Vaping has become an increasingly popular alternative to cigarettes, particularly in the UK. It’s a great way to get your nicotine hit without also smoking hundreds of potentially dangerous carcinogens. One of the most appealing parts of vaping is the sheer variety of flavours and nicotine strengths. No matter what your preferences, you’re likely to find a vape juice that you enjoy. However, if you want to tailor your juice to your taste specifically, or you just want to save money, you should consider brewing up some DIY e-juice concoctions.
Making DIY vape juice is relatively simple, but you still need a couple of tools and supplies. In terms of equipment, you’ll need to have:
- Storage bottles: it’s a good idea to have larger storage bottles for your base liquid. Plastic condiment bottles are ideal since they can store a large amount of liquid and have nozzle heads for easy pouring.
- E-juice bottles: You’ll also need storage bottles for your DIY e-juice. You can get high-grade PET, HDPE or LDPE bottles in bulk, so stock up on 10 ml bottles for your various DIY vape juice testers. Once you’re happy with your mix, have some 50 ml bottles on hand for long-term e-juice storage.
- Labels: if you’re creating multiple testers at once, it’s vital to have a good labelling system. While you can write directly on the bottle, having a dedicated label means you can re-use bottles by simply peeling the old label off.
- Gloves: you can get nitrile or latex gloves at any pharmacy or health store. We recommend nitrile gloves since they’re odourless and won’t cause any allergic reactions.
- Syringes: if you’re mixing by volume, get a set of syringes of differing sizes. 30 ml syringes are ideal for mixing up your base liquid, and 1-5 ml syringes are excellent for adding nicotine or flavour compounds to the mix. If you get heavily into mixing your DIY vape juice, you may want to invest in a laboratory pipette that is significantly more accurate than a syringe and just as easy to use.
- Scale: if you’re mixing by weight, it’s vital to get an accurate scale that can measure as little as 0.01 g. Luckily, you can often find scales that are affordable and can measure up to 500 g in 0.01 g increments.
Once you’ve got your equipment, you can turn your attention to the ingredients in your vape juice. These include:
- Base liquid: the two most important ingredients in vape juice are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine. You should buy these two liquids separately so that you can control your final ratio to suit your preferences. Stick to pharmaceutical grade or higher purity to avoid any contaminants that can affect your final mix.
- Flavour concentrates: many vape retailers will sell high-end flavour concentrates. Only use concentrates specifically formulated for vape juice, and avoid using essential oils or other non-vape flavourants. You can buy pre-mixed flavours or mix your own.
- Nicotine: while you don’t need to add nicotine to your juice, most people love the hit it gives. You can adjust your nicotine concentration to suit your preferences, but be careful when handling undiluted nicotine as it can be harmful when ingested in large doses. As with all the other vape juice ingredients, make sure to store your nicotine safely, away from children and pets.
Making a batch of vape juice doesn’t take long. Mixing the ingredients can take less than five minutes, though if you’re steeping your juice, the process may take longer. However, perfecting your mix may take significantly longer, especially if you’re the type of person that loves experimenting.
Making DIY vape juice has a large initial outlay. Both laboratory-grade PG and VG cost around £25 for 2.5 litres. Nicotine costs around £25 per litre, while flavourants are often relatively inexpensive. Once you’ve covered your initial costs, you should find that DIY e-juice is significantly cheaper than store-bought juice.
The first time you make your vape juice will be complicated since you’ll have to work out the concentration of nicotine and PG/VG ratios. There are plenty of calculators online that should simplify the process and save you the headache.
If you’ve vaped before, you probably know what your desired percentage of nicotine is. Most nicotine brands will have the strength listed on the bottle, and you can use an online calculator to figure out the volume/weight you need to use to achieve your desired result.
We recommend starting with only one or two flavours before going wild and experimenting. Choose a flavour that you know you like, and add slightly less than the recommended dose. You can always add more if it’s too weak, but you don’t want to ruin a batch by adding too much. Once you’ve got a handle on one or two flavours, you can start experimenting. One thing to note is that different flavours interact with each other and can produce a completely unexpected result. Instead of wasting tons of base liquid, use small tester batches until you achieve something truly unique and delicious.
Different VG/PG ratios will have different mouth and throat feels. Traditional starter ratios include 80/20 and 50/50.
Add all your ingredients into a bottle and shake until properly mixed. If you find your mix is too thick to mix properly, add a tiny bit of neutral alcohol (vodka is great for this) or distilled water to thin the mix. You can also choose to steep your mix, which involves letting it sit in a dark place for several days/weeks to mature and refine the flavour.
Mixing your own e-juice is extremely rewarding and can save you plenty of money. If you’re still slightly intimidated by the process, why not check out Fogworks’ collection of e-liquids, juices, and DIY products? We’re here to help you find the best vape juice, mods, and accessories to tailor your vape experience.