A beginner’s DIY e-liquid guide, learn how to make your own e-juice

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A good e-liquid can make the difference, and finding the one that works for you is crucial in the transition from traditional tobacco smokes to vaping. But with so many brands and flavors available it can be tricky to have your taste buds set on a particular one. The wide majority of e-juices can be purchased on-line, but since taste is subjective a liquid that is praised by 30 users can taste not that appealing when you inhale it from your setup. Of course, positively reviewed juices are usually the best, but in order to find some alternatives that work for you will need to experiment.

We often recommend sample packs

From my experience, sampler packs are an ideal way of getting to know a brand’s flavors but always stick with the minimum number. If you order 10 flavors instead of just five, you will have a harder time deciding a favorite so please be patient and take things gradually. Vape retail stores or lounges that offer the possibility to sample some of the juices on the spot are also great because you can easily find one you like without having to pay for all the experimenting.

DIY e-liquids - basic principles

But once you find some flavors that you like and want to tweak it to the maximum, or want to end up paying even less for each milliliter then this DIY e-liquid guide is going to give you some pointers. Do It Yourself e-juices usually involve taking things to the next level and getting your hands dirty but it’s totally worth it. However, don’t imagine you’ll be scouting the fields and forests for berries and plants to extract the flavor from and then use it in your e-liquid. No, I’m talking about concentrated flavors, which many reputable brands are selling (alongside their e-juices) and you get the chance to mix them at home and increase or decrease the aroma.

How to make your own juices

In order to make your own e-liquids at home you are going to need a few things: a base, flavorings, a couple of syringes, and some empty bottles with dropper caps. So, without further ado, let’s take each of these items and explain.

First of all, a good base is critical if you want to reach the same level of quality as store bought e-liquids. There are numerous alternatives out there and it’s hard to recommend a particular one because many of them offer the same results but as a rule you should check out the prices on at least 5-10 websites (just to get an understanding of the prices) and then go for something in between. Never buy the cheapest one you find or the one that’s with $10 more expensive than the mean. Another thing you should know is that The price for these bases increase with the amount of nicotine they include. You should definitely go for something with a close level of nicotine as the one you are vaping regularly.

The base

plastic eliquid bottles A base is usually a mixture of VG (vegetable glycerin), PG (propylene glycol), nicotine (0%, 0.6%, 1.2% etc) and sometimes water. VG is responsible for the vapor production but adds thickness to the e-liquid, PG is responsible with the flavor but adds thinness. The ratio between VG and PG depends from person to person and it depends on preference. You should start with the same ratio as the one found in your day to day e-juice.

Some companies offer the option of choosing between a couple of predefined ratios and nicotine concentrations, while others sell only 100% VG, 100% PG or 50/50 VPG. The predefined bases are easier to work with because they eliminate a step in the calculation of the final product concentration. But buying VG and PG separately can also be easy to work with as you can mix them in a separate container and then carry on to adding the flavor and measuring the quantities. You only have to make sure to pick the same nicotine concentrations on both!

MtBaker Vapor logo

If you are interested in making your own juices, then Mount Baker Vapor have some delicious DIY flavorings

The different VG/PG ratios

So if a shop sells a 70% VG / 30% PG / 0.6% Nic base, you can also end up with the same result by mixing in a 10 ml bottle 7 ml of 0.6% Nic pure VG and 3 ml of 0.6% Nic pure PG. Gradually experimenting with the VG to PG ratios is going to allow you to understand how vapor production and flavor work and find a perfect balance for your vaping needs.

For instance 40% VG / 60% PG is going to give you a lot more flavor, but the e-liquid is going to be a lot thinner (which can produce atomizer gurgling) and the vapor production is not going to be that intense. On the other hand a 90%VG / 10% PG, depending on the situation can result in a very thick e-liquid that can be responsible for dry hits and the premature failure of the atomizer resistance (this is why a few predominantly VG bases also have a 5% water concentration, just to make the it thinner). But be careful, if you need to use water in your base, you should only use distilled water that is found in pharmacies.

You can check out for instance this 100% VG Base, which you can mix together with a 100% PG Base and some nicotine and reach your favorite concentration. You can also check out this 70/30 VG to PG base.

Flavorings are very important

Next in line are the flavors, which usually come in 10ml bottles and are concentrated aromas of the products that a company is selling. On each site or on the bottles there are recommendations on the ratios that need to be mixed with the base in order to enjoy the same quality as store bought e-liquids. Usually the ratio is 10-20% flavor and the rest is the VG/PG base. However, the great thing about DIY e-liquids is that you can increase or decrease the flavor or even combine a couple of them to create your own signature cocktail.

Important tools for DIY

Syringes are essential when mixing the ingredients together and you will need a couple of them. Usually between 5ml and 10ml are more than enough for home-made e-liquids and they are not that expensive or hard to find. Depending on the concentration, you will need to measure each ml of the flavoring or the base and this is why a syringe is the best tool for the process.

Last but not least, plastic or glass bottles are essential for storing and preparing the final products. These need to have dropper caps so you can pour the e-liquid inside the tank afterwards. If not, you could always improvise with the syringe or a manual dropper. 10ml bottles are the best for your first experiments because it’s very easily to calculate the ratios. If you buy the VG and PG separately then you will also need a spare 10ml or 100ml bottle to correctly reach the VG/PG ratio you are looking for.

As a tip, you should try finding a site that sells all of these items (there are a few online) so you won’t have to pay separately for shipping.

The math behind a good e-liquid

So let’s say you have decided to go for a 70/30 PG/VG 1.2% nicotine base and a flavor that requires a 10% concentration. First do the math and calculate the necessary ratios, depending on the type of bottle you have ready. If you have a 10ml bottle, then 10% means 1ml, so you will need 9ml of the base and 1ml of the flavoring. If you have a 30ml bottle then 10% means 3ml, so you will need 27ml of the base and 3ml of the flavoring. Check out a wide range of empty DIY e-liquid bottles.

You can easily measure with a syringe the amount of base and the amount of flavoring and then mix them together in the bottle with the cap on. Then comes a very important step called steeping and this involves leaving the bottles in a cool and dry place and daily shaking them and refreshing the air inside the plastic or glass containers. Depending on the flavor this requires from a few hours to a couple of days and it can definitely improve the final result.

The key to finding the optimal balance between VG / PG / Nicotine / and Flavoring is experimenting and now that you know how to do it, you’re in for a big surprise and a noticeable upgrade in the way you vape. I really hope you found this info interesting and is you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment or ask me a question.

Posted by Dave Allan

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Former pack-a-day smoker, I discovered electronic cigarettes back in 2011. Since then vaping has slowly turned into my hobby and my full time job. I’ve tested hundreds of e-cigarettes and mods across the years and constantly used my knowledge and experience to help others make the switch. I’m passionate about technology, I enjoy reading and I love big flavorful clouds.

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