The idea of creating your own juice probably comes with some apprehension. The concept can seem overwhelming with the considerable wealth of information on the internet at your disposal. With a little education and practice, your success is almost guaranteed though. Familiarity plus trial and error will be your best friends and fortunately the short list of supplies required are rather inexpensive.
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There are tons of recipes online that can be used for practice or as templates that can get you started. In turn this will give you a universal understanding that all recipes follow the same theory. The truth is, it isn’t hard at all to make this sweet nectar yourself and DIY will reveal an entirely new aspect to vaping.
It will require quite a bit of trail and error, though, as well as more information that is contained in this guide. Think of this feature as a primer on the steps you’ll need to take in order to start making your own E-Liquid. Do not be put off though: plenty of people do this. Personally, I know two people that make their own E-Liquid, although of them does have a degree in biochemistry — whereas I did the arts.
Before we begin, I would like to mention e-liquid-recipes.com. This is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your arsenal during the process aside from 100mg/ml nicotine concentrate. Not only does the site help you calculate your recipes and store them, it has a list of 48,000 (and growing) flavours with the recommended amount to use. It also has a flavour warning list which is incredibly important to your health. They have compiled a list of online stores for all your DIY supply needs and there is even a forum.
Okay, let’s start with your materials, it’s pretty simple: base liquid, flavour, nicotine solution and a few tools. Simple as that.
How To Make Your Own E Juice: BASE
First, let’s talk about the base of your juice, this is the foundation in which every juice starts. Be aware that not every company’s vegetable glycerine or propylene glycol is the same. There are different qualities of both for different purposes, but the only suitable grade for inhalation is pharmaceutical. Before you purchase, make sure the containers are labelled as pharmacopoeia standard such as USP (United States Pharmacopoeia), EU (European Pharmacopoeia) or BP (British Pharmacopoeia). Using anything else can cause adverse reactions which you don’t want to gamble with.
The type of vaping experience you’re chasing will dictate the ratio between VG and PG. VG has lots of body, the most cloud production, naturally having a slightly sweet taste, but can mute particular flavour notes. PG has less body, more throat hit and most will agree that it carries flavour better than VG. Staying around a 50/50 ratio is a good starting point for beginners until you gain experience. If you like clouds, 70/30 or 80/20 is good, but anything higher than that may give you trouble until you get the hang of flavouring. For use of tanks or flavour junkies, a higher PG content may be used. Alternatively, distilled water (NEVER TAP WATER) can be used in place of PG to thin out high VG ratios. This is good for people who have physical reactions to PG.
In my opinion there aren’t necessarily limitations to your flavour when it comes to VG, it isn’t that simple. It greatly depends on what flavours you’re using, how many of them you’re using at once, and how they react to one another when combined. For instance, VG is great for creamy or custard flavours both in taste and body, but can mute sharper notes like citrus. So if you’re making a key lime pie flavour, the VG/PG ratio could make or break your juice. In reality, unless your taste buds are completely burnt out, VG won’t mute your flavours to the point of tastelessness, or anywhere close. It’s a formula of the volume and relationship of your flavours and the ratio of VG/PG. This is where experimentation comes into play
How To Make Your Own E Juice: FLAVOURING
Now this is the tricky part that will make trial-and-error your new ally. It might be a rocky road at first, but you’ll soon come to enjoy that delicious love-hate relationship when you make your first (good) batch of juice. There are only a handful of brands that make the flavour concentrates suitable for vaping. Inawera, The Flavour Apprentice and Capella are good starters. Now, these aren’t approved by the health industry to inhale as they are food grade products, but I’m assuming you can push past that. After all, it can’t compete with the 43 known carcinogens in cigarettes!
Flavours are generally mixed with PG or VG as a base. Some use alcohol, I don’t advise those, but if you’re going to use them, let your juice mixed with the flavour sit out overnight with the lid off so the alcohol can evaporate. Research any flavour before you purchase because some contain ingredients not safe to vape. Starting with singular flavours or basic combinations is recommended, you have to crawl before you walk. You may be discouraged if you begin with a Graham cracker crusted peach cobbler milkshake with toasted almonds!
How To Make Your Own E Juice: NICOTINE SOLUTION
Nicotine comes in several options for VG/PG ratios, usually by 25% increments up to straight 100% of either. Strengths vary from 1%-100% (1 mg/ml-1000 mg/ml). Commonly used strengths for DIY are 24-100 mg/ml. The strength chosen depends on the volume you’re mixing. If your nicotine solution is too weak, your minimum volume is limited. Unless you’re experienced in handling this hazardous chemical, the solutions above 100 mg/ml aren’t recommended. Wait till you’ve had a few accidents with a weaker solution and work your way up from there. Spills and splashes will more than likely happen until you’re familiar with the process.
When handling nicotine, safety and common sense is fundamental. Use of nitrile gloves is urged because nicotine is absorbed through your skin. Nitrile gloves are less permeable and more puncture resistant than latex as well. Don’t let the gloves give you a false sense of security though, they only protect your hands while you’re wearing them; so scratch your nose before you start mixing. Nicotine can be absorbed through the fumes as well, so choose a well-ventilated area. Lastly, choose a designated area away from children, pets and distractions. Stay safe vapers.
How To Make Your Own E Juice: TOOLS & MAINTENANCE
Quality of tools is important. You get what you pay for, so pay now or pay later. Seeing as how everything in this guide is inexpensive, don’t be a Scrooge. Majority of the hardware you’ll be using is reusable aside from gloves. Syringes can be recycled several times if you follow proper maintenance, but eventually they will need to be replaced. Putting a clear coat of fingernail polish on your syringes will help preserve the tick marks that would normally wear away rather quickly through washing. Eventually the plunger will lose suction regardless though. The rubber dropper on glass bottles can be disassembled and washed many times. Rubber is permeable and will eventually retain smell and flavour, this takes a very long time though.
It’s best to have syringes dedicated to each of the ingredients. A few of the smaller sizes for precision with nicotine, and a variety for VG/PG depending on your personal needs. VG is especially viscous, so a beaker or flask with a funnel is suggested. A large syringe will work, but can be strenuous. If you choose to measure by weight, a scale capable of measuring down to the milligram and an array of beakers/flasks can be used.
Bottles come in all different shapes, sizes and colours. Choice is mostly preference, but having extra room in your bottle to shake your mixture up makes things a little easier. Darker glass with a twist cap is recommended for steeping, while small plastic dropper bottles provide convenience on the go. Having a surplus of both will prevent some of the headaches.
How To Make Your Own E Juice: MIXING PROCESS
This is where the e-liquid calculator comes to your aid unless you are passionate about algebra. Enter in the numbers for your desired amount, nicotine strength, VG/PG ratio and flavour additives then the calculator will tell how much of what ingredient is required for the recipe. Get all of your tools and safety equipment prepared at your designated mixing station, this is the fun part.
There isn’t any particular order you have to follow when mixing, but the nicotine can either be added now, or after your juice has been steeped. Depending on the amount you’re using, nicotine can slightly alter the flavour as well. Also, if you end up with a bad batch, you’ll be glad to have waited on adding it. Though if you decide to add your nicotine now, save it for last so that is the last thing you touch. This will minimize the possibility of contaminating your area.
Remember, you can always add more ingredients, but you only have so much space in one container, so it’s good to leave yourself some adjustment room for later on if you decide to modify the recipe. Also, making several small batches instead of a few big ones in the beginning will save you ingredients in the chance you make a mistake. VG and PG can take some time to thoroughly mix, so having a premixed base on hand can save some time and clean-up. Finally, clean your tools and station, shake your juice till your arms fall off then revel in your new creation.
How To Make Your Own E Juice: STEEPING PROCESS
If you immediately tried vaping your juice, you’re probably not too happy about it. Some flavours can be vaped upon mixing, but most can’t. It takes time for PG, especially VG to fully mix with the flavour additives at a molecular level. Creams, custards and tobacco flavours take the longest. Fruits and other light flavours taste pretty good in the first few days. This is subject to your taste and the flavour concentrate itself though. A good rule of thumb is one month and a minimum of two weeks. Generally, the longer you can wait, the better. Nicotine and acidic concentrates will diminish flavour over time, but I doubt you’ll let your juice sit for over a year. Research the brand and flavour to get the best idea and experiment from there.
Keeping your bottles labelled with the date it was made in a cool dark place is recommended. A cabinet or sock drawer will do just fine. You can shake them up as often as you like, every few days will suffice, but ultimately you have to let time work its magic. Do a taste test when you want, but it’s best to stash it away and forget about it. Having several bottles steeping at different cycles will alleviate the stress and impatience of waiting, which is sure to ensue. Having a notebook will come in handy to keep up with recipes, dates, notes and ideas. It’s easy to become disorganized regarding DIY.
How To Make Your Own E Juice: CONCLUSION
Making juice isn’t for everyone and that’s the bottom line. It isn’t quantum mechanics, but it takes practice and patience. You may begin out of necessity or as a way to extend your hobby, but in the end you will have a better understanding of the vaping world and the enjoyment of self-reliance. DIY is a great way to save money and let your creative side out. Don’t let a bad batch discourage you, have fun with it and stay safe.