DIY e liquid is the best thing since sliced bread.
Don’t believe me?…
Just ask my wallet.
I’m not going to tell you making your own DIY e liquid is better for you. You won’t find me preaching about the ‘purity’ of DIY e liquid and how safe I feel knowing exactly what I’m putting into my body…
Although both of these things are true!
What I will tell you is I’ve saved a fortune since I learnt how to make e liquid.. And I’m all about the Benjamins baby!
Joking aside, whether you’re a seasoned vaper or a complete beginner we all want the best vape juice possible for a decent price right?…
Now I love a visit to the local vape shop as much as the next vaper. BUT the constantly increasing price of e juice (not to mention the ever tightening TPD regulations!) is almost enough to make me choke on my Mt Baker Thug Juice!
Learning how to make e liquid also gives you complete control over the finished mix;
Flavor, throat hit, nicotine strength… You can increase/decrease however you want and experiment till you find your perfect vape juice.
Now I know what you’re thinking…
The idea of throwing on a pair of latex gloves and trying to make your own e liquid can be daunting.
And that’s exactly why I’ve written this how-to-guide you lucky devil!
So without further delay, let’s get stuck in…
DIY E liquid; the ingredients
Let’s have a look at the four main components of DIY e liquid…
The big bad flavor carrier of the DIY e liquid mixing world…
Propylene Glycol is used to dilute your concentrated nicotine and flavoring(s). It’s a runny liquid that gives a throat hit typical of a traditional cigarette. It’s also reported that PG has anti-bacterial properties and helps to extend the shelf life of your vape juice.
When mixing your own DIY e liquid, make sure you always buy pharmaceutical grade PG from a reliable source! For me, it doesn’t get more reliable than Amazon…
Check out the current price here… in the UK
For our US readers, this supplier comes highly rated…
Just a quickie… It is possible to experience a reaction to Propylene Glycol. In fact, one of our team actually has a PG intolerance and almost gave up on vaping altogether!
Fortunately, he’s a helpful chap… Take a look at his PG Intolerance post and find out how to make e liquid without PG!
Also used to dilute your concentrated nicotine and flavoring(s), Vegetable Glycerin is smoother and gives less of a throat hit.
It produces far more vapor than PG!
VG is a distinctly thick liquid and therefore many vendors also offer a pre-diluted VG, typically called ‘AVG’. They add pure distilled water to the thick VG which makes it easier to mix with.
Especially useful if you plan on making 100% VG e liquid!
Again remember though, only buy pharmaceutical grade quality VG from a reliable source!
Check the current price… in the UK
For our US readers, we found a highly rated supplier of VG here…
Flavorings or ‘e liquid concentrates’ are what make or break a great DIY e liquid.
There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of different vendors selling their own brand of e liquid concentrates. Just make sure to do some basic research on a company before trying their concentrates!
Also keep in mind, concentrates are based in either PG or VG (though typically PG).
What flavor percentage should I use?…
The amount of flavoring you’ll need for a DIY e liquid mix completely depends on the brand you use. Some vendor’s concentrates require 5% or even less to taste great. Others need 20% or perhaps more to really stand out.
Once you build your confidence as a DIY mixer you can even experiment with mixing different flavors and brands together to make your own e liquid as unique as possible!
Lastly always remember that e liquid concentrates should only be vaped when diluted in either PG and/or VG!
This will also come based in either PG or VG and typically comes in a strong concentrated bottle with a 72mg/ml (7.2) nicotine strength. Nicotine will always be expressed in terms of the milligrams of nicotine per millilitre or mg/ml for short.
Nicotine is addictive and provides you with a throaty ‘nicotine hit’.
Vapers typically set their nicotine strength anywhere between 3mg – 24mg based on personal preference.
The most important thing to know about nicotine is that it’s extremely toxic and must be treated with respect! Concentrated nicotine is extremely poisonous and must be diluted to safe levels using PG and/or VG before vaping.
Always make sure when handling nicotine that you wear gloves, goggles and a protective face mask. Nicotine can be fatal if it comes into direct contact with the skin.
As with PG and VG, nicotine should also be of pharmaceutical grade quality purchased from a reliable source.
These are the four primary ingredients of DIY e liquid. Many vendors actually sell pre-mixed bottles containing your desired PG, VG and nicotine all rolled into one easy bottle.
While this makes life easier, be warned that this costs more than buying the above ingredients separately. It’ll also mean you’re stuck at a set ratio of PG/VG and a set nicotine strength.
The beauty of having each of the ingredients unmixed in separate bottles?… You get to choose the exact ratios of PG/VG and your desired nicotine strength for each and every mix you do.
What equipment do I need to mix my own DIY e liquid?…
Now that you understand exactly what makes up your typical vape juice, you need a little heads up on what equipment you’ll need to carry out a successful DIY e liquid mix.
The tools are incredibly simple and can all be purchased at a reasonable price…
E liquid bottles come in literally dozens of different shapes and sizes…
To start with we’d recommend purchasing plastic bottles in sizes from 10ml – 100ml capacity.
If you’re reading this in the UK then we’d really recommend this site for good quality e-juice bottles at a very reasonable price.
Pipettes, Syringes and Measuring Beakers
The choice is yours on this one…
You can use any of these instruments to measure out your ingredients when making your own DIY e liquid.
We’d advise getting all three (they’re very cheap) and you can decide which one or combination works best for you when mixing.
Be aware though that VG is extremely thick and many pipettes and syringes with needle tips struggle to extract it from the bottle.
You’ll also want to remember to check that your chosen instrument can measure millilitres (ml), ideally to a half ml. This will allow you to get greater accuracy when measuring out the ingredients to add to your e liquid bottle.
We’d also advise purchasing a few of each i.e. one syringe for each separate ingredient. By using a separate instrument for each ingredient, you prevent cross contamination between the different ingredients when making your own e liquid.
Here’s a site in the UK that we frequently use to buy measuring equipment.
This equipment is a must if you’re handling nicotine! You don’t want to be taking a trip to the emergency room after spilling (or worse inhaling!) your nicotine!
Okay so this one isn’t essential… But we really would recommend having one with you whenever you do a DIY e liquid mix!
You can easily write your calculations and amounts down for easy reference while you mix.
Recording your mix in a notebook also means you can go back and recover the recipe for that amazing vape juice you made that one time…
Trust me it happens…
Last but by no means least… Scales!
When it comes to DIY e liquid, mixing by weight is the ultimate in convenience.
You just pop your empty vape bottle on the scales, add your ingredient until the reading hits the spot you want and BINGO… Hit the ‘tare’ function (the scales you’re going to buy must have this function!) to reset the reading and add the next ingredient!
It really is as easy as that!
There are plenty of digital scales available in the UK but this one is perfect for making your own e liquid…
In terms of you US readers, I recommend this digital scale…
What about e liquid mixing kits… Is it worth it?
If you’re impatient like me (or just lazy!) you can actually get most of the equipment you need to make your own vape juice in one ‘kit’…
Now I can understand wanting to source the supplies individually, getting the best price possible.
If you’re not bothered about spending slightly more and you’d rather have the convenience of getting all the mixing equipment you need in one delivery, take a look at the these e liquid mixing kits on Amazon.
This is a popular vape mixing kit in the UK…
If you’re based in the US, take a look at this beauty… No reviews at the time of writing but a really decent kit for the price!
DIY E liquid calculators; mixing made easy…
Okay, so now you have an understanding of all of the ingredients and equipment needed to make a great DIY e liquid.
But there’s more…
You need to know how much nicotine, PG/VG and flavoring to add to your vape juice.
This is where our very own e-liquid calculator comes in handy!
We built it just for you guys and it’ll take all the hassle out of calculating the amounts you need to measure out and mix.
Just input the details of your ingredients; whether PG or VG based, your concentrated nicotine strength etc. Select what PG/VG ratio you want your DIY e liquid to be, the desired nicotine strength and flavor strength/percentage…
Hit ‘calculate’ and you’re ready to start mixing your own vape juice!
How to mix your own e liquid; let’s put it all together…
Now that you have all your ingredients and equipment ready and you’ve calculated your ratios and amounts to add, you’re ready to start mixing!
Below we’ll take you through the steps that we take when we’re making our own DIY e liquid here at Vaping Hardware.
While we find this to be the easiest way of making e liquid, feel free to experiment with the equipment you use and the order in which you add your ingredients.
There really is no right or wrong and it boils down to personal preference…
DIY E liquid step #1
Prep your work station…
This is something that can be easily overlooked but will save you time and frustration further down the line. Lay out your ingredients in the order that you’ll be adding them and make sure all of your equipment is on hand with a place to discard used instruments once you’re finished with them.
Have your calculations to hand so you can check them throughout and make sure that the area in which you’re working is clean of dirt and dust!
DIY E liquid step #2
Add your nicotine…
Making sure that your wearing safety goggles, protective gloves and a face mask, measure out your nicotine using a plastic pipette or a syringe (we’d recommend one large enough to measure up to 3ml).
Be sure to mix at a nicotine strength that’s right for you!
Be extremely careful not to spill the nicotine and double check your calculations and the amounts you’re adding.
Once measured, transfer the nicotine to your empty e liquid bottle(s). Once this step is completed, fully seal the nicotine bottle and place the measuring instrument to the side ready for washing.
DIY E liquid step #3
Add your PG…
Measure out your PG using a pipette, a syringe or a cylindrical measuring beaker. As PG is a very runny liquid any of these options will work fine.
We personally use cylindrical measuring beakers because we find it quicker to measure out and pour in large amounts of PG at once.
After you’ve measured out the desired amount then pour this into your e liquid bottle(s) containing the nicotine.
DIY E liquid step #4
Add your VG…
For VG we strongly recommend using either a thick ‘plunger’ style syringe without a needle tip or using a cylindrical measuring beaker.
If you opt to try and extract your VG using a pipette or a small syringe with a needle tip you’ll encounter a lot of issues (trust us we’ve tried). VG is simply too thick for the majority of pipettes and syringes to easily extract.
Once you’ve poured the required amount of VG into your beaker then simply transfer this to your e liquid bottle containing the nicotine and PG from the previous steps.
DIY E liquid step #5
Add your flavoring(s) or concentrate(s)…
Finally all you need to add is the flavor. This can be done using any of the instruments mentioned previously or by simply dripping the required amount directly into your e liquid bottle.
You’ll notice that our e liquid calculator and many like it will advise of the number of drops needed for each ingredient. Be warned though, this is the least accurate method and for this reason we avoid it.
Instead we choose either mix by weight or pour our concentrates directly into a measuring beaker so that we can be sure of the exact ml we’re adding.
Once you’ve measured out your flavouring concentrate then pour this directly into your e-liquid bottle containing the other ingredients.
DIY E liquid step #6
Give it a good shake…
This step ensures that the different ingredients in your e liquid are thoroughly mixed together and evenly distributed. You’ll notice that after shaking your e liquid it becomes very cloudy and contains lots of air bubbles.
Relax, this is perfectly normal. The air bubbles will rise to the surface over time, aiding in the mixing process as they do.
If you’ve been following this guide for your first mix then congratulations, you just mixed your first DIY e liquid from home!
Do I need to do anything else to my DIY e liquid?…
If you’ve reached this point in the guide, then you might be thinking that you know everything you need to know about DIY e liquid. After all, you know about the ingredients, the equipment to use, how to calculate the amounts and how to mix up your own bottle of delicious vape juice right…?
The final stage in mixing up a great bottle of e-juice is often the most overlooked aspect of DIY mixing, yet it can sometimes have the most dramatic effect on your finished e liquid.
Steeping your e-juice basically means giving it time to sit and mature; just like a fine wine. While this step can be skipped (especially if you love the flavour of your e liquid immediately after mixing it), many flavors can be vastly improved by performing a basic steep.
As part of this guide we’ll be explaining the most straightforward and simple method of steeping your vape juice; the ‘slow steep method’. That being said, this method does take patience so if you want to explore other quicker methods we’ve written a guide to all things steeping, be sure to check it out!
If you do have the patience though we’d definitely recommend the slow steeping method. While it takes time, it has in our experience provided decent results…
The idea of the slow steep method is to let your DIY e liquid sit for a number of weeks in a cool dark place (think wardrobe or empty kitchen cabinet) without the cap on. This method exposes the juice to air and has yielded great results for us. Follow the steps below if you want to try this method out:
Find a storage space…
Where you store your DIY e liquid can play a big role in how successful your steeping period is. If you store your vape juice in a warm and/or well-lit place, then the ingredients will start to degrade and break down.
Nicotine is reported to be especially susceptible to light damage. Also ensure that where you store your e liquid (and all your mixing ingredients) is somewhere that can’t be reached by children or pets!
Give it a shake…
The bottle that is! If you’ve just mixed up your e liquid, then make sure you shake the bottle for 3 minutes. This ensures that the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and evenly distributed.
Let the air get to it…
After you’ve shaken your e liquid thoroughly then place it in your selected space. Remember to leave the drip tip and cap off to allow oxygen to get to the juice. This step ensures that the alcohols and solvents rise to the top of the bottle and evaporate.
We recommend leaving your DIY e liquid steeping for 12 – 24 hours. During that time make sure to give the bottle a light squeeze to release and replace the air inside. The more frequently you do this the better, but don’t stress, once will do just fine.
Replace the cap and leave it alone…
For this step you need to replace the drip tip and cap and then leave your e liquid in your cool, dark space for 2-3 days. As hard as it might be, try and resist the urge to take a peek or have a whiff!
‘Rinse and Repeat’
After you’ve left your e liquid like this for 2-3 days all you need to do is repeat steps 2, 3 and 4. You can carry on doing this for 2-4 weeks but in our experience the steeping process works great at 2 weeks.
You’ll notice that your juice changes in color and even in smell. This means that the steeping process is working! Congratulations, your DIY e liquid is now ready to vape!
How to make vape juice without nicotine?
The number of vapers switching to zero nicotine e liquid is actually growing in recent years. The biggest group by far are us reformed smokers, gradually reducing the nicotine in our juice until we hit the coveted omg!
It’s also not unusual for those who just enjoy the social side of vaping to keep their vape juice nicotine free. Whatever your reason, one thing we all agree on is that nicotine free e liquid generally delivers noticeably improved flavor!
If vaping without nicotine is your cup of tea, just skip step #2 of the above step-by-step DIY e liquid tutorial. Mix your PG, VG and flavoring(s), give it a shake (steeping optional) and you’re good to go!
Why is the flavor in my DIY e liquid weak?
You’ve mixed a fresh batch of e liquid but something’s just not right… The flavor is average at best and you don’t know what went wrong…
The most likely and obvious problem is that you need to steep your e liquid. I would recommend letting the juice sit for a few days to a week without the cap on and then try it again. If it’s still not right, just leave it another few days. I know it’s a cliche, but time really does heal all wounds…
Issues with the flavor of your e liquid could also be due to the flavor percentages you’ve chosen to mix at. Try adding a little more flavor concentrate to your juice and try it again. But… make sure to add your flavor concentrate in small increments. Adding too much flavor can actually ruin your vape juice!
Is there anything else I can do to improve the flavor of my e-liquid?
A little known trick to improving the flavor of your DIY e liquid is to give the bottle of flavor concentrate a damn good shake before you mix. It’s not something you’d normally think of doing but you’ll thank me for it later!
Why is my DIY e liquid harsh?
You’ve carefully mixed your e liquid, left it well alone for 2 weeks and even given it a loving shake every day. Pleased with yourself, you fill up your tank and take your first hit.
Ouch… All that hard work and your e liquid is too harsh! So much so you feel like you’re vaping paint thinner! Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to quickly fix this issue and make your e liquid smoother on your throat.
First things first, try reducing the nicotine strength in your juice. As a general rule, the less nicotine in your e liquid the smoother it will be.
If that doesn’t work, it’s time to experiment with a different PG/VG ratio. PG provides increased flavor and throat hit whereas VG helps you blow bigger clouds. VG is far smoother than PG so increasing the former will make a big difference in terms of how smooth your e liquid is.
What’s the best PG/VG ratio for DIY e liquid?
This is really down to personal preference and what you want out of your DIY e liquid mix. Personally, a 50/50 blend is my ‘go to’ mix. I find this gives me great flavor and decent vapor production.
However, the majority of store bought e liquid is now heavy on VG. This is yet another great reason to make your own e liquid as you can experiment and find what works best for you.
Just remember, higher PG will give you intense flavor. Higher VG will give you more vapor production.
Where can I get DIY e liquid recipes?
If you’re looking to take your DIY e liquid mixing to the next level, there are literally hundreds of different recipes available online. The site I use regularly and highly recommend is E – Juice Makers! They have a great selection of e liquid recipes to give you some ideas and get you started!
And that’s it folks…
You’ve learnt all the basics for how to mix your own e liquid!
With some time and practice you can really start to create some awesome flavors and experiment with the techniques and methods you use.
And all while saving money in the process!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our crash course on how to mix your own e liquid and if you have any questions or feedback please comment below.
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