a crutch by literally rolling it into a cylinder. When viewed head-on, it looks like a spiral.

One of the most common methods to make a crutch or filter tip is to roll it into a cylinder. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

This is an easy technique, but it has some drawbacks. The main weakness is that the opening in the center of the crutch is big enough to let through small pieces of plant matter, which can end up getting in your mouth. Another problem is that it’s not particularly sturdy and can sometimes pinch closed. Does it work? Sure. But there’s a better way.

The Better Way

You can make a much better crutch simply by adding a few accordion-style folds before rolling it up. It takes a tiny bit of practice to master, but the end product will keep those pesky flecks of cannabis out of your mouth and ensure a smooth draw.

To start, make a few folds at the end of your crutch material. Make the folds about as wide as you want the final crutch to be. Be sure not to crease the paper when you’re folding it; otherwise the final crutch will be too tight.

Start by putting a few accordion-style folds in your crutch material. Keep in mind, the space between your folds will determine the crutch’s width. Don’t crease! (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

How many folds to use is up to you. Some people talk about making an M shape inside the crutch, while others opt for a simple V. I tend to toss in a few more. Experiment to find out what you like best.

Once you’ve made those first few folds, roll the remaining crutch material around the folded part. Make sure you have enough unfolded paper to wrap completely around the crutch—you want the final product to roll easily between your fingers.

After a few folds, start to wind the remaining paper around the folded part. Make sure to leave enough left over to wrap all the way around the crutch. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

Wrap up all the excess paper—you can rip some off if you have too much—and roll the finished crutch between your fingers. You might find that it wants to unroll or expand on its own. That’s OK. Once you roll the crutch into your joint, that springiness will help keep the crutch from falling out of the end of your joint.

Your finished crutch should look something like this. Just keep winding that excess paper. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

Put the crutch at the end of your rolling paper and roll it into your joint. I like to leave a little of the crutch exposed, then push it flush with the edge of the rolling paper once I’m finished rolling.

Here’s what it looks like when I’m done:

The accordion-style crutch helps keep bits of plant material out of your mouth while still allowing for a smooth draw. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

The More Expensive Way

Can’t be bothered to practice tiny origami? That’s fine. Either buy a reusable tip, skip the crutch altogether, or opt for a pre-rolled crutch. There are all sorts of pre-rolled options these days, including choices by RAW, Elements, and a handful of others.

The tips work just fine, but they’ll cost you a bit more. RAW’s standard tips, which I used above, cost around $0.75 for 50. The company’s pre-rolled tips go for about $1.75 for 20—or more than twice as much.

What are your tips and tricks for rolling the perfect joint? Share them in the comments below or give me a shout on Twitter.

Want to make a filter for your joint? It's known as a crutch and here's how to roll one for your joint or spliff.