Back in the 1960s and 70s, there used to be at least one or two bongs on every floor of a college dorm. They were almost as common in the apartments where young adults lived.
Bongs were nothing new. For centuries or even millennia, they’d been used to smoke cannabis and opium in Asia and Africa. Similar water pipes (hookahs) have been used for just as long to smoke tobacco.
You can still buy bongs today, of course, although they’re now more likely to be purchased as a curiosity or as party entertainment. There are much more efficient ways to get high.
You can make rudimentary bongs at home, too, using stuff that you normally have around the house. That’s a relief for people who can’t find a piece or rolling papers — and it’s another fun way to smoke up at a party.
Here are the best homemade bongs to consider.
The Physics of a Bong
Understanding how a bong works will be a great help when you’re assembling your own.
The ones you buy at a smoke shop (in illegal states, labeled FOR TOBACCO SMOKING ONLY!) are most often made from glass, but some are constructed with plastic, silicone, ceramic, wood, or bamboo. They all use the same basic principles to get the user high.
Since a bong is a water pipe, it has a flat-bottomed base or chamber which is filled with water that cools and filters the smoke. Weed is placed in a small bowl and ignited; from there, the smoke travels down a small tube called a downstem which is connected to the water chamber.
The user inhales through a mouthpiece at the end of another tube connected to the chamber. As they inhale, the water percolates (bubbles) — and that forces the smoke to rise through the second tube into the mouthpiece. Voilà! Lots of fragrant, potent weed smoke to enjoy.
Some bongs have carb holes that let the user control airflow, but more often, the bowl is designed to be removed and used as a “slide carb.” Fancier models may have extra cooling chambers or extra glass filtration devices (known as percolators).
Your homemade bong won’t be that intricate, but it will work essentially the same way. Let’s get this article fired up.
Homemade Bongs: How to Make One Your Own
We’ll start with the ones you may have already seen or used. Then we’ll move on to more esoteric bongs.
1. Bottle Bong
You can make this bong with any size of a plastic bottle, but a two-liter bottle will produce more smoke and a more powerful hit.
- Clean the bottle thoroughly (don’t forget to remove the labels), and then fill it one-quarter of the way with water.
- Make a small round hole right below the bottle’s neck to be used as a carb. A pen will work well, but you can use a knife if you’re careful.
- Make a second small hole in the side of the bottle, right above the waterline.
- Take a small piece of aluminum foil, fashion it into a bowl, and wrap the bottom of the foil around one end of an empty Bic pen. The foil will be the bowl (obviously), and the empty pen tube will be the downstem.
- With a pin or needle, poke a few tiny holes in the bottom of the bowl, which will let smoke move into the downstem.
- Push the pen tube into the lower hole, so it’s submerged in the water. The pen should fit snugly in the hole.
- Put your weed into the bowl, light up, and using the carb to control the airflow, inhale through the bottle mouth. Enjoy.
2. Gravity Bong
This variation on the bottle bong will get you even more blasted. You’ll probably want to use a small bottle for reasons that will become obvious.
- Clean your soda bottle thoroughly, take off the bottle cap, and cover the bottle mouth with aluminum foil. Make a few tiny holes in the foil with a pin, just as you did for the bottle bong.
- Use a knife to cut off the bottom two inches of the bottle.
- Fill a larger container like a bucket or bowl with water. You can use a large bottle with the top cut off as well.
- Put the small bottle into the large container so it’s submerged almost up to the small bottle’s neck. Make sure the foil doesn’t get wet.
- Fill the foil with weed. As you’re firing it up, lift the small bottle slowly until its bottom is almost above the water. It will fill up with smoke.
- Remove the foil, and inhale the smoke through the bottle mouth as you’re slowly pushing the bottle back down into the bucket of water. Gravity will force the smoke from the bottle into your lungs. Enjoy — if you can handle all of the smoke.
3. Waterfall Bong
You’ll need something different for this variation on a gravity bong: a ¼ inch socket from a socket wrench set (the socket can also be purchased separately at a hardware store). You can fashion a similar bowl from aluminum foil, but it won’t work as well.
- Start with a clean one-liter plastic bottle. Use a knife to poke a hole in the middle of the bottle cap; the hole should let the bottom part of the socket fit snugly. If there’s any space between the socket and hole, fill it with gum or tape.
- Cut a small round hole about one inch from the bottom of the bottle. This will be your carb.
- Fill the top of the socket with weed and then temporarily screw off the bottle cap.
- Fill the bottle almost all the way with water, leaving about an inch of air at the top. Be sure to hold your finger over the carb, so the water doesn’t pour out. Replace the cap.
- Hold the bottle over a sink (or go outdoors), and light up as you release your finger from the carb. As water pours from the bottle, its space will be filled with smoke.
- When almost all of the water has drained, cover the carb with your finger again. This will leave the bottle filled with smoke.
- Remove the bottle cap, and put your mouth over the bottle top. Uncover the carb, and gravity will force an enormous hit into your lungs. Enjoy — you’ll get even more of a blast than you do with a gravity bong.
Homemade Bongs: FAQ
Q: You didn’t mention apple bongs.
A: No, because even though that’s a popular name for these homemade devices, they’re really not bongs. They’re pipes. You start by removing the stem and creating a small bowl at the top. Then using an empty pen tube, poke a vertical tunnel from the bowl down to the middle of the apple (or similar fruit). Halfway down the side of the apple, make a horizontal tunnel all the way through the fruit, making sure it connects with the vertical tunnel. Put weed into the bowl and light it, inhale through the hole on one side and use the hole on the other side as a carb. Easy-peasy.
Q: Are these bongs suitable for regular use?
A: Not really, because they’ll get dirty and cruddy pretty quickly. If you’re desperate, they may last a few days — but wouldn’t you rather get some papers or a pipe as soon as possible, so you don’t have to play MacGyver just to get high?