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How To Make E-Liquid

Published on 06/04/2019

The vaping community is as much about individuality and personalization, as it is about great taste and choices. Whether you are new to vaping, or have been vaping for a while, you’ll eventually think to yourself “I wish I could get a flavor that tastes like…” or maybe even “I wonder if I could make something myself that is just as good as…” Finding a vape that you enjoy is hard enough, finding that vape that is exactly what you want can be nearly impossible. So, you've googled “DIY e-juice” or something similar and you find yourself here, and we are glad to help you get started.

It helps to think of doing your own E-Liquid as very similar to making your favorite cookies. You will need a list of ingredients, some basic equipment, and some instructions for how to put it all together. From there you can experiment with what you’ve got until you have made it your own. With your personal flavor formula dialed in, you’ll have a vape you know you love, can save a little money by making it yourself, and maybe even get some bragging rights in your local vaping community.

INGREDIENTS


Diluted Nicotine

       

- You’ll need some Diluted Nicotine. You can read more about diluted nicotine on our Diluted Nicotine page. It is important to note that nicotine has a flavor all its own, so your recipe may taste different at higher strengths of nicotine than lower. NicVape Nicotine is not only well tested and carefully handled, but we also take great care to make sure that our nicotine adds as little odor, taste, and color possible. If you intend to create Max VG formulas, you should consider buying nicotine diluted with VG. Generally, 100mg/mL diluted nicotine is used in the industry because it makes the math to get specific strength per volume a little easier. Also, a relatively small amount of 100mg/mL can go a long way, and allow for more flexibility in your diluent ratio. Pure nicotine is 1000mg/mL (One Thousand mg/mL), and requires special equipment and processes to handle including specialized hazmat suit and a ventilation hood. Nicotine is a dangerous substance at high concentrations both through inhalation and skin contact, and if you have any questions about your mathematics or ability to handle it safely 25mg/mL might be a better option for you. Please make sure you are using all precautionary measures when handling and storing diluted nicotine:Nicotine Safety

PG or VG - You’ll need some propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, usually referred to as PG or VG. This is called the “diluent”. Nicotine and flavorings are highly concentrated and need to be diluted for a pleasurable vaping experience, so you’ll use PG and VG as “the base” or "carrier fluid" making up most of the volume of your formula.

      • There are nuanced differences between PG and VG. They have slightly different tastes, viscosities, and throat feel when vaped. Most e-Liquids have a mix of both presented as a ratio of PG to VG. Common ratios are 70/30, 50/50, or 30/70. Flavor concentrates are generally diluted with PG, which is why you will commonly see Max VG as the description rather than 100% VG. Both PG and VG are perfectly fine for vaping, but you’ll probably want a little of both to experiment with different ratios if you are just getting started.
        • PG is an organic chemical compound that is widely used in food, tobacco, and personal care products. It is also used in topical, oral, injectable, and inhaled pharmaceutical products. PG doesn’t alter the true flavor of the flavor concentrates as much as VG can. Also, PG delivers a stronger throat hit, which can result in slight irritation after extended use. It is rare, but some people have or develop an allergy to PG.
        • VG is slightly sweeter and slightly more viscous (thicker) than PG. Higher VG ratio eLiquids may take slightly longer to soak into a cotton wick, for example. VG can slightly alter the way a flavor tastes, but that can be good or bad depending on your individual taste. High VG is usually preferred by “drippers” using cotton and coil atomizers, because it has a smoother throat feel and generates a more visible “cloud.”


Flavors - The last thing you’ll need is some flavor, of course! Flavors are available from a wide variety of sources, but we’re confident you’ll want to enjoy the advantages of NicVape E-Flavors™ when creating your favorite formula. Our flavors offer a taste experience you won’t find anywhere else, because E-Flavors have been specifically designed for inhalation rather than the food flavoring used throughout the industry. They are meticulously scrutinized and tested to ensure they meet Nic Vape's high quality standards. Also, our recommended dilution ratio is 5-10% flavor rather than the 20+% you’ll find with other flavors. That means a bottle will go twice as far for you, and allows for a higher VG mix. We are adding E-Flavors as fast as we can vet them, so check back regularly if we don’t currently have a flavor you are looking for.

    • You can make E-Liquid without flavor; this is commonly referred to as "neat" E-Liquid. This is of course not a common vape choice. However, DIYing is probably the only way you'll get "neat" E-Liquid if you want to try it.

EQUIPMENT

  • Bottles - At a minimum, you’ll want some bottles. Plastic drip tip bottles tend to be the most cost effective option for experimentation, because getting bottles clean enough to re-use for a different flavor tends to be more work than it is worth. While you’ll use less raw material for each variation batch, the trade-off for using smaller bottles for your experimentation is that your math and measurements will need to be more precise. The already small quantities you are working with may be harder to measure accurately when working with a 10mL total volume than a 50mL.
  • Containers– If you are making larger quantities you’ll certainly want some graduated cylinders or beakers. They aren’t needed for your basic kitchen counter DIYing, but can be handy to prevent cross contamination, if you have a limited number of syringes for example. (e.g. If you are using the same syringe for flavor and nicotine, you could end up transferring some from the bottle of one to the bottle of the other if you aren’t careful)
  • Syringes - Syringes and pipettes are an essential tool for helping you negotiate the small openings on containers and getting the right amount of liquid from your supply into your eLiquid creation. They let you extract exactly the amount of nicotine, PG/VG, or flavor you need and transfer it to your mixing container. This will help ensure that you can consistently replicate your new creation once your formula is the way you want it.
  • Gloves - Since nicotine can be absorbed through the skin, and even the best of us spills what we are working with occasionally, gloves will be important to have while you are working. NicVape offers nitrile gloves that are powder free to prevent contamination of your liquid, and chemical resistant to keep you safe

    THE RECIPE

    Below are step-by-step instructions for making an E-Liquid from scratch. Before we get started we wanted to point out that if you purchase an E-Liquid that you like, but it still needs a little something, you can certainly just add a few drops of E-Flavors to give it that kick it needs.


    The most important element of the recipe is that it is reproducible. If you make a concoction you love, you’ll want to be sure you can make it again! Unless you are lucky or very experienced, you aren't likely to get that perfect flavor with your first attempt. It may take several variations to get it right. The keys to making your formula reproducible are careful notes and precise measurements. Notes will also help you go back to previous versions as you try new things. A note on measuring... Counting “drops” may suffice, but lots of environmental factors can change the true volume of a drop. The smaller your total volume is the more these minor variations can make noticeable changes to a “flavor profile” between batches when you try to recreate your recipe. Using consistently calibrated measuring devices like syringes, and writing everything down about each variation will be important as you try new variations out.

    Making E-Liquid - Step 1

      • The first step is to determine the strength of nicotine we want in our e-Liquid, then figure out how much nicotine we’ll need. The math here isn't too hard, but if we get it wrong we could end up with an unpleasant experience.
    • Determine how many milligrams of nicotine we need.
    • (Strength in mg/mL)(Volume in mL) = Amount of nicotine in mg.
    • Example: We want to make 50mL of 8mg/mL E-Liquid. So I need 50 x 8 = 400mgs of nicotine for my 50mL formula.
    • (Amount needed)/(Strength of diluted nicotine) = Volume to use.
    • Continuing our example
    • If I have 100mg/mL Diluted Nicotine, I’ll need 400mg/(100mg/mL) = 4mL If I have 25mg/mL Diluted Nicotine, I’ll need 400mg/(25mg/mL) = 16mL

    Making E-Liquid - Step 2

    • We’ll put on gloves, and transfer the nicotine to our bottle. We have a 50mL bottle LDPE drip tip bottle. We want to make 8mg/mL, and we have 25mg/mL PG nicotine, so we’ll use a clean syringe to extract 16mL from our container of nicotine.
    • Drawing up just the right amount can be tricky, so the easiest way to make sure we get the right amount is to pull the plunger until we have a little more than is needed then carefully depress the plunger to the 16mL mark (or do this 4 times to the 4mL mark). By keeping the syringe pointed into the container of nicotine when depressing the plunger we can prevent wasting any of our diluted nicotine.
    • Air bubbles in the syringe can really throw off your true measurements. If you notice any air in the syringe point the needle up, tap the syringe to get the air to the top, then carefully depress the plunger until the liquid just starts to appear at the tip of the needle. Then you can point the needle back in the container and depress the plunger to the right measurement.

    Making E-Liquid - Step 3

    Once the amount needed is in the syringe, we can just squirt it into the 50mL plastic drip tip bottle we will use forour first trial batch.

    Making E-Liquid - Step 4

    Now we need to add flavor. You can use any flavor combination you can imagine, but we’ll keep the example simple and just start with some Flavours.

         

    Making E-Liquid - Step 5

    • The recommended dilution for E-Flavors is approximately 10%, so if we are making 50mLs I’ll need 5mL. Using a different (clean) syringe we will measure and transfer the flavor concentrate to the bottle just as we did the nicotine.
    • Be aware that flavor concentrates are very complicated artificial flavors. Adding more flavor isn’t necessarily going to make it better. Over flavoring your e-juice can “wash out” the flavor making it taste more like the chemical constituents of the artificial flavor rather the intended flavor, or worse lead to a very bad experience. (Ask anyone who has been foolish enough to vape undiluted flavoring; it isn’t pleasant.) If you are using E-Flavors, you probably want to keep the total volume of all the flavors you are using at 10%-15% of the total volume of e-Liquid. Maybe slightly more or less depending on which flavors you are using. If you are using other flavor concentrates, the recommended dilution tends to be 20-30% throughout the industry. You’ll want to check the recommended dilution from those manufacturers though.
    • You should also know that when you mix multiple flavors, they may come out tasting much different than you’d expect. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. Sometimes you just need a little hint of something to bring out or balance the other flavors you are using. As you experiment, you’ll begin to see this effect. It only takes a tiny bit of E-Flavors Cool to make a big difference in your formula, for example.
    • Sometimes it is a good idea to try a flavor all by itself with just PG/VG base to get a sense of the individual flavor on its own before you add it to a recipe.

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