All photos by the author
Look, I’ll take my weed where I can get it, but smoking out of a Volcano just feels more luxurious. German utility at its finest, there’s a reason why this OG vaporizer from Storz & Bickel is coveted among discerning cannasseurs: it’s efficient as hell and delivers unmatched, clean-as-air pulls from a party-friendly valve balloon. And it has the kind of durability you should expect for something that costs $479 (far too rich for my blood, but certainly a better value than, say, burning $78 joint papers).
That said, form definitely does not match function. The Volcano is downright ugly, and possibly the most unattractive desktop dry herb vaporizer on the market — which says a lot considering most desktop vapes lack all personality (aside from the handful of natural wood ones from Ditanium, Sticky Brick Labs and E-Nano). For such a hefty price tag, it would be nice to have something more akin to the countless handcrafted ceramics, glassware, and other smokeables made by indie crafts(wo)men that are quickly claiming real estate on my bookcase. So, when luck should have it that I received a second-generation hand-me-down Volcano via a friend-of-a-friend, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to bust out my glue gun and rhinestones for a little stoned bedazzling.
If you aren’t the crafty type or just want someone else to do it, the New York City outpost of luxury smoke shops Higher Standards sells custom painted Volcanoes (which will cost you $780 for a classic, or $980 for a digital version). But if you’re on a budget, appreciate looking at shiny things, and enjoy soothing, repetitive activities while you’re high, then this DIY tutorial was made for you. Here’s how to turn a boring hunk of stainless steel into a magnificent, glittering, disco ball-esque work of functional art.
- 1 sheet of paper
- 1 pen or pencil
- 1 vaporizer
- 1 large box of craft rhinestones, beads, gems, buttons and/or pearls — your choice
- 1 glue gun
- 1 pair of tweezers
Design and Prep Your Layout
I suppose if I had actually paid for my own Volcano, I might have followed this step, as this is a much better way to develop a custom design that will fit instead of freestyling. Learn from my mistake! Measure your Volcano (the dimensions should be roughly 8 inches x 7 inches) and trace it onto a sheet of paper. Use a pen or pencil to sketch your design, and then fill in a test line with rhinestones to fit.
I opted for a candy striped pattern and heart-shaped tramp stamp loosely inspired by the color scheme in problematic early ‘90s board game, “Pretty Pretty Princess.” I also spent hours looking at Instagram acrylic nail videos from Cardi B and Nail Sunny. If you have cool beads or a unique theme in mind (a tribute to Uncle Snoop, perhaps?), the options for creative expression are limitless. Chase your bliss!
Also, to avoid making a sticky mess, lay down a towel or a sheet (you don't mind destroying) on which to do your project. Your carpet, floors, or counter will thank you later!
Clean Your Volcano
No judgment, but if your Volcano looks like it was excavated from a swamp, give it a solid scrub — inside and out — so it’ll be primed to go. After all, do you really want to go through the trouble of making your vaporizer sparkle and then take a less-than-pristine first hit? Didn’t think so. Isopropyl alcohol is my go-to for removing gunked up resin from all my smokeware. Wipe down the outside and soak any detachables before you get to work.
Working in quarter-size sections, place a thin line of hot glue directly onto the Volcano and use the tweezers to quickly set your rhinestones before it dries. Not only is this easier than trying to glue hundreds of tiny individual gems, but you’ll be able to press more than one gem at a time. Keep working until you reach the end or get bored, then treat yourself to a disco-ball vaping sesh with all your best friends.
One thing to note, however, is that you can dress up your Volcano how ever you want. As long as you can glue it, the possibilities are essentially endless. Although crystalline vapes are our preference, you can use this guide as a blueprint to designing a Volcano that meshes with your style (think: leather, fringe, lace, shells, etc!).
That's the beauty of doing it yourself: you can turn anything that's mundane and ugly into a one-of-a-kind art piece that represents who you are. As far as we're concerned, this is the kind of luxury every toker deserves.
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