DIY E-juice | Intro
Vaping can blow goats due to high costs of store bought e-juice. Depending on your device and setup, you can easily vape through 10 to 30 mL in a day and possibly more. These costs can add up, particularly if you’re a fan of premium and more expensive e-liquid brands. In the end, saving your bottom line and having access to high quality fresh ingredients is a win win for any vape enthusiast.
Getting into DIY might seem intimidating at first, though once you can get past your calculations - then mixing up your favourite batch becomes easy-peasy.
Here’s a guide on how to make high quality homemade DIY e-juice. We’ll cover what DIY supplies and ingredients you'll need, how to mix, vape calculators, steeping, DIY hacks, and more.
How to DIY E-juice | Find Your Path
There are two ways to mix DIY e-juice, by volume or by weight.
When mixing by weight, each ingredient is introduced to the mix by weighing it and taking each specific gravity weight of each ingredient into account. VG, PG, each flavour and nicotine all have different gravity weights per mL. It would be important to note that over time, ingredients evaporate as well, which can lead to slight changes in weight.
Mixing by volume involves measuring each ingredient’s volume with the use of a set of syringes (ideally one per ingredient) or graduated lab glassware. There is some technique involved, and this process is a bit more tedious - though there's no fussing with endless gravity weights.
To measure accurately always read your measure from the bottom of the miniscus (curve)
Both are equally useful in their own way, and it would simply depend on your preference. Just be sure to record your recipes and note corrections as you go, whether by weight or by volume.
What you need to make your own e-liquid
Here is your checklist of essential ingredients and supplies you will need:
- Base Liquid – Glycol carriers like vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are the two most important ingredients in e-juice. Your base liquid carrier, which is ultimately called "unflavoured zero nicotine e-juice", is also available in premixed ratios like 50/50 or 70/30, but we would advise stocking more VG than PG to have more control over your final ratio.
- Flavour Concentrates – These determine what your juice will ultimately taste like. There are thousands of individual concentrates to choose from, which can be combined to make countless unique recipes. You can also buy one-shots, where multiple flavours are pre-mixed which are ideal for beginners.
- Nicotine – Nicotine is optional. The strength of nicotine you choose to buy depends on your preferred nicotine level. A 100 mL bottle of 36 or 48 mg/mL nicotine should be enough for beginners. Nicotine is usually suspended in a PG solution, though available in PG / VG blends as well and in up to 60mg/mL. Please keep your nicotine away from children and pets.
- Storage Bottles – If you use nicotine, it's best to store in amber or cobalt blue bottles – the dark colour and solid glass helps slow the degradation. You can also use HDPE white plastic - child proof containers which our nicotine comes in. We do not recommend using LDPE (low density plastic) as higher acidic properties of nicotine will leach this grade of plastic.
- E-Juice Bottles – For your early experiments, buy a selection of smaller bottles for test batch recipes and large bottles for storing your favourite e-juice. Natural squeezable (LDPE) plastic may be convenient for daily use, but try sticking with glass as to avoid leaching from plastic. PET plastic is slightly better than the low density, but ask yourself - If you wouldn't use plastic plates everyday, why use them on juice you'll be inhaling?
- Gloves – Always have a box of disposable nitrile gloves handy. Sanitary and safe nitrile gloves are invaluable and a standard when handling any highly concentrated ingredients.
- Syringes You’ll need a selection of syringes for any diy e-juice contingency. We suggest 50 mL syringes for your base carrier liquid (VG), and plenty of 1 mL and 5 mL syringes for nicotine and flavour concentrates. You’ll also need some needle tips – We recommend 14 gauge to make dealing with thick VG easier.
DIY E-Liquid Starter Kit
Our DIY E-Liquid Starter Kit comes with all the essentials you need to get started. The kit is bundled for mixing by volume and will include a syringe and pipettes along with the essential e-liquid ingredients, lab glassware and your choice of 3 x 5mL flavours. If you are undecided on what flavours, simply leave your choices blank and we will choose for you.
E-juice Calculators | An Essential Tool
Regardless of your method, chances are you will need an online calculator. A calculator simplifies the whole process by giving you all the info you need, from your dose of nicotine to your final ratio. The calculator you choose will be your best friend.
Many calculators are web-based, while others are available to download for mobile or desktop. One of the easiest and most popular is the web-based calculator of E-liquid-recipes.com (ELR). Simply fill in your preferred nicotine level, ratios and flavour percentages and the quantities of the ingredients will appear at the bottom of the page.
The following video gives a step by step guide to mixing, and explains how to use a calculator in depth:
eJuice Me Up (desktop) — A very detailed and highly customizable calculator with a bit of a learning curve, but once mastered - an invaluable tool for the most demanding mixologist.
Juice Grinder (desktop) — A calculator with an intuitive interface and a lot of extras and tools to play with. The free edition has practically everything you will need to start mixing (with up to 20 flavors!), while a $15 donation unlocks the inventory feature.
E-Liquid Calculator – Vape Tool (Android) — An easy to use mobile calculator for mixing up to eight flavours. The free edition comes with ads, but they are not very intrusive in the interface.
Post Mixing | First Batch
Labelling – Label your mixes with the following: VG/PG ratio, nicotine level, flavour percentage and date created. Do this immediately. You’d be surprised how many beginners don’t, only to be stumped when they find a perfect blend but with no way of recreating it. Save your recipes in a notebook, spreadsheet or on e-liquid recipes.com.
Steeping – This seems to be one of the key aspects to perfecting your blends. Most homemade e-juice containing more than one concentrate needs a certain amount of time to flavours to blend and steep. This varies with every mix but you’ll often find multi-layered dessert or cream-based mixes require over four weeks to reach their peak flavour profile, while certain fruit recipes might not need to steep at all. Most recipes come with a recommended steep time. There are various methods that aim to speed up the steeping process but these are a subject of much controversy in the DIY e-juice community.
Testing – Once your e-juice has steeped, it’s time to test it out. Use a good quality dripper, rebuildable atomizer or tank. Be aware that ohm and temperature as well as the wick and coils can greatly affect the taste.Storage – Sunlight, heat, and oxygen are e-liquids greatest enemy! Ideally, amber or cobalt blue bottles are for this purpose. The dark colour and solid glass helps slow the degradation, and they are air tight. You can also use HDPE white plastic - child proof containers
DIY E-juice Hacks
- Take full advantage of online tools and resources. E-liquid-recipes.com offers much more than its calculator. One of its most useful features is the flavour stash. – Input your flavours and ELR will come up with a list of e-juice recipes you can make.
- Less is more! Using larger amounts of flavour doesn’t necessarily translate into a more flavourful vape. In some cases, overdoing it will end up muting the flavour of your e-liquid!
- When following existing recipes, avoid substituting concentrates between brands. One brand’s “Peach” might be a very different type of peach. Substituting brands can also lead to a more concentrated version which will skew your intended recipe.
- Be aware of how potent your concentrates are. Potency varies not only between brands but even for flavourings of the same brand. Companies like Flavour Art and Inawera are notorious for their potent concentrates, where 2% is more than enough to dominate a recipe, although some may be used in the 5 - 10% range. A good indicator of potency is the “average mixing quantity” percentage, which can be found on each flavour’s page on the ELR site.
- Take Notes – After testing, document your results, either online or in a notebook. Is one note too strong? Would your ratio perform better at a 30/70 PG/VG blend rather than max VG? Keeping detailed notes will help improve your future mixes and vastly progress your new found DIY e-juice talent.
- Test flavours individually. The first step to mastering mixology is vaping flavours on their own. Familiarizing with individual flavours will help you recognize which ones pair well together. Remember that even though it may be a single flavour - there are still a good number of compounds which make it up.
Don’t forget that as with any hobby, DIY e-juice can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can mix a simple vape juice in less than a minute, or spend months trying to come up with the best ten-flavour combination for your favourite all day vape. It’s all up to you.