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DIY Dabs (aka A Great Homemade Dabs Debacle)

Let me start by saying, I went into this assignment with Gonzo enthusiasm. I had heard about making your homemade dabs by reading Motherboard and I hoped to find an achievable way to obtain the geographically unobtainable. With hopes high, I set out on what I hoped to be an epic adventure into the art of homemade dabs.

This is my journey into homemade dabs, such as it is.

Visiting a small town in America, access to a high-quality product can be problematic. Sure, one can find stuff. Is it good? Meh…
Is it as good as the big cities? Not bloody likely.

Reggie is usually available with minimal effort. Quality is adequate, at best. Knowing most stoners won’t be able to blow mass quantities of money on squashing large juicy nugs. I decided I would start with this as my first experiment. If I get home made dabs right, who knows, perhaps I could become the new dealer in town. Showtime’s Weeds was always my favorite TV show and I have always had fantasies of selling the finest to rich house moms.

I went through the possibilities for heat sources.

Clothes irons, tortilla irons, flat irons, and heated hydraulic press. That last one was more of an “I wish!”, then an actual consideration. I read about others using a hair straighter to make dabs at home but I thought I would try a few others before resorting to such a small tool.

The clothes iron would not apply adequate heat to the entirety of the bud. Temps required for rendering are between 250° – 300° (121° – 148° C).

The tortilla iron didn’t reach a high enough heat.

Thus, leaving the trusty ol’ flat iron.

In defense of my beloved tortilla iron, let me convey this: I tried. She tried. It may have been the bud.

Since I had not decided to opt for the higher quality stuff, I can honestly admit to not giving her a fair chance. I’d love to be able to fill that surface with a nice helping of the greens, but this isn’t that kind of party. Yet.

What I did was, using wax paper (don’t judge me) and a few larger nugs, I proceeded to sufficiently smash and heat my goods as to make them likened to crumbly green cardboard.

Not quite what I intended.

As for the by-product, the “Dab”, if there was any, it was minuscule. If there had been any viable resin seeped from the lowly buds, it had been absorbed by the wax of the paper as it melted. Not at all like my dream of smoking a large dab like a Rolling Stone reader.

Yes. Really. Epic Home Made Dabs FAIL!

I’m rather ashamed, honestly. I know one isn’t supposed to use wax paper on direct heat over minimal temperatures. I know what happens when one applies heat to wax. Yet, I sacrificed so you, dear Reader, would not do so needlessly.

That’s what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.

But perhaps I was a little stoned and just did not feel like going to the shops and out the house.

Those buds weren’t the best but they were my buds, man! Gotta love them all.

The experiment did allow me to see that the tortilla iron was overkill for my small offerings. Downsizing would probably prove prudent at this point. So if you can’t beat them, join them.

Enter The Fabulous Flat Iron.

One would think, as a modern woman with really long hair, I would own a flat iron. I, however, do not. My daughter got one for Christmas that cost over $120. Do I allow her to let me possibly break her precious tool of infinite beauty for what could possibly be the coolest marijuana hack ever?

Yes. Yes, I do.

It is my proud privilege to be the parent of a hippie spirited princess. Beautiful, talented, and by far the best blunt roller I’ve met. Armed with the knowledge of her love of cannabis and anything associated, I set out to rope her in to coming along on my little DIY dab adventure.

Having failed in my first attempt, but not willing to be defeated, I embarked on the arduous task of convincing her to let me play with her favorite toy for the love of marijuana dabs.

I verbally relived the trauma of my failed attempt and lost leafy friends to my daughter. I showed her my flat brownish buds and darkish stuff on my wax paper.
…and she laughed at me!

“Mom, we can use my straightener!”

It’s times like these that make me proud of my pot smoking daughter.

We hopped into my 1996 Toyota Celica, Janis, and headed to the Baskit for some good old fashioned parchment paper.

Having thus procured the paper, we went for better test subjects.

Let the fun begin.

The temperature we want to get the oils out of the marijuana buds needs to be less than 250° – 300° F (121° – 149° C), so we opted for the medium setting on the iron. We figured an expensive iron like this one would surely be heating higher than that.

The parchment didn’t need to be excessive, enough to envelope the bud is plenty. Of course, I opted for a huge piece of marijuana, enough for a good few joints and a day or two’s supply for a stoner like me.

Being the brilliant young lady she is, my daughter did not want to use very much on the first go. I, remembering my previous failure with lesser goods, decided to err on the side of caution and start small.

Good thing I did, too.

The first thing that little bugger did was pop right out the side of the paper. (Remember, Reader, I suggested enough parchment to ENVELOPE the bud. Close those sides, Reader.)

Having retrieved the cannabis nuglet and secured it more safely in its wrapper, we pressed again.

As one can see, there seems to be some resin on the parchment. Not enough for me to call it a success, though.

Next, using the same parchment and a larger nug.

We tried again.

Once again, this is where wrapping your goods comes in helpful. The bigger the bud, the more likely one is to watch it fly. Remember to envelop, Reader.

This attempt produced a much bigger and no less flat bud as seen on previous DIY dab attempts.

We used as much pressure as possible without damaging the beloved flat iron, and in doing so were able to produce a minute amount of cannabis resin as to be able to see it without squinting.

We promptly decided to put it in a blunt. There are so little reaped from sowing, there are not many options.

Were we to have an iron that could be broken without much grief, it may be possible to pull out more.

I’m not gonna risk it.

I have seen the DIY Dab ad where they press on the buds and the resin pours out. I also see how much product is required to do so. With my limited budget and lack of desire to degrade my goods for so little reward, I choose to just smoke it as is.

So, back to the question at hand:

Can one make DIY Dabs at home?

That’s how much Rosin I got off of that little bud, which can still be used for cooking. Photo by the DAVID BIENENSTOCK.

In my humble opinion, yes. If one has access to high-quality green it is highly possible for one to get good dabs at home.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely not. I did not enjoy the sacrifices made for so little result and The amount of product needed to make this possible with the quality available to me makes it a mediocre victory at best and a waste of buds at worst.

I found this to be more hassle than it was worth.

Granted, I had a great time with experiment. It is always great spending time with great human beings and herb. I did not enjoy the leftovers from the rendering and my daughter and I had a bonding experience like no other parents get to have with their kids.

I mean it was not a great bud, to begin with, but at least I WANTED to smoke it before I started. But if I had I probably would have chilled at home and not got to spend the day with family and having fun.

I have learned that either the quality of the herb here stinks.

Or it’s better to just let the pros do the dab making.

Seeing as how this is my own personal experience, I cannot say, Reader, that you would have the same results making your own dabs at home. I do hope that, if one does choose to attempt this, one uses my folly to prevent your own loss of nuglet buddies.

It is safe to assume that one would need good quality bud, a good source of radiant heat, PARCHMENT paper, patience, and a complete indifference to the waste of it all.

I am as willing as the next one to try new things. Experimenting is fun. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t do it. It saddens me to say that this is not one of my more successful endeavors.

What a mission…

The flat iron would have been able to produce small amounts of product in one go, making a good rendering an epic undertaking.

The larger quantity rendering is where the tortilla iron would have been a better choice. Given the larger surface area and ability to really put a good push on the handle for pressure, it could have made a good little DIY home dab maker. For now, it will return to making my homemade tortillas hot before I serve them.

I still have the clothing iron I could try.

Although the complete and even heating of the bud is harder to achieve with said iron.

Of course, I’m still not taking the hydraulic press off my wish list.

So, who knows! Maybe with enough bud and good friends, anything could be possible.

If you have managed to make your own dabs at home let us know in the comments if you thought it was worth it.

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