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General Info and Advice on getting started with DIY, where to start...  (Read 8 times)

Offline Shadav

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General Info and Advice on getting started with DIY, where to start...
« on: March 07, 2021, 10:12:15 PM »
« Last Edit: March 07, 2021, 10:19:52 PM by Shadav »
It seems that there are a lot more people looking into getting into diy e-juice
between the lock-down of covid and all the flavor bans and things or just simply wanting to save some money
well, whatever your reasons are, I will try to help get you started
For me it was cost and availability....when I lowered my nic down to 3mg there are some places that don't sell it....they seem to think that from 0 - 6mg there's no market...however most do sell 3mg....but then when i cut that down in half to 1.5mg there is no market! Why would I pay $20 for a 0 nic ejuice...it just didn't make sense to me...
as some of you know, I do sell my diy to folks at cost pricing so let me break this down for you...
my 50ml of ejuice + shipping normally costs around $8! To be honest, you are paying more for shipping than the juice itself...no joke! Where can you buy a 50ml of ejuice for under $8? Not very many places!

Now that being said, yes the upfront cost can be quite a bit, but in the end it's worth it...
and as you all (hopefully, at least those that know me) know I am all about cheap, cheap, cheap! Quality does not always mean it has to be expensive!
I'm going to try not to make this entirely detailed (I say try) but at the same time, I guess I do need to explain some...

So what is ejuice? Or Rather what is in it?

I mean I'm assuming if you are reading this you are a vaper, so yeah... ejuice is the liquid that you put into your tank, cart, rda, etc....now this can be flavored or not, contain nicotine or not...that is all up to you!
I have in the past explained what is in ejuice but I'll do a quick break down here

so ejuice may, or may not contain any or all of the following:

1. Nicotine (nic): this can be "regular nic" (freebase) or "nic salt"
without going into to much detail, the main difference between the two is basically that nic salts are less harsh at higher levels, this is also true at lower levels but as opposed to freebase, if I were to vape a 50mg of freebase I'd be hacking up a lung or two, whereas with nic salt it might irritate me a bit....I prefer nic salt, even though I vape around 1.5mg just because I do not at all like a throat hit

2. Propylene Glycol (pg): many say that pg is the flavor carrier, there again, to each his own....
typically higher pg gives more of a throat hit
as a warning some people are allergic to pg so if you notice you are having a lot of irritation then lower your pg % and up your vg % or there are an alternatives, PEG400 and I know there are others that I can't think of right now

3. Vegetable Glycerin (vg): many say that vg creates more plume (clouds), there again, to each his own...but this is typically correct...some also say that it has a sweeter taste than pg (I've never noticed this personally)
typically higher vg gives more plume and less throat hit and more of a "feel" in your mouth

4. Flavoring : this is the exact same thing that you use in baking, drinks, candies, etc....

Higher levels of pg tend to have more of a throat hit (harshness) and is said to carry flavor better (I don't really agree but to each their own thought) Higher levels of vg tend to be thicker and less throat hit and is said to create more plume (cloud) (I don't really agree there either as I've had some high pg that made some nice clouds but again to each their own thought but typically this is the case) so there again it's all personal preference if you want something with more of a kick to it get higher pg, if you want something less of a kick and maybe more plume (cloud) then get higher vg and a side note pg and vg are used in just about everything from medications to shampoos to soaps and lotions even in food

ok well that all aside....now what???

please, always do research and ask questions before starting....trust me, there is no stupid questions, because I have already asked them all ;) which is what we (I and others) are here for....

I would greatly suggest heading over to Electronic Cigarette Forum (ECF), there are a lot of helpful people there that can answer just about any vape related questions
there are also quite a few communities on fb that can assist you
below are a few diy groups that I belong to so I can vouch that they are helpful (mostly)
DIY E-Juice Recipes
Old Vapers D I Y Group
DIYorDIE Mixers Collective
e-liquid-recipes . com User Group


The basics:

the utmost important thing for any diyer is a good ejuice calculator! This is a must!
There are many out there that you can chose, and it's really up to you...
I highly suggest diyjuicecalculator
it is simple enough to learn, comes with quite a few recipes and you can add your own...you can add all your flavorings to it and the price you paid so that in the end you will see just how much it costs to make your bottle of ejuice.
Another good one that I used to use but found the diyjuicecalculator a bit better was ejuice me up
they both do the same thing and are easy to figure out, but I don't know, I just like the first one a bit better....of course there are many others that other people prefer, and that's fine...just as long as you are using a good calculator that's all that matters.

empty bottles with drip tips and caps (or whatever you prefer, twist caps, glass bottles with droppers, etc)...it is recommended to get dark colored glass bottles, but it's not necessary, it's just to help protect the ejuice from sunlight and such that would overtime breakdown the nicotine....but I highly doubt you would be storing your ejuice for that long, and if so, you could simply keep it in a closet, cabinet or the fridge.

Syringes and pipettes
if you are planning on mixing by drops then you will need this, however I highly suggest getting a scale instead and mixing by grams, it makes things so much easier and less mess to clean up and just...yeah....it's just better to get a scale, but still you will need at least 1 syringe and 1 pipette to have on hand, some flavorings do not come in drip tip bottles so you will need them to get the flavorings out with. I would suggest a higher gauge blunt tip syringe because vg is thick and a small gauge will not work with it.

Safety gear: Gloves are always a good idea when handling nicotine...goggles and masks are also good ideas (not that I follow my own advice, unless I am mixing for someone else and not personal use). Having some napkins on hand because spills are inevitable....

Scale: as mentioned already, scales are important, I started out without one and was fine without it...but when you want to be more accurate in reproducing the same ejuice again, measuring by grams is a lot more precise and less messy, less syringes and pipettes being used and needing cleaning and just uggg....really seriously, save yourself the trouble and just get a good scale that goes to .01 grams...trust me on this, you'll thank me later...especially when you are wanting to do large batches at a time or 100ml+ bottles at a time....

Nicotine: if you want nicotine in your ejuice then you have to get some, if you don't want nicotine and are just vaping 0nic then you don't need to....yes there are people that vape 0nic and there is nothing wrong with that...if it keeps you from smoking cigarettes, well that's all that matters....
a common mistake when buying nicotine is that people buy low mg....this won't help you at all!
Ok yes you want to make a 3mg ejuice, but if you buy a 3mg nic then you will not end up with a 3mg ejuice....because you have to remember that you are also adding pg and/or vg and/or flavorings....and these will all dilute the nicotine....I would recommend buying a 100mg bottle of nicotine...be careful when using it, as it is a high level of nicotine....this is why gloves are important, and washing your hands after handling the nic....while this may seem high to you, it is better in the long run because you are only using very very little of it per bottle...for example, I vape at 1.5mg and usually make 50ml of ejuice...so using 100mg of nic, I only use about 0.92g of nic per bottle....so that 100mg of nic is going to last me a long while! You can also decide whether you want to use freebase (“normal”) nic or salt nic....this is entirely up to you...I prefer salt nic because it is a smoother vape and I do not like a throat hit at all!

PG and VG: now, you need to make sure of what you are buying here...you want to make sure that it is usp food grade, I also make sure that it is not only usp food grade but also kosher for my own personal needs. Another common mistake is that people buy premixed pg and vg....which is fine, but you have to remember again, that you are adding nic and flavorings that will add pg or vg (depending on what they are suspended in) to the mix as well...so if you buy a 50/50 premixed pg/vg blend you're end result of ejuice will actually be more like a 70pg/30vg give or take, i'm just guessing on that one...but you get the idea...most flavorings and nicotine come in a pg base so they will be adding pg to your mix...it is better to buy your pg and vg separate so that you can then achieve your goal pg/vg ratio for your ejuice... keeping in mind that typically the higher the pg the more throat hit you will get...me, myself personally, I do not like a throat hit, so I tend to mix at 85% vg or higher...

Flavorings: well what to say....if you want to vape non-flavored ejuice then you do not need these...there are some that vape non-flavored and hey, good for them, if it keeps them off the cigarettes that is all that matters....me, I like my flavors....I like a variety of flavors...I often switch flavors throughout the day...these are concentrated food grade flavorings....the same kind you find in the grocery store to bake with, to mix with drinks, to make candies, etc....for ejuice they are typically diluted in pg, but some places sell them in vg...it's your choice if you wish to use pg or vg flavorings, again as I tend to mix at higher vg levels I try to get vg flavorings whenever I can...but using pg flavorings isn't an issue either because remember that everything else is diluting it, so even if I use pg flavorings I can still achieve 85% or higher vg ejuice mix, typically doing this I wouldn't need to add extra pg to my mix as the pg from the flavorings are already adding pg....again you can use almost any food grade flavorings just make sure that they are not oil based, contain sugars (this can burn quickly and have an unpleasant taste and also gunk your coils up quickly), avoid colored flavorings where possible, avoid diacetyl (it gives a buttery flavor but studies have shown that it could cause respiratory problems), avoid alcohol based flavorings if possible (if not it's ok, but you will need to leave your ejuice sit with the cap off for a day or so for the alcohol to evaporate, known as steeping, which I am too impatient to do)...I'm sure I'm missing somethings there...it is best to buy flavorings from reputed ejuice sites.

And well that is pretty much the basics of supplies you would need....
I would suggest getting storage containers for your flavorings, nic, pg, and vg...you can organize them to make finding them better and keep them in a safe place from any children that you may have.


now after all of that was read....are you ready to start shopping?
And of course, I wouldn't be me, if I wouldn't share with you the best deals that I found....so I reluctantly now share with you where I buy all of my diy stuff...hehehehe na not really, I'm all about saving everyone money where I can....

Now, a lot of people decide to start off with buying a diy kit, and that's fine...I did as well when I first started...but honestly I didn't even use half of what was in it....but it's still a good starting point if that is something that you want to do...but honestly the list above is the basics of what you will need...
when I started out I went with DIYFS's (DIY Flavor Shack) diy kit, they now have several options to chose from
I chose theirs because at the time they were the cheapest, it came with a little plastic toolbox to store everything in (I still use it today) and because Dawn, the owner, is very nice and helpful...I messaged her about the menthol crystals and other things in the kit that I just wouldn't ever use...so instead she replaced them with other flavorings for me :) *aside note, she also offers flavorings in vg, if you are looking for them*
right now looking at the site, the cheapest kit they offer is $39.95
LB (Liquid Barn) is another diy kit I see people recommend
their cheapest is $29.99 but it only comes with 0 - 12mg nic or 24mg salt nic and is only your nic in a premixed vg/pg, 5 bottles of flavoring, and 5x60ml empty bottles...so this is your very very basic starter kit, I wouldn't recommend it due to the fact of the nic level and being premixed...
now their two other diy kits (labware $54.99 and scale kit $64.99) are nice but you have to buy your nic seperate
Central Vapors offers two kits a small and a large
small kit $27.95
large kit which is currently on sale for $38.95, normally $59.99
I'm not going to list any more kits as I feel they aren't really needed but there again that's my personal preference....they are helpful, don't get me wrong...but usually have things you won't need or use...

so now, on to the shopping list:
I already mentioned above, first thing first....ejuice calculator diyjuicecalculator
price: FREE

syringes and pipettes
this is up to you...there again go for cheap...or tack it in on your other orders of nic, pg, vg, or flavorings...
I got mine from Nicotine River...sorry name changed old habits... River Supply
(well, went to find the link and they changed it, it's no longer sold individually, they come in a 5 pack)
I went for the 30ml because at the time I was still doing mixing by volume and not weight....
30ml luer lock syringe
it's still a good price though $4.50 for 5 of them (so $0.90/each)
it's up to you what size you want to buy, and look around for deals, you can usually find them for around $1.00 each or cheaper and just tact it on with the rest of your order
I also went with a 14 gauge blunt tip to make handling vg easier
blunt tip needles
again they have changed it from individual to a 5 pack, $1.20 (so $0.24/each)
there again search around for better pricing and just add it on to your order, they are usually dirt cheap
a tip, when you get your syringe, use clear fingernail polish to coat it, this will help stop the numbers from rubbing off....
pipettes, well there again, just search for some cheap ones and tack them onto your order...I don't really buy them, I still have the ones that came with my original diy kit...I have no use for them now, but they are handy from time to time....not all flavorings come in drip tip bottles so I do have a pipette and a syringe that I use for these flavorings...i typically use the syringe because they are more precise and easier to clean but if i'm in a hurry i'll use a pipette as it's a bit quicker than a syringe but they aren't as precise and are a pain to clean afterwards.
If you are going to be mixing by volume then these are needed, but again trust me, mixing by weight is so much easier and less mess...
so after all that said you're looking at maybe let's say $3 ($1 roughly for 1 of each, a syringe, a needle, and a pipette)

this my friends was the turning point for me in mixing! No joke! I used to dabble in diy for many of years but never really got into it much...then I did...and realized there has to be a better way...so my fellow diy'ers at ECF strong armed me (bwahahahaha joking....) into buying a scale....best decision ever made!
After many recommendations I went with the LB-501
this is the one that I bought AWS LB-501 it is currently being sold for $35.95....if you search around you might find it cheaper, it was normally being sold between $25 - $30....
I chose this one because it came highly recommended by other diyers it goes to .01g, it is battery operated and mine came with batteries, it also can be plugged in, which is better so it doesn't shut off when mixing. It comes with weight calibers and a bowl (which I never use)...
you simply turn it on, place your empty bottle (without the cap or drip tip) on to the scale, press the tar button and add your ingredients one at a time and press the tar button when you move on to the next ingredient...
for me, to make things easier...I add my nic first, my pg (if any) next, then my flavorings and after that, I don't measure the vg, I just top the bottle off with vg...put the drip tip and cap on and shake the ever loving bejesus out of the juice and then vape happily ever after....

something I didn't mention before, as it's not the basics, but I find it so much more helpful and easier when mixing...
get you 3 large sized squeeze bottles with twist caps and transfer your pg into one, your vg into one, and your nic into one....now you don't need syringes and pipettes for your pg/vg/nic, less mess, less time, so easy
these are the ones that I chose: 16oz cylinder with twist cap $0.79/each for a 16oz twist cap squeeze bottle...and I can attest to the “good impact resistance “ I have dropped those suckers more times than I can count....and they ain't damaged and nothing spilled (well with the cap closed anyways)

while we are on the topic
again this is completely up to you, if you want squeeze bottles, if you want glass bottles, if you want ...whatever....just make sure that if they are plastic that they are recommended by vapers because some flavorings(acidic types like lemons, oranges, even cinnamon) can eat through certain types of plastic (this applies to buying tanks as well, with tanks try to go for metal and glass when possible)
now if you are like me and are just looking for good quality and cheap!

I get the LDPE bottles because I like them, they are soft enough to squeeze but not too soft that you can't twist the lid off...and I have really bad arthritis in my hands, so I have no strength at all in my hands...and I've only had 1 bottle that gave me an issue with the cap (out of the 300+ that I have ordered from them)
LDPE bottles
These at the time, and still now, are the cheapest I have found....you get the bottle, the drip tips, the caps, and quite a few tiny funnels...and a little variety on cap colors, of course I chose orange :admire:
I get the 50ml size and for 100 of them it's $35.09 ...and they have free shipping, though I just looked it up and it states that over $60....but I know I've spent $12 there before and still got free shipping so they may have changed it recently....but still, I could easily spend $60 on their bottles if it meant to get free shipping...
there again, search around for what you want and good prices...I've just found that pbottle has had the cheapest price whenever I needed bottles.

again I suggest getting a 100mg bottle of nicotine, there again, keep in mind, a little goes along way (more bang for your buck)....now as for pricing, this will vary a lot...so please search before you buy...but typically Nicotine River, er, River Supply has the best price for my needs...as I prefer salt nic over freebase nic...
If you want a smooth vape with little to no throat hit this is what I buy
500ml of 100mg nic salt in vg: purnic smooth nicotine salts 100mg $10.99, heck of a deal and you can find it on sale or coupons, which are always a good thing
Liquid Barn is another good one but again they are limited on their nic strengths and premixed vg/pg (which is fine, I mean, you can add more vg or pg to reach your desired level but it's still better to either have it in 100%pg or 100%vg and not a mix of whatever it is that they do, I looked each level of nic is in a different pg/vg ratio, very confusing)
base unflavored eliquid nicotine 500ml of 12mg $9.99 again keeping in mind that when you mix it's not going to be 12mg (after you add your flavoring, pg/vg) it'll be more like 6mg or less (I don't know, just guessing but you get the idea) so you'll end up using more and you can't get anything over a 10mg probably...they do offer a 24mg nic salt for $16 but the same still applies, you'll be using a lot more to get your desired nic level than you would with a 100mg...

Pg and Vg....again always search before you buy...prices change, shipping costs change...sales and coupons happen....but always go for USP, and kosher if you want...
now yes when I first started diying my kit came with a 2oz bottle of pg and a 2oz bottle of vg...but those were quickly gone .. 2oz will only make 60 - 70ml of juice....you have to keep in mind that the majority of the ejuice is pg and vg...well typically it's vg, unless you are going for high levels of pg (I mean if you got a steel lung, go for it)...typically you will use more vg than pg...so I went and bought me a gallon of vg and a gallon of pg, I'm still on the same gallon of pg but on my 2nd gallon of vg (as I said at first I wasn't doing much with diy, even though yes I have been diying for 7 years, I didn't do it often and was really only started diy to try to make a clove ejuice, but now I don't buy ejuice anymore, I make my own for the past 2 years)
when I was searching Bulk Apothecary was the best price + shipping (remember that 8 – 10 lbs roughly equals 1 gallon)
propylene glycol $16.20 for 1 gallon of pg (8 lbs)
vegetable glycerin $20.60 for 1 gallon of vg (10 lbs)
but the last time I looked for vg River Supply was the cheapest price + shipping (plus I was getting other things from them so it brought the shipping to free)
vegetable glycerin $19.99 for 1 gallon of vg
now you don't have to buy a gallon, but there again, cost wise it's cheaper in the long run and lasts forever! And if you are like me and like to do other diy stuff not vaping related, pg and vg are used in everything!And well 1 gallon of pg/vg will make about 3,786 mls of e-juice bwahahahaha

Gloves: recommend, not entirely needed but better safe than sorry
you could get disposable food safety gloves
or use kitchen rubber gloves and wash them after use...
the idea is just be safe when handling the nicotine! Wash your hands before and after!
Just whatever, the idea is to keep you safe from any nicotine accidentally spilling on your hands and if you are making ejuice for someone else to keep everything sterile and clean.
Price: varies, sorry I'm not looking it up..ok I tried to but with covid right now, everyone is out of stock...so well...I'll update later after everything settles down!
Kitchen gloves at the moment are about $12 on walmart (stupid covid)

and well I believe all that is left is flavorings
now before you go start buying flavorings, look up some diy recipes and find some that you like, then you can start ordering those flavors first, and then little by little you'll end up with 200+ flavorings bwahahahaha
below are some diy ejuice recipe sites
and if you get bored and adventurous...I love this one, crazyeliquidmachine it just spits out random recipes...it's fun to see what it will come up with
ok ok back to serious....now where to get your flavorings from....
wow well now, there are a lot, a lot of places....
my main 3 are
River Supply, best bang for your buck, often has sales, you can find a lot of 15ml flavorings for under $1.50/each
I have gone broke spending money here 8-} (please note that due to covid they are currently not taking orders)

Bull City Flavors, great selection, decent prices, often has sales and coupons, they have a few flavors that I can't get at River Supply. Lots of 10ml flavorings for $1.29/each
keep an eye out for coupons ;)

ecigexpress...apparently has changed their name to flavor jungle, often has some 10ml on sale for $0.99
DIY Flavor Shack, while not the cheapest, still decent pricing, and great quality...when I can splurge, I splurge here...also sells select flavorings in vg, typically 1oz sells for $5.50 (so that's a roughly 29ml bottle of flavoring)

Chefs, I haven't bought from them yet (because they are in the uk), but they come highly recommended from fellow diyers, some flavors you can only get from them that you can't get from us stores. And they sell a lot of oneshots, what is that you ask....basically just a flavoring but instead of having to mix your own flavorings, they already did, so all you have to do is add your pg, vg, and nic....
so say you want to make an apple pie, you would need to buy an apple flavor, cinnamon flavor, some kind of crust flavor...or you can pie an apple pie oneshot that already has all of that mixed together for you in one single flavoring...


Well now you have everything you need to start making your own ejuice! ENJOY!
Oh yes, one last helpful thing! Again not needed but helpful...
if you already have a printer...get you some label paper! No need to buy a label maker...just get you some label paper, then go to Avery and create a free account, find the same size labels that you bought, use their free templates and create you some simple or nice looking labels for your ejuice

Now....what did we just spend???

ejuice calculator: free
syringe, needle and pipette: we'll say $3
Scale: $35.95
3x16oz bottles: $2.37
100x50ml bottles with drip tips and caps: $35.09
500ml of 100mg smooth salt nic: $10.99
1 gallon of pg: $16.20
1 gallon of vg: $19.99
Gloves: $12
Flavorings: let's say you bought 10 flavorings at $1.50 per 15ml: $22.50
Label Paper: i'm just going to randomly pick something off of walmart so a 120pk of address labels: $8.99
so for everything= $167.08...not including shipping so let's just say you spent $200, ok, ok....
now what can you make and what will it cost from this $200 you just spent
well...let's keep this simple...
now add in the cost of everything above, so we'll go with the $200 total
divide that by 100 (the amount of bottles that you have) = $2...so according to this, for each 50ml bottle of juice it costs you $2 to make! Where can you buy a 50ml of ejuice for $2???
if you were to buy 100x50ml of juice you would spend WAY more than $200....
let's look at this for a moment...some of the cheapest ejuice I used to buy was 120ml for $10....
so for $200 you can now make your own 5,000ml of ejuice total
if you wanted to buy a total of 5,000ml of ejuice
5,000ml divided by 120ml = 41.66666 bottles
so we'll say 42 x 120ml bottles at $10 each = $420
you just saved $180, not to mention that you still have a lot of leftover supplies to use...and if you are mixing for yourself, you just simply reuse your same 50ml bottles putting the same mix back into them or cleaning them out and reusing for a new project...so really you can make a whole lot more than just the 5,000ml....
So yes, while the upfront cost is quite a bit....in the long run, you really are only talking about less than $2 to make a 50ml of ejuice....and if you reuse your bottles it's less than $1....

I really hope this has helped, I know that I didn't get into actually how to make ejuice....but....meh....that's what the calculator is for! And you can search online for recipes.
Of course I am always here to answer any questions that I can....
Thank you for staying with me and reading all of this, and well if I lost you somewhere, sorry  :-"
I really tried to keep this short and simple! (do I even know the meaning of short and simple  :-?? )
Enjoy your diying adventures  :-h
~ Shadav ~
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Year 2021 Goal: $421.08
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