If you think that only the pros can create shatter, then you’re in for a surprise. Shatter is a cannabis concentrate made by extracting and processing the plant material with a solvent. This is done to coax out the terpenes and cannabinoids found in the resin glands, resulting in a potent, ultra-concentrated cannabis product. In just a few steps, you can recreate this process in the comfort of your home. This detailed guide provides everything you need to know on how to make shatter safely and easily.
What Is Shatter?
Shatter is a type of cannabis concentrate that contains exceptionally high levels of THC and other cannabinoids, ranging anywhere between 50 and 90 percent. It’s one of the many forms that butane hash oil (BHO) can take. Traditionally, butane – a flammable, colorless gas – is needed to separate the trichomes from the plant matter, although butane-free extraction methods have also emerged recently.
In terms of physical appearance, this extract generally comes in honey, amber color, and features glass-like transparency and candy-like consistency. It somewhat resembles caramel candies. The term “shatter” derives from the fact that it’s brittle and could “shatter” into a million tiny pieces when dropped. This is why you’ll need to be extra careful when handling, storing, and transporting the product.
A lot of factors affect the final appearance of shatter. How long it’s exposed to high temperatures, for one, dictates whether the extract will have a bright amber color or a darker yellow shade. Some are too brittle, while others have more of a pull-and-snap consistency. In any case, it’s important to note that the translucency and clarity of the product have nothing to do with potency. Put simply, shatter can contain up to 90 percent cannabinoid concentrations, regardless of its appearance.
While extremely versatile, smoking shatter can be more difficult than other types of cannabis and typically involves the use of smoking devices. Smoking out of a dab rig is by far the most popular approach, although you could also use a vaporizer specially designed for use with marijuana concentrates. An alternative option is to sprinkle a few crumbs of shatter on top of the dried flowers before lighting up your joint, pipe, or bong.
How to Make Shatter
Let’s get this out of the way. Making shatter at home can be dangerous, depending on what approach or recipe you’re following. Some extraction methods, for example, involve the use of butane, which is highly flammable and can cause skin burns or explosions with the slightest mishandling. Fortunately, there’s a safer – not to mention, faster and more convenient – way to make cannabis concentrate. That is, you can use kief.
Kief – also called dry sift and pollen – is the sticky, powdery substance that collects at the bottom of your herb grinder. There are plenty of ways to smoke and use kief, but processing it into weed extract is among the most straightforward and the most ingenious. Aside from kief, parchment paper and a hair straightener are all you need to whip up some shatter.
What You’ll Need
- Parchment paper or wax paper
- A hair straightener
- Heat-resistant gloves
- Dab tool
Ready the materials. You’ll need enough kief to cover a quarter-size piece of parchment paper. Make sure to discard any stems, leaves, and other unwanted plant bits. As for the parchment paper, opt for an unbleached, brown variant, which is free from any chemicals that can be passed on to the extract.
Lay your parchment paper on a clean, flat surface. Transfer your kief onto the sheet. Gather the material so it forms a square shape.
Start folding the parchment paper in squares, with the kief smack in the middle of the sheet. Ensure that each fold is tight and secure. You want every inch of the paper to wrap nicely around the wrap. Consider taping the sheep to keep it folded. You can also snip off any protruding parchment paper.
Fold another sheet of parchment paper over the flattened kief. This time, a single fold will do.
Turn on your hair straightener. Take it slowly and start with the lowest setting. Let it warm up for a couple of minutes. Make sure you’re wearing heat-resistant gloves or oven mitts from this point onward.
Hold the hair iron. Use your free hand to carefully sandwich the square of kief in between the heated plates.
Clamp the hair straightener together tightly, press hard, and hold. Alternatively, you can hold the iron with your dominant hand and position it on top of the table. Use your other hand to press down on top of the straightener, so that the device is right in between your hand and the table. Again, push down hard. Hold for about 10 to 20 seconds.
Turn off the hair straightener. Take out the parchment paper and unravel it. You should find some honey-colored substance trapped in the folds of the sheet. That’s your freshly squeezed shatter. Let it cool down for a bit.
Use a dab tool to collect the sticky material from the paper. This step may take some time, so be extra patient. Alternatively, you can also place the sheets inside the fridge for a few minutes. Once cooled, it will be easier to pry out the residual extract.
It’s recommended to smoke your shatter while it’s fresh. For best results, smoke it out of a dab rig. But if you’re not yet ready to toke up, simply place the concentrate inside a silicone jar. Make sure to consume it within three days. For longer storage, keep it inside an airtight glass container and smoke it within a week.
Bonus: How the Pros Make Shatter
Although our recipe involves the use of kief, know that shatter can actually be made with other cannabis plant material. Specifically, one can use properly cured nugs or even plant remnants like trim or shake. And being a type of BHO, manufacturing shatter entails the use of butane to isolate the resinous trichomes from the cannabis buds and trimmings. In reality, however, other solvents can also be used, including liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) or ethanol.
After separating the crystalline trichomes, the resulting mixture is gathered and heated. This is done to purge as much butane as possible. Some may also rely on a solvent-induced vacuum purge – which involves heat and compression – to remove any unwanted substances. Unlike other cannabis concentrates, shatter is not agitated during the heating process, giving it a translucent appearance. Once fully purged, it’s just a matter of letting the material settle into a thin sheet.
While relatively straightforward, it’s important to remember is that this extraction process should only be performed by professionals. If you want to go try the DIY route, our method, which doesn’t involve the use of dangerous solvents and expensive equipment, is your best bet. The last thing you want is to accidentally start a fire or blow up your home. If you’re not up for some experimentation and you live in a legal state, then simply purchase shatter extracts from a nearby dispensary.
Produce High-Quality Shatter in a Few Easy Steps
Shatter – named as such because of its brittleness and glass-like consistency – is an exceptionally potent cannabis concentrate. It has soared in popularity in recent years and has become an instant hit among marijuana smokers who are seeking a stronger, longer-lasting high. The traditional way to make shatter is to use butane to extract the valuable compounds from the buds. But due to butane’s volatile nature, this method can be dangerous and is best left to professionals. Lucky for you, there are alternatives. Perhaps the easiest, safest, and cheapest method is to force out the trichomes from kief using a hair straightener and parchment paper. With this method, rest assured that you’ll have some dab-worthy shatter ready in a jiffy.