Author: Guy Greene
Published: December 20, 2016
Solventless cannabis rosin creation techniques are all the rage for at-home marijuana enthusiasts and for good reason: It’s simple to make using equipment you have at home keeping quality high (pun intended) and cost low. In this tutorial we’ll teach you how to turn kief into premium, full-melt rosin using a flat iron, unbleached coffee filters and parchment paper.
Want to make your own top-shelf kief, but not sure how? Check out our recent tutorial on dry ice THC trichome extraction now: CLICK HERE.
Why it works:
The flat iron applies heat and pressure to the cannabinoid resin found in kief, flower, or bubble hash. The melted resin is pressed through a fine-micron filter creating rosin. Rosin is different from “Shatter” in that it is solventless (ie: no remnant solvents from methods using butane or propane), a plus for those wanting the most pure product without lots of machinery.
Things to look out for:
- Exposing your kief to higher temperatures in the 300°F- 335°F range will lead to a higher yield, but flavor and stability will suffer resulting in sap-like consistency. To get the full benefits of those delicious terpines, keep temperatures between 200°F- 300°F. The low-temp technique will create a brittle, “shatter” consistency.
- For a higher quality product, choose a filter with a low micron value. Keep in mind your overall yield will be less – You’re going for quality over quantity. (A micron or micrometer is a unit of length equal to one millionth of a meter. The smaller the micron value, the finer the filter).
- Be careful when handling the flat iron, it’s hot and can burn you. Heat-resistance gloves may be used for added safety.
- Special note for anyone not familiar with baking: parchment paper and wax paper are NOT the same thing. Get non-stick parchment paper.
- Work in a clean area. No sense going through all this to smoke dog hair or bagel crumbs.
Hair straightener/ Flat Iron- Most of these come with one inch or two inch wide heating plates. Go with the two inch if you can. You’ll be able to process more at a time, have more surface area for your clamp, and will be able to maintain a more even heat. Also, there are Brands now that are made for just our purposes, offering stronger design and exact heat (many hot-iron heat settings are just numbered 1-30).
Coffee Filters/Micron Bags – You can buy specially made filter bags for rosin making, or you can use coffee filters. Seriously. Not all coffee filters are made equally though. Cheap round ones can tear easily and are weird to fold. I use Chemex coffee filters. They are huge flat squares that can be cut in 4, making them crazy cheap. As a bonus, they’re made without any chemicals like bleach.
Parchment Paper- Any will do, just make sure it’s not wax paper.
Trigger Clamp- Some people like to use brute force or stand on the flat iron. Instead, go to a hardware store and spend ten bucks on a trigger clamp.
Pollen Press/PVC- This is assuming you’ll be pressing Kief. It’s easier to work with when pressed into little pucks than in powder form. Pollen presses are designed for exactly this, but can be expensive. While you’re at the hardware store picking up a trigger clamp, buy a cheap piece of remnant PVC pipe,
Dowel– a cheap wooden dowel can be bought most sizes to matche the size of your pipe. Viola! you have a cheap pollen press
Kief- Cheaper than buds and gives great yields.
(Not Pictured) Disposable Gloves– Don’t use your kitchen gloves… They’re dirty.
(Not Pictured) Silicone Jars- Rosin has trouble sticking to silicone, making it the perfect material for a container once you’re done.
- (Not Pictured) Infrared Gun – Not necessary but recommended. for $30 you can take a lot of the guess work out of what temperature you’re actually pressing at.
How-to Create Rosin:
First we press the kief into little pellets. Cut a piece of PVC pipe about 2 inches long. Fill it with kief and hammer it down a few times with the dowel until its compacted to about a 1 inch pellet. Then lift up the pipe and use the dowel to pop the pellet out the back of the pipe onto a piece of parchment paper. It won’t be perfect and there will be crumbs falling out with the pellet. That’s okay! The parchment paper makes this easier to gather up and pack into another pellet. Making these pellets allows us to process more material in a smaller space, and makes it less likely you’ll spill loose kief on the outside of your bags, which will end up in your final product.
While learning, start with pressing one pellet, but eventually you can do 2 or more at once. Cut a 3 1/2 inch square of coffee filter and set the pellet in the center. Fold each side towards the middle tightly. You’ll have to keep your finger on it to keep it from trying to open up on you. Fold a large piece of parchment in half and stick the pellet pouch in the crease of the parchment paper. Keep the pellet pinched so it doesn’t open. Once you’re pressing the pellet, the flat iron will keep it from unfolding.
Slide the pellet/filter/parchment sandwich into the flat iron. Leave as much of the excess parchment paper hanging outside the flat iron as possible, so that once your rosin becomes hot enough to become liquid, it can escape to a part of the paper that’s not being heated. You want your rosin over heat for as little time as possible so you don’t cook it too long. Getting rosin too hot or heating it for too long will change the consistency from flavorful golden amber, to sticky dark muck.
Attach the clamp to the area over the puck with very little force at first. Applying pressure too soon can lead to busted filters and sometimes can lock all the rosin into the puck basically for good. As you start to hear it sizzle slowly increase the pressure and watch the magic happen! The more you are pressing, the longer it will take. The whole process in the iron should only take about 30-45 seconds. Once you’ve given the clamp one final hard squeeze, remove the clamp and pull the rosin/paper out of the flat iron.
Set the paper aside for a few minutes until it’s cooled. If it’s hot where you are, it can help to put the paper in the fridge for a minute. It will make the rosin more stiff and let go of the paper more easily. To gather up all the rosin, use a dabber tool or some other long utensil. Once a little bit of rosin has stuck to the utensil, you can use that to scrape up more. Rosin likes sticking to more of itself than parchment paper. At this point you can dab it right this very minute! Store any extra in silicone jars or a clean piece of parchment paper.
Do you have anything to add to this article? Some variation on the technique? Comment below! I’m sure there’s lots of cool techniques we haven’t thought of!
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of our readers reached out on social media with questions. As these roll in, we’ll add them with our answers below.
Q:Do you need a filter when pressing buds?
A: You’re bound to get some crumbs in your product without a filter. Some people press buds without a filter and then gather up all the rosin they’ve made, and press it again, this time with a filter. The second pressing can be done at a much lower temperature, to preserve the flavor and quality.
Q:How much pressure do I use on the press?
A: All you’ve got! If you’re a buff stud, you might crack your hair straightener, but it’s not a problem I’ve run into personally. I’ve been told having a second trigger clamp is useful for that extra bit of oomph.
Woohoo – This tutorial was featured in the January 2017 edition of Stoner Magazine! We couldn’t be more thrilled. Go pick up your hard copy and read it cover to cover for the latest cannabis culture news.