For many vapers who haven't mixed e-liquid (a.k.a. e-juice, liquid, nectar of the Gods...) at home before, it can seem a very daunting and potentially challenging experience.
However, don't despair - I plan to dispel any worries you may have about mixing your own e-liquid with this post, and you should be creating your very own, mouth-watering e-juices in no time.
*Please note this guide involves the use of nicotine. It is therefore intended for adults aged 18+ only. If you are younger than 18, please click here to be redirected. Neither I, nor Vaping Bottles, advocates the underage consumption of nicotine *
Why Bother Mixing E-Liquid Yourself?
The benefits of mixing your own e-liquid are numerous, including:
- Huge financial savings when compared to buying e-liquid.
- Create the exact flavour you want to vape - you are no longer restricted by your shop's range of e-liquid.
- Ability to mix large batches at a time - no more last-minute, emergency dashes to your local vape shop.
There are many other benefits not listed, but I personally love being able to create my own recipes and discover new flavours - all for a fraction of the cost.
What's In E-Liquid?
If you're new to mixing, you may be surprised to learn that e-liquid only comprises of four main ingredients, namely:
1) Vegetable Glycerine (VG)
Vegetable Glycerine is a viscous, clear and odourless liquid.
E-liquids that are high in VG are very smooth, and produce dense, thick vapour clouds.
2) Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene Glycol is a clear and odourless liquid, with a consistency similar to water.
E-liquids that are high in PG have a strong throat hit, with minimal vapour production.
3) Nicotine (Optional)
The nicotine strength of your e-liquids is of course down to your personal vaping preferences. It can also, of course, be omitted entirely.
Nicotine can be bought in either a PG or VG base. Unless you are planning a max. VG mix, we recommend using nicotine in a PG base.
Different e-liquids will, by definition, have different flavourings in them.
E-liquid flavourings come in concentrated form, either as individual flavours (e.g. strawberry), or as a 'one-shot' concentrate from a brand (a mix of flavour concentrates that have been made according to a recipe, ready to dilute with VG and PG).
Other additional ingredients, such as distilled water or alcohol, are sometimes added in small percentages - but on the whole, any e-liquid can be made out of a combination of these four ingredients.
What Do You Need To Decide Before Mixing?
The first thing you need to decide before starting your mix is the nicotine strength you want your final e-liquid to be. This will be whatever strength you currently vape at, and is completely down to personal preference.
Note, the higher the nicotine content, the harsher the vape will be.
Secondly, you need to know what ratio of VG/PG you want your e-liquid to be.
A high amount of VG will result in a thicker e-liquid, that will produce a large amount of vapour. However, since VG is very viscous, you need a vaping set up that is capable of wicking a high-VG liquid efficiently.
The higher the PG percentage, the stronger the throat hit will be. PG is especially useful for mouth-to-lung tank users, as it thins out the VG (allowing it to wick more efficiently), and the throat hit replicates a cigarette well.
All e-liquids have a mix of VG and PG as a base (with the exception of 100% VG liquids), and the ratio at which you mix your e-liquids is completely up to you.
I personally mix at a ratio of 70/30 (VG/PG), with a nicotine strength of 3mg/ml, as I feel this is the perfect balance of dense, smooth vapour with a small throat hit. If you're lost with what ratio to start at, a 50/50 ratio will work with most set ups.
Lastly, you need to know which flavours you'd like to mix. This could be a single flavour concentrate, your own recipe/blend of flavour concentrates, or a brand's 'one-shot' concentrate.
Note that different flavour concentrates are different strengths, and therefore need to be mixed at different percentages. I have made e-liquid using 2% overall flavourings, and it's been lovely and flavourful to vape. Conversely, I've made e-liquid using flavourings from a different brand at 20%, and I've barely been able to taste it.
In order to find the percentage that you need to mix your flavourings at, you have a few options:
Most branded 'one-shots' will give you the percentage that you need to use (usually 10-20%). If they don't, you can always ask the vendor what their recommended mixing percentage is for your concentrates.
If you're using individual flavours, it can be harder to know what percentage to use - since the manufacturers (Capella, The Perfumers Apprentice, Inawera etc.) don't specify a recommended % to use in e-liquid mixing.
This is where a fantastic tool for mixing e-liquid at home comes in. The website e-liquid-recipes.com is very useful for a few different aspects of mixing at home, including finding out what percentage other people mix the concentrates you have.
To do this, first go to the Flavour List page to bring up all the flavours that people have used in their mixes. You can then search for your specific flavour (e.g. strawberry), and by sorting by recipes you can see the most popular flavour concentrates used by people.
Once you've found the flavour concentrate you'll be using, click on it to open up the flavour information page, where you can find out all sorts of useful info on your concentrates - including average mixing percentages, other people's notes on the flavour, and recommendations for other flavour concentrates to mix your flavour with.
What You Will Need
* Please note that in this tutorial I will be mixing e-liquid by weight (in grams), rather than by volume (in ml). This means there's no need for any syringes, nor washing up afterwards. You can choose to mix by volume if you wish, but I highly recommend using scales and mixing by weight, as I will show you how to do. *
- Scales - make sure the scales you use can measure down to 0.01g so you can accurately mix by weight.
- Bottles - our range of plastic and glass bottles, in sizes between 10ml and 500ml, means there's plenty of choice for what you mix your e-liquid in. Check our Which Bottle? page for more info on our bottles, or Shop for your new e-liquid bottles.
- Nicotine - if the nicotine you're using was purchased before 20/05/17, the strength is likely 72mg/ml. If it was purchased after this time, it's likely you're using 18mg/ml nicotine shots. Either of these is fine, but be sure you double check what strength your nicotine is before starting your mix.
For this mix, I'll be using a 10ml bottle of PG based nicotine - strength 18mg/ml, since this is the new standard after the TPD came into effect on 20th May 2017.
- Vegetable Glycerine (VG) - the VG you use should be >99.5% pure. I like to buy a large amount of VG and then decant it into our 500ml PET bottles, as the nozzles on our bottles make for super easy mixing.
- Propylene Glycol (PG) - like VG, you should get >99.5% pure PG. I decant my PG into our 240ml PET bottles, since I use less PG than VG, but this is just personal preference.
- Flavour Concentrate(s) - for this tutorial I will be mixing the Strawberry (Ripe) concentrate by TPA at 5%, as discussed in the previous section. Make sure you know the percentage that you will be mixing your concentrate(s) at before starting.
- Use of an E-Liquid Calculator - I recommend using e-liquid-recipes.com, and this is the calculator I will be using in this tutorial, however there are plenty of other websites and smartphone apps that do a similar job.
Step 1) Create your recipe:
As you can see, I've simply input all the relevant information about my mix into the recipe creator.
For this mix, I'm only making 10ml of e-liquid. This is because it's a flavour concentrate that I've not mixed before, and so I had to estimate a mixing percentage of 5% (based on the average user mixing percentage, as shown earlier). It's likely that I will change the concentrate mixing percentage after this first mix, in order to more suit my tastes, and so I only want to make a small 10ml sample bottle.
I find it useful to end the name of my recipes with a number in brackets. This way, I can make notes on each recipe, and keep track what I'm changing about the recipes over time (e.g. Strawberry Ripe (2) might be mixed at 7%, if I find this one slightly weak).
Your recipe might look quite a bit different to mine (which is normal!), but just double check each field to make sure you've inputted the correct information before continuing. If you're using VG based nicotine, make sure you change the "VG-content of nicotine" field to 100%.
Once all your values are inputted, you can scroll down on the recipe page to see your final recipe. This is where we can find all the info we need to create our e-liquids.
Step 2) Set up the scales:
Turn on your scales and place your chosen empty bottle on top. Then, tare/zero your scales so we're ready to get mixing.
This stage means that the weight of the bottle isn't taken into account in our mix, which is crucial for accuracy.
Note that the following steps can be done in any order you want, I will just show you the order I personally prefer to mix in.
Step 3) Add your nicotine:
I like to start the mix by adding my nicotine because if you accidentally put far too much in, you can easily pour it out again instead of ruining your mix. However, as I mentioned above, the order that you add the ingredients to the bottle is completely up to you.
Some people don't add the nicotine at all at this stage, preferring to wait until just before they vape the e-liquid to add it. This is because nicotine is the main reason that e-liquid "goes off", with the nicotine degrading over time. By not adding the nicotine into the e-liquid initially, you can keep the finished e-liquid for many months and then add fresh nicotine afterwards. However, unless you will be storing your e-liquid for months before vaping it, I recommend just adding the nicotine at the beginning.
You'll notice that the recipe said I needed to add 1.73g of nicotine, but I added 1.74g. This is just because 1 drop weighs roughly 0.02g, and so I had to choose between 1.72g and 1.74g. Realistically, this will make no noticeable difference in the vape at all, so don't worry if you're out by a small amount - just try to be as accurate as possible.
*NOW TARE/ZERO THE SCALES*
Step 4) Add your flavour concentrate:
Since this mix is a simple one-concentrate recipe, I only have one stage here. If you're mixing a recipe that has two or more flavour concentrates in it, simply add one at a time - making sure you tare/zero the scales in between each one.
*NOW TARE/ZERO THE SCALES*
Step 5) Add your PG:
This is where the you'll notice the nozzle caps on our large PET bottles come in handy. They allow you to dispense your PG and VG directly into the bottle with no mess, and no clean up.
Now all of the PG component of the mix is in the bottle, and so since my mix is 30% PG, my bottle should look roughly 30% full.
As you can see this looks like roughly 30%, so I'm happy to continue. This is an easy way to check that the amounts in your mix are correct, and is the reason I like adding the VG last.
*NOW TARE/ZERO THE SCALES*
Step 6) Add your VG:
You could just fill the rest of the bottle with VG, but I like to measure it still to ensure the recipe is accurate. Once the VG is added...
Congratulations, you've just made your first bottle of e-liquid!
However, it probably doesn't look much like e-liquid at the moment - more like layers on top of each other.
This is because the PG and VG is separated still, and is ready for step 7...
Step 7) Shake, shake, shake!
You should shake your bottle vigorously for at least 30 seconds in order to get everything evenly mixed together. Once done, the result should be an e-liquid that looks the same throughout (and it should be packed full of bubbles!).
If you're physically unable to shake your bottles for an extended period of time, other options include clamping your bottle into a drill and spinning for a couple of seconds, or using magnetic stirrers. When using mechanical mixers, be careful you don't over-mix it, since this can actually cause your e-liquids to lose flavour. They need a 'hard shake' level of mixing, not obliterating in a blender.
So, we've got our bottle of freshly made e-liquid. Let's vape it!
Maybe not straight away...
Steeping is a crucial part of mixing e-liquid at home, and unfortunately it is the most time consuming part. It is the process in which the flavour of your e-liquid really develops, similar to how drinks such as wine are aged for their flavour to develop.
E-liquids that are freshly made and vaped straight away may be very underwhelming in terms of their flavour. Don't judge your mix completely based on what it tastes like straight away!
The best way to steep e-liquids in my opinion is simple. Shut them away in a dark cupboard somewhere and forget about them until they're ready!
This method of steeping relies on more complex flavour molecules developing in the e-liquid over time, as well as small volatile molecules being released from the flavour concentrate - removing that initial 'harshness' from a freshly shaken bottle of e-liquid.
The best method of steeping e-liquid is contested - with some people claiming that gently heating the e-liquids with the caps off is the best way to speed up steeping times, and others putting their bottles in an ultrasonic bath to speed the process up. Personally, I believe that nothing beats time when it comes to steeping, but once you've done a few mixes you can experiment to see what works for you.
My personal rules on minimum steeping times for flavours are as follows:
- Fruits - Shake and vape - 2 weeks +
Creams / Bakery - 4 - 6 weeks +
- Custards - 8 weeks +
Since I only vape fruity/menthol/aniseed flavours, I always try my mixes straight away after shaking. On the whole they don't taste as nice as when they're 1 or 2 weeks steeped, but for some juices I actually prefer them as a shake and vape.
Breathing is the process of leaving the caps off your e-liquids, i.e. allowing them to breathe. This is a particularly useful method for making your mixes less harsh, as it allows the small volatile molecules mentioned earlier to escape from your e-liquid.
I personally only breathe my e-liquids if they're tasting harsh to vape. I find the majority of flavours don't really need any breathing time, but it's up to you whether you choose to breathe your mixes. Be aware that excessive breathing will actually cause your e-liquids to lose flavour, which is why I only do it if it's harsh.
One method of breathing and steeping combined that you may want to try is to leave your mixes in a dark cupboard, and then once a day give your mixes a shake and leave the cap off for an hour or so.
I hope you've enjoyed learning how to mix your own e-liquids, and I've been able to inspire you to move towards DIY e-liquid mixing. I believe it's something that every vaper should try, if only for the financial savings alone.
If you have any questions about mixing e-liquid at home, or would like to share any recipes you've created, I'd love to hear from you! You can join our Facebook group, where we encourage our customers to just generally chat about everything vaping - including recipe sharing and home-mixing advice.
Alternatively, you can leave a comment on this blog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, go get your mix on!Jump to top