Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 25, 2022

Every weed connoisseur knows that evenly ground cannabis makes the best joints, especially when sprinkled with some kief. And the best way to get ground cannabis is by using a weed grinder, available in any dispensary or head shop. 

However, sometimes you will find yourself without one, or you may not own a weed grinder at all. So, if you want to give the grinder a try, in this article, we’ll show you how you can make a weed grinder and what substitutes you can use when need be.

Why Using a Proper Weed Grinder Is Important

Using a proper weed grinder can make a palatable difference. 

It grinds the weed into even pieces which makes rolling a joint much easier. The ground nugs stay in the rolling paper and burn more nicely. Additionally, since the pieces are even, fewer cannabinoids and terpenes are combusted and lost to sidestream smoke, which results in a more flavorful and potent high.

Another benefit is that weed grinders usually come with a kief catcher which collects all the fallen trichomes that are laden with cannabinoids and terpenes. Weed enthusiasts then use the kief to sprinkle on their ground weed in joints, or bowls and bongs for added flavor and potency. 

Why Using a Proper Weed Grinder Is Not Always Essential for Grinding Weed

Using a proper grinder and using a makeshift device with stuff you have at home definitely produces different results, but even though the smoking experience will be different, you’ll still get high and get that THC and CBD action. After all, isn’t that the most important? 

Weed grinders can be pricey, so if you haven’t bought one yet, you can use other things until you level up. Not to mention that sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you won’t have a herb grinder with you even though you own one, so knowing a few hacks would certainly be beneficial. 

If You Don’t Have One, You Can Make One – A Manual DIY Weed Grinder

While having a proper weed grinder is the most efficient way to use weed and save the kief, it’s not essential, and not having it certainly won’t ruin your experience. You can easily make a homemade grinder that may not be as fancy as a real one, but it’s not too shabby, either. Sure, it’s more old-school and manual than the regular weed grinder, but it does the job well – and that’s all that matters, right?

You’ll need:

  • 4 pieces of scrap wood;
  • Wire mesh;
  • Nails;
  • Hammer;
  • Scissors;
  • Measuring tape;

The process:

  1. First, begin by cutting your scrap wood into 4 pieces to put together the frame. The pieces should be 3 inches and 6 inches, two of each, and they should create a rectangular shape. You can cut the pieces yourself, or you can ask for them to be cut when you buy them – many stores (such as Home Depot and Lowe’s) can do it for you;
  2. Use the hammer and nails to secure the pieces of wood and create the frame;
  3. Cut the wire mesh in the same size as the frame (6 x 3 inches) and nail it to the frame to secure it, and you’re all done!

To “grind” the weed, all you need to do is carefully rub the buds against the mesh without smashing them, and collect the falling pieces in a bowl underneath your DIY herb grinder.

Alternatively, Use Some Appliances to Grind Weed Without a Grinder 

The next best thing after a proper weed grinder would be some kitchen appliances that have a similar purpose for food. Just remember one thing – always wash the appliances before and after use as you don’t want to inhale any leftover marijuana particles or leave sticky traces of cannabis behind.

Coffee Grinder

Coffee grinders are made to grind coffee beans, so why not use your coffee grinder to grind weed? You’ll have to set the coarseness depending on the model of your coffee grinder, but we recommend you keep it coarser rather than finer. Coffee grinders were designed to grind coffee beans which are naturally much firmer than weed nugs, so to avoid grinding the weed to dust, opt for a coarser grind. 

Pepper Grinder

Pepper grinders have a similar function, so they’re also a good alternative. However, compared to coffee grinders, they’re much smaller and better suited for grinding smaller amounts of weed at a time. 


Blenders are the last resort of all kitchen appliances, not because they’re ineffective, but because they’re the easiest to turn your cannabis flowers into dust (if you’re not careful). So, rather than pressing on the button, pulse the nugs as briefly as you can until you get the desired consistency.

You Can Also Use Some Kitchen Tools Instead of Cannabis Grinder

There are also some kitchen tools you can use to prepare cannabis flowers for smoking. They may not give the same results as kitchen appliances, but they can do well when you’re in a pinch.

Cheese Grater

When you don’t have a weed grinder, it’s time to use the cheese grater for something other than cheese. So, weed it is! Get a plate and set the grater on it, pick the side with the smaller holes, and start grating. Be careful with your fingers as you grate as weed nugs are small and you’ll quickly get close to the blades. When you’re done, use a toothpick or a skewer to get all the little pieces of weed out of the crevices of the grater. Finally, wash the grater well afterward if you don’t want your parmesan to have an herbal aroma.

Pestle and Mortar

Instead of making an authentic pesto, you can use a pestle and a mortar to “grind” weed. Granted, it’s not the ideal method of getting fine pieces of cannabis flowers – but if it’s all you’ve got, it’ll do great. Just remember to slowly crush the weed without making it too pasty, or else it will be more unsmokeable than unground nugs.

Sharp Knife and Chopping Board

Finally, one simple method is to just use a cutting board and chop the buds with a sharp knife. Simply, imagine that you’re dicing an onion or a nice bunch of fresh herbs. Just try to use a plastic chopping board, if you can, as wood can soak up all the smells.

Lastly, Try These Hacks to Get Ground Weed (Sort Of)

When push comes to shove, you can get even more creative and use the most unexpected objects to get ground weed. After all, what matters the most is that the toker keeps toking, and we can’t put a halt to that – even without a herb grinder.

Pill Bottle and Coin

One very effective makeshift weed grinder substitute is to make your own shaker. This method is very effective considering how ridiculously simple it is. All you need is a pill bottle and a coin that’s small enough to fit inside comfortably, like a dime or a nickel. 

Then all you need to do is to add the nugs and then shake the bottle vigorously for about a minute before you check on the progress. This method works best if the weed is on the dry side (but not too dry!) so that the coin can easily break it apart into smaller pieces.

Apart from a pill bottle, you can also use a film canister if you have one since they’re a similar size. Whatever container you use, make sure you wash and dry it beforehand, and don’t forget to wash and disinfect the coin, too! Pro-tip: two coins are better than one if you need the nugs chopped up quickly.

Shot Glass and Small Scissors

Here’s a handy method that’s a little impractical and calls for precision (but it does the job). You’ll need a shot glass and a pair of small scissors, preferably with sharp ends. All you need to do is place the buds in the shot glass and start snipping them while holding the scissors vertically. Be careful when you snip them because some small pieces may fly out of the glass if you’re not patient and in a rush. Again, clean and disinfect everything before use, especially the scissors!

Pair of Scissors

What is simpler than simply snipping the buds? It works even better if you’re precise. All you need to do is hold the bud with one hand and snip away with the other. However, for the snipping to be successful, you’ll have to snip the buds very thinly, never fully closing the scissors. You can work on this quickly, but be careful (and watch your fingers). And again, don’t forget to clean the scissors before and after.

The Takeaway 

Whether you have a proper grinder or not shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a good smoke. Weed grinders have many benefits, including preserving every milligram of your buds, but when you’re in a pinch, other items can do a pretty satisfactory job (and you can even DIY a herb grinder yourself). Whatever you end up using, as long as it works for you, we’re happy. 🙂

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.