Saturday, October 1, 2011

Zen and the Art of DIY E-Liquid Mixing

A couple of days ago it dawned on me that I hadn’t bought a single commercially-made juice for ages. Instead of paying tons of my hard-earned cash for others to mix my liquids for me, I’ve been following the cheaper, and messier path of DIY mixing. I say cheaper, though I should also confess that there have been a few expensive mistakes along the way. There are the three or four “crap jars” of home-made e-liquid in my cupboard, each filled to the brim with luminous purple and green mixtures of the foulest, most un-vapable concoctions known to man, and all are still there gathering dust, only because I spent so much time and effort mixing them that I don’t have the heart to pour them down the sink. 

Having said that, mixing your own e-liquids brings with it a Zen-like peace of mind, easily as satisfying as brewing your own beer, bread-making or spiking voodoo dolls of parking attendants. As long as you apply some common sense, I reckon DIY mixing can probably save you a lot of cash in the long term, too. 

Thanks to having spent the last few months dedicating far too much of my free time to the pursuit of the perfect juice, I now make fewer mistakes, so that more liquid goes into my PV and less of it gets poured into any more crap jars in my cupboard. Anyway, these days I’m usually happy with the stuff I mix myself and often I actually prefer it to the commercial liquids I used before. The following tips and tricks are the result of many months of dripping, shaking, fiddling and fumbling.

Dan's Tried-and Tested, Kind of Zen-Like DIY E-Liquid Mixing Tips:

1.      Mix in small batches (3-5ml max). You can scale up the quantity when you have the recipe down. If you add too much of a certain flavour by accident, you can double the quantity of base liquid to dilute that flavour, and at no great cost.
Small is beautiful!
       Mix in open ceramic or glass bowls, not in bottles. Mixing in a wide, open container allows you to perceive smells and flavours more easily, and also gives you a better idea of liquid consistency. Warming the bowl slightly beforehand can also enhance your perception of aromas you are developing.
Bowls not bottles!
         Record everything! Use a notebook and record every drop as you mix. Likewise, label your mixes and recipes properly. Nothing worse than tens of little bottles that can’t be tracked to a recipe. 

Notes are good!
           Mix all flavours into your PG/VG base first. In new, experimental mixes, add nicotine liquid last of all, when you are happy with all the other flavours in the base (it’s cheaper if it all goes wrong). Yes, the taste will change considerably after the nicotine has been added, but at least you can be sure that the main flavours are balanced. Of course, when you have a few recipes that you are happy with, you can mix up a 50/50 batch of base and nicotine, and use this for faster mixing.

5.      Use your tongue! (BEFORE adding nicotine liquid). Vapour from your PV hits your tongue before it hits your nose, so don’t neglect mouth flavour. If a flavour combination tastes good on the tip of your tongue, chances are it will be a tasty vape too. Use the tip of your tongue to mouth-test new pre-nicotine mixes as you go along…it works!

6.       Slow down and enjoy the ride! Get used to adding one drop of flavour, walking to another room and coming back a few minutes later to test again before adding another drop, instead of chucking the whole bottle of flavouring into your mix in one go. Your nose/tongue can get overloaded with too many concentrated flavours and need short rests to work properly.

7.       Don’t mix too early in the morning or too late at night. This will depend on you, but I find my sense of taste and smell is sharpest from about midday to early early evening, and tends to dull noticeably after around 10-11pm. This is why "great" mixes made at 2am can taste a bit funny the next day. Discover what times your own senses work best and "follow your nose"!

8.       Steep ‘n’ shake before you vape! Steeping makes sure all your flavours are properly blended and makes for a deeper, more rounded flavour. Steeping doesn’t have to mean a long, boring wait while the Earth freezes over. Just leave your finished mix bottle in a bowl of warm water to melt the glycerine for a few minutes – or even quicker – 2-3 seconds in the microwave at full power. Shake well and cool in cold water for a few minutes when you’re done to get glycerine or PG back to a thicker, vapable consistency.

      See also:  DIY Tobacco Liquids from Concentrates


  1. these are great tips. thanks. i have been dabbling (rather, i've been buying everything i think i need to get started), but i can't seem to find any simple dk tab or ry 4 recipes. i like tobacco type flavors-no fruit or candy or whatever cream delight... i just want a good 555 or dk tab-a nice, full bodied tobacco with no damn fruit or candy. any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks for this post again!

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    2. This made a decent realistic tobacco flavor believe it or not

      Ethyl Maltol 2%
      Peanut Butter 3%
      Simply Vanilla 1%
      Soho (FA) 9%

  2. If you like tobacco flavor. Don't frustrate yourself. Sweet Southern and Real brand is inexpensive. If your just wanting to avoid PG. Then yes go for DIY.

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