With electronic cigarettes, quitting your bad smoking habit has never been safer or easier. Not only are electronic cigarettes a far cheaper alternative, but they also taste way better. If you’ve followed along with some of the guides and articles here, you probably know that there are three basic components to making an electronic cigarette work – a tank or some form of atomizer that will generate the actual vapor, a power source that also regulates how much vapor is going to be transmitted, and the juice itself that will get vaporized. The goal of this article is to introduce you to, but not teach you how, making your own juice is a better alternative than buying juice from overpriced brick and mortar shops and even shops online that specialize in “craft” vape juice.
Mixing your own juice is not hard, but it does require the purchase of materials in order to get started. These will vary from person to person, but it all depends on how you decide to mix your juice; there are two ways to mix, which are by volume and by weight. Volume means that you are measuring out your ingredients prior to mixing and mixing by the volume, typically measured in millimeters for small-time mixers that don’t vape all day every day. Mixing by weight is the far easier option, which requires the use of programs or some advanced mathematics to convert the volume of your average 30 milliliter bottle into weight.
Mixing by volume is typically better for bigger batches, but requires far more precise measuring. Usually you would mix by weight if you were producing a lot of juice at once, or were looking to stock yourself up for several months at once – this is typically what the craft shops do, and then they further divide that up into smaller bottles that can be sold. Mixing by volume decreases the amount of money you spend per unit drastically, although you can easily end up with more juice than you know what to do with. Typically, you need larger, more expensive equipment in order to hold all your juice at once, as compared to mixing by weight.
Mixing by weight is the far easier option, and usually results in having your juice mixed right into the bottle and ready to vape immediately. This requires the use of a scale that is quite accurate, so one that can measure to the hundredths or even thousandths place is beneficial. To mix by weight, you would use a number of programs to calculate how much of each element you would pour in to get your final product. This is the consumer-friendly option, as the calculators and programs that do this are typically free and come preprogrammed with a variety of recipes or can export the recipes to share.
When mixing, you control the end-product; you decide how much nicotine you would like and what your propylene glycol to vegetable glycerin ratios are; for example, my brother and I mix juice together, but he vapes at about 80 VG and I only vape at around 40 VG. This results in having to perform two calculations, but we each get juice that we love. Not only is the end result more desirable to what type of vape you prefer, but you can also customize your flavoring to your needs; you can add in undertones or overtones, or take away a percentage of a flavor in favor of another. The possibilities are endless, and this is why I feel that mixing should be done by all e-cig enthusiasts – especially after the draconian Food and Drug Administration legislature that has been put into place in the United States.
The Electronic Cigarette Community
The best part about mixing your own juice is getting feedback and sharing the recipes – there are a number of enthusiast and hobbyist forums and locations where mixers will come to discuss their recipes and see what they can do to improve them. Typically, the recipes are based off of clones from real recipes, although mixing it yourself is a far cheaper (and smarter) alternative than buying juice every week or two. On these locations, the more veteran members are always willing to share some advice, and there are far more in-depth guides on how to mix and different techniques than what you might find here.
Of course, these are also a great place to trade and purchase juices from new start-up companies that are trying to sell juice; as a mixer myself that is fairly active in some communities, I always donate a little bit extra during a purchase which usually results in some free gifts of juice or even upgrading the size of the bottles I ordered. Be courteous and kind, and the community will be more than willing to give back to you.
Crash Course on Mixing
As a more casual vaper myself, I have never mixed by volume – only weight. As I said previously, mixing by weight is the smart choice for your average consumer that is looking to save some money on vaping, and does not require too much of a financial investment to start up; with around $100 to $150, you can easily have all the materials you need to get mixing. To start with mixing by weight, you need to consider the fact that you need a scale and how you are going to store your e-juice – meaning, do you want to use reusable bottles or Pyrex bottles, or use Unicorn-type bottles that can be disposed of if they get too gross? There are different benefits and drawbacks to each, but typically, going with a unicorn-type bottle is the smarter option due to the ease of transporting it.
Once you have your scale and your bottles, you will also need your mixing supplies – these consist of your liquids, as well as some other accessories that might make mixing far easier. I personally keep my propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin in two squeeze bottles, rather than having to use the gallon jugs that they came in. Of course, buying bulk PG and VG is a smart option, as you can typically let these sit for two years in a dark location without having them go bad and expire on you. After you have your PG and VG, which are your bases (your ratio is actually the base mix liquid), you then add in your flavoring – typically, flavors will be propylene glycol based. Do be aware that your base ratio of PG to VG can mutate the flavor, as VG tends to give off a more sugar-y flavoring if you are vaping on a heavy VG blend.
The flavorings can be purchased from anywhere, and most companies actually will sell their DIY bottles that contain just the flavoring; all you have to do is add in the PG and VG base that you desire. The flavors run cheap, typically costing no more than $3 for an 8 milliliter bottle, which ends up only being around 20 to 25% of the actual juice itself; an 8 milliliter bottle of flavoring, assuming you do not mix it with anything else, should get you around 30 or 40 millileters worth. Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin sell for around $40 for a gallon, so this is why I recommend buying them in bulk to save as much money as you can.
It should also be noted that nicotine typically comes in a very high-strength solution, so if you still intend to put nicotine in your juice, you must take precautions. Typically, nicotine comes as a 100 milligrams per milliliter bottle, so a full bottle of nicotine can easily last you up to 5 or 6 months. But do take caution when mixing nicotine; if you spill it on your skin, it will give you one crazy buzz that could require you to go to the hospital. While everything else besides nicotine is not dangerous and does not require precautions, you should take every precaution when mixing with nicotine and put as many layers between the liquid solution and yourself as possible.
Your mixing supplies may consist of different things, but are typically no more than a couple of beakers, syringes, and stirring rods – most of the time, you can make your juice directly in the bottle that you intend to pour the juice out of. Most flavorings come as a squeeze bottle, which makes mixing your juice as easy as pouring yourself a complicated alcoholic drink. Mixing your own juice only takes a bit of practice and some patience, and you can easily be saving yourself an impressive amount of money while still getting a tasty vape.