How to Roll a Cigarette: Hand-Roll vs. Rolling Machine
There are many reasons why it is a good idea to roll your own cigarettes. Pre-rolled cigarettes can be quite costly, and depending on how much you smoke, the cost every week can add up to a substantial amount of money. Rolling your own provides a more cost-effective way of enjoying your tobacco. All you have to do is buy a pack of tobacco, papers, and some filters, and you can roll your own cigarettes at the fraction of the cost of pre-rolled cigarettes.
Rolling your own cigarettes will also help you cut down on your cigarette consumption. One way this happens is a result of the increased effort involved in rolling a cigarette as opposed to simply picking one out of a pocket and lighting it, which often reduces the number of cigarettes smoked. Additionally, hand-rolled cigarettes can be made to a preferred length and breadth, which is often far less than the quantity of tobacco used in a pre-roll.
If you are looking to learn how to roll a cigarette, this article takes you through two ways of doing it: with your hands and with a rolling machine.
We’ll start with hand-rolling first.
Using Your Hands
The video below makes it easy for you to learn how to hand-roll a cigarette. Check out the step-by-step instructions below for more information.How to hand roll a cigarette
First, make sure you’re holding the paper properly. Most rolling papers come already folded. If not, simply fold it with the lower flap measuring about one-third of the width of the paper. Place your left index finger in between the fold, with your other fingers supporting the outside of the paper.
Place the filter in between the fold, either on the left or the right, depending on your preferences.
Place just enough tobacco in the fold to make a cigarette. As you become more experienced at rolling, you will be able to better estimate how much tobacco you will need. Spread the tobacco evenly along the fold.
Compress the tobacco down gently with your fingers. This will make it easier to form the tobacco into a cylindrical shape.
Fold the bottom edge of the paper over the tobacco.
This is the hardest part: actually rolling the cigarette. Roll the lower edge of the paper gently back and forth over the tobacco, forming a sort of ‘log’ or cylinder.
Keeping your fingers on the paper, roll the lower edge down until it is flush with the top of the tobacco.
Push the top fold of the paper over the tobacco with your two index fingers.
Keep rolling the lower edge of the paper inwards until the cylinder begins to take shape.
Make sure that the cigarette is formed into a slightly tight cylinder, and then lick or moisten the gum strip to seal the cigarette.
With the filter edge down, tap the cigarette gently several times on a hard, even surface in order to even out the tobacco. This will ensure a smoother smoking experience and a more even burn.
At this point, you should have a fully rolled cigarette ready to smoke. Don’t worry if the first one you make isn’t perfect. Rolling your own cigarettes can be tricky at first, but you will get better at it over time. With practice, you will soon be rolling great-looking and great-smoking cigarettes like a pro!
Using a Rolling Machine
For inexperienced rollers, a rolling machine is a really useful accessory. They are fairly simple devices that enable you to roll your herbs neatly and efficiently with minimal wastage.
Best of all, you can roll up even more quickly than when rolling with just your hands, and the resulting roll-up will look more professional and perform much more effectively. Rolling machines typically have two cylinders mounted one in front of the other. Around both cylinders, a synthetic smooth-surfaced fabric (usually made of plastic or nylon) is loosely wrapped. This material keeps the herb in place while rolling, and it also ensures a tight and even roll.
If you’re interested in learning how to use a rolling machine, we’ve outlined the steps involved below.
The first step is to load the rolling machine with your herbal material of choice. In order to keep your workspace neat and to avoid wastage, you might want to place the machine on a piece of paper first.
For smoother rolling and more efficient performance, it is advisable to grind up your herbs as evenly as possible, making sure that there are no stems that can poke through the paper and create holes.
Now is also the time to decide if you want to use a filter. If so, simply place it into the rolling machine and slide all the way to the right or left before placing your tobacco or ground-up herbs in the machine as normal.
Close the cylinders by pushing them together, making sure that all the ground up herbs are inside. Roll both cylinders gently toward you, making sure that the rolling material is taut all the way through. Keep rolling the cylinders, gradually increasing the pressure on the herb. This will help shape the herb in a cylindrical form, preparing it for the next step.
At this point, you are ready to insert the paper into the rolling machine. Make sure that the paper you use is sized to fit the length of the rolling machine. If necessary, cut a larger piece of paper in order to fit it into the rolling machine. Insert the paper in between the cylinders, with the gum side up and facing toward you.
Roll both cylinders until you see the paper slip in between the cylinders. Keep rolling while maintaining the tightness of the rolling material around the cylinders.
After you have given it a few good rolls, open up the machine and take out the rolled cigarette. Make sure that the paper is rolled evenly around the cigarette, and then moisten the gummed edge in order to seal it. At this point, you should have a neatly rolled cigarette! With practice, you will get better and better at rolling until your cigarettes look virtually indistinguishable from commercial cigarettes.
Also check out our Rolling Paper Size Guide, a useful resource which explains the various sizes of rolling papers.