how to make dabs

How to Make Dabs

Want to learn how to make dabs? At Daily High Club, we love all kinds of dabs and cannabis extracts, although we don't love their high prices at dispensaries. Thankfully, you can make dabs at home if you have the right tools.

Although these dabs might not be as pure as those from a dispensary, you can still get homemade dabs of pretty high quality with a bit of elbow grease.

Here's everything you need to know about making dabs at home. Just remember to be careful when handling fragile or hot items!

Making Dabs with Alcohol Extraction

Here's how to make dabs with alcohol extraction at home:

For this extraction method, you'll need:

  • High-quality cannabis flower
  • Isopropyl alcohol (99%)
  • Glass mixing bowl
  • Coffee filters or cheesecloth
  • Double boiler or water bath
  • Razor blade or dab tool
  • Ventilated area and protective gear (gloves, goggles)

Prepare your cannabis by grinding it into a coarse powder. The finer the grind, the more plant matter may be extracted, so you might want to go finer than usual. Once you have your ground cannabis, place it in a glass mixing bowl and freeze it for at least 2 hours. This helps to preserve terpenes and cannabinoids during the extraction process.

After a couple of hours, remove the cannabis from the fridge and pour enough isopropyl alcohol over it to fully submerge it. Stir gently for about 2-3 minutes to allow the alcohol to extract the cannabinoids.

Next, set up your strainer over another container and slowly pour the alcohol-cannabis mixture through it. This will filter out the plant material, leaving you with a liquid solution containing the extracted cannabinoids along with the alcohol.

To remove the alcohol, place the filtered liquid into a double boiler or a glass dish over a water bath and heat the mixture gently, allowing the alcohol to slowly evaporate. Make sure you're doing it in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling any fumes.

As the alcohol evaporates, a thick, sticky substance will form on the surface of the dish. This is your cannabis concentrate, or "dab."

Once most of the alcohol has evaporated, use your razor blade or dab tool to collect the concentrate from the dish. Be careful, as it will be sticky and potent.

Safety Tips:

  • Always work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling alcohol fumes.
  • Wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles to prevent direct contact with alcohol and with the concentrate.
  • Keep open flames or sparks away from the extraction area, as alcohol is highly flammable.
  • Store your homemade dabs in a clean, airtight container away from heat and light to preserve their potency.

Making Dabs with Ice Water Extraction

Ice water extraction is a safer and very effective method for creating dabs, particularly bubble hash. This technique consists of using cold water and ice to gently separate trichomes from the plant material, resulting in a clean and solventless concentrate.

Compared to other extraction methods that involve solvents like butane or alcohol, ice water extraction is much safer since there's no risk of chemical residue in the final product, and there's no heat or pressure.

You'll Need:

  • High-quality cannabis flower
  • Ice
  • Purified water
  • Bubble bags with varying mesh sizes
  • Bucket or large container
  • Stirring utensil
  • Drying screen

Start by freezing your cannabis and a generous amount of purified water for at least an hour before starting the process.

Now that your material is frozen, place it in a bucket or large container and cover it with ice, slowly adding enough cold water to fully submerge it. Stir the mixture gently for about 15 to 20 minutes. The cold water and ice will cause the trichomes to become brittle and separate from the plant material.

After mixing, use a set of bubble bags with varying mesh sizes to strain the mixture, starting with the bag with the largest mesh size and working your way down to the finest mesh to filter out the plant material while leaving behind the trichomes. Rinse the bags with more cold water to ensure you've captured all the trichomes.

Once you've collected the trichomes in the bags, carefully remove them and place them on a drying screen to allow the trichomes to dry completely. This can take a few days, depending on the humidity levels.

After the water has fully dried out, the trichomes will form a powdery substance known as bubble hash. This is your dab concentrate.

You can store your bubble hash in a clean, airtight container away from heat and light to better preserve it.

Dabbing Techniques and Devices

You can enjoy your concentrate directly by using one of these two devices:

Dab Rigs

A dab rig is a type of water pipe specifically designed for vaporizing concentrates. It consists of a glass chamber, a nail (or banger), a dab tool, and a blow torch. To use it, start by heating the nail or banger with a torch until it reaches the desired temperature, usually indicated by the change of the banger's color. The ideal temperature for dabbing is typically between 315°F and 450°F (157°C and 232°C).

Place a small amount of concentrate (a rice grain-sized dab) on the dab tool while allowing the nail to cool down slightly. Then, carefully place the concentrate from the dab tool onto the hot surface of the banger while inhaling slowly.

Exhale and enjoy!

If you want more details about the process, be sure to read our guide on how to use a dab rig.


Vaporizers designed for concentrates offer a more portable, simple, and discreet option for dabbing. Although lacking water filtration, vape pens can still produce great vapor and are good devices for vaping all types of dabs, from budder to shatter and everything in between.

Usually, you must load a small amount of concentrate into the vaporizer chamber, turn on the dab pen, and start vaping!

Other consumption methods

Don't have a vaporization device? Here are other ways you can consume it:

  • Roll a joint: Distribute your concentrate evenly as you're rolling a joint, or heat it up and use it to coat the outside of a joint along with some kief.
  • Make edibles: Cannabis concentrates are perfect for edibles. If the concentrate was acquired through a heat-based extraction, like with rosin dabs, the THC in them will already be activated, so you can easily make cannabis oil or use it in your munchies projects without having to cook it.
  • Pack a bowl: Sandwich your concentrate between ground nugs in a bowl or use it to crown a bowl, add it on top of it, and smoke it up with a bong.

Tips for Quality:

  • Use purified water to avoid any impurities affecting the final product.
  • Maintain a cold environment throughout the process to keep the trichomes brittle and easily separated.
  • Choose high-quality cannabis with a high resin content for better yields.

Making Dabs with a Rosin Press 

Using a rosin press is arguably the safest method for making dabs since it requires no solvents, and the machine does most of the work for you. While it can be an expensive investment, the quality, amount, and purity of the rosin it produces are often worth it.

You'll Need:

  • Cannabis flower or hash
  • Rosin press
  • Parchment paper
  • Collection tool (such as a dabber or scraper)
  • Clean, airtight container for storage

Set up your rosin press according to the manufacturer's instructions, adjusting the temperature and pressure settings based on the results you're looking for.

Prepare your cannabis flower or hash by placing it between two pieces of parchment paper to prevent sticking and make collection easier. Then, place the parchment paper with the cannabis inside the heated press plates. Start applying pressure gradually and consistently, allowing the heat and pressure to slowly squeeze out the rosin from the cannabis.

Once you're fully pressing, maintain that pressure, usually for around 30 seconds to 3 minutes before releasing it. Then, carefully remove the parchment paper from the press and use a dabber or scraper to gather the rosin from the parchment paper.

Transfer your collected rosin to a clean, airtight container for storage.

If you're in the market for a rosin press, check out this HTP rosin press from DHC!

Storing and Handling Dabs

If you want to preserve the quality of your dabs, you need to store them properly, avoiding exposure to air, light, heat, or moisture, which can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes in them.

For short-term storage or transportation, you can use silicone jars like these, which will allow you to store and scrape off all your cannabis wax easily. However, these can attract dust with time, so airtight glass containers like these ones are a better option for long-term storage.

Always handle your dabs using dab tools made from non-reactive materials like titanium, quartz, or ceramic. Avoid using tools made from aluminum, plastic, and other similar materials, as they can react with the concentrate and affect its flavor.

Risks and Benefits of Homemade Dabs

Making dabs at home allows you to make concentrate out of whatever strain you want, and it can be a great learning experience that can teach you more about cannabis, plant material, and the world of cannabis. Also, it can be cheaper than buying them, especially if you're a seasoned dabber or invest in good equipment.

That being said, dispensaries often offer concentrates like live resin and butane hash oil that, unless you're a grower or invest a large amount of money, you probably won't be able to make at home, and you will likely not be able to compete with the quality of some dabs found in a dispensary.

Plus, it's always safer and more convenient to buy concentrate than it is to extract it yourself.

Final Thoughts

While a bit complicated, making dabs at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. If considering making DIY dabs, do your research and make sure you're being careful!

If you are interested in dabbing, explore our selection of dab rigs!

Making Dabs: FAQs

Here are the answers to common questions on making dabs:

What is the safest method to make dabs at home?

The safest method to make dabs at home is arguably using a rosin press. Rosin extraction requires no solvents, reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals. With a rosin press, only heat and pressure are used to extract concentrate from cannabis flower or hash, resulting in a clean and activated product.

How should dabs be stored to maintain their potency?

Dabs should be stored in airtight containers to maintain their potency and flavor. For long-term storage, airtight glass containers are better as they are non-reactive and won't leach harmful chemicals into the concentrate. For short-term storage or transportation, you can use silicone containers, but they should not be used for extended periods as they tend to attract dust and particles.

Can you make dabs without a dab rig?

Yes, there are alternative methods to consume dabs without a traditional dab rig:

  • Dab Pen/Vaporizer: Portable vaporizers designed for concentrates offer a convenient way to dab on the go. They heat the concentrate to the appropriate temperature for vaporization.
  • Hot Knives: This old-school method involves heating two butter knives on a stove or with a torch, then pressing a small dab between the two knives to create vapor.
  • DIY Dab Straw: You can make a simple dab straw using a glass or metal tube. Heat one end, apply the concentrate to the heated end, and inhale from the other end.

Read our guide on how to dab without a rig to learn more.

What are the risks of making dabs at home?

Depending on the extraction method you're using, these are some of the dangers if you're not careful while making dabs at home:

  • Fire and Explosion: Extraction methods involving flammable solvents like butane or alcohol can lead to fire or explosion if not handled with extreme caution.
  • Health Risks: Without a good purging system your dab may contain residual solvents, which can be harmful if consumed.
  • Legal Concerns: In some jurisdictions, home extraction of concentrates may be illegal without proper permits or licenses.
  • Quality Control: Homemade dabs may vary in potency and purity, leading to inconsistent experiences and potential health risks.

Remember to always prioritize your safety when making dabs at home, and consider purchasing professionally made concentrates from reputable sources if you aren't sure if you can make dabs at home safely.

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