Learn how to make your own eLiquids
Vaping truly is such a personal experience and this can extend to concocting your own e-liquids to suit personal tastes. You probably liked the peanut butter flavor you just finished vaping, but you may have wanted it to be just a little nuttier. The best way to fine tune the flavor would be to make your own vape juice.
Mixing your own e-liquid may cause the image of a chemist working in a lab with numerous cylinders, syringes and chemicals to pop into your head. It looks fun, but it’s dangerous. The truth is, you don’t have to be a chemist to be able to come up with your own e-liquids. You just need to understand a little math, be cautious when handling the ingredients (especially nicotine), and be equipped with the proper safety gear.
What ingredients are in eLiquid?
Before you go about making your own e-liquid, you need to understand the ingredients of vape juice and what their roles are in making the perfectly personalized juice. E-liquids typically have four main components:
- Nicotine: This is the most obvious substance that simulates the feeling cigarette smoking. Nicotine is a hazardous substance and should be diluted first before combining it in into the e-liquid. You will find nicotine available in varying strengths and it’s important to keep yours in a safe level. You also don't have to add nicontine if you don't want to.
- Propylene Glycol (PG): This is a base used to dilute nicotine. PG is generally regarded as safe by the FDA. It’s a compound that’s also used in food, personal care products, pharmaceutical products, and tobacco. PG is responsible in giving the “throat hit” when vaping, but does nothing to alter or influence the true flavor of the e-liquid. It’s also important to note that some people do get allergies from PG.
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG): This is another base used to dilute nicotine, but with another important purpose. VG is responsible in making cloud or vapor from your e-liquid. VG may alter the true flavor of your e-liquid, so it’s also important to note how much VG you put in your e-liquid as far as flavor goes. Generally, the more VG you put in your e-liquid, the smoother the “throat hit” feels and the more clouds you produce.
- Flavors: These are the substances that are responsible for giving your e-liquid a certain taste. Flavors for e-liquids vary wildly with variations of fruits, mints, baked goods, and everything else in between. However, there are also e-liquids intentionally produced with no flavor, also called the “neat” juice. There isn't an exact measurement to adding in flavors because it will all depend on your personal taste. It involves some degree of trial and error. It is best to put flavors one drop at a time, starting at 5ml and going from there until you achieve the best measurement based on your personal taste.
Pros and Cons of Mixing your Own E-Liquid
Vapers eventually go down the route of DIY-ing their own e-liquids for certain reasons. While this activity can be fun and rewarding, you still have to weigh the drawbacks.
Mixing your own e-liquid can actually be fun: It’s often said that vaping is such a personal experience that at some point, vapers will try to modify or come up with their own mods. The same can be said with e-liquids. It sparks the creativity and experimentalism in them. Making an e-liquid that you love on your own also feels great.
Mixing your own e-liquid is cost-effective in the long run: You will have to initially invest on some equipment, safety gear, and buy ingredients in bulk. On the other hand, buying a 10ml e-liquid may cost you from $3 to $10. Compare that to how buying in bulk requires you a bigger amount initially, but you can make numerous batches of e-liquids from them. Once you figure out what works for you, you can keep recreating juices at a minimal cost.
Mixing your own e-liquid can be time consuming: You won't get everything right on your first try and you’ll have to repeat the process until the juice comes out exactly how you want it.
Mixing your own vape juice can be dangerous if not done safely: Now, this is the most controversial aspect in mixing your own e-liquid and is a common concern especially among newbie vapers. When you’re making your own vape juice, you can be dealing with nicotine (depending on your preferences). Nicotine, especially in its undiluted state and in high levels, can be highly toxic and poisonous. It is important to be fully kitted out with safety gear like gloves, goggles, and lab gown to prevent any harm that nicotine may cause. With safety practices in place, you can proceed with making your own vape juice.
What You Need to Make Your Own Vape Juice
When you’re ready to start mixing your own liquids, you’ll have to come up with this little list of items:
- Dilutents or bases: PG and VG
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- Safety apron or lab gown
- Measuring cup
- Pipettes or syringes
- Sterile and empty bottles
- Index cards
- Small funnel
- E-liquid calculator
As for the e-liquid calculator, you’ll find a lot of these online that you can run on your smartphone or computer. The e-liquid calculator is really a handy item that you can help you proceed with mixing your own e-liquid without doing a lot of math. Just search the internet for an e-liquid calculator that you can conveniently use on your preferred device.
How to Make Your Own eLiquid
Now that you’ve got everything in place, you’re now ready to begin mixing your own juice. Here’s the sequence of how to do it:Pick your nicotine strength (or none at all).
Remember that pure nicotine lessens in strength when diluted. So if you want your juice to contain 18mg of nicotine, you can pick 36mg of pure nicotine.Add the nicotine into your bottle
Or skip this step entirely if you aren't adding nicotine. Using a pipette or syringe, draw out nicotine and transfer it into the bottle.Add the base or dilutants into the bottle
Some people prefer 50/50 PG/VG mixture, while others like it 80/20. It all depends on how you like to vape. Using a different syringe or pipette draw out the correct amount of PG and VG and transfer them into the bottle.Add the flavor
You want to add flavors one drop at a time using another clean syringe. Unlike the first three ingredients where you have to measure exactly, adding flavor is where a lot of experimentation comes in. To start, keep your flavors between 5-10% of the overall content of the bottle. If you find it too light or too overpowering, it will be easier to adjust when you make another batch.Measuring Nicotine for Your eLiquid
From here, you will need to do a little math. It is advised to have an e-liquid calculator handy to make the calculations more accurately and quickly.
To put all of this a bit more simply, let’s assume that you vape 18mg of nicotine, originally coming from a 36mg undiluted nicotine that you’ve purchased. To get 18mg, you’ll have to cut down this amount in half. Therefore, half of the bottle or 5ml of it will be filled with nicotine. You’d also want to put in 10% of flavoring and 50/50 VG/PG base. With a little math, you’ll find that you’ll need to the following measurements to fill a 10ml bottle:
- 10ml bottle – 5ml of nicotine leaves you another 5ml to fill
- 5ml – 10% flavoring (10% of 10ml is 1ml)
- The remaining 4ml will be composed of 50/50 VG/PG base mixture
- Therefore, the mixture is: 5ml nicotine + 1ml flavoring + 4ml VG/PG base = 10ml e-liquid
After all the ingredients are in the bottle, give it a good shake. You can now either use the e-liquid directly or let it steep.Write down all the things
Most importantly, write down every single measurement you took out for this e-liquid and label the bottle accordingly. If it turns out that you like your recipe, you’d want to be able to replicate it. It’s also easier to adjust the measurement of ingredients with a reference on hand.
What to NOT Mix into Your Juice
As already stated, you only need four main ingredients into your e-liquid: nicotine, PG, VG and flavors. Some ingredients must be avoided at all costs because experts have found them to be harmful to the human health.Diacetyl
This was the controversial substance that causes popcorn lung, a disease that inflames the lungs and reduces its functions. Popcorn lung can lead to a lung transplant and even death. Diacetyl is responsible for the buttery flavor and is commonly used for popcorns and some alcoholic beverages. But upon discovery that diacetyl is harmful when inhaled, experts strongly advised to avoid using diacetyl in e-liquids. It is important to avoid butter and custard flavors and to check whether your source of e-liquids is diacetyl-free.Acetoin
When diacetyl was discontinued for vaping, acetoin was introduced as a substitute. However, acetoin is similar to diacetyl and it can be just harmful. It is dangerous when heated and inhaled. You must make sure that your flavors and e-liquids are free from acetoin.Acetyl Propionyl
This substance was also marketed as substitute to diacetyl, and just like acetoin, it is also dangerous. Acetyl propionyl also provides a custardy and buttery flavor to your juice, but can act like diacetyl when inhaled.
It is very important to be cautious of what you put into your e-liquid and avoid these substances at all costs. Stick to what you know and are proven to safe for vaping use to ensure that making your own e-liquid is as safe and fun as possible.
You’ve just learned what you can and cannot put into your e-liquid, now it’s time to familiarize yourself with the necessary safety precautions for mixing eLiquids. Making your own juice is generally safe as long as you follow these safety tips.Handle nicotine with care
Be properly geared up with gloves, eye goggles, and apron when you’re dealing with nicotine. Just a small spill of pure nicotine is enough to cause poisoning and can even potentially be fatal.Use clean, sterile, and leakage-free equipment
You have to use different pipettes or syringes when transferring ingredients to the bottle to prevent contamination. Your measuring cup, bottles, and cylinders must be clean and not have any cracks or leaks. Use child-proof caps on your e-liquid bottles.Mix in a clean, distraction-free environment
Don’t mix your e-liquid when the kids and pets are around or when you’re busy watching TV or minding your phone. It only takes a few minutes to finish the process, but a small distraction can cause dangerous accidents.Keep your mixing paraphernalia away from children
Lock them up in your room where children can’t easily reach them, not on top of your fridge.Clean spills immediately
Don’t wait to finish mixing before you clean up spills, especially if you spill nicotine. If you spill some into the table, wipe it up immediately. If you spill some on your clothes, remove the clothing and wash them separately from your other laundry.Properly dispose of your used syringes and gloves
Don’t put them in the garbage bin where children or pets could easily see and play with them.
Vape Juice Steeping
After mixing your own e-liquid, you can fill up your vape and puff away. However, e-liquids with complex flavors may hide some of those flavors and don’t feel or taste quite as you intended. This is where steeping comes into play.
Steeping is similar to aging wine. The longer you keep wine in the barrels, the more pronounced the flavors become. If you have a complexly flavored e-liquid, you’ll find that some of the flavors are subdued. Steeping will help bring those flavors out and you’ll have a better time vaping your personally mixed e-liquid.
Steeping is also generally required if your e-liquid has a lot of VG in it. Sometimes, too much VG can cloud the flavors. PG on the other hand, helps bring out the intensity of the flavors.
Furthermore, steeping is generally required if your e-liquid has more than one flavor in it. One flavor may overpower the others which makes the e-liquid lack something in taste. Steeping will help bring those flavors from hiding and give you more pronounced flavors of all the ingredients.
Steeping is also performed to keep the integrity of nicotine in your e-liquid. Nicotine generally oxidizes when exposed to extreme heat. The process of oxidation may also darken the juice’s color. The result is usually a harsher than normal throat hit. With the help of steeping, you can restore the e-liquid’s original flavors and throat hit.
Steeping can be done in a number of ways. The traditional way is to simply just lock up the e-liquid in a dark and dry place, leave it there for a week, and give it a shake before using. You will have to also open the bottle for a few minutes each day, put the lid on and shake it before storing for another day. Some people also try to steep quickly by just putting the e-liquid bottle in a bowl of hot water or locating it near a heat source like a computer vent. The results can be different from the traditional means so it’s best to figure out what steeping method works for you.
Lastly, take note that steeping isn't required for all e-liquids. If you’re already satisfied with the flavor and throat hit of your newly-mixed juices, then steeping is not required. However, if you’d like to experience more depth and bring out the flavors from your e-juice, then steeping should do the trick.
Beginner Vape Juice Recipes
If you’re now so hyped up to begin your first DIY e-liquid, you will need a few basic recipes to work with.Tropical Cooler
- Desired PG / VG / Nicotine levels
- 3% pineapple
- 2% menthol
- 5% passion fruit
- 6% mango
- Desired PG / VG / Nicotine levels
- 5% Mocha
- 3% whipped cream
- 12% salted caramel
- 3% ethyl maltol
- 70PG / 30VG / Desired Nicotine Level
- 2% Shisha strawberry
- 0.75% Shisha vanilla
- 2% Fresh Cream
- 4% Vanilla Cupcake
- Desired PG / VG / Nicotine levels
- 2% Watermelon
- 1% Sweetener
- 2% Pineapple
- 1% Tart and sour
- 2% Mango
- 2% Strawberry
- Desired PG / VG / Nicotine levels
- 4% Lemon
- 3% Strawberry
- 2% Lemon Sicily
- 2% Sour
- 2% Erythritol Concentrate
Mixing your own e-liquid can be a fun and rewarding undertaking that makes vaping an even more pleasurable experience. The concept could seem intimidating at first, but once you get the basics down and you’re fully equipped for safety, you should be able to make your own e-liquids at the comforts of your home and enjoy a bountiful supply of e-liquids that you love.