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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.

How To Make A Perfect Joint Filter To Enhance Your Smoking Experience

A joint filter offers a lot of benefits with no drawbacks. Basic ones are also super easy to make, so there is no excuse not to! Check out what makes them worthwhile, as well as a few ways to make them, here.

While joint filters are more of a preference than a necessity, there are plenty of benefits to using them. Not only does a joint filter provide better airflow, but it also helps keep your joint together. And you’re not just limited to one type of filter, either. There are all sorts of different kinds of filter tips, some you can buy and some you can roll right from home. If you’re new to the wonderful world of joint filters, then read on for more information about why you should use them to enhance your smoking experience and learn some of the best rolling practices.

Why Use A Joint Filter?

Don’t you hate when you’re trying to finish off your joint, but it just ends up crumbling towards the end? If so, a joint filter can solve that problem. By using a joint filter tip, it can help give your joint more stability.

A joint filter is also useful when you’re having a smoke session with your friends. A plain joint can get pretty nasty at the bottom, especially if one of your pals enjoys leaving slobber all over it. But when you use a filter, it makes things less messy.

To point out another benefit of the joint filter, it also helps keep a consistent airflow. In other words, you won’t have to do too much sucking to get nice hits. From time to time, a tightly rolled joint can be impossible to smoke. But with the help of a joint filter and its holes on both ends, you’ll get the maximum amount of airflow every time.

Last, but certainly not least, the joint filter allows you to smoke all of your weed without being wasteful. Typically, when you smoke a joint, you wind up always wasting the last little bit to avoid burning your fingers off. Since you spend hard-earned money on your product, you should be able to smoke until there’s absolutely nothing left. By using a joint filter, the days of figuring out what to do with the roach will be long gone.

Types Of Joint Filters

There’s always the option of buying a joint filter from a shop or online. But if you want to save money, then you can do so by making your own. Luckily, there are quite a few things that can be used as a joint filter, and you probably have a lot of these items lying around the house.

First, there’s cardboard, one of the more traditional choices. As long as it fits the end of your joint, anything made of cardboard should do just fine. Second, is fusilli, those spirally little noodles that you can find at practically any grocery store. The beauty of this choice is that no preparation is required. All you have to do is break off a piece that’s a suitable size for your joint. The thinner the noodle, the better. Finally, there’s the index card. While you do have to roll this one, they are super cheap and don’t require much effort to prepare.

The Best Rolling Practices

Not only are there several different types of joint filters, but there’s also plenty of ways to roll them. From the heart to the cannabis leaf, the possibilities are endless. Not to mention, creative.

1. The Normal Tip

If you prefer to keep it simple, then the standard tip is your best bet. All you need to do is grab your filter of choice and fold it into an accordion at the end. Then, take the end, fold it over, and start rolling it between your fingers to form a cylinder. There should be a “W” in the circle once you’re finished.

2. The Heart

The heart is a great option if you want to be creative. Obviously, it’s slightly more challenging to roll that the normal tip, but it’s worth it. To begin, grab your filter of choice and fold back a small amount of the end. Then, use your tool to roll the filter paper around slightly on either side of the fold to form the top of the heart. Once you’ve done that, fold both ends down and form the heart shape. Finally, roll the filter around the heart and proceed to roll your joint.

3. The Star

You’ll need some scissors and a steady set of hands for this one. But the result is totally badass. First, create your accordion as you normally would with a standard joint filter tip. At the halfway point, fold the accordion end under, and you’ll notice it forming a star. If need be, fold it back into accordion form so that it creates a tighter shape when you fold it back into a star. Switching back to the accordion, leave one part unfolded and then cut it off. Once you do that and fold it back into a star, you’ll notice a better shape. To finish, grab another filter and roll it over the star.

4. The Mercedes

In case you happen to love Mercedes, there’s the Mercedes joint filter, which is actually pretty easy to roll. To begin, take your filter and proceed to make an accordion. At about four folds through, start forming the Mercedes shape, which is similar to an upside-down “Y.” Then, all that’s left to do is roll the remaining filter over the Mercedes symbol. Easy as pie, right?

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5. The Girelle

In less than three minutes, you can roll your very own girelle joint filter. To get started, grab one end of the filter and roll it over just a bit. Then, begin unrolling and rolling the end between your fingers. As you’re doing this, apply more pressure closer to the end so that it starts to form a girelle-like shape. While rolling, press down on every so often to tighten up the circle. Once you’ve got a decent-looking girelle, unfold the entire thing and proceed to roll it up again. Then, unfold yet again, roll the very end just a bit, flip it upside down, roll it forward slightly, and bring it up and fold it backward. At this point, you should be rolling over rather than under until you reach the opposite end. Once you’re there, you’re all finished.

6. The Cannabis Leaf

The cannabis leaf joint filter is probably the most challenging thing to roll. For this particular style, you’ll need a ca. 3cm by ca. 10 cm sized filter. About a third of the way, you’ll need to form an accordion, only with this one, you’ll need to fold the middle over more. That way, when you unroll the filter, it resembles the top of the cannabis leaf. Once you achieve that shape, use a pair of scissors to cut off a bit of the end of the first fold, making it smaller in width than the rest. Then, take the opposite end and roll it under rather than over, leaving a little space between it and the accordion end. Unroll it again, only slightly, then start rolling it more tightly. The top of the cannabis leaf should be facing the opposite direct as your roll. One you have some space between the roll and the leaf, begin rolling around it until the filter is complete.

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There you go! A few ways to get creative with your filter and enjoy the benefits they offer at the same time. Enjoy!

Written by: Brittney
A firm believer that cannabis can be a benefit to society, Brittney has enjoyed its subtleties for a long time. This love is reflected in her writing, which aims to inform, educate, and bring people together over a love of cannabis.

If you’re new to the wonderful world of joint filters, then read on for more information about why you should use them to enhance your smoking experience.