A cannabis fan with some great herb can be truly ingenious when backed into a corner with no bong, pipe, or rolling papers in the vicinity. When the need arises, a water bottle bong can serve as a great DIY smoking solution and one of the most practical and effective ways of recycling plastic. Here’s how to make your own.
What is a water bottle bong?
This is no trick question – a water bottle bong is just that, a water bottle that has been emptied out and fashioned into a workable bong with a few tricks and a tiny bit of elbow grease.
Water bottle bongs are not meant to last. They are a stop gap measure when you don’t have another smoking device or method at hand, and really should only be used once. But if done right, they can provide a whole lot of the fun of a bong, without costing you a dime.
A water bottle bong works the same way as a fancy glass bong does. Here’s what you need to know:
- It includes a bowl that goes into a “stem” which is inserted into the body of the bong.
- This chamber should have a tight seal where the stem entered the body of the bong, and a carb or choke on the back end opposite the bowl to help when the bong fills up with smoke and you want to clear the fog – directly into your lungs.
- In the bottom of the reservoir, a water bottle bong will have a small amount of water.
- As you inhale, the smoke travels from the bowl down the stem and through the water, which cools it on its way into your respiratory system.
It’s a remarkably simple and effective device, and one that is surely here to stay.
How to make a bong out of a water bottle
What you need:
- A water bottle – a 16 oz plastic bottle is best, the more straight and cylindrical the better
- A lighter
- A plastic pen or marker
- A small, sharp knife, or some tweezers or a metal poker of some sort
- Aluminum foil
- Some weed
1. Remove any and all liquid from the bottle
If it once had a sugary drink in it, make sure to wash it thoroughly first.
2. Make a stem
The stem will go from outside the bottle, through a hole in the body of the bottle, down to the bottom of the reservoir. Take apart a plastic pen or a marker and remove the ink and all other pieces other than the hollow plastic cylinder that makes up the body of the pen. This will be your stem.
3. Make a hole in the body of the bong
This is where you will force through the plastic stem. Pick a spot a little less than halfway up the body of the bong and mark it with a sharpie. Some people choose to take a knife and cut a small hole, but a great method is to take a small metal poker or some tweezers you don’t want, and heat the tip up with a lighter until they get white-hot. Immediately take the poking device and push it through the spot you marked with the sharpie until it makes a hole. While the plastic is still hot, push through the plastic stem you made from the pen. If the hole you made with the poker is narrower than the stem, it should make a tight seal as you push it through.
4. Make the hole for the carb
Just like you made the hole for the stem, do the same on the exact opposite side of the bottle, leaving a hole about the size of the eraser head of a pencil.
5. Make a bowl
There are a few methods for making the bowl. If you used a plastic pen that has a cone-shaped metal tip at the end, take it and invert it and stick it into the end of the stem, creating a v-shaped bowl. If it doesn’t fit, you can take some aluminum foil and place it over the end of the stem, creating an indentation for the bowl that you then push down slightly into the body of the stem to hold it in place. Take the toothpick and punch some holes in the bowl. Be careful not to do too many or your weed can fall through.
Your bong is now ready to go, but how do you use it?
How to use a water bottle bong
Using a water bottle bong is basically just like any other bong, though due to its fragile nature you’ll need to be a bit more gentle. After all, this thing isn’t meant to last.
1. Pack the bowl
Take a small amount of weed and place it in the aluminum foil bowl, making sure not to pack it down hard so the foil doesn’t fall into the chamber of the stem.
2. Place one finger on the carb
Make sure to cover the carb as you’re inhaling, so that it has a tight vacuum.
3. Insert your mouth into the open top of the bong
With your mouth inserted into the top of the bong (creating a tight seal), hold a flame over the weed in the bowl and inhale strongly and steadily with your finger on the carb. As the chamber fills with smoke and you get towards the end of your inhale, release your finger from the carb and give it one just quick inhale of smoke, all of which should be forced up the chamber into your lungs.
4. Hold the weed in, exhale, repeat
It’s up to you how many times you repeat this step.
The dos and don’ts of water bottle bongs
A water bottle bong is typically a one-time tool, but there are still some things to keep in mind to make sure things go well.
- Add a little ice at the bottom of the bong chamber. This will make the water extra cold, helping make the bong hits a little less harsh.
- Make sure to clean out any sugary soft drink gunk from the bottle. The only sticky thing should be your weed.
- Make sure there is a tight seal. Before taking your first hit, check that there is a tight seal around your mouth and the carb when you inhale. As you inhale, take your finger off the carb a couple of times to check if a vacuum is created when it’s covered. In a pinch, a little duct tape can be placed around the hole where you inserted the stem in order to seal it off.
- Pour out the bong water afterwards. This is best as a single use device, but if you think there will be a sequel, make sure to pour out the bong water and leave the bong somewhere that the smell of a bong won’t be noticed.
- Use a bottle that contained anything harmful. Maybe it goes without saying, but don’t use a plastic motor oil bottle or an empty plastic bottle of bleach for your bong. You will regret it.
- Inhale plastic fumes. As you’re using the bong, if you notice that parts of the plastic body or stem are burning and releasing plastic fumes, stop inhaling, step back and put out the flame.
- Treat it as a long-term solution. A plastic bottle bong is a short-term, last-ditch solution that should be used once or twice at most. It’s meant for use in a pinch, and if you think you’ll be needing a bong a lot in the coming weeks, go ahead and splurge for an actual glass or hard plastic bong.
- Spill the bong water. If you’ve never spilled bong water on a carpeted floor, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Bong water is a foul, nasty liquid and the odor can be quite hard to remove. Make sure to handle your bottle bong carefully.
Are water bottle bongs safe?
Depends on what you mean by “safe.” Smoking out of a water bottle bong – or any bong for that matter – includes the same health risks as any form of smoking, though the water may filter out some of the tar. Mainly though, there is the safety risk posed by the plastic. The best way to avoid inhaling any potentially harmful plastic fumes is to not hold the flame over the plastic of the stem when inhaling, and to make sure when you get a whiff of burning plastic to shut it down and take a break until things cool off.
In addition, with repeated use, chemicals can leach out of the plastic in the bottle and can be ingested by the user. To play it “safe,” don’t use the bong more than once, and make sure none of the plastic burns.
The bottom line on water bottle bongs
Water bottle bongs are an effective solution when you absolutely, positively must smoke weed out of a bong but only have some improvised supplies at home. Using thin plastic materials to make smoking devices can pose some health risks, but as long as you keep this as a one-time thing used in emergencies, you should probably be fine.
And once you do want to find a permanent solution, invest in a solid, dependable glass bong.
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