E-liquid mixing is fairly straight forward. Virtually anybody can do it successfully providing that they follow a few simple principals. E-liquid mixing is even easier than baking cookies, just follow the recipe.
Doing E-liquid Mixing
There is every possibility that you have already been e-liquid mixing without ever considering it. If you have ever combined two pre-mixed e-liquids or even accidentally added a different liquid to half full cartomizer, then you are e-liquid mixing. Making your own DIY e-liquid from its component parts is almost as simple.
E-liquid consists of:
A nicotine base
PG and/or VG carrier liquid
The nicotine base is the ingredient that determines the nicotine strength of your e-liquid. It is not 100% nicotine, that would be dangerous to handle and difficult to measure accurately. Most nicotine base liquids are sold at a nicotine concentration of 5.4% with the remaining 94.6% being PG carrier liquid. Nicotine base is effectively very strong e-liquid without flavorings. When one is e-liquid mixing one is simply diluting the strength to something ‘vapeable’ and adding some flavor. Do not even consider vaping nicotine base without diluting it further with a carrier liquid.
Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG) are the liquids that are used to dilute the nicotine base liquid. PG is great at carrying flavor and is free flowing, VG is less effective at carrying flavor and is fairly viscose but it is great at producing lots of vapor. The different characteristics of PG and VG carrier liquids lead to most DIY e-liquid mixing being done with a mixture of the two.
Flavorings for E-liquid mixing come in many varieties. Any flavorings that you add should be food grade as a minimum but it is very important to remember that just because e-liquid flavorings should be food grade it does not follow that all food grade flavorings are suitable as e-liquid flavors. Many food flavorings are mixed with vegetable oil for example; this would be unsafe to vape. I have even heard of people adding Yeast Extract or Chilli to their DIY juice, which is strongly advised against – being safe to digest does not always make it safe to inhale.
E-liquid Mixing Recipes
There are dozens of sites offering e-liquid recipes, just Google it into your browser to find them. There are also ‘calculator’ apps available for working out the percentage volumes of each component to achieve a given e-liquid strength.
I would argue that it is easier to start simple, before getting too bogged down with theory. Let’s just consider an easy mix. If you start with 5.4% nicotine base and mix it with two parts carrier liquid you will have a nicotine e-liquid strength of 1.8%, this is often called 18mg. If the 5.4% nicotine base is diluted at a ratio of one to three with carrier liquid then your resulting mixture will be 1.35% (13.5mg). 5.4/3=1.8 and 5.4/4=1.35
So with the above principle in mind; get a suitable 30ml empty bottle, add 10ml of 5.4% nicotine base, 10ml of PG and 10ml of VG. The resulting (unflavoured) e-liquid will have a nicotine strength of 1.8% with a PG/VG ratio of 66/33 assuming that the nicotine base has been produced using PG as it normally is. To recap; get 5.4% strength nicotine base, PG, and VG carrier liquid and mix all three in equal proportions to get an unflavored e-liquid of 1.8% (18mg) strength.
If you add proportionately more nicotine base to the mix or use a nicotine base with a higher nicotine concentration then the resulting e-liquid will have a higher nicotine strength. Conversely, the opposite applies.
Having a greater proportion of PG to VG will give better flavor and a low viscosity but will have a lower vapor production. By using more VG than PG your e-liquid will make plenty of vapor but may need a greater percentage of flavoring to compensate for VG’s poor flavor carrying ability, you may also need to add some purified water to help lower the viscosity.
E-liquid Mixing Flavours
As discussed above, you should only use flavors designed as e-liquid flavors to flavor your e-liquid, this is not only because they are the only type that you can be sure are safe to inhale but also because they have the high flavor concentration necessary for e-liquid mixing. I recommend initially adding just one flavor to your e-liquid that will help you to reduce the cost of manufacturing e-liquid and help you to offers cheap e-juice to your customers, as you gather experience of e-liquid mixing you may wish to try mixing in small quantities of several flavors but this can often result in unexpected and unpleasant results…so just start simple, with one flavor.
The amount of flavor to add will depend on your own personal preference and whether the flavor is naturally strong or not. Generally, the common amount added is 2% to 4%. When you add flavors you are also slightly diluting the nicotine strength of your e-liquid but the effect is small…don’t make things more complicated by worrying about it at this stage.
Important E-liquid Mixing Considerations
To achieve a best cheap vape juice the flavor of the vape should come from the flavor that you have added to it, it should not come from either the PG/VG carrier liquid or the nicotine base. Some nicotine base liquids have a distinct ‘stale tobacco’ flavor of their own, this added flavor can taint all of the e-liquid produced using it. The 5.4% Platinum Ice and the more concentrated 7.2% Pure Ice nicotine bases are very clean, unflavoured, the UK made, pharmaceutical grade liquids that are ideal for DIY e-liquid mixing. Similarly, the PG and VG carrier liquids are pharmaceutical grade products well suited to their intended function.
The Perfumers Apprentice range of e-liquid flavors has a great variety, all designed for DIY e-liquid mixing. You may find that the flavor of your DIY e-liquid ‘matures’ over the two or three weeks after first being mixed, this is known as ‘steeping’.
Many people believe it to be advantageous to ‘steep’ e-liquid before use in order to experience the juice’s ultimate flavor – personally, I don’t have the patience to ‘steep’ my own mixes, I just enjoy the changing character of the juice as it matures naturally over time.
Imperative E-liquid Precautions
Nicotine base should be handled with extreme care, you should wear gloves and protective eyewear at all times when handling it. You must always dilute nicotine base with PG and/or VG liquid before using in order to lower the strength, it must not be vaped neat. All of your e-liquid mixing ingredients and the resulting DIY e-liquid must be stored safely, where they can not be reached by children or pets – ideally in a locked box or room. Safe and child-proof containers should be used at all times for all e-liquids.
It is important that e-liquid mixing is done in a clean and hygienic location with no possibility of contamination from anything other than the intended ingredients. It is unwise to share your DIY e-liquid with others, professional producers have (or at least, should have) public liability insurance – it is unlikely that you will have this, so if anything goes wrong you could be in deep do-do.
All of your e-liquid mixing ingredients and the resulting DIY e-liquid must be stored safely, where they can not be reached by children or pets – ideally in a locked box or room. Safe and child-proof containers should be used at all times for all e-liquids. It is important that e-liquid mixing is done in a clean and hygienic location with no possibility of contamination from anything other than the intended ingredients. It is unwise to share your DIY e-liquid with others, professional producers have (or at least, should have) public liability insurance – it is unlikely that you will have this, so if anything goes wrong you could be in deep do-do.