Electronic Cigarettes have become a very popular alternative to smoking, with many continuing to make the life changing switch today. The vast range of electronic cigarettes available continues to grow, as does the choice of e liquids. However, one problem with e juice, especially the more premium ranges, is the cost. Depending on your choice of e cig, you could burn through 10ml of e liquid very quickly, particularly if you use a sub-ohm device.
Don't be disheartened, there is one vaping craze in particular that has become increasingly more popular: DIY e juice.
DIY e juice is, effectively, making your own, bespoke e liquid to suit your exact tastes and needs. Making your own allows you to determine the flavour, the nicotine strength and most importantly, how to spread the costs of vaping effectively.
What is in E Juice?
The base ingredients of e juice consist of water, propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerine (VG), nicotine, flavourings, and other additives. The PG or VG makes up for around 70% of the e juice. It is also the ingredient which creates the visible vapour when heated.
What Ingredients Do You Need to Make E Juice?
The basic ingredients that you need to make your own e juice are:
1. VG or PG. This can be bought from many high street stores such as boots, but make sure you buy USP grade (ask at the counter if you are unsure of which one to buy).
Note: If you want to make e juice with nicotine, we suggest you buy PG/VG unflavoured 54mg strength as well.
2. E juice Flavouring: There are plenty of online retails selling e juice flavouring online, a simple google search should bring up a lot of choice. When buying your flavouring, please take extra care in making sure they are ok to use as e juice in your electronic cigarette.
3. Distilled Water: This is used the thin out the e juice, make sure you don’t use tap water because it may contain unwanted additives.
Here's where it gets a little technical.. but don't worry, we've got you covered with this easy-to-follow guide on how to make your own e juice:
Getting the kit right
Listed below are the four main ingredients needed in your DIY setup:
PG (propylene glycol) or VG (vegetable glycerin) nicotine base, also known as a 'nicshot'. This is what you'll use to add nicotine to your e liquid, settling your cravings. In the UK, it is illegal to import or buy anything over 75mg/ml, so please check import laws for your country before ordering. The most common nicotine base amounts are 54mg or 72mg, which are perfect for most mixes (you'll find out why later on in this guide).
PG and VG base liquids are used to dilute the nicotine and flavourings in your e liquid mix. In their natural form, both are highly concentrated and need to be diluted to ensure a pleasant vaping experience. The PG and VG will make up most of your e liquid mix. There are small differences between PG and VG: they have different tastes, viscosities, and feel different on your throat when vaped.
Note: Please do not skimp on the grade of your PG liquid, it's going in your body.
- PG is an organic chemical compound, widely used in food, tobacco products, and cosmetics. PG doesn’t alter the true flavour the concentrates, unlike VG, which can change the way they taste. PG feels stronger on the throat, which can cause minor irritation after a while.
Note: Please do not skimp on the grade of your VG liquid, it's going in your body.
- VG is a slightly sweeter, slightly thicker liquid compared to PG. It can take a little longer to be absorbed by a cotton wick if you use a higher VG to PG ratio in your mix. VG can have an effect on the flavour and taste of your e liquid, some people like it, some don't. High VG ratios are preferred by sub-ohmer's and 'cloud chasers', as it tends to create large plumes of vape clouds.
Syringes, Bottles and Safety Gear
Bottles come in a variety of sizes, from 5ml and 10ml bottles which can be used for measuring and mixing up tester flavours, to 30, 50 and 100ml bottles which you can use to keep your favourite flavours safe. Most vendors do sell empty bottles, but it's a good idea to keep any empty bottles from pre-mixed e liquids that you buy, this will save money for future DIY mixes - just make sure you wash them out well.
Using a container is not necessary for your average DIY vaper, however, if you want to make large batches of e liquids, you might want to invest in some beakers to allow for larger quantities.
Syringes and pipettes are essential for getting the right quantity of each liquid into your DIY mix. Using these precise tools allow you to extract the exact amount of nicotine, PG, VG, and flavour concentrate needed, and makes transferring it to your mixing container safe, quick and easy. You can bulk buy these on eBay or Amazon. Most online vendors will sell a variety of sizes; anything from 1ml to 30ml.
4. Latex/non latex gloves
Gloves are an invaluable part of the DIY process as they protect your skin from spillages. Nicotine can be absorbed through the skin, so always protect your hands. They are also important for keeping your hands clean as you mix different flavours. Make sure you get a powder-free glove to ensure your mix stays pure and avoid any unwanted contamination.
5. Kitchen roll
Always keep some kitchen roll handy. It's great for mopping up any spillages, wiping clean any blunt dripper needles, cleaning up bottle tops and generally keeping your vape kit dry during your experiments.
Getting the mix right
Now you have your DIY kit ready, the next step is to chose your flavour concentrates.
Note: Please be careful where these come from, as some contain oils and other ingredients that are dangerous when vaped.
Take a look at our e liquid flavour pairing guide. Using our chart will help you know exactly which flavours to mix together.
Mixing Your Own E Juice:
Quick tip: Begin mixing in small batches so you don’t waste a lot of your ingredients.
Step 1: Nicotine Strength
Before you mix anything together you need to determine precisely how much nicotine content you would like your home brewed e-liquid to contain. If your aim is to produce 0% e-liquid, feel free to skip this step, otherwise pay attention to the following measurements as a small mistake can have a big impact upon the flavour and enjoyment of your e-liquid. You will need to do some basic measuring for this step; while some of the maths may initially seem overwhelming, it quickly clicks and becomes very simple to comprehend. For example:
- Decide on an intended strength and total volume of e-liquid prior to beginning.
- Determine whether you intend to produce a cloudy VG-focussed e-liquid or a thin, mouth-to-lung PG-centric juice and pick either PG nicotine or VG nicotine respectively.
- Let us say you wish to produce 50ml of e-liquid which is 6mg per ml. The formula for determining how much nicotine you need is a simple one; 50 x 6 = 300mg of nicotine will be required.
- With this in mind, you need to perform a new formula; you take the amount of nicotine required in our recipe and determine the strength of the nicotine solution you’re using. If your nicotine solution boasts a strength of 50mg per ml, then you’ll need to use 6ml of your nicotine solution. On the other hand, if you have a stronger solution with a strength of 100mg per ml, then you’ll only need 3ml.
As you can see, determining the necessary nicotine content for the e-liquid is a simple enough affair. When actually adding the nicotine to your intended vessel, we recommend utilising a pipette or syringe so that you can get the most accurate measurement possible. If using a pipette don’t worry if you accidentally draw up more nicotine than intended; simply use small squeezes to release any excess back into the nicotine bottle. Once you have your syringe of nicotine, simply squirt it into the large bottle you’ll be brewing and storing your e-liquid in.
Note: We highly advise that you use an e liquid calculator. E liquid calculators are essential for ensuring sensible ingredient ratios and the exact measurements needed to ensure you successfully make your own e liquid. They also allow you to accurately determine the ideal amount of nicotine to use, taking into consideration the strength of your solution, as well as flavour concentrates and your VG/PG base mix.
Step 2: Flavour Concentrates
The previous step which dealt with the nicotine strength of your e-liquid was easily the hardest part of the process, with the rest of your brew mostly requiring patience. It’s time to choose the flavour of your vape; be sure to take your time in selecting your concentrate as this is the flavour that will be accompanying your vaping experience. Keep in mind that flavour concentrates are powerful substances; it doesn’t pay to use too much. Consider how you use vanilla extract when baking; a drop lends a lovely sweetness to your cooking, but a mouthful would be unbearably bitter.
- It is our recommendation that if using MIST brand concentrates, they should make up around 5% of the final vapable e-liquid.
- In the event that you’re brewing up a total of 50ml of e-liquid, you will in that case require 2.5ml of flavour concentrate, which will make up 5% of the final product. It may not seem like a great deal, but flavour concentrates go a very long way.
- While you can mix concentrates and try to discover your own unique blend, keep in mind that not all flavours pair well. For some useful pointers check out our infographics on e-liquid flavour pairings.
Step 3: VG/PG
We’re almost done with the initial brewing process, what you now need to focus on is adding the rest of the PG/VG base to your mix. You will need to take several things into account for this, but no doubt you’ve been keeping accurate measurements of everything used so far so it should be relatively simple.
Let’s say you’ve been using our examples so far, and utilised a PG 100mg nicotine concentrate as you wish to produce a mouth-to-lung e-liquid.
- You previously added 3ml of PG 100mg nicotine to the bottle, and another 2.5ml of space is taken up by the flavour concentrate, leaving you with 44.5ml of space in your bottle.
- Be sure to utilise a fresh pipette or syringe, as while the nicotine content requires serious attention and you want to get this step right so as to achieve the best possible mixture.
- For a 50VG/50PG mix, add 22ml of PG base to the mixture, which added to the PG nicotine and flavour concentrate brings us to 25ml.
- Add another 25ml of VG base. That’s the last element you’ll be adding to this brew.
Step 4: Shake & Wait
You’re now going to want to give your fresh brew a long, vigorous shake. Several minutes is the ideal amount of time, as the more it is shaken the better the nicotine, flavour, VG and PG will blend equally.
The last step is to simply leave your new e-liquid in a dark cupboard with the cap taken off so that the e-liquid is exposed to the open air. This ‘steeping’ process dramatically increases the flavour of the concentrate, which is usually muffled by the intensity of the fresh nicotine at the point of mixture.
The E Juice Calculator
If you don't fancy trying the complete DIY approach, you can use an e liquid calculator.
Note: When making your own e liquid, you should never attempt to ‘eyeball’ the ingredients. It's important to be as accurate as you can when calculating the amount of ingredients to use in your mix. Although nicotine solutions that are intended for vaping are diluted down to the point of extremely low toxicity, nicotine is still a very powerful substance, and an incorrect dose can be disorienting. The nicotine content of your e liquid will have a profound impact on its overall flavour profile and intensity.
The best way to ensure that you’re correctly measuring the ingredients, and keeping to the appropriate and recommended ratios, is to use an e liquid calculator. These calculators allow you to fill out a number of fields to indicate what kind of mixture you're aiming to produce, how much of it you want to make, and how strong you want it to be. All you need to do is follow the instructions.
E liquid calculators commonly go into great depth about the substances you’ll be mixing together; whether you’re aiming to make a high-VG e liquid or a subtler 50/50 e juice.
Below are three examples of popular DIY e liquid calculator programs of varying complexity. Don’t worry; you don’t need to be good at chemistry to produce a fine e liquid, you just need a little patience and attention to detail.
There are apps available for smartphones which you can download, or there are a few available on the internet.
This program is available for download. It looks complicated, but they have a very informative and easy to follow FAQ/new user guide, which we highly recommend reading. This is suitable for the advanced mixer, not for the faint hearted!
Perfect for those of you who don’t want to download anything, or simply want to test different strengths and combinations out. It’s fairly basic, but nice and easy to use. All you need to do is edit the numbers as and when required and it will tell you how much (both in drops and ml) you do or don’t need to use. This is suitable for beginners.
This is a very simplistic, user friendly mobile app, suitable for both new and experienced users. There are easy and advanced options, but it is a little limited with only 3 flavour options, and you are only able to save 3 recipes. This is suitable for all levels of DIY vapers.
E liquid calculators are an essential aspect of making your own e juice, and just as vital to the process as the quality of equipment you use. Using an e liquid calculator will not only increase the chance of producing a better tasting product, you’ll also be able to record the various ingredient ratios safely for future use.
Rule of Thumb E Juice Composition:
Making e juice without nicotine:
- 15% Water (Optional) - 15% Flavouring - 70% Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerine
Making e juice with nicotine:
- 10% Water (Optional)
- 10% Flavouring
- 60% Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerine
- 20% Commercial Nicotine Liquid
If you wanted to make an e juice with a concentration of 18mg and you had a base flavourless 54mg e juice the ratios would be as followed:
|| % Of Total
| 54mg PG or VG
| PG or VG
*Drops are an estimation. 20 drops of water from a dropper equals approximately 1ml.
Note: This is just a guide. Remember to use an e juice calculator, to help you create the perfect ratio. Making your own e juice is just like cooking, you have to experiment in order to find that perfect flavour – so have fun!
FAQ's About DIY E Liquid
Now you have all the necessary tools to create your own, unique e liquid flavours.
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about DIY e liquid; from complete beginners to seasoned veterans.
Are Any of These Ingredients Dangerous / Harmful?
Vegetable Glycerine and Propylene Glycol are both commonly used in the production of foods and confectionaries. VG is a naturally occurring sugar, while PG is a synthesised carrier of flavour. Both can be commonly purchased in pharmacies and food industry retailers. Neither are considered toxic.
Nicotine solution however is a controlled substance and is subject to age-restrictions much like tobacco products. While nicotine solutions for e-liquid brewing and short fill bottles have been diluted to a point of safety, it is still inadvisable to ingest any of the raw fluid orally, and care must be taken to wash your hands after handling the substance, particularly before food preparation.
Don’t be discouraged by this warning however; in most cases the worst thing that can happen if a nicotine solution is miscalculated during a brew is a weaker or stronger e-liquid than first intended.
My E Liquid Has Changed Colour Since I Brewed it; is it Still Safe to Vape?
This is entirely normal and part of the DIY brewing process. E-liquid which is allowed to spend some time ‘breathing’ in a dark space will begin to darken and produce flavours with far greater intensity. As nicotine commonly has an impact on the flavour of e-liquid we actually encourage anyone brewing a juice stronger than 3mg to let it breath for a day or two, as the difference is very noticeable.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Further Improve The Flavour?
Along with the breathing process as described above, the e-liquid can also benefit from a treatment known as ‘steeping’. Just as simple as breathing, steeping only requires a bit of patience.
Remove the cap from your e-liquid bottle as though you were going to let it breath, but then place the bottle halfway submerged in a pool of warm-to-hot water for an hour or so. There are other methods of steeping, though most are different iterations on allowing your e-liquid to breath in a gentle heat.
This process will allow the e-liquid to continue brewing and mature at a faster rate. After an hour, it can be helpful to gently squeeze the air out of the bottle before letting it refill; recycling the gases within the bottle will improve the brewing process and overall flavour.
Further Reading & DIY MIST Guides
Take a look at our guide: How to Fill an E Cigarette, this will come in very handy when you have finished your DIY e liquid mix.
You might have a few apprehensions, such as 'what if it all goes wrong and nothing tastes right!?' Don't panic! We have lots of guides to help you along your journey of becoming a seasoned DIY vaper.
Is your mix too harsh on your throat? Take a look at our guide: How to Get a Smooth Vape
If you find that your e liquid is lacking in flavour intensity, then you might need to steep it. Take a look at our guide: How to Steep E Liquid
If things still don't seem quite right, get in touch with the team and we will be happy to help you further.
Important Things to Note as a DIY Vaper:
The Dangers of Nicotine Poisoning
When handling extra high strength nicotine products it is essential you wear the correct protective gear, especially when you are mixing your own e juice. Gloves and goggles are a must! Nicotine is highly toxic and if enough is absorbed through the skin it can kill you. When making your e juice, please keep all ingredients away from children and pets. If any is spilt on your skin, please rinse immediately and if you are feeling any negative effects go and see your doctor.
Don’t Want to Mix Your Own E Juice?
If you can’t be bothered to faff around to try and create your own e juice why not just leave it to the pros? At MIST we only supply the most quality controlled, flavoursome e juice from the world’s finest manufacturer. Check out the flavours we have in our online store, or visit us at one of our high street shops in Brighton and Hove, where our dedicated team will be happy to help.
However you choose to get your e juice, enjoy it, and happy vaping!