How to Make Vape Juice
How to make vape juice:
- Use LNW E Liquid Calculator to calculate recipe
- Add Nicotine Base or Nicotine Salt
- Add Propylene Glycol
- Add Vegetable Glycerin
- Add Flavoring
- Shake Thoroughly
More and more vapers are breaking onto the DIY scene - a growing subsection of the booming e-juice industry. Concocting e-juice at home provides a variety of benefits for new and veteran vapers alike. For example, DIY juice is not only more cost efficient than buying retail, but it opens up a nearly infinite number of flavor combinations you won’t necessarily find in stores. Best of all, you’ll get to take pride in creating amazing juices that no one else has tried before.
“But wait,” you say. “Making my own juice sounds complex and tedious.” To the contrary! A recipe, a handful of essential equipment items, and four standard ingredients are all you need to get started. From there, you are free to experiment, make alterations to recipes, and mix to your heart’s content. We’ll tell you the supplies you’ll need, what to know, and how to start creating stellar juice.
Well, What Do I Need to Get Started?
Preparations for DIY mixing start with procuring the necessary equipment and familiarizing yourself with the standard e-juice ingredients. There’s no need to rent an expensive laboratory with a team of technicians, though. Only a few essential components are needed to transform your house into a miniature e-juice factory.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) - Vegetable Glycerin is a viscous (thick) fluid that is found in everything from foods and pharmaceuticals, to personal care products and of course, e-juice. VG’s main function for our purposes is to facilitate the visible “clouds” produced when vaping. VG tastes slightly sweet by itself, and this mild sweetness can potentially affect certain flavors, mostly in a good way.
Propylene Glycol (PG) - PG is a thin, odorless, and nearly tasteless fluid that is also used in personal care products, foods, and pharmaceuticals just like VG. Vapers who prefer emphasis on flavor over larger clouds tend to go with a higher amount of PG in their juice, since PG is the ingredient that carries flavor.
Diluted Nicotine - LNW offers a wide variety of nicotine strengths to match your comfort level. The higher the strength, the more careful you need to be. You do not want to spill nicotine on yourself because it can be harmful. Nicotine is diluted with either a PG “base” or a VG “base.” The base liquid will not affect the nicotine’s strength in your juice, but your base will affect other aspects of your juice. Such as: How the ratio of PG to VG plays out, the viscosity (thickness) of the e-juice, and subtle alterations in flavor. When deciding how much nicotine to use in your e-juice, a container of 100mg/mL base fluid is a good starting point that will get you where you want to be. (100mg/mL doesn’t pertain to the strength of your finished e-juice - only to the strength of the base fluid.) We’ll talk more about measurements later. Storing your nicotine properly is the key to ensuring its longevity. A refrigerated space is ideal for long term storage. For short term storage, a cool, dry, dark place will work just fine.
Optional Variation: Nicotine Salt - Nicotine salt is similar to traditional nicotine in that it comes in liquid form, suspended in a PG or VG base. However, the major distinction with nicotine salt is that it has been chemically bound to its base by an acidic compound. This binding process is what leads to the “smoothness” of salt nicotine juices. Whereas regular juice might feel too harsh or “throaty” at higher strengths, salts typically offer a pleasant and more flavorful vape at those same levels. If you’d like to learn more about nicotine salts and its differences from traditional nicotine, click here.
Flavor Concentrates - Customizing the flavors of your juice is where the real magic of DIY begins. If a consumable product is pleasing to the tastebuds, there is a flavor concentrate of it. Fruits, desserts, candies, soft drinks, hard drinks, energy drinks, coffee drinks, tobaccos, cereals, and even some foods are all categories of concentrates with hundreds of individual flavors between them. Almost every concentrate you’ll encounter is diluted with a PG base. Be sure to take this extra PG into account when you’re figuring out your juice’s ratio. Fortunately, our DIY E-juice calculator will already do this for you. When storing your flavor concentrates it is important to keep them away from heat.
Bottles - Of course, you’ll need bottles to mix and store your juice in. Whichever size of bottle you choose is dependent on your needs. Most commercial juices are packaged in 30mL, 60mL, or 120ml bottles. If you want smaller sizes for testing or samples, 15mL bottles are available too. Smaller bottle sizes are recommended when you’re experimenting with new recipes. That way you’ll conserve ingredients and have less waste to deal with.
Pipettes and/or Syringes - Transfer Pipettes and syringes allow a clean transfer of ingredients between containers. Transfer pipettes and syringes come with clearly marked milliliter increments, so volumes can be transferred with precision. They also come in a spectrum of sizes. An e-juice that needs a large volume of flavor will be more efficiently transferred with a 10mL or 20mL syringe. Smaller volumes or multiple flavors at smaller percentages are most efficiently transferred with a 1mL or 5mL syringe.
Gloves - Nitrile gloves are the best way to keep yourself and your juice free of contamination. Since direct contact with nicotine is harmful to the skin, covering your hands is both necessary and imperative any time you mix.
Labels - While not mandatory, purchasing sticker labels for your bottles is a wise investment. Marking down the date of creation, PG/VG ratio, version number, etc. of each new bottle helps to avoid future confusion and differentiate similar looking bottles.
Now that you’ve got all the components, it’s time to actually DIY. We recommend setting up in the most sterile, hygienic space available to you. Preferably your space should be free of children and pets as well. Okay - let’s get to it!
Pick a recipe that you feel confident in mixing. Depending on your skill level, you might want to start with something that only has a few flavors. Or you can make your own concoction. It is recommended that the sum of all your flavors should not exceed 20% of your bottles’ volume. Too much flavoring can either mute the flavor or give a perfume like taste. Be patient, it may take a few whacks to find the sweet spot.
The PG to VG ratio in your juice radically changes how it vapes. Not necessarily the flavor, but the quality of the pull, as well as the amount of visible cloud production. The ratio itself denotes what percentage of the bottle’s total volume is occupied by PG and VG. For example, a juice mixed with half PG and half VG will be labeled 50/50. This blend prioritizes neither flavor nor cloud potential. 30% PG to 70% VG produces a thicker juice that will create thicker clouds, while a 70% PG to 30% VG creates a thinner juice that brings out the prominence of its flavor with minimal cloud production. We recommend a 30% PG - 70% VG ratio for higher-powered devices and a 50/50 for lower wattage pen style e-cigarettes.
Once you know what you want your juice to be, you’ll need the correct measurements to get you there. Calculating nicotine, flavors, etc. by hand is tedious to say the least. We’ve put together an intuitive e-liquid calculator that will do all the math for you. Head over to our DIY ejuice calculator page to save yourself some hassle. You can even save recipes and notes to your LNW account. Simply input the relevant data for the desired amount (bottle size), PG/VG ratio, nicotine strength, and flavoring. The table at the bottom of the page will clearly list how much of each ingredient is needed. More on this below.
Put on your gloves first and foremost, then check out our DIY E-Liquid calculator if you haven’t already. It displays measurements in both grams and milliliters, but for beginners’ purposes we’ll just talk in mL’s. You’ll want to switch syringes after each ingredient to avoid cross-contamination. We’ll walk you through the calculator using an example ejuice that’s 60mL in size, 3mg in strength, has a ratio of 30% PG / 70 %VG, and using 100mg PG nicotine.
In Box 1 (above), set the amount to make to 60. Then set the desired strength to 3. Don’t worry about the box for Water/Vodka/PGA. That’s for advanced mixing and we won’t get into that in this guide. Set your desired PG to 30 and your desired VG to 70.
Box 2 (above) is even simpler. The nicotine strength and PG content of nicotine are set to 100 by default, which is what we’re using. Leave the VG at 0, since our base fluid is pure PG.
Input your flavoring in Box 3 (above). Click “add flavor” to add as many flavors as you wish. Type in the name of the flavor and specify the percentage of each flavor you want to use. A general DIY rule of thumb is to keep your overall flavoring at 20% or below. Muted or perfume like taste is common when you exceed 20%. Underneath each flavor, the PG button will be preselected because nearly all flavorings will come in a PG base. This will be reflected in your PG/VG ratio, automatically.
Anything worth writing down can be recorded under the NOTES table just below table 3.
Now we have the measurements we need! In Box 4 (above), we can see the precise mL’s of each ingredient needed. Nicotine comes first - so we’ll dispense 1.8mL into the bottle. Then comes the PG at 4.2mL, and VG at 42mL. Lastly we’ll add in 6mL of strawberry flavoring and 6mL of Graham Cracker flavoring. Place the nipple on your bottle and screw your cap on tightly. Next, run your e-juice under hot water for about 30 seconds or until liquid is thin. Then, shake well.
Congratulations! You’ve just brewed your very own e-juice! There are still a few odds and ends to keep in mind, though. (Check out our DIY Ejuice Kit for all you need to start.)
Labeling - After you’ve inserted the nipples and capped your bottle, you’ll want to label it with relevant details like its name, ratio, strength, date of creation, and version number.
Steeping - Fresh e-juice must be steeped to achieve optimal flavor. Steeping just means letting the juice sit for a while so the ingredients can fully mix throughout the bottle. We recommend a natural steeping process, which is called “breathing”. Simply remove the cap and let the juice breathe. This also allows the alcohol used in many flavorings to evaporate away. Depending on your ratio and flavoring, your juice will need to steep anywhere from a few days to a week or more. A helpful rule of thumb for steeping is that the “heavier” the juice’s flavor, the longer it needs to steep. A white chocolate mocha with a hint of chai will require significantly more time to reach peak flavor than a strawberry or menthol.
Storage - E-juice doesn’t do well in sunlight or humid environments. Make sure your juice is kept in a dark, cool place away from any children or pets.
Where Can I Find the Rest of What I Need?
LNW makes it easy to mix your own juice! We offer a comprehensive starter kit that includes PG, VG, syringes, bottles, gloves, and nicotine. We also offer individual ingredients such as nicotine salts, first party and third party flavor concentrates, measuring equipment, and much more. Visit our website to stock up on all your DIY needs today! Happy mixing!