How to Make Vape E-Liquid at Home [A Do It Yourself Guide]
Let us start off by explaining DIY e-liquid. Put simply, it’s a homemade version of e-juice. It comes with all the same ingredients as the commercially produced version. However, you are at liberty to play around with it until you achieve the flavor and consistency you want.
As a growing industry, the DIY e-juice market is now flooded with people who have come to the realization that what the e-liquid brands do can be done at home.
Some big names in the e-juice basically throw all the ingredients into a large tub and using technology, mix it up, bottle it, label it, and sell it. DIY e-liquiders are also following the same principal at a much smaller scale. As more people realize that they can make their own e-juice, you can see the increase in experiments on threads in different forums where they discuss their successes and failures.
In this article, I will show you how to beat the branded e-juice at its own game. But first, do you want to learn how to make e-juice and find the best do it yourself e juice supplies?
Do it yourself e liquids are a great way to save money and vape cheaply. Apart from that, they also allow you to customize your vaping experience and have some fun doing it. Why incur the hassle of making your own vaping juice, and from scratch for that matter, when you can get one ready-made from the store? Well, as any vaping enthusiast knows, the beauty of vaping lies in both the flavor and the vapor.
Why Do It Yourself E-Liquids?
Many people who make their own e-juice want more from their vaping experience than they get from the commercially available e liquid. This ranges from the strength of the flavor to the thickness of the vapor to good old value for money. Spending on store bought e liquid could set you back quite a bit while do it yourself e liquids cost as little as a few pennies per milliliter to make.
To be exact, you could spend around $15 to $30 on a ready-made e liquid.
Understandably, most people are discouraged from starting due to the upfront cost of purchasing all the ingredients and supplies required. However, using cheaper materials will not set you back too much. When you put into consideration that the more you make the lower your cost becomes, it's definitely worth a try. In the long run, you will save a substantial amount of money.
I do, however, advise that you should look into making your own vaping juice only if you vape on a regular basis. An occasional vaper maybe better off with commercial e liquid as they don't use it regularly.
What Do You Need?
Below I have listed the basic ingredients and supplies you will need to get started. I buy most of my supplies at My Freedom Smokes. They have everything you need to learn how to make vape juice at low prices. As a matter of fact, their do it yourself e liquid starter kit is great for a beginner as it even has VG/PG flavorings. Check out the list of recommended do it yourself e liquid suppliers at the end of this article or my e-cigarette vendor black book for trusted vendors.
DIY E-Juice Recipe's Ingredients:
- Nicotine e-Liquid
- (PG) Propylene Glycol
- (VG) Vegetable Glycerin (optional)
- Concentrated Flavoring(s)
Not all e-juice recipes ingredients look the same. S0 be sure to follow through this keenly to see how everything is supposed to be done.
Nicotine e-liquid usually comes in strengths of 24 to 100 mg per milliliter. The strength will be diluted when you add flavoring, PG, and VG.
PG is an organic, odorless, and colorless chemical compound that is used as the suspension fluid in vaping as it carries the flavor more efficiently than VG which is more viscous. It is also responsible for the "throat hit", the sensation one gets when you smoke tobacco. The FDA has described PG as safe to ingest making it a prevalent ingredient in food additives, asthma inhalers, baby wipes, makeup and medical products.
VG is also a natural chemical found in vegetable oil. The vaping sensation from VG is smoother and almost sweet. For those unable to handle PG in their vaping juice because of allergies and other reactions, 100% VG vaping is just as great an option. In fact, vendors now have the alternative of VG mixes that have incorporated nicotine and flavors. FDA has also categorized VG as a safe ingredient for human consumption.
When it comes to flavoring, use high temperature resistant and food grade flavoring with high water solubility. Room temperature resistant flavorings are not meant to be vaped in a personal vape.
The amount of each ingredient you use will depend on what you like in your e-liquid. In general, higher PG ratio liquid will produce better flavor and a higher VG ratio will increase vapor production. I usually have a 80PG/20VG ratio (you can read about my PG/VG ratio here) but a 50/50 split ratio is very common. Note that adding too much nicotine or flavoring will ruin the e-liquid.
The great thing about do it yourself e liquid is you get to experiment and create e-liquid mix that you love. So start off with a lower amount and increase as you figure out what works for you. Also, limit the number of flavors you mix together.
Do It Yourself E Liquid Supplies:
- Bottles (preferably plastic with the childproof caps)
- Pipettes and/or Droppers
- Syringes (1-30ml) and/or Measuring Devices
- E-Liquid Calculator app
- Milk Frother for mixing (optional)
- Latex Gloves
- A pair of goggles
- A tray (to contain any spills from your supplies)
I have recommended plastic bottles above only because of their convenience. You do not need to keep cleaning them like you would a glass bottle.
I use syringes. They can measure out small amounts precisely without making a mess. You can buy them online or at a local animal feed store.
The feed store may be the cheapest option, my local store sells perfect 3ml syringes for just .35 cents. You will probably want a small 1ml syringe and larger 10-20ml syringes as well.
To make your own e-juice, it is imperative to have a bottle for the juice and some kind of measuring device. Now that we’ve given one of the best vape juice recipes ever and you feel ready to make your do it yourself e liquid, just follow the simple step-by-step instructions below.
It is possible to make do it yourself e juice by measuring out each ingredient with drops. It’s not very exact, but the e liquid calculator I recommended will provide measurements in drops. You can also use separate syringes for each ingredient which you then mark and clean with distilled water after every use to keep the flavor pure.
While some people consider using latex gloves optional, we strongly recommend using them as they prevent the nicotine from being absorbed into your skin. Nicotine is an ingredient that quickly gets absorbed by your skin and even small quantities can result in an immediate nicotine high. What a lot of people do not know is that nicotine in its liquid form can cause acute feelings of sickness and even worse, blindness should it get into your eyes.
How to Make Vape Juice [Step-by-Step]
Prep Your Workstation
- Put on your goggles and gloves
- Get all of your supplies ready (Measuring cups, syringes etc.)
- Get all your ingredients together. Nicotine, PG, VG, and flavoring
- Use e-liquid calculator and write down each ingredient’s measurement (start with 5% flavoring) or a scale if you prefer to use grams.
Choose Your Ratios And Preferences
For a first timer, I would recommend using a simple recipe. Alternatively, you could try a one shot concentrate. Having found a recipe, decide on what ratio of PG to VG you would want to use. A 70/30 VG/PG ratio is great to start with for a smooth vaping experience that you can tweak as you go. Now choose the nicotine levels you want but keep it to a minimum and build it up as you prefer. With your preferences out of the way, move on to measurements.
Measure Your Ingredients
- Measure out Propylene Glycol – Put it in the dropper/ container
- Measure out Vegetable Glycerin - put it to in the dropper/container
- Measure out Nicotine, wipe off any drips or leaking - put it to the syringe
- Measure the flavoring in a syringe
Begin by dripping in the correct measurement of flavor into the bottle. Next, add the recommended amount of nicotine using a syringe to avoid spills. Add in the measured out PG and VG as this is a base. Measure the contents on a scale to ensure they match those in the recipe if you are using grams.
If you are using volumes, remember that this are the least accurate measures. Measure out your ingredients in the syringes (use separate syringes for each ingredient) and add them to your bottle. Try and gauge how many ml you are measuring out.
Alternatively, you can use the drop method. This usually means you use drops from similarly sized droppers as your measurements. However, do not use the dropper to measure out the nicotine. Instead, stick to the syringe for safe and less clumsy workings. In all three instances mix all the ingredients with the frother or shake them up vigorously.
Great! You just made your own e-liquid! However, the excitement that comes with having mixed your first ever batch of e-liquid can overshadow this very important process. What happens after mixing?
- Rinse off utensils
- Sample the e-liquid and add extra flavoring as needed
- Clean Up
- Store all the items used safely and out of reach of others.
- Storage of the e-liquid (keep away from sunlight or heat)
The strengths of e-liquid flavorings vary. I have found that most flavors are good at about 10%, but I recommend starting out at 5% and increase to taste. Know that some flavors will only require 1-2%, and I have heard of some people using 30%+ flavoring. Just start with low amounts and increase flavoring to your preference.
Some flavors will taste great right away, however, to get some of your e-liquids just right, you may want to steep them. Steeping is simply the process of letting your e-liquid age in the bottle. The aging process allows the ingredients to be chemically broken down and merged into the flavor organically thus enhancing them.
As a general rule if you do not like the flavor of your e-liquid from the get go steep it and see if the flavor improves. Also, steep e liquids that contain nicotine for better results. For satisfactory results, keep your e liquid steeped for a minimum of five days. The process is simple
How To Steep Your E-Liquid
The most important step is the shaking of the bottled e-liquid. Do so lightly for only 1-2 minutes. Watch for the micro bubbles which will tell you if you are over shaking.
Take off the bottle's cap and let the e-liquid sit undisturbed in a dark room at room temperature. This is to allow the alcohols and other solvents which have been dislodged to the top by the shaking to evaporate. Leave the e-liquid for 24 hours and then gently squeeze the bottle (another reason why I recommend a plastic bottle) to further dislodge any lingering air.
Replace the cap onto the bottle and let it sit for two days undisturbed in the same environment. Keep repeating the step 2 and 3 until you see a color change and are satisfied that you have arrived at a good flavor. Remember a minimum of five days will give you good results however you can go as long as you want to for an even better flavor. Most people say that after 2 weeks the flavor cannot ripen any further, but remember DIYing is based on experimenting.
So experiment and see it this is really so or whether your e-juice' flavor will exceed that flavor ceiling.
Here's a quick video on steeping...
It is important to keep yourself and those around you safe before, during and after making your e-liquid. Nicotine is poisonous in its liquid form. It can be fatal on small children, pets and adults alike. Since it easily absorbed through the skin even just direct contact with your body is considered dangerous. Keep it under lock and key and far away from others. Also ensure you thoroughly clean your apparatus after use and store appropriately.
If you come into direct contact with the nicotine, leave the process, go and thoroughly wash it off. Make sure you use latex gloves during the entire process. Nicotine is meant to be diluted and not vaped in its pure form. Adding flavoring, PG and VP will dilute it some but ensure you use the amount recommended in the recipe you are adopting. Lastly, invest in a pair of goggles. Nicotine fumes can be dangerous and an involuntary rub on your eye during the process can result in blindness.
DIY E-Liquid Supplies Recommended Stores List:
- My Freedom Smokes
- Wizard Labs
- Mt Baker Vapor
- Mad Vapes
How to Make E-Juice Without Nicotine
Your First Steps:
Before we even get started talking about the nitty gritty, go and get yourself a notepad and a writing tool. Be sure to write notes about everything you do whilst making e-juice. Write notes about things you read, receipies you find and general thoughts you have regarding the process. It may seem silly now, but trust me it will pay off down the track. Imagine vaping the last tank of the best DIY e-liquid you have ever created and then you realise you have no idea of what was in it or how you made it. Suddenly it dawns on you that you cannot simply re-create it by following your custom recipe, you’ll have to redo those hours and hours of testing and tweaking to get your juice to that perfect level again. At some point this will happen to every DIYer, trust me it has happened to me on more than one occasion and I wish that I had been more diligent about recording what was in my mix. So go and get that notepad and writing tool now, before you read any further.
With a notepad in hand, write down the following:
These are all the things that you will need to get you started making e-liquid without nicotine like a Wizard. Well, apart from time and effort, blood, sweat and tears.
VG is a natural chemical found in vegetable oil. The vaping sensation from VG is smoother and almost sweet. For those unable to handle PG in their vaping juice because of allergies and other reactions, 100% VG vaping is just as great an option. In fact, vendors now have the alternative of VG mixes that have incorporated nicotine and flavors. FDA has also categorized VG as a safe ingredient for human consumption. VG contributes to the amount of vapor produced from your device and is thick in viscosity.
PG is an organic, odorless, and colorless chemical compound that is used as the suspension fluid in vaping as it carries the flavor more efficiently than VG which is more viscous. It is also responsible for the "throat hit", the sensation one gets when you smoke tobacco. The FDA has described PG as safe to ingest making it a prevalent ingredient in food additives, asthma inhalers, baby wipes, makeup and medical products. PG is a thin liquid and runs a lot faster than VG.
Flavor concentrates and additives are what gives the e-liquid certain flavor profiles. As with cooking, flavours can be mixed and matched to create a recipe of sorts. Also as with cooking, people’s taste buds are subjective. You know this as you like certain foods that others may not necessarily enjoy eating or opt to go for. Additives can be added such as sweeteners, menthols, smoothers and sour(ers).
We will talk about mixing tools and safety equipment further on.
You can use many mixing calculators that are available either online or as apps for your smart phone. Find one that suits your needs and is the most user friendly for you to use and understand. I would recommend signing up at e-liquid-recipes.com as I find it the most resourceful and up to date for my needs. It is also very easy to use, navigate around and it has an amazing database of recipes that are updated on a daily basis by hundreds of DIY chefs. The mixing calculator will let you know what percentages of each component should go into creating your e-liquid masterpiece. It will automatically adjust the percentages based on the total volume of liquid being made and what ratios you desire for your final product.
Flavor and Supplies
There are countless manufacturers that supply flavorings that can be made to make e-liquid without nicotine. Please be aware that not all flavours are safe to vape and you will need to research the flavor concentrates that you plan on using before you consider purchasing them. A general rule of thumb, stay away from flavors that contain the following ingredients;
Here are the most common flavor makers that are used widely for the purposes of DIY e-juice making. The common abbreviations are also included as these are often referenced in recipes or online forums;
The Flavor Apprentice (TFA/TPA)
Capella Flavor Drops (CA or CAP)
Flavor West (FW)
Real Flavours (RF)
LorAnn’s (LA or LAN for the Naturals line)
This not an extensive list, however more the popular choices for DIY e-liquid makers. Another thing to note is that not all flavours taste universal across each vendors lines. A strawberry flavor from one maker can taste radically different to another maker. You will have to keep in mind that taste is also subjective, so be prepared to do some tasting for yourself and bear in mind you may need to substitute flavours from different manufactures to suit your specific taste buds.
The best reseller that we have found here at Vaping Cheap is ecigexpress.com. They can supply you with everything you will need to get started at very competitive prices. Their customer service is also next to none, which provides you with plenty of peace of mind to purchase from them as a one stop shop.
Mixing Tools and Safety Equipment
Here is a basic idea of what is needed to successfully create your first batch of e-juice;
Bottles (preferably plastic with the childproof caps)
Pipettes and/or Droppers
Syringes (1-30ml) and/or Measuring Devices
Latex or Rubber Gloves
A pair of goggles
A tray (to contain any spills from your supplies)
It is possible to create e-liquid an recipe entirely by counting the amount of drops necessary to reach that flavor percentage. You can also measure it out in mis depending on how big of a batch you are creating. The calculator on e-liquid-recipes.com will give you both options at once, so you can also choose to drop some and measure others depending on their amounts. Gloves are an important safety precaution, as you do not want any liquid or potentially nicotine (if you choose to use it) in contact with your skin. Due to the flavors being so concentrated, they can take a very long time to come out of your skin and you may smell like Vanilla Custard for 2 weeks. Googles are just another safety recommendation as we do not want anything to come in contact with your eyes by mistake.
Choosing your First Recipe
For a first timer you could try a one shot concentrate, which means you only have to use one flavor. This is a good idea as you can easily play around with different percentages of that one concentrate to find your perfect mix. Also you don’t have the daunting task of measuring out the exact measurements in a complex recipe that requires a lot of different concentrates. This is something you can work up to once you master the simple stuff.
Alternatively I would recommend using a simple recipe with only a few ingredients. Having found a recipe, decide on what ratio of PG to VG you would want to use. A 70/30 VG/PG ratio is great to start with for a smooth vaping experience that you can tweak as you go. The calculator will allow you to experiment with different ratios and save them out individually. Remember to write down what ratios you use and keep the dates of mixing handy - this will come in handy later. It is easier to start with a lower percentage of a particular concentrate and build up from there, rather than have to dial it down later. This is also more forgiving on your taste buds as they aren’t hit with too much flavor at once.
Have a few ideas in mind before you make your first order, but remember to keep it simple. Have a play around with the calculators before you make an order to see how much of each component you will actually need without forking out unnecessary money to begin with. Start small and work your way up to bigger batches once you start getting the hang of mixing and get comfortable with the process.
Getting Down and Dirty
Start by preparing your workstation and ensure it is clean to begin with. It is easier to mop up spills as you go rather than create a huge pool of mess to deal with at the end. Begin by dripping in the correct measurement of flavor into the bottle. It’s good to use a bottle that is slightly bigger than your total volume, just to ensure there is enough room for shaking. Next, add in the measured out amount of PG and VG as this forms your base. Measure the contents on a scale to ensure they match those in the recipe if you are using grams. Measure out your ingredients in the syringes (use separate syringes for each ingredient) and add them to your bottle. Try and gauge how many ml you are measuring out. You can then wash each syringe in water afterwards. Alternatively, you can use the drop method. This usually means you use drops from similarly sized droppers as your measurements. You will have to keep count of your drops though, so pay close attention.
Well done, you’ve just mixed up your first batch of DIY e-juice! Now you need to shake the bottle vigorously for as long as you can, but remember to put the cap on your bottle first. You will see the ingredients start to combine together and there will be thousands of little air bubbles all through the e-liquid. This is what you want as the air bubbles will do their thing to help oxidise your new e-juice.
Some flavors will taste great right away, these are referred to as shake and vape - most commonly single flavor profiles. However, to get some of your e-liquids just right, you may want to steep them. Steeping is simply the process of letting your e-liquid age in the bottle. The aging process allows the ingredients to be chemically broken down and merged into the flavor organically thus enhancing them. Think of how a good wine tastes better after some ageing, or how whisky is steeped oak barrels for years on end. It is the same principle with your e-liquid, it will taste better with some steeping time. At least 5 days steep time is recommended for juices that aren’t of the shake and vape variety. Steeping will also become visually evident as the color usually darkens after the oxidisation processes kick in.
As you can see, the whole process isn’t that difficult once you have taken the first few steps. There is nothing to be scared of, the worst you can do is muck up a small batch of e-juice that you tip down the sink or give to a friend. If you are curious, the first step is to have a look at a few recipes and play around with the e-liquid calculator.
It will start to make sense once you do this and understand how the ratios work. We haven’t touched on adding nicotine to your juice in this article, however stay tuned to learn how you can do this, if that’s what you are aiming for, in a future article.
Best of luck in your DIY mixing endeavours. Remember the sky is the limit and you will be learning how to make vape juice that surpasses those with a premium price tag in no time. Please let us know of your progress or if you have any questions or comments down below.