DIY e-liquid : Introduction
DIY e-liquid making has become super popular in New Zealand over the last year or so, and a lot of vapers are moving towards making their own custom vape juice at home. There are a number of good reason why DIY e-liquid is a great choice for vaping, but lets just look into 2 of them.
- 1. The first and most common is cost! e-liquid can be expensive, especially if you vape with a sub-ohm setup you could be going through 120ml of juice a week easily! The costs can add up, particularly if you're hooked on a premium e-liquid brand at $50+ a bottle.
- 2. The second reason some vapers move to DIY is limited options. For this reason a lot of vapers who have an acquired palate or just want to try something out of the box choose to make their own e-liquid at home. Maybe you want to vape a flavour that just doesn't exists yet - like grape, mango tobacco or a watermelon custard cream, or vape at your own nicotine strength like 1.5mg instead of the standard, 3,6,12mg.
If you are new to DIY e-liquid, here is an easy-to-follow guide on how to make high quality homemade DIY e-liquid. We’ll cover what DIY supplies and ingredients you need, how to mix DIY e-liquid, e-liquid calculators, steeping, tips and tricks, and more. At first it might seem slightly overwhelming, but it’s a lot easier than you might think. You don’t need advanced knowledge of chemistry, If you can bake a cake, you can make your own vape juice.
What is in DIY e-liquid?
Its actually quite simple ingredients wise, making your own e-liquid involves mixing together the four core elements that make up any vape juice on the market today: Your base ingredients are: Vegetable Glycerin (VG), Propylene Glycol (PG), unflavoured nicotine, and lastly your choice of flavour concentrates. You don’t necessarily need all of these ingredients, for instance if you prefer your e-liquid to be nicotine free or even unflavoured all together, then you can skip the nicotine and skip the flavour.
How do I mix DIY e-liquid?
There are two ways to mix DIY e-liquid: by volume or by weight.
When mixing by weight, each ingredient is introduced to the mix by weighing it on a set of scales and taking its specific gravity into account. VG, PG, Nicotine & Flavour concentrates all have different weights per ml of liquid, to do this accurately you will need an e-liquid calculator that includes these values to make it easy to mix.
When mixing by volume, each ingredient is introduced to the mix by measuring its volume using syringes or pipettes. You introduce each ingredient to the mix one by one measuring the volume as per your recipe. We recommend using 1 syringe or pipette per ingredient to get a consistent & accurate result.
The best way to mix we think is by weight, it’s cleaner and a lot more accurate, especially for smaller quantities of e-liquid (under 120ml).
What do I need to make DIY e-liquid?
Regardless of which method you decide to use to make your own e-liquid, you will need the core ingredients and supplies to get started. Here is a checklist we put together for you:
- Base-liquids – Vegetable Glycerin (VG) & Propylene Glycol (PG) these two are the most important ingredients. Your base-liquid mixed together will make up the majority of your juice. We recommend buying 1L or 2x500ml of VG and 500ml of PG to give you ultimate flexibility over the final ratio of your juice.
- Flavour Concentrates – These determine what your juice will actually taste like. There are thousands of flavour 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 all ready to go. These are ideal for beginners, and some major juice-makers already sell their own ranges as one-shot concentrates.
- Nicotine – The strength of nicotine you choose to buy depends on your preferred nicotine strength you want to vape. A 250ml bottle of 36mg nicotine should be enough for beginners to mix into your recipes. Nicotine is usually suspended in a 100% PG solution and comes in a variety of strengths up to 100mg. We don't recommend beginners to be handling 100mg nicotine, so its best to stick to Easy Mix solutions. Be very careful when handling and storing nicotine, please keep your nicotine out of reach of children and pets and always wear gloves when handling it.
- e-liquid Bottles – Buy a selection of different sized plastic bottles (30ml,60ml,120ml) for storing and making your e-liquid recipes in. The industry standard bottle is a Chubby Gorilla bottle which is the same bottle you will see most retail vape juice in.
- Labels – Buy some cheap labels to write the names and mix ratios of each of your creations. Its best to label your bottles before mixing. You can also purchase ready to go blank labels sized for Chubby Gorilla bottles (30ml,60ml,120ml).
- Gloves – Always have a box of disposable gloves when mixing and handling your ingredients. These are available at any pharmacy or supermarket and online through your DIY vape supplier.
- Syringes – If you are mixing by volume you’ll need a selection of syringes. We advise getting some 10-30ml syringes for your base-liquid, and plenty of 1ml syringes for nicotine and flavour concentrates. You’ll also need some needles, we recommend 14 gauge to make dealing with viscous liquid like VG easier.
- Weigh Scale – If you are mixing by weight you’ll need an electronic scale that measures down to 0.01 grams and up to 200 grams. This is accurate enough to deal with almost all DIY e-liquid recipes. You will also need at least one syringe for your nicotine, this way you can have more accurate results and avoid nicotine spills.
e-liquid Calculator : A must have tool
An e-liquid calculator really simplifies the whole process of DIY Mixing, giving you all the information and mix ratios you need to create your own vape juice. This includes the amount of nicotine you need to add to reach your desired strength, and how much from each ingredient PG, VG, Flavouring you will need to add to end up with for example a 70VG/30PG ready to vape e-liquid.
One of the easiest and best e-liquid calculators is our web-based e-liquid calculator here on Mix Wizard: MW Calculator. You Simply fill in your desired nicotine strength ratios and the amount of flavour you want to add by percentage and the quantities of the ingredients will be displayed in the bottom of the calculator. When mixing by weight, you will use your scale and add the ingredients by grams to your mix. For mixing by volume you will use syringes to measure the appropriate amounts of milliliters to add to your mix.
Post Mix : Label, Steep & Storage
You've reached the point of no return, your juice is mixed and ready to vape...but there is still a few things left to make sure you get the best out of your DIY e-liquid. Here are some key points to what you should be doing post mix.
- Labeling – Label your creations with the following: VG/PG ratio, nicotine strength, and of course the flavours inside your bottle. Its good practice to label a batch date of when you created that bottle, so you can keep track of how long the flavour needs to steep to reach its optimum flavour & taste. If you don't store your recipes and you find a perfect blend you will have no way of recreating it, so make sure to do this after every creation. Also make sure to save your recipes in a notebook or spreadsheet.
- Steeping – Most e-liquid recipes containing more than one flavour concentrate needs a certain amount of time to let the flavours blend and settle together. This varies with every mix but you’ll often find multi-layered dessert or cream-based mixes need 3-4 weeks at least to reach their best. Simple fruit recipes might not need to steep at all. Most recipes you find online will come with a recommended steeping time.
- Storage – Sunlight, heat, and oxygen can have a negative impact on e-liquid, so keep your vape juice in a cool dark place. And make sure they’re safely out of reach of pets and children.
Final Tips & Tricks to DIY e-liquid
Less is more! Using large amounts of flavour doesn’t always translate into your vape juice being more flavourful. In some cases, overdoing it will end up with the opposite and it lacking in flavour and tasting dull.
One apple is not the same as another! Try to avoid substituting flavour concentrates in recipes. One brand’s "Apple" might be on the sour side, while the other might be sweet and candy like. If you have found a recipe you want to follow online, its best to use the exact ingredients listed...or not...you may find your own spin on things being the best thing you've ever tried!
Be aware of how potent your flavour concentrates can be. Potency varies brand to brand. For example: Flavourart and Inawera are known for their very potent concentrates, where 2% is more than enough to dominate a recipe. While some others Like The Flavour Apprentice and Capella you will find yourself using more concentrate in your mix. The price per bottle or ml usually reflects the potency.
DIY e-liquid making 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 weeks trying to come up with the ultimate flavour! It’s all up to you. Remember to have fun with it and be safe while mixing!