🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur
One of the greatest perks about our favorite cannabis concentrate is that you can easily create it right from the comfort of your own home. One of the most popular entry points into cannabis extraction is pressing rosin with a basic hair straightener. But can you really press quality rosin with a hair straightener?
Pressing rosin is a mechanical process with three main inputs at play: heat, pressure, and time. A hair straighter gives you control over all three of these variables, meaning you can create quality rosin within a modest budget.
If you’re just getting into solventless extraction and want to learn how to press your own rosin, the hair straightener method is a great way to get your feet wet. As long as you have access to high quality starting material, you can create fine rosin with a hair straightener. Whether you want to press a few grams of dried flowers, kief, or even some bubble hash, a hair straightener provides enough heat and pressure for a solid squish.
Pressing rosin with a hair straightener can provide enough rosin for personal use. It’s also good for experimentation, allowing you to quickly check different samples of material to see how it squishes. Pressing with a hair straightener also gives you a “feel” for the process and helps you develop a good baseline understanding of the extraction process.
Getting the Right Hair Straightener
To press rosin with a hair straightener, choose a hair straightener with a digital display that lets you adjust heat settings. You’ll want to use temperatures around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure the hair straightener operates within this range.
Rosin bags are also highly recommended. Rosin bags make the process more efficient and keep plant particles and other contaminants out of the rosin.
How to Press Rosin with a Hair Straightener
To press rosin with a hair straightener, begin by setting up a clean and well lit workspace. You should have space on a flat tabletop that can withstand a lot of pressure as you’ll be pressing with your body weight onto the hair straightener. If starting with dried cannabis flower, break the buds into small popcorn-sized chunks and evenly fill a 90 micron rosin bag.
Next, fold a piece of rosin parchment paper in half with the silicon-coated side on the inside. Place the filled rosin bag inside of the parchment paper. Preheat the hair straightener to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the hair straightener is heated to the correct temperature, place the parchment paper and rosin bag in between the plates and press down slowly and gradually. One side of the hair straightener should be down against the table top and you should apply pressure against the other side. Slowly increase the pressure until you’re pressing with your entire upper body weight, essentially pressing the hair straightener as hard as you can against the table.
If the iron doesn’t go as low as 200 degrees Fahrenheit at its lowest settings, unplug the iron for a minute and let it begin to cool before beginning your press.
The heat and pressure created will force rosin to squeeze out from the cannabis flower, through the rosin bag filter and onto the surrounding parchment paper. After a couple minutes of applying pressure, release the hair straightener and unfold the parchment paper. Remove the rosin bag and then use a dab tool or rosin collector to scrape the rosin from the paper.
One useful way to help with pressure generation and consistency is to use a hand clamp, easy to find online or in your local home improvement store. Place the clamp on the outside of the hair straightener over the heated plates and apply the needed pressure, then lock the clamp into place.
FEP sheets from The Press Club are great for short-term rosin storage and you can keep your freshly made rosin tucked away until you’re ready to dab. Because hair straighteners have small plates and can only accommodate a relatively minimal amount of pressure, you’re not going to get excessive yields. Therefore, long-term storage of excess rosin isn’t a concern, and often whatever you press is consumed shortly thereafter. If keeping rosin for more than a couple weeks, glass jar storage is the way to go.
Even though hair straighteners only allow you to press on a small scale, there are advantages to pressing rosin with hair straighteners. First, it’s the most cost-effective way to get into pressing rosin, and it’s easy to find hair straighteners at your local store or online. There are many options out there, and you can find a suitable hair straightener for under $100. Look for something with solid plastic casting and large or oversized heating plates.
Pressing at home with a hair straightener can be done in a small space, it doesn’t use a lot of electricity, and it doesn’t require an upfront time investment to set up or learn about specialized machinery. You can take a hair straightener right out of the box and start pressing in minutes. Finally, using a hair straightener helps you to develop a “feel” for the process. Feeling the intimate connection between your muscle power and the quality of a squish develops a “sense and respond” approach that will serve you well later in your extraction journey.
Hair straighteners are a great choice as a first step into the world of solventless extractions, but they do present some disadvantages too.
Depending on how you look at it, one disadvantage is the sweat equity you have to apply to the hair straightener method of pressing rosin. Using your muscles and body weight to apply pressure is a factor to consider. Try using a folded hand towel as a buffer between your hand and the hair straightener as you’re applying maximum pressure.
Because the heating plates in a hair straightener are small, and the amount of pressure you can physically apply is limited, producing a large quantity of rosin with a hair straightener is not feasible. It can be a slow-going process since only a small amount of source material can be pressed with each run.
Another disadvantage is the lack of control over temperature and pressure. Pressure and temperature are variables that are not only hard to control, but they’re difficult to accurately measure when pressing with a hair straightener.
Making rosin is a simple process, but it’s not always easy. With a hair straightener, you can create quality rosin and it actually is relatively easy. At the end of the day a hair straightener is a great on-ramp, but it’s not where you’ll likely spend the majority of your time on your extraction journey.