PG: Propylene glycol: main ingredient that also contributes to TH
PGA: Propylene glycol and grain alcohol (Everclear): preferred by some to PG
TH: Throat hit, which smokers usually like although cigarettes don't compare
VG: Vegetable glycerine: produces the vapor but dilutes flavor and reduces TH
PG is main the ingredient in which bases (flavors) are prepared from powders or liquids. Those are the only two ingredients that I use to make any base: flavor and PG. PG is also the main ingredient in finished juices of which you'll use the most. I likely vape more than the average and a quart of PG lasts me well above a couple of years. You can acquire PG at either Amazon or ECigExpress. The higher the PG the better the TH. I enjoy TH so I end up with a mixture for finished juices at about 54% PG, 12% VG, 12% nicotine and 22% flavor. If I'm making 50ml of finished juice that comes to 26ml of PG. Some people dilute their PG as much as 50% to use PGA instead. I've experimented the same with Everclear. (Alcohol delivers TH.) It was all right, but I thought simple PG was much better and simpler. You store PG in the frig.
What makes the vapor. Add more you see more. (People who sell ecigs on YouTube know this.) Add less and you can see none. Use no VG at all and you can vape invisibly but for the tip of your battery glowing. I like to see a nice waft of cloud, and it helps determine when the juice in your cartridge is exhausted (if not a bad taste), or when a cartridge has not yet absorbed enough juice to vape (may needs standing upright for a bit). I use about 12% VG in finished juices, translating to 6ml for a 50ml bottle. That's a little less than average, but you still get vapor comparable enough to a cigarette. You can obtain food-grade VG at either Amazon or ECigExpress. (It's a foregone assumption that nothing goes into an eliquid that isn't food or pharmaceutical grade.) Because VG is thick you will put some in a sink of hot water to make it more fluid when you mix. It thins pretty quickly that way. You store VG in the frig and a quart should last you a few years.
If you enjoy nicotine and TH then you need know that nicotine delivers the majority of TH. PG assists but is no substitute, howsoever less expensive than nicotine. Nicotine is the most dangerous substance you will handle in DIY (unless you don't use any, vaping only for flavor). Be careful to not get any on your skin (cheap disposable latex gloves if you like). For sake of simplicity in calculations I purchase 100mg unflavored nicotine with PG only. I presently measure nicotine at 6mg per 50mg of finished juice, more than enough, which translates to 12 percent of a mixture bought at 100mg nicotine (in PG). When purchasing finished juices you are given options for how much nicotine you want. The amount equivalent to regular filtered cigarettes is 18mg (or 1.8% at some supplier). However, that's for your base. As for your finished juice, you might find 18% nicotine (18ml of 100ml) too much. I'd been a chain smoker for decades and I assure you that 18mg is beyond need for a perfectly enjoyable vape. I use the same amount of nicotine as VG for finished juices, which is 6ml per 50ml of juice (12mg or 1.2% at some supplier). You store nicotine in the freezer. It doesn't thicken and will be perfectly workable for mixing. Nicotine is bought at ECigExpress in other mixtures than 100mg. One liter of nicotine should last you a few years.
DIY originally meant Do Your Thing. Until someone discovered the letters don't match. We'll confine flavors on this site to three basics: menthol, vanilla and malt. Though you can buy base flavors in liquid form already, I purchase menthol or malt in crystal or powder form and dissolve them into PG. I currently measure all flavors at about 22% of a finished juice, translating to 11ml for a 50ml bottle. I know you're having difficulty with all the numbers on this page, so I'll just say, upon joining the club myself, that I prepare finished juices for 50ml bottles. Of that, 27ml are PG, 6ml are VG, 6ml are nicotine and 11ml are flavor. That is, for 100ml I would use 54% PG, 12% VG, 12% nicotine (purchased raw at 100% nicotine in 100% PG) and 22% flavor.
Glass better than plastic. I was fortunate to have some of various sizes packed away from years ago, so that was not an expense. Some vapers use 10ml bottles for experiments. I prefer 30ml though that's a greater waste upon tossing an unsuccessful mixture. I use 30 ml for finished juices I don't vape a lot. 30ml is well enough for storing base juices you might make, though you'll probably want to make much more, say 100ml to 500ml, and store it in the frig to prevent having to make it so often. (You can do that with finished flavors as well for that matter.) I put VG in a tall 100ml bottle to warm it in a sink of hot water when mixing. (VG is thick. It will quickly become more workable, especially for eyedroppers.) I mix juices in another 100ml bottle passing for a beaker, more than enough. (That's the size in which Bacon Bits once came. I think they're about 85 ml now, which is fine. You'll want a couple bottles, anyway, in that range.) I usually have three everyday finished flavors in three 50ml eye-dropper bottles stored on a shelf. Don't put finished juices in the frig. Leave them out to breathe and get some light, which improves them. You'll see a big difference the next day. Since I usually make my three basic vapes (malt, menthol and maple) at the same time, when they get low I pour them into a 30ml together (for vaping) to have three empty 50ml bottles again. You can get 30ml blue glass bottles at Amazon for a little more than a buck a piece. They want $2 a piece at ECigExpress. All in all, the bottles you'll most use should be several from 50ml to 100ml. I use old jelly jars, whatever, for large amounts. If you can't come up with any bottles from around the house for mixing there are some at Amazon and ECigExpress.
Such as DIY flavors and nicotine may also be purchased at ECigExpress. A heads up as to ECigExpress: Though the site now emphasizes security (according as I've read) it has long had other problems. One is that you may have to clear your cache in you browser to use their site properly. There are internal conflicts on the site which prevent CCleaner from doing that for you. ECigExpress can also be a little slow, so relax with some amaretto when you visit. I don't really know, but my guess is that ECigExpress is subject to what many an other website on the internet has had or is having trouble with: trying to get their site compatible with mobile phones. (This simple [looking] site witnesses some damage from that endeavor and it's still not compatible. I eventually had to give up.) Here are some easy links for purchasing ingredients.
Like Avery which you might find at a Walgreens. Labeling your bottles may prevent later mysteries.
I had a couple 100ml graduated cylinders already. You need only one and can bring it home with 30ml. Unless you plan on making huge amounts 50ml is perfect. Measure more exact beyond that (ml) is with an eyedropper, no specific need for a syringe type though you can. Whatever, syringe or cylinder, they're cheap, so larger than smaller is nice. Graduated cylinders can be purchased at either Amazon or ECigExpress. Surprise quiz: how many standard eyedropper drops equal 1ml? Twenty. I'll bet you wish your teachers would pass you on tests that. Blank cartridges want up to 18 drops. Some vapers are very precise when they measure, being more discriminating than I who generally just eyeball it. You'll want at least one eyedropper, though, for this or that, perhaps to load your finished juices into cartridges.
You will need these to pulverize menthol crystals. Anyone should have a tiny bowl that can serve for a mortar. I use a little 50ml sauce bowl not quite as large as two mustard cups at a fast food restaurant. For a pestle I use a covered corkscrew (good for popping cartridge caps) with a 3/4 inch slightly curved base. Perfect. When you DIY you find all kinds of items about the house that you didn't know Dr. Jekyll used. If not, then you can get a mortar and pestle at Amazon. 50ml is only just large enough that you can get away with it. Something more around 100ml could suit you better.
Eyedroppers come with various purchases, which I prefer to squeezing bottles. A pair are cheap anywhere if not. You will need a funnel to pour liquids into bottles with thin necks. I use a regular little 1.25 cups funnel, almost too large. Of funnels at Amazon the important thing isn't capacity, but a thin neck. You also want a flat end (not for sand art).
That's it. Four ingredients go into basic DIY juice: PG, VG, flavor and nicotine (optional). The tools you need are an eyedropper, funnel, several bottles from 30ml to 100ml or more, labels, a graduated cylinder or equivalent syringe with a capacity of 30ml (minimum), and a small mortar and pestle for menthol. You will also want to be able to measure 1/4 teaspoon. Your microwave will make things considerably quicker, though you can warm ingredients in hot water. Take care. Don't heat the liquids you're working with, like PG, for more than 5 second intervals at a time in your microwave. Better three intervals of five seconds to dissolve a powder than fifteen continuous seconds. Bottles will get hot in the microwave so use a cloth to take them out without an ouch. Another pop quiz: How many microwaves must you buy for this website to earn $100? Twenty-five, unless you're cheap. Buy several thousand expensive ones instead and we'll all be better off. This website could earn about $30,000 if you buy this 1932 The Old Dark House movie poster for $750,000. Urban trash can soar up to trailer trash with that. Unfortunately you can only get one. So when you buy it sell it a few times again and we could rank right up there with billy trash complete with a real lumber shack (banjo extra). We might earn around $8,000 if thou didst purchase this old Bat Masterson manuscript for a couple hundred thou. May very well come with free shipping. Or maybe it's about time you buy yourself a decent clock. How about this big bad boy for a two hundred thousand smacks that will bring violafair nigh $4,800? You might as well also buy these chandeliers for your bathroom while you're there, a sparkling deal at only $120,000, after which we'll trade in our rusting car with only around $4,700 of your pocket change. You'll never miss it and your lights might finally work. Also, since you're at Amazon already it would be convenient if you would also grab some cards autographed by Mickey Mantle along your way to check out. That will bring us only about $3,600 as an incidental purchase by you of only $100,000, but Viola will autograph a thank-you card anyway. That's autographs from two different people for the price of one. Imagine the worth of that, especially as it's been said that Viola ain't all either here nor there: That's right, of only an undetermined percentage of my maximum presence you will still receive one whole autograph. What the heck, I'll sign it twice and have it notarized. That's two total autographs, confirmable, equivalent to half a regular homerun, in addition to everything you will get from Mick. Snooze you lose, so do yourself a favor and act now.
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