Mixing Your Own Shortfill: A Handy Step-by-Step Guide

Last fact-checked 15 January 2021 | Report a factual error on this article

At Gourmet E-Liquid, we’ve learned a lot about DIY E-Liquid over the years. Mixing your own shortfill e-liquid is a fun way to experiment with different flavour combinations — it’s also much cheaper, per-millilitre, than buying smaller pre-mixed bottles. 

In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics of mixing your own e-liquid. We’ll explain what components you’ll need to make your own DIY vape juice, talk you through the actual method of mixing e-liquid and give you a few do’s and don’ts that will save you time and money.

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      What is DIY E-Liquid?

      DIY E-Liquid is perfect for vapers who have tried a lot of different e-liquids and already know what kind of flavours they like to vape. With DIY E-Liquid, you mix three different liquids to create your own e-liquid: a VG/PG base mix, a flavour concentrate and — if you’re quitting tobacco — a nicotine booster shot. The flavour profile you end up with is either identical to the e-liquid brand (if you follow the instructions), or it’s a unique flavour tailored to your personal taste (if you like to experiment). 

      DIY E-Liquid Ingredients:

      DIY shortfill is typically made up of three different ingredients:

      Base Mix

      Base mix is best understood as flavourless e-liquid. It’s the ‘medium’ through which flavour is carried when you vape, and it’s usually made of a pre-mixed blend of Vegetable Glycerine (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG). You can learn more about VG and PG here
       
      Base mix is usually sold in 100ml, 250ml or 500ml bottles. Most DIY vapers will buy a premixed 70/30 or 50/50 base mix, but here at Gourmet E-Liquid we also sell vegetable glycerin base mix and propylene glycol base mix separately. 
       
      You could technically vape base mix on its own, but it would taste of nothing. That’s why you have to add a flavour concentrate.
       

      Flavour Concentrate

      Flavour concentrate is the part of the e-liquid that we can taste. When you add one or more flavour concentrates to your base mix, you create a finished shortfill e-liquid that’s ready to vape.
       
      Flavour concentrate is not e-liquid and you shouldn’t vape it on its own. It must be added to a base mix, in the right ratio. Think of flavour concentrate like fruit cordial: it has to be diluted properly before you can enjoy it. 
       
      Flavour concentrate usually comes in a 30ml bottle. The manufacturer will usually print the ideal mixing ratio on the label  (anything from 12% to 30% depending on the brand), and they’ll usually give you an idea of the perfect VG/PG blend, too.
        

      Nicotine Booster

      Nicotine is the only optional ingredient in DIY E-Liquid. We strongly advise you avoid nicotine if you don’t need it. It’s a highly addictive substance and your DIY shortfill will taste just as good without it.
       
      The nicotine booster you add to a DIY Vape Juice is identical to the booster you would add to a ‘normal’ bottle of shortfill. You buy a booster shot consisting of either ‘freebase’ nicotine or nicotine salts, then you add that booster to your shortfill. If you need more information, please take a look at our guide to adding nicotine to shortfill
        

      How do I make DIY E-Liquid?

      1. Prepare your mixing area

      Start by placing a sheet of paper towel on a smooth, level, wipe-clean surface. You can stand all of your bottles on this sheet — if a few drips go astray it won’t matter — the kitchen roll will absorb them. If I’m mixing my own I will just use my kitchen table, but a desk or countertop will be fine too. If you accidentally spill your flavour concentrate, you need to be able to wipe it up fast, so don’t mix DIY vape juice on an uneven surface like the arm of your sofa or the car dashboard.

      2. Get your bottles ready

      You’ll start with three bottles in front of you: your base, your flavour concentrate and your nicotine shot. You’ll also need a fourth bottle that you can mix everything into. If you don’t already have a large empty unicorn bottle (ideally 60ml capacity or larger) you can buy these on our site - just search for unicorn bottles to see our current range. Open up the empty unicorn bottle so that it’s ready to fill, and make sure it’s completely clean — there should be no dust or lint in there.

      3. Write down and check your fluid measurements

      When mixing DIY E-Liquid, you have to be careful to make sure that your ratios are right. A few minutes of double-checking your measurements, just by writing them down on paper, will save you from adding the wrong amount of PG, VG, flavour or nicotine. It’s also really helpful if you’re experimenting with different flavour profiles, because you can keep a log of what tasted good and what didn’t. Most flavour concentrates will specify the percentage of flavour to base mix … they may also tell you what VG/PG base mix you should be mixing into. 

      4. Mix together your base, flavour and nicotine 

      Using the measurements you’ve just written down, you are now ready to start mixing your e-liquid ingredients. The first thing that should go into the bottle is your base mix. If there are graduations on the side of your base mix bottle, you can use these to get your millilitre measurements spot-on. Alternatively, you can buy an e-liquid syringe. E-Liquid syringes aren’t expensive and they help you mix your DIY shortfill e-liquid accurately. You can buy e-liquid syringes on our site - just search for the word ‘syringe’ and you’ll see what's available. As soon as you’ve added all of your ingredients, put the cap back on your bottle, check the seal and then shake the bottle vigorously for a good sixty seconds.

      5. Let the DIY vape juice steep 

      Most DIY E-Liquids will benefit from at least 24 hours of steeping. When you steep an e-liquid, you simply let it rest in the bottle so that the VG/PG base can blend smoothly with any flavourings or nicotine that you may have added to it. The best way to tell how long you should steep your DIY E-Liquid for is to read the instructions on the flavour bottle. If a flavour concentrate says that you should steep for 1-3 days, then definitely let it steep for that amount of time.
      It’s not dangerous to vape e-liquid that hasn't been steeped for very long, but it makes a big difference to your vaping experience. You want an even, rounded, consistent flavour profile. If you’ve added nicotine, you want this to reach you in a smooth and steady dosage.
        
        

      Mixing your own e-liquid flavour: dos and don’ts

      You’ll soon learn that mixing your own e-liquid is really good fun. If you want to start making your own bespoke flavours, we’ve got a few tips for you.

      Start with small amounts. I speak from experience: if you mix a small amount of flavour concentrate into a small amount of base mix e-liquid (say 10ml) and you don’t like the results, it’s not the end of the world. If you throw a full bottle of flavour concentrate into a half-pint of base mix and you don’t like the results, you’ll be kicking yourself for days! 
       
      Add flavourings gradually. If you want to combine two different flavour profiles, remember that you don’t have to go for a straight 50:50 split. An 80:20 blend might be more appropriate. Some flavours (menthol, for instance) can completely overwhelm the subtler flavours in your e-liquid, so try to pre-empt this and measure accordingly. 
       
      Keep to the recommended mix. Just remember that the ratio of all of your flavour concentrates should stay within the recommended range. So for instance if your first flavour has a recommended mix of 12%-15%, and your second flavour’s recommended mix is 15%-18%, you probably want to mix at that middle value of 15%. That doesn’t mean you add 15% of one flavour and 15% of the other — there should still be 85% base mix in your shortfill bottle when you’re done.
       
      Only use approved DIY E-Liquid ingredients. Not all food-grade materials are safe to vape, so don’t be tempted to freestyle it with whatever you’ve got in your cupboard. Always buy a flavour concentrate that has been specifically formulated for vaping. It’s just not safe to do anything else. 

        

      I hope this guide has given you a good overview of DIY e-liquids and how to mix them. Mixing your own flavours is a really enjoyable hobby, but you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to -- we have more than 2,000 unique flavour blends for sale on our site.

      If you need help picking a flavour and you don’t want to get into DIY mixing, it’s not a problem. Just give us a ring or get in touch through our contact form — we’ll be happy to help. 

      Stay safe and happy vaping!

        - John Boughey

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