DIY mixing e-liquid is often considered to be withheld only for advanced vapers, yet once you get your head around a few things and have some patience, it’s a great way to save money and customise your ideal blends. Often e-cigarette users, particularly sub ohm vapers, can go through e-liquid like there’s no tomorrow.
E-liquid is essentially made up of four main ingredients: PG (Propylene Glycol), VG (Vegetable Glycerin), flavourings and nicotine. In pre-made e-liquid, all of these are blended together by the manufacturer and steeped before they even hit the shelves.
However, with DIY e-liquid, vapers put all of the separate elements together themselves, allowing for a choice in flavour concentrates, PG/VG ratio, nicotine strength and amount.
Before attempting DIY mixing, it’s essential to get hold of some equipment to be able to mix appropriately, this includes measuring beakers, measuring syringes, gloves and some empty bottles for storage. It’s also vital beforehand to ensure all mixing equipment is completely clean of dirt or dust, to avoid entering the e-liquid mix. Sanitation is important to avoid bacterial infection.
Before the TPD came into force, nicotine was sold in very high concentrations in large bottles, which represented the only real danger of making your own e-liquid at home. Post-TPD, this is no longer an issue thanks to the regulatory limit of no more than 20mg nicotine strength in 10ml bottles. This gave birth to Nicotine Booster Shots, which are now commonly available in flavoured and unflavoured variants. That said, it’s always necessary to protect yourself by using gloves when mixing, making sure your skin doesn’t come into contact with any of the liquids used.
Whether you’re making a standard tobacco blend or a pear, apple, chocolate crumble concoction, you will need the same basic set of ingredients. These are:
These compounds combined are effectively known as base liquid and basically make liquid vapable. The VG acts as a thickener to be able to heat the liquid and in turn creating cloud production, whilst PG binds the flavouring and nicotine to the liquid to increase taste and throat hit.
Deciding on the ratio of the two is of course down to preference, but usually sub ohm vapers go for a high VG consistency of 60% and above whilst the more starter kit/pod device orientated are recommended to go for a high PG blend of 50% and above.
These liquids determine the overall flavour of your final e-liquid and are available in an extensive range of variants from gingerbread latte to dragon fruit. You can mix in as many flavours as you’d like but just remember that certain flavours will be muted the more concentrates are added.
It’s worth noting that even though the vast majority are, it’s essential to always purchase water soluble flavour concentrates. Oil based variants, on the other hand, can potentially cause lipoid pneumonia. Fortunately, all of the flavour concentrates available here at Vape Club are water-soluble based.
This is of course completely optional. As aforementioned, nicotine booster shots are available in a variety of strengths up to 20mg. The strength of nicotine chosen is down to the user’s preference, which naturally will affect the taste of the blend. This cannot be altered if overestimated, so please be mindful when deciding how much nicotine is required otherwise you’ll find yourself with a blend which is too harsh or too strong to handle.
The first thing a user will need to decide on is the ratio of the e-liquid. This refers to how much PG and VG you want in the juice, deciding on how thick it’s going to be. If it’s going to be used in a sub ohm tank, you will want to mix at 70% VG and above, and if you’re using a Mouth To Lung tank, it’s best to stick to 50% PG and above.
The next thing to choose is the percentage of e-liquid flavourings to add. Most flavours work well at between 15%-30% of the overall juice, but this can vary from person to person. The best thing to do is start from the 15% figure and either dilute or add more flavour if needed.
Finally, you will want to decide on the nicotine strength, with the aforementioned nicotine booster shot. There’s nothing to say that you can’t choose your own percentage of flavouring, as some flavours may work well at 10%, others at 12% and some as high as 20%, but for this particular concentrate, 15% is usually recommended.
When creating your e-liquid, it’s easiest for a user to work out the amounts of each ingredient they’re going to need before starting the mix. Obviously once you’ve had a few tries, you’ll become accustomed to the process. The simplest way to work out your measurements is with an online calculator, one example being Steam Engine. This will figure out the exact amount of each component when mixing the juice to the desired ratios of PG, VG, nicotine strength and flavour.
For example, a user wants to create 100ml of e-liquid at 20mg and 80% VG, with 15% flavour and 3mg nicotine strength. Once the user has inputted the data into the calculator, it will display the exact measurements in milliliters for the desired e-liquid mix. In this example, the calculator would show that the mix needed 15ml of nicotine base, 15ml of flavour concentrate, 68ml of VG and 2ml of PG, to create 100ml of 3mg, 80% VG e-liquid.
The order in which to add each component into the mix doesn’t really matter, but it’s generally easiest to start with the nicotine base, followed by the other components. When you measure anything, make sure you check and double check the amounts. Once all of the ingredients are together, the best way to mix up the e-liquid is to give it a vigorous shake which will ensure that the flavours and nicotine are evenly distributed throughout the PG and VG.
There you have it, your concoction creation. After this, it’s good practice to label the bottle with the flavour, nicotine strength, VG/PG ratio and date.
The next step is probably the hardest bit of the whole process and definitely the most time consuming - steeping the e-liquid. Menthol and fruit flavoured e-liquid usually take less time than dessert or pastry flavours, but it’s always worth having patience and letting it ride. At least one week of steeping is an absolute necessary step, but the more they steep, the increased likelihood the flavour is of quality.
Steeping is achieved by leaving the e-liquid alone in a dark room at room temperature, in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard. This allows the flavour to immerse, marinate and develop. If you simply haven’t got the patience and don’t steep, simply put the juice won’t taste right. When you buy a premade e-liquid, it will have been steeped for at least a couple of weeks before its stocked, which is why you can’t vape it straight away. Once it’s steeped and completed, the e-liquid is now ready to be vaped. Well done and enjoy!
If you get it right the first time, you’ve either got beginner's luck or you’re a natural. If not, please don’t beat yourself or your vape kit up. Sometimes all it takes is a few bites of the cherry before becoming a DIY mixing master! DIY e-liquid unfortunately requires more patience but the results can be astounding, not to mention the savings on money and plastic. Once completed, the e-liquid is now ready to be vaped. Congratulations! If you have any questions or queries about DIY e-liquid mixing or vaping in general, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.