How to make your own e-liquid — like a boss
There are a lot of secrets about making your own e-liquid.
But one of the biggest secrets is this: it’s really not that hard.
Once you’ve got the hang of making your own e-liquids, you’ll be able to craft your own delicious flavours in no time.
Interested? Good, because we’re going to show you how.
Why make your own e-liquid?
There are two reasons you should make your own e-liquid:
- You can create the e-liquid flavours you’ve always wanted
- You’ll save a heap of cash doing it
With DIY e-liquids, no flavour is off limits: if you can think it, you can craft it.
And cost? Here’s how DIY e-liquids stack up against smoking:
- Average cost per month to smoke: £300
- Average cost per month to vape with DIY e-juice: £9.60
What more can we say? Cheap e-liquid is the future.
The four key ingredients of e-liquid
There are just four elements in most e-liquid recipes – and you don’t even have to use all of them.
- PG (aka Propylene Glycol)
- VG (aka Vegetable Glycerine)
- Nicotine (aka additive)
- Flavour concentrates (aka the bomb)
Although this list is pretty straightforward, there’s a little science you’ll need to be clued up on before you start cooking.
What is PG and VG and why are they used in e-liquid?
Because nicotine and flavour concentrates are simply too strong to be vaped pure, you need something to dilute them with.
That’s where Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG) come in.
PG and VG provide the easy ride. They’re the diluents in e-liquid, but you may hear them referred to as the base or carrier fluid.
You can mix PG and VG in variable quantities; you can even use just one if you wish. Common ratios are 70:30, 50:50 and 30:70, but you can experiment to hit all the right notes in your own concoctions.
Here’s what each brings to the table.
|An organic chemical compound.||Derived from natural vegetable sources.|
|Doesn’t strongly influence the ‘true’ flavour of an e-liquid.||Light and sweet; affects the flavour more.|
|Delivers a stronger throat hit.||Smoother on the throat|
|More viscous (thick) and so produces more visible plumes of vapour|
Adding nicotine to e-liquids
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need any nicotine in your e-liquid — you can make e-juice that’s just as delicious without it.
Nicotine does alter the flavour of your e-juice subtly, particularly in stronger solutions. It is mixed, usually with PG or VG, to dilute it to various strengths.
However, if you don’t have a nicotine addiction, we strongly advise you leave it out of your recipes. If you are using nicotine in your recipe, please remember that it’s a poisonous substance, so handle it with care.
What are flavour concentrates?
Flavour concentrates are the bomb that provides your taste explosion.
There are thousands of flavours to choose from, and these can be combined to make endless unique flavours. You can also buy one-shot flavour concentrates of pre-mixed recipes: we call ours Boss Shots.
When adding e-liquid concentrates, start slow: once you’ve added flavour, you can’t remove it. Start with a tiny amount and add more as you need to. After a few rounds, you’ll get the hang of it.
Equipment you will need to make e-liquid
The good news is that when making e-juice, no bunsen burners, test tubes or hadron colliders are required. Scales and rubber gloves are about as technical as this gets.
Here’s what you need:
|Electronic scales||Measuring liquids by weight is the most accurate method.|
PG weight: 1ml = 1.038g
VG weight: 1ml = 1.26g
|Syringes||If you are measuring by volume this is the easiest way.|
Pick up 10ml for your PG/VG and 1ml for nicotine and flavours.
Don’t forget the needles – 14 gauge should show that viscous VG who’s the boss.
|Storage bottles||Squeezy bottles with nozzle tips are perfect for your PG/VG.|
Invest in an amber bottle with a dropper for your nicotine, as it’s sensitive to light.
|E-juice bottles||Plastic is fine (either LDPE or HDPE).|
Make sure you have 10ml for your experiments and 50ml for your successful rollouts.
|Labels||Of course, we all remember our first e-juice and exactly what went in it.|
But after that, it can get tricky knowing just what the proportions were. Use a permanent marker to write your labels (allow to dry before use).
|Rubber gloves||Nicotine can itch if it gets on your skin.|
|Safety goggles and white lab coat||Entirely optional and for theatrical effect only!|
Step 1: Find a recipe you want to use
Let’s assume you’re going to leave the wild flights of imagination for a later date. For your first foray, we suggest using a recipe.
Step 2: Calculate your nicotine strength
If you’re using nicotine, then you’ve probably already worked out the optimum strength you need when vaping. But now you need to make sure you get the levels right in your own e-juice.
And you’ll need to scale everything else up or down depending on how much e-juice you’re making.
There is, of course, a pen and paper method, but life’s far too short for that. Head over to eLR, create an account and enter the recipe. A handy calculator will tell you exactly how much you need of each element, depending on how much you are making.
Step 3: Measure out your ingredients
You can measure each element by weight or by volume.
Weight is easily the most accurate way to do this, and if you are just making small batches, this can make a big difference.
|Using scales (by gram)||Using syringes (by millilitre)|
|1. Pop a 10ml bottle on the scales and zero the display||1. You need a fresh syringe for each element, and this includes each flavour concentrate you’re using.|
|2. Add your flavours one by one, zeroing the scales each time.||2. Simply suck up the right amount and add it to your 10ml bottle.|
|3. Use a syringe for your nicotine: it’s nasty stuff if it gets on your skin.||3. Measure carefully – this is nowhere near as accurate as those scales.|
|4. Zero the scales again and squirt in your PG and/or VG.|
Step 4: Bottle it
Add your e-liquid to your bottles. Make sure that lid is on tight and give it a good, long shake.
Grab yourself a label and make a note of exactly what went in it — not what the recipe said, but what actually ended up going in. This label is essential for when you are looking to perfect a recipe or recreate that boss flavour you just invented.
Binge-watch that TV box set you’ve been eyeing up for while.
You’ll need to leave those flavours to percolate, blend and settle for at least a week, or sometimes even a month. It’s called steeping. Think of it as a vintage wine: the more patient you are, the better it will taste.
The recipe you’ve used should advise how long to steep for. If not, around 2 weeks is a safe bet.
Step 5: Try it
Once your e-liquid has been adequately steeped, take it for a spin!
Vape your new concoction and take note of your initial impressions — things like throat hit and aftertaste. You can refer back to these notes when you want to recreate a recipe that was particularly tongue-tickling.
Before you shoot off and start mixing, here are 5 things that will help you make your own e-liquid like a boss, rather than a beginner.
- Vary your steeping time — Multi-layered dessert recipes and cream-based mixes need to steep for longer than more straightforward brews. They can take more than four weeks to reach their best. On the other hand, simple fruit recipes may not even need to steep at all. Experiment to find the optimum steeping time for each recipe you make.
- Find the best settings for each e-liquid — The connoisseurs out there will already know that coil resistance (ohms) and temperature can greatly affect the taste. So, if it’s not quite right, maybe try it on another setting or use another device; some e-liquids work best at sub-ohm settings.
- VG is your friend — If you like bigger, thicker vapor clouds trailing around your head, or want to enjoy sub-ohm vaping, add more VG.
- Make small batches first – Brewing in bigger batches means that any mistakes you make will be way more costly. But remember: little inaccuracies of measurement have a disproportionate effect in small batches.
- Read the recipe first — You’ll need to use your own judgement in deciding which recipes to trust, but a fair yardstick is the recipe’s rating or the number of people following the vaper online.
So, you’re saving money and leaving sweet vapour trails wherever you wander. And it’s all your own work!
Feels good, doesn’t it?
Well, it’s time you rewarded yourself with the finest flavour concentrates known to man. Our Boss Shots are sure to inspire your vape mixology sessions and get your creative e-juices flowing.
Let us know if you think you can improve on them, hot shot!