Mixing your own e juice is a much less expensive alternative to buying pre-mixed flavours from stores or online. At the same time, it can be a careful science of its own where the slightest adjustment could be a step too far, ruining a decent mix. Luckily, trial and error is the norm in the DIY e-juice community, and if you take a look online, you’ll find tons of advice, resources, tools, and tutorials to help you. Here we’re going to take a look at some of the basics, as well as talk with Danny from TheBrokeVaper.ca about the DIY side of the industry and how it’s currently faring. His website is a well-established DIY source that sells the individual ingredients, complete kits, and pre-mixed flavours.
The Basics of DIY
To get started, it’s always handy to have certain equipment, but it’s good to keep in mind that using tools that are similar, or could theoretically work, risks yielding poor results. At the bare minimum, accurate measuring equipment is required. The primary pieces of equipment you’ll need for pure DIY E-Juice are
- propylene glycol (PG)
- vegetable glycerin (VG)
- flavour concentrates (optional)
- blunt-tip syringe with millilitre measurements (5mL minimum)
- nicotine (optional)
- gloves (preferably nitrile)
- funnel (optional)
- multiple bottles (10mL–120mL)
It is extremely easy to find DIY kits sold online with most, if not all, of the ingredients listed above. Essentially, the process is a matter of mixing PG/VG ratios with different levels of flavour concentrates. Finishing the process is as simple as adding your desired nicotine amount (or not, if you prefer), and giving a bottle a good shake. When experimenting, never make large amounts, but simply enough for one tank. From that point onwards, you can tweak the recipe until it’s exactly how you like it before mixing a larger batch. Tinkering with your blend until you reach perfection can sometimes be tedious, but the more you work with the materials, the faster you will master the craft.
If you’re curious about mixing something other than the traditional equal PG/VG ratio, be sure you know which ratios are friendly for your device. Researching recipes is one route to creating juices. Websites, such as ELR (E-Liquid Recipes), are an excellent foundation for getting the hang of things. When shopping for different flavour concentrates, if there aren’t enough reviews or you question the reputability of a certain brand, never hesitate to do some extra sleuthing. Personally, if I can’t find at least two solid, realistic-sounding reviews of a flavour, then I don’t go for it. Reddit has tons of concentrate reviews, as well great recommendations for certain flavours. Mixing your own juice is an art, but it is a subjective art that only you can know best.
When handling a psychoactive chemical that can be transdermally absorbed, like nicotine, it’s important to have the correct tools on hand to prevent any accidents before they happen. To be blunt, most mixers and DIYers drop a tiny bit of nicotine on themselves every once in a blue moon. If this happens, wash it off immediately and you should be okay. At most, I’ve seen one person drop about 10mL of nicotine on his hand, and all that happened was that he had to sit down for a minute and take a tylenol because of a slight headache. If, for some reason, you experience worsening symptoms or you’ve spilt a significant amount on yourself, it’s always wise to seek medical attention. Nicotine is still technically a poison, and education is key to avoiding any accidents.
Interview with TheBrokeVaper
VapeCan: How long have you been vaping, and what influenced you to start this business?
TheBrokeVaper: The cost of juice is what really got me. I started vaping about four and a half years ago. My buddy got me into vaping with those little plastic clearomizers. He gave me one of those 30mL bottles and I killed it in a couple of days. I didn’t know about vape shops, so I went to the corner store and picked up a $10 bottle. A few days later, I had used up that small bottle and angrily bought another one, and was YouTube-ing how to make my own e-juice by the time I got home.
VapeCan: How is the business currently going?
TheBrokeVaper: Good. Good. We have a new spot in London here, and I’m definitely enjoying the new added space. Hoping to get the new retail storefront open soon. The new spot has a split up of 70% warehouse and 30% storefront. We wanna focus on locally sourced juices mainly and stray away from those larger brands—the big juices. Definitely wanna focus on a DIY set up, support the people that have been supporting me, you know?
VapeCan: It seems like you’re a pretty busy company. With coming up on four years of success, is this all just a one-man job?
TheBrokeVaper: Um, for a long time it was just me, but my wife helps out a ton as well. Now that we’re in the new space, I’ve got more hands available that has really been a big help.
VapeCan: So I wanted to get your take on the DIY side of the industry. Do you think it’s for everyone? Can it be beginner-friendly?
TheBrokeVaper: It definitely can be for everyone. In terms of ease of use, for sure; throwing in some concentrated flavours, PG, VG, and a little bit of nic. Mastering highly complex mixes from scratch will require a learning curve for sure, but with resources like ELR and all the flavours, it really makes things easier for just about anyone. We really wanna see as many people as possible take advantage of DIY, so keeping in line with that, we’ve recently put out our new One Shot line.
VapeCan: What are one shots exactly?
TheBrokeVaper: Essentially one shots are full complex flavour recipe pre-mixed as concentrates. They basically take the learning curve out of mixing, and it becomes as simple as measuring the ingredients and you’re good.
VapeCan: What are some of the rookie mistakes people make with DIY?
TheBrokeVaper: Usually people using too much of a given flavour. While some brands might generally be used at 8%-10% for example, applying that to all flavours from that brand won’t work. What I usually tell people starting off is it’s always helpful to take a look at recipes sites like ELR and ATF (AllTheFlavours) to see how flavours they have are being used, and at what percentages, to give them a good baseline.
VapeCan: Do you mostly use Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) or Direct-to-Lung (DTL) devices?
TheBrokeVaper: I use both, actually. The [Aspire] Breeze is great for my car, and sometimes at home with nic salts; and my regular daily driver is a V-God Pro on the [Joyetech] eVic Primo.
VapeCan: Do you think MTL users can still mess around with DIY, or is it just not worthwhile?
TheBrokeVaper: Definitely. As MTL devices tend to consume juice at a much slower pace, they’ll actually benefit from even bigger savings with DIY.
VapeCan: What are some of your best selling flavours?
TheBrokeVaper: TFA Strawberry Ripe is definitely one of the biggest sellers. TFA Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Wonder Flavours Sour Blue Raspberry Candy. Capella Vanilla Custard. One Stop Blue Raspberry Slush….fruits, custards, and creams tend to be the big staples.
VapeCan: Wow, people definitely like blue raspberry! What are some of your favourite flavours and combinations?
TheBrokeVaper: I vape a little bit of everything. Lately I’ve been on candies and fruit stuff. There’s a Swedish gummy one I’ve been on lately; also the One Shot one that we have, Mango Unchained, that’s one of my favourites. I use it in my Breeze, too, with nic salts and little bit of TBV WS-23 for some ice.
VapeCan: What are some the weirdest and most niche flavours you’ve ever come across?
TheBrokeVaper: White chocolate, fruit loops, and starfruit is definitely one of the strangest I’ve had to mix for somebody. That took quite a few attempts to get it semi- on track.
VapeCan: That is definitely a strange combination. How do you pick which new flavours/concentrates to carry?
TheBrokeVaper: A lot of times, it’s customer feedback. We’ve done a pretty good job of bringing in the big U.S. brands: Flavour Shack, One Shot, Liquid Barn. We were able to be the first to bring a bunch of them in, but it’s a never-ending thing. There are always more brands and more flavours. From the supplier end it’s a little crazy, but as a mixer it’s pretty awesome. There are always more flavors to try and play with, and a virtually unlimited amount of new combinations and profiles to come up with.
VapeCan: If you had to pick one piece of advice to give to newbies what would it be?
TheBrokeVaper: Keep it simple and stick to flavour profiles you know you like. Sometimes new mixers will try to get creative a little too fast and end up making a lot of stuff they really don’t like. I encourage people to ask me any questions they might have. I get Facebook messages, Whatsapp messages, texts, emails, calls, etc. at all hours asking anything from wholesale pricing for juice manufacturers to what percentage Strawberry Ripe should be used at in a particular mix. That’s what I’m here for. I love talking shop, and I’m always here for that.
VapeCan: If any, what kind of improvements do you think could be made to the DIY side of the industry?
TheBrokeVaper: I think all the big guys have been doing a pretty solid job. Everyone has really been on their A-game. I think we’re all pretty customer-focused and want to offer our customers the best we can. Shout out to DIY Ejuice, Infinite Vapor, and SaVapeur for being a part of a pretty kickass market!