There’s going to be a lot of information here so get comfy. I’m splitting it up into two parts in an effort to keep you all from drifting off. Consider this part the basics. As always, all of this is just my opinion so feel free to take it with a pinch of sweetener.
In the early days there were no one shots or Boss Shots. If you wanted to mix your own, you had to do it from scratch. There were only really three flavour houses commonly used – Capella, TFA and Flavor West. Combine that with the fact that most vapers were vaping mouth to lung, 15 watts or less on 1ohm+ coils and subsequently most recipes were 20%+ in flavour. This is the main reason most of the top-rated recipes on e-liquid-recipes.com are garbage. They are only rated so highly because they’ve been around so long. Vaping progresses. Recipes get better. With every new fad or craze in e-liquid comes a new technique or style learnt by the diyers.
Let’s get started
To begin with you are as well to start with Boss Shots. Boss Shots are the easiest way to make premium quality e-liquid at a fraction of the price. They have the recipe already made in the bottom of a large bottle. All you have to do is add your vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol and nicotine. You can find our Boss Shots range here –
It’s a great way to teach the basics of mixing too. Helps you to understanding the various aspects of mixing without wasting a load of ingredients or having to learn a lot.
Once you’ve mastered the Boss Shot
I’d recommend joining E-liquid-recipes.com. It’s a great site for building and sharing your recipes. You can find my public ones here
What you’re going to need and links to further information
- Flavours – (more on this later)
- Vegetable Glycerine
- Propylene Glycol
- Digital Scales or syringes – (more on this below)
You can buy pretty much everything you need from here
Scales or Syringes?
I choose scales every time. It’s less messy and far more accurate but I appreciate there’s a bit to get your head round for a beginner so there’s no harm in starting out with syringes and then moving to scales as you develop your skills. Just bear in mind that the recipes you built using syringes may not taste exactly the same when you move to scales.
Each flavour has its own specific gravity or weight. PG flavours sit in a weight bracket of 0.9g/1ml to 1.1g/1ml so some people choose to just give them all an arbitrary 1g/1ml weight for ease of use, but this is not the most accurate way of mixing. You are going to need the weights of your VG, PG and nicotine anyway, so you may as well just use a website like E-liquid-recipes.com for all this information. Once you’ve made your account, you will need to change your preferences on E-liquid-recipes.com so that it displays these weights on the recipes, as shown below. Click on User on the top right and then scroll down to preferences:
When buying scales for mixing there’s a couple of things they need to be able to do.
- Weigh down to 0.01g and up to 500g,
- Have a large weighing platform – at least 6cm by 6cm,
- You must be able to turn the automatic shut off off. Often digital scales will shut off after 30-60 seconds of inactivity and this is no good if you’re taking your time and being methodical (like you should be).
Digital scales can be bought for £10-20 from Amazon/Ebay and although they are not always the best quality, they will do exactly what they need to (providing the requirements above are met).
Understanding a recipe
Here’s an example of one of my recipes on E-liquid-recipes.com
At the top of the recipe you have Nicotine, PG and then VG. These are your base ingredients. Next it lists the flavours used along with the company that makes it. It’s important to pay attention to the flavour companies used in each ingredient as different companies’ flavours can vary wildly. Often the company names are abbreviated or shortened as above, for e.g Cap – Capella. There will be more on these abbreviations later. It gives you the values in ML then Grams and finally the percentages used. All the information you need is there. If you want to alter the recipe on e-liquid-recipes.com in any way, you can click the blue spanner button on the top right of the recipe and scroll down to the second option – adapt this. You can then change the values of any of the ingredients and it will be saved to your private e-liquid-recipes account.
Here’s a list of some of my favourite flavour concentrates. These are all worth having in your arsenal and are a great place to start. You are going to build up a collection if you stick at it but there are enough here to build several different kinds of recipes.
Inawera – Lime
Capella – Sweet Strawberry
Vanilla Bean Ice cream
TFA/TPA – Toasted Marshmallow
Flavorah – Vanilla Custard
Flavor West – Butterscotch Ripple
Flavour Art – Marshmallow
Lime Tahity Distilled
You’re also going to need some sweeteners.
Flavour Company Abbreviations
Here’s a list of flavour company abbreviations and what they mean. It’s not exhaustive by any means but it lists the most common flavour houses so it’s enough to get you started.
Cap – Capella
CCW – Cupcake World
DIYFS – DIY Flavor Shack
DV – Decadent Vapours
FA – Flavour Art
FLV – Flavorah
FW – Flavor West
INW – Inawera
LB – Liquid Barn
LOR/LRN – Lorann
OOO – One on One
OSDIY – One Stop DIY
REK – Rekka
RF – Real Flavors
TFA/TPA – The flavors Apprentice/The perfumers Apprentice
VRU – Vapours R Us
VTA – Vape Train Australia
VV – Vampire Vapes
WF – Wonder Flavors
I always add my base ingredients in the same order. That way, if I’m interrupted in anyway, it will be easier to remember where I’m up to. There’s nothing worse than wondering – Did I put nic in this? It makes no difference what order you add the ingredients, just make sure it’s the same every time. I go: flavourings, then nic, then PG and finally VG. For me, this is the best way. If you’re going to bugger something up, it’s likely to be one of the flavours so it makes sense to put those in first so that you are throwing less away if you make a mistake. Vg matters the least, in the sense that if it’s +/-1ml it will be unnoticeable, so it makes sense to add this last.
I mix in 30mls when testing recipes. 10ml, whether mixing by weight or syringe is just too difficult to mix accurately. You would need scales that are precise down to 0.001g. 0.5% of flavour, when mixing 10mls, weighs roughly 0.05g. +/- 0.01g could make a big difference with certain flavours in these circumstances, so for that reason 30mls work best for me.