How to Roll Your Own Cigars at Home
Cigar Rolling Instructions:
Step 1 Separate Leaves
Separate your dried tobacco leaves into those designated for filler, binders, and wrappers, saving the most pristine for your wrappers. The filler leaf is usually a blend of different types of tobacco, but if you're growing your own and only have one, that will do.
Step 2 Moisten Leaves
Make sure all your leaves are moist, but not wet, and have a spray bottle on hand if the leaves become too dry.
Step 3 Remove Stems
Gently remove the stems from your leaves, all the way up the length of the leaf (i.e. the middle vein), which will separate them into two pieces. Smooth out your binder and wrapper leaves and set them aside. Make sure the leaves remain moist.
Step 4 Shred or Bundle Leaves
You can either shred your filler leaves into small pieces (like the smoking tobacco you can buy in the store), or just bundle them up into a cylinder that is about an inch longer than your fist on each side. Make sure to keep your filler moist, but NOT wet.
Step 5 Trim a Binder Leaf
Spread out a binder leaf on a smooth workstation (wood or stainless steel work best, if available) and trim a bit off the edges to straighten them out. Traditionally, a blade called a chaveta is used, but any sharp blade will do.
Step 6 Glue
You will need some sort of glue to hold the cigar together. Tragacanth and guam gum are often used, but cheap and accessible alternative are egg whites or ¼ tsp. flour with 2-3 tsp. water.
Step 7 Fill the Binder Leaf
Fill the binder leaf with the fill tobacco and roll it into a cylinder. Make sure to add a little bit of your glue along the edge of the binder leaf, and a bit at the end when you finish the wrap. It may be easier to use the long bunched filler leaver instead of shredding it, as you can just roll it up the leaves at an angle, sort of like candy cane striping.
Step 8 Mold the Cigar
Place the rolled cigar body in a mold and let it sit, heat it at a low temperature, or press it to give the cigar a more perfect shape. Cigars should stay in the mold for an hour or two. However, if you are just rolling for fun and don't have a mold, it isn't necessary.
Step 9 Make the Shell
After the cigar has been molded, lay out the wrapper with the veins up and going away from you and smooth it out gently. Be sure to keep it moist, as if the leaf is too dry it will crack, and too wet it will tear. This is the outermost shell of your cigar so be careful!
Step 10 Trim the Shell Edges
Cut away the edges of the wrapper like you did for the binder leaf but make sure the top cut is impeccable. Straight across with no bumps or dips.
Step 11 Roll the Wrapper onto the Body Mold
Place the bottom of your molded cigar body at one end of the wrapper with a bit of extra at the bottom (i.e. not completely flush with the bottom of the wrapper) and roll the body along the rolling paper keeping it on the rolling surface. Put a bit of your glue on the edge of the wrapper, and at the end when you finish the wrap as well. You can pull it back or move it around on the surface to get more tension or space, but don't dry to roll the wrapper up the body while holding it up in the air. Roll the wrapper up at an angle, in the same candy cane stripe fashion.
Step 12 Finish the Cigar
Once the body is wrapped, you will have excess wrapping leaf at both ends of the cigar. There are many ways to finish a cigar, and how you choose to is up to you. The bottom end is usually just cut flush (preferably with a cigar cutter), and the top is often twisted up, cut just at the tip, and then an extra circular piece of leaf is added as a cap. There are other variations, such as the pig's tail or the torpedo, but if you are a beginning wrapper, you can always just twist it up and cut it. Not as pretty, but it will do the job.
Step 13 Age Your Cigar
Your cigar is finished! Put it in a humidor (if you have one, it is a cigar box that maintains the right temperature and humidity), or make sure to store the cigar(s) somewhere that has a moderate temperature and humidity, such as your living room. Your cigar will take a while to age, but it would probably be best to wait a minimum of a couple of months before smoking, to allow the tobacco to mellow and blend.