Beginner’s Guide to DIY Eliquids
Posted 17th Jun 2016 to The Science of Vaping
You’ve reached that step in your vaping experience where you’re wondering how different flavours would taste combined, like vanilla and strawberries or chocolate and orange. You’re ready for the world of DIY eliquids. But how to start? This guide will help step you through the process of creating your own eliquids from scratch.
Your DIY Item List
Most of the items on this list can be purchased directly from us in the DIY eliquid section of our online store.
1. Empty Sterile Bottles
Vapemate sells 10ml and 30ml bottles with child-resistant lids. Larger sizes of 150ml and 250ml are also available with child-resistant screw caps.
You’ll want to have a set of at least two syringes - one for nicotine and one for other ingredients. If you want to get fancy, get four syringes - one for nicotine, one for flavour, one for Propylene glycol, and one for vegetable glycerin - it will save washing one syringe between each component.
Nitrile, powder-free gloves are recommended for safety when handling nicotine. These can be found at larger pharmacies or ordered online.
4. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol (PG) is one of two “diluents” used in creating eliquid, the other being Vegetable Glycerin. Propylene glycol is a food-grade additive frequently used in food, beauty products and medical applications. It is odourless and tasteless, and serves the function of being an ideal carrier for flavour and providing a “throat hit” similar to that of cigarettes. Our standard mix of Propylene glycol is 70% PG and 30% VG, which is the ideal mix to get the most flavour while still producing vapour. A 100% PG blend would have too much throat hit and be too runny, the vegetable glycerin has properties which mitigate this.
Our Propylene glycol is pharmaceutical grade 99.9% pure and manufactured in the UK. You’ll want to look for similar specifications if you are ordering elsewhere.
5. Vegetable Glycerin
Vegetable glycerin (VG) is another “diluent”. It’s main role in eliquids is to produce vapour, it makes eliquid thicker and generally provides a smoother vape. If the concentration gets too high, your eliquid can become too thick for some devices and causes wicking issues. In addition, VG has a slightly sweet taste, and so can compete with flavourings. If you want a higher VG blend for more clouds, select flavours that aren’t on the sweet spectrum so that your final product doesn’t end up tasting cloyingly sweet.
Like our Propylene glycol, our vegetable glycerin is manufactured in the UK and is 99.9% pure pharmaceutical phase.
6. Flavour concentrates
This is where getting your eliquid supplies from Vapemate becomes a very good idea. Our flavours are all produced by our expert chemists in England, and have been rigorously tested both by our fans and in-house. All of our flavours are available as concentrates, meaning you can mix and match until you find your perfect combination - or just make your own favourite Vapemate flavour at home.
7. Diluted Nicotine
It is very important to handle nicotine, even in the diluted form that you purchase it, safely. It and all of your other DIY eliquid supplies should be stored well out of the reach of children as well. You will always want to wear gloves when handling it, both to prevent contamination of your final eliquid and for your own safety.
You can choose to purchase nicotine diluted with either PG or VG, depending on which product you want a slightly higher percentage of. Both of our versions of diluted nicotine are provided in a 7.2% (72mg) strength, and this will need to figure into your final calculations when building your eliquid. Also, keep in mind that nicotine is the most significant factor in producing throat hit.
Mixing Your DIY Eliquids
Do the math on your different blends and check it twice before you begin - especially with your nicotine strength. You can use this online calculator to determine your amounts, but we show the math you can do by hand below if you want to double check it to be safe. Assemble all of your materials and make sure they are clean.
Step 1 - Nicotine
The most important formula is determining your nicotine strength.
First, determine how much nicotine you want:
(Strength in mg/mL) multiplied by (Volume in mL) = The amount of nicotine in milligrams.
So if you want 100ml of 8mg/ml eliquid, you’ll need 800mgs of nicotine.
Then, determine the volume of nicotine you need to use:
(Amount needed) divided by (Strength of diluted nicotine) = How much you’ll need by volume.
For our 100 ml bottle of 8mg/ml eliquid, the math is 800 divided by 72mg, since our diluted nicotine is sold at 7.2% strength. The total volume of diluted nicotine we’ll need is 11mL.
Draw out the amount of nicotine you need with the syringe, which allows you to measure the amount. Drop it in the bottle. Do not use the nicotine syringe for other components.
Step 2 - Measure out Flavour
Your flavour is typically 10% of the volume of the bottle. So for our 100 ml example, we’d need 10 ml of flavour.
Step 3 - Adding your VG and PG
First determine how much of the volume of the bottle you’ve used for your flavour and nicotine. In our example, we’ve used up 21 ml, so the remaining PG/VG blend will be 79ml. Figure out what percentage of each you would like and calculate out the numbers you’ll need to draw from your bottle with the syringe. Depending on if you purchased nicotine diluted with PG or VG, you can adjust your numbers for each accordingly a bit up or down. This is where you don’t have to be 100% accurate, as long as you are in the range for what you are shooting for, so don’t sweat too much about the amount of PG or VG that was in your diluted nicotine.
Step 4 - Shake things up
Shake the bottle well for several minutes to mix everything together.
Step 5 - Steep it
Eliquids may need to steep anywhere from days to weeks for the flavours to blend together properly, so don’t get too excited about vaping your new creation just yet. It will not taste good fresh out of the shaking stage. Leave it for a few days, see how it tastes, and leave it for a few more until it tastes how you want it to. An elqiuid will generally be fully steeped after 30 days, so if the flavours aren’t working, you’ll know to make adjustments for your next batch. Make sure you label your eliquid with the date of creation, particularly if you are making multiple batches.
Making your own eliquids can be rewarding and elevate vaping from a way to quit smoking to a hobby. If you need any help, you can always reach out to us for support at firstname.lastname@example.org.