How to make your own e-liquid: A guide to DIY vape juice
What are the benefits of making your own vape juice?
Whilst there’s thousands of e-liquid flavours on the market to choose from, many people who have been vaping for a long time find themselves looking for something a little different. To create their perfect vape juice, they turn to DIY e-liquid.
Whilst it can seem daunting, creating your own vape juice is actually really easy once you know how. As well as giving you the freedom to mix whatever flavour concentrates you’d like, you can also choose an exact nicotine strength and VG/PG ratio. If you find yourself getting through shop-bought shortfills quickly, creating your own e-liquid can help you save a fair amount of money.
So, you’ve decided you’re ready to create your own DIY vape juice. Here’s everything you need to get started including ingredients, equipment and methods.
What do you need to make your own e-liquid?
This is your vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) mix, which you can pick up from vape stores. This is your base liquid, and it’s essentially unflavoured, nicotine-free e-liquid. You can buy it premixed in 50VG/50PG or 70VG/30PG ratios, or mix your own for more flexibility.
Finding a good-quality base liquid is essential if you want great tasting e-liquid. We sell both 50VG/50PG and 70VG/30PG premixes to help keep the process simple, as well as our 500ml bottle of PG so you can find your perfect ratio.
Flavour concentrates will determine what your vape juice tastes like. There are thousands of flavours to choose from, ranging from fruit blends to sweets and desserts.
Many vapers make their own e-liquid because you can mix a range of concentrates to create your perfect blend. If you’re not sure what goes together best, there’s a huge range of recipes online that can help. These are great to practice and play around with when you’re starting out to help you find your go-to vape juice recipe.
Nicotine is optional, and some vapers purposefully leave it out to create bespoke, 0mg e-liquid. Your choice of nicotine strength will depend on your preferred level when you’re buying premixed e-liquid. The easiest thing to do is buy nicotine shots, which you add to your DIY vape juice at the end as you would any store-bought shortfill.
We offer a range of nic shots in different strengths, including cool shots for an extra menthol kick and salt shots for a smoother vape. Make sure you wear gloves when handling nicotine, as it can irritate the skin, and always keep it in a safe place out of reach of children.
Premixed base liquid and nicotine shots will come in bottles anyway, but if you’re mixing your VG/PG, then you’ll need extra storage bottles. A couple of 100ml squeezable bottles with nozzle tops will be perfect, but storing your nicotine in amber or dark coloured bottles will help it last longer.
You’ll need a number of vape juice bottles for testing your new recipes, and they’re available in a range of sizes. Make sure you buy high quality plastic bottles to ensure they don’t degrade – you don’t want to be vaping particles of plastic!
Look for either PET or LDPE grade bottles, they’re usually around 70p – £1 each, but you can also buy in bulk from some suppliers to save money.
Since you’re using a range of chemicals and flavours, you’ll need labels to keep track of what’s what. Simple sticky labels are ideal and cheap, so you can just scribble on whatever you’re making. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can splash out and get a label maker too.
Whilst everything you’re working with is safe for human consumption, it’s a good idea to wear gloves. Undiluted flavour concentrates and nicotine especially can irritate the skin, and you can pick up a cheap box of gloves online or from most supermarkets or pharmacies.
Pipettes, syringes and measuring cylinders
If you’re mixing by volume, make sure your measurements are precise by using small syringes and pipettes between 10 and 30ml capacities. They will help you ensure you’re using exactly the right amount of PG/VG and flavour concentrate. You’ll also need some measuring cylinders when you’re ready to mix a higher volume of e-liquid.
Scales – if mixing by weight
If mixing by weight, you’ll need an electronic scale with a 0.01 gram precision, with the ability to weigh up to at least 200 grams, but ideally 500 grams. This is precise enough to deal with DIY e-liquid, you just need to remember to hit tare between adding each ingredient.
A good vape juice calculator – online or app store
Finding a reliable e-liquid calculator is key, especially if you’re not following a popular recipe, but even then it’s best to double check your quantities. There are a number of free ones to choose from online or via the app store.
One of the most popular and easy-to-use is E-liquid Recipes, a free online tool that calculates your quantities in both mls and grams. You can also log in and save your recipes for later, creating an online portfolio of all your favourite DIY blends.
It’s easy to make a mess when creating your own DIY e-liquid, so make sure you have some kitchen roll or wipes on hand to clean up any spills. Some flavour concentrates and nicotine will stain furniture or material, so make sure you protect whatever space you’re working on, or have a designated table you don’t mind getting marked.
What ingredients do you need to avoid?
- Essential oils: Essential oils are oil soluble, so they won’t mix properly with your base liquid. This means you would directly inhale the essential oils, which is harmful and can cause lipoid pneumonia.
- Household items: It is never a good idea to use household items, such as scented cleaning products, in your vape juice. They might smell great, but they will cause you serious harm.
- Any flavouring not used widely for vape juice: Stick to flavour concentrates bought from a reputable e-liquid store or supplier, as these are specifically made to be vaped.
- Very high strength nicotine (over the amount you can buy in nicotine shots): Only buy your nicotine shots from good-quality vape suppliers, typically available in 0-18mg nicotine strengths.
Factors to consider when choosing your VG/PG ratio
Flavour and throat hit
PG carries flavour better than VG, so if you want to get a stronger taste from your vape juice, opt for a higher PG mix, or go for 50VG/50PG. The higher the PG, the harsher the throat hit will be. This is something many ex-smokers go for as it closely replicates the sensation of smoking cigarettes.
If you’re not a fan of the harsh throat hit you get with high PG e-liquids, then choosing a higher VG mix will work better for you. VG offers a smoother inhale that will help you avoid dryness and coughing, but it doesn’t carry the flavour as well, so you might need to add a little extra concentrate.
If you’re looking for big vape clouds, high VG vape juice is the mix for you. Choose anything from 70VG/30PG upwards for cloud chasing. If you want a more discrete vaping experience, go for a higher PG base liquid, the most common are 50VG/50PG and 40VG/60PG.
Type of vape device
The type of vape device you use will be the main influence when choosing your VG/PG ratio. Because PG vaporises at lower temperatures, high PG vape juice works best with low wattage devices. VG is a lot thicker than PG, so it requires higher temperatures to vaporise and you’ll need a high wattage or Sub-Ohm device.
Methods for mixing vape juice
Mixing by volume uses milliliters rather than grams, so you’ll need very precise small syringes and pipettes, especially when working with small quantities. Due to the amount of supplies you need, it usually requires more cleaning than mixing by weight, but beginners often find it easier as there’s no conversion to grams required. You’ll still definitely need to use a calculator though to help you convert your percentages to mls.
- Select your e-liquid bottle and add the required volume of flavour concentrate using your pipette or syringe.
- Next, add your required amount of VG/PG base liquid.
- Add the required volume of nicotine.
- Finally, place the dropper and cap back on your e-liquid bottle and shake thoroughly to mix the ingredients.
When using a scale, each ingredient is added by weighing it in one cylinder. Because each ingredient has its own specific gravity, 1ml of VG is heavier than 1ml of PG for example. But you don’t need to worry about doing any complicated maths, as the calculator will work it all out for you. Mixing by weight can be easier and less messy, especially when working with smaller quantities.
- Start by placing your empty e-liquid bottle on the scales, then press tare.
- Add the required weight of flavour concentrate according to your calculator, then press tare.
- Next, add the required weight of base VG/PG liquid, then press tare.
- Finally, Add the required amount of nicotine, then replace the bottle dropper and cap and shake vigorously until it’s fully mixed.
Top tips for mixing your own e-liquid
Steeping has been a hotly debated topic since the early days of vaping. Some vapers swear by it, and others don’t think it’s necessary. If you’re using more than one flavour concentrate, it’s a good idea to give the flavours time to blend and infuse the base liquid. Dessert blends often need more time to steep due to their viscosity, but this varies from recipe to recipe and it will give you a recommended time scale.
After leaving your e-liquid to steep, you’ll need to test it out. Use a good quality device, coil and tank to make sure you’re getting the best flavour possible out of your DIY vape juice. Make sure you use the appropriate wattage and resistance for your vape juice, as it will taste very different depending on the temperature and power output you use.
It’s important to label your bottles of DIY e-liquid to help you keep on top of your recipes and batches. Label it with your VG/PG ratio, nicotine level, flavour percentage and date created, as this will help with remembering how long you’ve left it to steep.
It’s best to store your new vape juice in a cool, dark and dry place, as sunlight, heat and oxygen can have a negative impact on your e-liquid. You should also make sure it’s always kept out of reach of children and pets.
Be mindful of flavour potency
The potency of a flavour concentrate not only varies between brands, but also flavourings within the same brand. It will take some trial and error, and depend on whether you’re using a high VG or PG base liquid. Often, less is more, so start with the smallest amount according to the instructions on the bottle and slowly work your way up if you’re not getting enough flavour.
Take advantage of free online tools
There are lots of free online tutorials and recipes to help you start making your own e-liquid. We’ve already mentioned free online calculators, but YouTube is full of helpful guides and walkthroughs to explain the process in more detail. You can also buy ready-made DIY vape kits that contain everything you need with pre-measured ingredients to help simplify the process.
Creating your own e-liquid is all about having fun and experimenting with different flavour combinations. You can make it as complicated or as easy as you’d like, and there’s no need for it to be a stressful process. So, what are you waiting for? Shop our range of delicious flavour concentrates, VG/PG premixes and nicotine shots to get started.