Ask Mama: How to Make a Bong at Home
Published on February 28, 2023
Look, Mama’s been around the block and she knows some shit — we’ve all been there, when you have the zaza hookup but nothing to smoke it with. Could be a crisis, but you can turn that crisis into a chill sesh if you’d just listen to your ol’ Mama FOR ONCE, cuz it’s time to channel your inner McGuyver and make a bong (or two or three) out of easy-to-find household stuff. Even better, you can make that bong hit real good without sacrificing safety. Trust Mama — you got this.
What Makes a Good DIY Bong?
You know what Mama always says: to make a good homemade bong, you must first know what makes a good bong. Have you ever thought about what goes into a bong? I mean, really thought about it? Don’t worry, you don’t have to do any thinking — that’s what Mama’s here for, honeybaby. Call it a bubbler, binger or billy (who calls it that?), bongs have been around for centuries longer than even Mama has.
Back in the day, a “baung” was just the Thai word for a bamboo tube used to schmoke weed. Fast forward to now, and a bong is still an often tubular device used for the same purpose. Today’s bongs are usually water pipes, with a water-filled base, an angled downstem sticking out of the base to accommodate a bowl, topped off with a tall vertical chamber and mouthpiece — the idea is that when you light bowl, smoke is channeled through the water and up through the neck for a smooth inhale. For most bongs, you’ll need these crucial parts:
- Base: where the water sits or the smoke collects
- Downstem: the tube jutting out from the base, where you’ll stick your bowl
- Bowl: the, uh, little bowl that holds the weed. It rests on top of the downstem — you’re gonna light this when you take a hit
- Neck: a.k.a. the uptake, this is where the smoke travels on its way to the mouthpiece. Oftentimes, there’s a carb hole here for a little aeration
- Mouthpiece: stick your mouth here, usually on top of the neck but sometimes not, and inhale. This is a very important part of getting high
Bongs, like people, come in all shapes and sizes nowadays, though. Not all bongs are water pipes, including some Mama’s gonna teach you to make, but lots of ‘em share many of the same essential parts, which you’re gonna rig up.
Mama’s Fave Homemade Bongs
The world is your ocean, and the bong is your boat. OK, that metaphor doesn’t really work, but the point is, you’ve got options when it comes to homemade bongs. Here are some of Mama’s faves, from classics to newcomers that’ll get you straight-up skronked.
The Fruit Bong
This waterless bong might just be Mama’s fave — it’s cheap, easy, eco-friendly, compostable, and whatever fruit you use infuses your smoke with a delicious, summery flavor. To get going, remove the fruit’s stem or make a little indented hole at its top for your bowl. Depending on the size of the produce, use a strong tube-shaped object (like a pen or metal straw) to push a long hole about ¾ of the way down the fruit. Mark the bottom of this long tunnel, then use the same object to push another hole near the fruit’s bottom, connecting this horizontal tunnel to the vertical one. Load the top, light it, and put your lips on that bottom hole (get yer mind out of the gutter).
SHIT YOU NEED:
- A round fruit, like an apple, watermelon, cantaloupe, or even a pumpkin (PSL SEASON BABY)
- Strong tube (like a pen or metal straw), knife, kitchen coring gadget — whatever works to make those tunnel-like holes
BONUS: The Banana Bong
Yeah, I know, we just had the Fruit Bong, but you gotta let a gorilla be a gorilla. Tough Mama couldn’t not do this one.
Slice off the non-stem side of a banana and hollow the cut-off part out, then use a (clean!) pen or metal straw to push a horizontal, tunnel-like hole extending from the newly flat end of the naner to about midway through it, lengthwise. Poke another hole a little more than midway through the banana, a vertical one that connects to your horizontal tunnel. Use your knife to widen that hole so that the banana bowl you made fits into it nice n’ snug, then use your straw or pen to poke a hole in the bottom of the bowl, connecting through to your vertical tunnel. Pack that banana bowl and smoke up through the delicious mouthpiece.
SHIT YOU NEED:
- A banana, obvs
- Pen or metal straw
The Beer Can Bong
A good ol’ beer can bong is easier than drinking a couple High Lifes. Pop the can open and empty it, then rest it on its side. In the middle of the can, use a safety pin or similar to poke a whole bunch of tiny holes, about 3 x 3 inches worth, then smush that hole pattern into an indentation to make your makeshift bowl. If you’ve got a knife or pen or whatnot, you can also poke a carb hole near the base of the can, but it’s not a requirement. Load that “bowl” and hit it from the can’s built-in mouthpiece.
SHIT YOU NEED:
- Safety pin or other type of pin
- Can o’ beer or soda or sparkling water or whatever, man
The Water Bottle Bong
To make this college staple, fill up a plastic beverage bottle, like a two-liter, about a quarter of the way with water, then stick a small hole near the bottle’s neck and one just above the waterline (a ball-point pen does the trick). Stick a tube in the hole, such as the disassembled body of that pen you just used. Shape a little bowl out of foil and poke a few holes in it with a safety pin or similar thang for aeration, then wrap that bowl onto the end of your tube for a complete downstem. Pack bowl and smoke up.
SHIT YOU NEED
- Plastic bottle with cap
- An empty tube
- Safety pin
The Gravity Bong
Also known as a waterfall or a geeb, this newer DIY bong gizmo is a little more complicated than the others, but it’ll get you f**ked up nice and bueno.
Empty a large plastic bevvie bottle, remove the cap, then cut a hole in the cap (heat up a knife if you’re struggling). Cut the bottle in half, then fashion a bowl shape out of foil and poke some pinholes in it; the foil bowl should cover the cap, but you need to make sure there’s a hole in the bowl’s center that aligns with the hole in the cap. Fill a pitcher or larger bottle with water — just enough water that it doesn’t overflow when you stick your bottle half in it, which you’re gonna do, with the cap on but not screwed tight.
Pack that bowl, light it, and watch the smoke fill the empty bottle. In one motion, lift the smoke-filled bottle, remove the cap and inhale that big-assed hit of smoothness.
PRO TIP: A 10mm wrench socket can also work as a bowl for this (Tough Mama staff knows), but don’t blame us when your dad comes to you cuz he can’t find his tools.
SHIT YOU NEED
- Plastic bottle
- Water pitcher (blender pitchers work) or bigger bottle
Mama Says: Smoke Smart, Kidz
Sothanks to Mama, you know how to make some sick bongs. But you ain’t out of the woods yet.
First off, whatever items you use to whip up your homemade bong, keep that shit clean, give it a nice wash beforehand. Don’t be gross. And be aware that plastic drinking bottles may contain polyethylene terephthalate, which can emit low levels of toxins when heated (it’s still not clear what their long-term effects may be). Choose BPA-free plastics when you can, as BPAs are thought to disrupt hormone levels.
Don’t lean on plastic-heavy DIY bongs as your permanent pipe — they’re fine in an occasional pinch or as a novelty, but choose a forever bong made out of safer glass or silicone for the long haul. And one last thing, neversmoke out of polyvinyl chloride (like plumbing pipes), styrofoam or polystyrene.
Straight from the monkey’s mouth, here’s some shit you should NEVER, EVER smoke out of. Mama really wishes she didn’t have to say this shit out loud, but here we are:
- Plastic bag from the 99 Cents Only Store
- Literally any tube-shaped fireworks
- Vintage styrofoam Whopper holder
- Ancient lamps containing evil djinn spirits
- Air pumps of any sort
- Tire tube from your roommate’s gross-ass fixie
- Plastic bong from Wish.com
- Actually, any bong at all from Wish.com
Now that we’ve got the “should nots” covered, what should you do? You should pat yourself on the back for finding a way to nirvana, and enjoy that sweet homemade smoke, Tough Mama style. You’ve earned it.