How to grow a bong from a bottle gourd seed

Published Apr 30, 2021 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Cristina Ionescu

We’ve already shown you what’s possible when it comes to DIY bongs using household materials, but those devices are often wasteful, unhealthy, and only good for a short period of time. A bottle gourd bong can, if sealed correctly, last for several years, as the technique used to seal the fruit is taken from the practice of making them into water bottles.

What is a bottle gourd?

A bottle gourd is produced by a Calabash plant aka New Guinea bean, Lagenaria siceraria, long melon or white-flowered gourd, which is a vine that produces large, rounded fruits. Bottle gourds may be harvested at an early age to be used as a vegetable, or they may be left until fully mature which is when the gourds will harden, which turns them into the perfect material to create things with, like utensils or water bottles.

Why you might want to make a bottle gourd bong

There is no denying that growing and then making a water bottle gourd bong is a time-consuming adventure that requires commitment, but the payoff is more than worth it because it is:

Taste-free
So no metallic or woody aroma will interfere with the taste and smell of your herb.

It’s economical
Bottle gourds may be purchased through the grocery store, often found in international food sections for less than $5, which is far cheaper than your average store-bought bong.

Fun
The process of growing and creating a bottle gourd bong is really easy, which makes this project perfect for creators and enthusiasts of all experience levels.

Long-lasting
A bottle gourd bong will last for several years if it’s washed and maintained regularly.

Environmentally friendly
Even once you're done with this bottle gourd bong, you’ll be able to toss it away knowing that the materials will all break down naturally in the environment with no ill effects. This is because it is sealed with 100% natural ingredients.

How to get started

Here we’re going to give you some tips and tricks on how to get a bottle gourd plant started, and once these steps are complete, you’ll be able to move onto our handy list of instructions that will tell you how to complete your homemade masterpiece.

  1. Get your hands on a nice, fresh bottle gourd seed.

  2. Next, you’ll need a pot full of nutrient-rich soil, and this is where you have two choices. Either lay it flat on top of soil or press it ever so slightly into it, just enough to barely cover the exposed flat side.

  3. Generously water your bottle gourd seed and then leave it in a warm room just out of direct sunlight.

  4. It should only take 3-7 days for your seed to slowly sprout into a vine, and a trellis to climb should be provided.

  5. Pinch off the tips of the growing points on the vine to encourage new growth.

  6. Now you’ll have to wait anywhere from 2-3 months for the vegetables to appear and mature.

  7. When the bottle gourds are ready to be harvested as a bong building material, you’ll know it because the outsides will be thick and impossible to poke a fingernail through, almost like wood.

  8. Harvest your bottle gourds by twisting each one off the vine as it reaches peak ripeness.

Building a bottle gourd bong

Now that you’ve got a freshly harvested bottle gourd, it’s time to make the magic happen, and you aren’t going to need a whole toolbox to make that happen. Here, we’ll walk you step by step through the process of turning a gourd into the best, most natural bong you’ve ever tried!

You will need:

  • 1 bottle gourd
  • 1 large mixing bowl (filled halfway with a 10% bleach/ 90% water mixture)
  • 1 pair of rubber gloves
  • 1 abrasive sponge
  • 1 skewer
  • 1 handful of pebbles
  • 1 hack saw
  • 1 drill
  • 1 small pot
  • ½ cup beeswax
  • 1 pair of oven mitts
  • 1 heat resistant cup
  • 1 downstem with a bowl

Instructions

  1. Put on the gloves, get your water, and bleach solution ready, and then hold the bottle gourd overtop of the mixture, using your fingers or a slightly abrasive sponge to gently remove the dark outer layer. This might take some patience and a fair amount of arm work.

  2. Once all of the light, white layer is revealed, it’s time to remove the tip of the bottle gourd, and this can be done with a hacksaw. Take off as little as possible, removing only the stem and none of the vegetable so that it leaves a nice small mouthpiece.

  3. Use a skewer to tear apart the membranes inside of the bottle gourd, and then shake as much of the seeds out as you can.

  4. Slip each of the small pebbles into the gourd and then swirl and shake them around with force. This will remove any of the harder-to-get seeds or bits of membrane that you couldn’t touch with the skewer.

  5. Shake out the gourd once more, banging it hard on a clean surface to ensure that everything falls out, because our next step after drilling is sealing, which is easier to do if the inside is smooth.

  6. Take a look at your half-complete gourd bong and decide where you want to install a downstem and pipe, and then make a hole that will fit the one you have as snugly as possible.

  7. Add ½ cup of beeswax to a small pot, and melt it over low heat to avoid burning, stirring the mixture frequently until it is smooth, lump-free, and completely liquid.

  8. Pour approximately half of the beeswax directly into the bottle gourd, and then swish it around a few times to coat the bottom portion of the vegetable casing.

  9. Now, hold the bottle gourd on its side overtop of a cup to catch any wax that leaks out, which will happen as you slowly coat the remainder of the chamber right up to the mouthpiece.

  10. Keep twirling until any remaining liquid makes its way into the cup.

  11. Dump what’s left of the beeswax into the bong, and then repeat the twirling to coat process until you are confident that it’s sealed the inside.

  12. Install a downstem and bowl, which could come from any other type of smoking device you might have lying around.

  13. Fill the bottom chamber with water approximately halfway, and then take your new bong for a test run.

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