So you want to make your own e-liquid. There are a few different ways to go about mixing juice, so I'm going to talk about the most common method, using an e-liquid calculator and measuring by volume.
E-liquid is comprised of four basic ingredients:
- Propylene Glycol
- Vegetable Glycerin
Of course, nicotine is optional, and if you don't want to use nicotine in your juice then that makes the process even easier.
When handling high concentrations of nicotine, be extremely careful since it can be absorbed through the skin. So wear gloves, and be sure to clean up any spills immediately so you don't accidentally expose yourself or others around you to high concentrations of nicotine.
First of all, you need to make sure that any flavorings you use are safe for vaping. The easiest way to do this is to buy your flavorings from a company that specifically deals in e-liquid flavorings, such as Capella's, Mount Baker Vapor, Totally Wicked, etc. Also be sure that any flavors you use do not contain dicetyl, since that particular chemical could be dangerous in high quantities (I won't go into the controversy over whether or not it's actually dangerous, since some folks disagree, but it's easier to just err on the side of caution and avoid it altogether).
Also, be sure that you are using high-grade PG and VG. USP food grade is good enough for e-liquid. You don't want to use the same kind of PG that's used in anti-freeze, since that isn't pure enough for vaping. As long as it's marked "USP" it's fine.
The easiest method of measuring e-liquid ingredients is to measure by volume. Some folks prefer to measure by weight, which is a little bit more in-depth but also a bit more accurate. But especially when you're first starting out, measuring by volume is easier and it's accurate enough to not really make much of a difference.
To measure by volume, you'll be measuring ingredients in milliliters. There are many good e-liquid calculators that will automatically calculate what you need, and I've posted my own e-liquid calculator that I made for myself in Excel on my blog sub here on the forum. Just go to the forum section "Michael's Vaping Journey" if you want the Excel sheet so you can easily save your recipes, or google "e-liquid calculator" and you'll find some good resources.
When measuring e-liquid ingredients, many folks use blunt-tipped syringes to measure accurately. You can buy syringes online easily, and many vendors that sell e-liquid ingredients also sell syringes so you can get them all in the same order. I bought my syringes from NicVape where I bought my nicotine concentrate, but you can also get them on Amazon and many other places. The important thing is to have several sizes, and several syringes in each size so you can use them without having to wash them each time you want to measure a different ingredient. For my own mixing, I use the following:
- 5x 3ml syringes
- 5x 10ml syringes
- 3x 20ml syringes
- 2x 35ml syringes
For me, those are good sizes since I don't usually make very large batches of e-liquid, so I use the smaller syringes for flavorings and the larger ones for PG, VG and nicotine.
For your syringes, you want to have the largest gauge needles you can get. In my case, those are 14ga needles. In particular, VG is very viscous and so it's hard to work with if you use smaller needle sizes, so bigger is better in this case.
If you're making juice with nicotine, I recommend NicVape. They have very good quality nicotine that tastes good, whereas some other companies' nicotine might add a strange flavor to your juice. Again, this is just my personal experience and I'm sure some folks would have other recommendations instead, but that's the one I like.
You'll also need some empty juice bottles to put your juice in, and it's helpful to have some beakers or graduated cylinders to mix your juice in before pouring it into the bottles. I bought my bottles from Mt. Baker since they were cheaper, but you can get them anywhere.
So now you've got your ingredients, and your syringes to make your juice. Here are the steps:
- Decide what nicotine strength you want. If you've been vaping long enough to make your own juice, odds are you already know what nicotine strength you need. If not, here's a quick reference: if you're using a "mouth-to-lung" atomizer, you'll want around 12-18mg. If you're using a high-powered "direct-to-lung" sub-ohm atomizer, you'll want around 2-6mg. If you don't know what those terms mean, check out the "Vaping Glossary" here in the FAQ.
- Decide what PG/VG ratio you want. For MTL, you'll want around 50/50. For high-powered tanks, you'll want around 60VG/40PG up to around 75VG/25PG. If you're using an RDA, go crazy and use as much VG as you want. I usually make my juice around 70VG/30PG so it works well in tanks and RDAs.
- Figure out what flavors you want to use, and how much. I recommend starting at around 10% flavoring, and then adding more if you need to. So for example, if I want to make a juice that's equal parts Blueberry and Menthol, and I want to make 30ml of juice, then I need to use 1.5ml Blueberry flavor and 1.5ml Menthol flavor.
- Plug those numbers into an e-liquid calculator. Seriously, it saves a lot of time and effort and math by just plugging the numbers in and letting it calculate what you need.
- Measure out what you need, and mix it all up.
- Seriously, it's that simple.
- There are no other steps.
So for example, if I want to make 30ml of Blueberry Menthol juice, with 6mg nicotine and a 70VG/30PG ratio, I can plug that into an eliquid calculator and figure out that I need to use:
- 1.5ml Blueberry flavor (PG based)
- 1.5ml Menthol flavor (PG based)
- 3.6ml of 50mg/ml nicotine base (VG based)
- 6.0ml of PG
- 17.4ml of VG
And that will give me exactly what I want. It's really easy, seriously, I don't know why DIY juice mixing isn't super common.
Oh and one last thing: flavorings are almost always PG-based. Most e-liquid calculators don't even bother having an option for VG-based flavorings. Nicotine, on the other hand, can be PG or VG based. Most e-liquid calculators don't even bother having an option for VG-based nicotine. My Excel calculator will tell you what you need for both VG-based nicotine and PG-based nicotine, because I noticed most other calculators don't, and it was really easy to program that option in. But be aware, if you're using a different calculator and you're using VG-based nicotine, your juice will be slightly thicker than what you tell it, since it accounts for the nicotine as part of the PG percentage rather than as part of the VG percentage.
And if any of this math stuffs doesn't make sense, send me a PM or post a question on the forum and I (or someone with much more knowledge than I) will help you out.
Mixing your own juice can save a TON of money in the long run, and it doesn't have to be difficult.