A lot of vaping enthusiasts wonder how to make vape juice but are usually put off by the idea that it is an overwhelming and tedious process. Making DIY e-juice, on the contrary, is very simple, easy, cost-effective, and fun. In fact, it’s just is a matter of five simple steps:
- Pick a recipe
- Get ingredients: flavorings, PG/VG base, and nicotine
- Mix the ingredients
That’s all you need to know to make your DIY e-juice.
But if you want to make e-juice that not only tastes great enough that you can proudly share with your friends, but also save you some dough in the process, then read on.
What is E-Juice?
E-Liquid or e-liquid is a simple combination of a base that usually consists of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG), flavorings and nicotine being an optional ingredient. You may also use some additives to further enhance the taste of your e-liquid. Once these ingredients are mixed, and the e-juice is ready, you can fill it up in the tank of your personal vaporizer and enjoy fresh, homebrewed vape.
Why Make DIY E-Juice?
Yeah, why go through all the hassle when you can get your favorite e-juice, from the comfort of your couch with a few mouse clicks?
Because it can save you up to whopping 15 times as compared to buying commercial e-juices.
Let me explain. A 30ml bottle of a good quality e-juice will cost you $15 or more, and we aren’t even considering the shipping costs. On the other hand, the DIY e-juice will cost you about $5 per 30ml bottle. However, if you're making in larger quantities, it may cost you as low as $1 for 30ml of high-quality, totally personalized e-juice.
Want another compelling reason to make DIY vape juice?
Well, with commercially produced e-juices, you’re never 100% sure what’s in the juice as many manufacturers try to conceal the actual ingredients. But when you make it yourself, you know each and every ingredient going into the juice, and can choose only the top-quality stuff that is good for your health.
Who Should Make E Juice?
If you are an occasional vaper, you probably are better off buying commercially produced ejuice. However, if you believe you're spending a lot of money on your vape juice, or you think you have a recipe for a never-before-made e-juice that will taste great, then definitely go for it. The process is easy and, if done right, can be fun and you might end up making the best tasting ejuice ever to become a celebrity.
Okay now let's get down to business.
Equipment You Will Need
Since e-juices are a very specific type of fluids, you’ll need specific equipment. But the good thing is that everything you’ll need can be easily found online as well as in stores, and is very cheap. First of all, you will need empty plastic bottles with the childproof cap. These bottles will be used to store and mix your ejuice contents. We recommend plastic bottles because using them once and then discarding afterward is more convenient than having to clean the expensive glass bottles.
While you can use the so-called “drops counting method” for measuring the ingredients, but for better and more accurate measurements, you should get a separate syringe for each type of ingredient. Mark the syringes and always use them after cleaning with distilled water for the same ingredient so the flavor doesn’t get contaminated.
The biggest issue with drops counting method is that volume of the drops depends on so many external factors which you can’t control that there is always some variation no matter how hard you try. Especially if you are making your liquid in smaller quantities, drop counting method can result in extremely varying results.
Also considering investing in a pair of gloves, especially if you're going to use nicotine. You probably already know that nicotine patches work really well for smoking cessation by instantly fulfilling your nicotine cravings. They are in direct contact with your skin and your body absorbs nicotine quickly through the skin. So if you accidentally spill even a little bit of nicotine on your hands, you’ll get one heck of a head rush.
Ingredients You Will Need:
- VG/PG Base
First, you will need to create your base for the vape juice which normally consists of PG and VG.
PG is a federally approved colorless, odorless organic chemical compound found in a variety of products such as food, tobacco, and certain medical products. PG does not really impact the overall flavor of the e-liquid but can offer an increased throat hit.
On the other hand, VG is derived from natural sources such as vegetables and is more viscous than the PG. It usually adds a little sweetness the overall flavor so be careful when adding VG. Since VG is thicker, it produces thicker, more visible plumes of vapor. VG is an FDA approved product and is used in several foods, e-liquids, and cosmetics.
Although it depends on the recipe of your vape juice, usually anything between 50/50 and 80/20 VG/PG blend is used as a base.
- Diluted Nicotine
Try to find good quality, food grade nicotine that comes with either PG or VG base. Although nicotine is available in a variety of strengths, you will need to experiment a little to find your sweet spot for the ideal nicotine level. It is recommended to start with the lower strength/volume than suggested by your recipe and then go up from there to find what works best for your recipe.
Adding too much nicotine can ruin the whole e-liquid.
You will need to add one of more flavorings to your home-made e-liquid. Remember one thing, a flavorless e-juice is better than an e-juice that has too much flavor. Therefore, just like nicotine, you should use a lower amount of flavoring than recommended and then add more until you get the desired taste. Choosing flavorings can be tough because there is such a wide variety available go on the market but do your homework, read about how different flavors work and then experiment yourself. Moreover, usually the temptation is to add more flavors together, but this can really make an end product that tastes totally different from what you expected. This is why we suggest starting with as few flavors as possible, and then experimenting with more as you get a hang of it. It all depends on your recipe, but ideal mixes contain about 10 to 20% of flavoring, while some of them are so strong that you will be good with adding only 5% flavor.
Always use food grade, high-temperature resistant, water soluble flavorings. Also, there are some flavorings specially made for inhaling, which make an ideal choice or making DIY e-juices. However, never go for flavorings that are only ideal for room temperature resistance, or contain oils or sugar because they are not suitable for vaping in a personal vape.
To further enhance the taste of your ejuice, you may add some mentholated liquids, sweets, vodka, or just distilled water. But don’t use tap water as it can contain chemicals which may not be suitable for inhaling.
Adding additives can either make or break your ejuice so be careful with too much experimenting.
The recipe is simple once you have all of your required ingredients ready. Mix them in the bottles, and shake well.
For beginners, using recipes can be hard as they may state ingredients in volume or strengths, so getting perfect measurements can be a tough row to hoe. This issue can be solved using online calculators that can help you find out the right amount of the ingredients to put in your e liquid. Make sure to use clean syringes for accurate measurements.
Steeping – Taking the Flavor to a New Level
Steeping is a magical yet very simple process that can improve the overall taste of your e juice. Basically, it is a process that oxidizes the components of the liquid and helps them blend in. Pretty much like aged wine, steeped e liquid will taste much better and smoother than a fresh one. The oxidation actually lets the volatile compounds like alcohol replaced by less volatile components like oxygen. At the end of the process the harsh, perfume-like taste is replaced by a smoother, more pleasant flavor. Also, at the end of steeping, the color of the e-juice also changes and usually becomes darker. That is a clear signal that your e-juice has steeped properly.
The traditional, old-school method of steeping involves letting the bottles containing the fluid sit in a dark, dry place for a few days. You may occasionally uncap the bottles to let the vaporized ingredients escape the bottle, then put the cap back again and let them sit in their regular place.
While this process can take a few days or even weeks, innovative vaping souls have figured out several approaches that expedite steeping and finish the process in a few days or even hours.
All of the developed methods involve heating your e juice one way or another so that molecules in the fluid start moving at a faster pace, make the different components mix faster and let oxygen get in. Some of the commonly used techniques are giving your plastic bottles a warm water bath, putting them in a Ziploc and then tossing them in a slow cooker full of water, wrapping them in old socks and throwing them in a dryer, leaving them in the glove box of your car on a warm day, or even using a microwave. With most processes, when the e-liquid gets hot, you shake it, remove the cap and let it cool down before repeating the whole process again. If you are using a microwave, don’t leave the bottles in for more than 10 seconds, then take them out, shake them, and let them cool down before throwing them in again. I know some people who leave the e liquid bottles right next to the exhaust fan of their laptop, though it’s a slow and very limited approach as you can steep just a few bottles at a time.
In my personal opinion, the approach that yields the best taste is the traditional method, however, you’ll have to wait much longer.
Tips to Make Great Tasting DIY E-Juice
Depending on what kind of e-juice you want, you’ll need to adjust the number of your ingredients as well as the process itself. While it will be some trial and error for you to figure out what really floats your boat, here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started on the right foot:
- Always note down every single measurement and every single step you took to make your ejuice. Make sure you don’t skip any details, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. It often happens that people make great tasting e-liquids, but can never replicate it because they don't remember the exact ratios of the ingredients or the exact steps that they took.
- If you like bigger, thicker vapor clouds or want to enjoy sub-ohm vaping, add more VG (for instance use 80/20 VG/PG ratio)
- If you want a more intense throat hit or prefer stealth vaping, add more PG
- Don't make e-juices in huge amounts as you could end up wasting a lot of money in case your e-juice doesn’t taste good. Likewise, you don’t want to get stuck on vaping something that taste bad. Also, don't go for very small amounts as using ingredients in small amounts leave you a very little margin of error and even the tiniest of variations can have a considerable impact on the overall e-juice.
- Using too much nicotine can be toxic. Use caution when handling nicotine and make sure that it is always out of reach of children and pets.
- Remember, nicotine is almost always listed in a number of milligrams per millimeter of the liquid. It means that if you have a 20ml bottle of 18mg nicotine, it will have (20*18) 360mg of nicotine. In other words, 18mg is not the total amount of nicotine in the bottle but rather it is the amount per milliliter.
Experiment with different ingredient ratios, play around with your steeping, and most importantly have fun. And if you do end up making a great-tasting e-juice, share the recipe as well as the juice with your friends to help them keep from smoking.