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

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

John Boughey |

Last fact-checked 29 April 2024

Mixing your own shortfill e-liquid from scratch is a fun way to experiment with different flavour combinations. We've tried it and it gave us a whole new appreciation for vape juice mixology. 

In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics of mixing your own e-liquid from scratch. 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.

What is DIY E-Liquid?

DIY shortfill e-liquid mixing is for advanced vapers only. 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. 

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 mixYou 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. 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. 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, like a kitchen table or countertop. You can stand all of your bottles on this sheet — if a few drips go astray, the kitchen roll will absorb them. 

2. Get your bottles ready

You’ll start with at least three e-liquid bottles in front of you: your vg/pg base, your flavour concentrate(s) and your nicotine shot. You’ll also need an empty 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 moisture 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. Double-checking your measurements of PG, VG, flavour or nicotine, and write down everything you do as you go. Making notes is useful 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

If you want to start making your own bespoke flavours, we’ve got a few tips for you.

Start with small amounts. 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 will have wasted a lot of e-liquid. 
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.

Stay safe and happy vaping!

John Boughey

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