Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Making your own vape juice is great fun and can save you money, but is DIY vaping really possible with just household items?
Believe it or not, many common everyday household kitchen ingredients can also be used to make vape juice. Baker’s glycerine, tea, coffee, cocoa powder and even the water from your tap are all good examples of these.
Can you make vape juice only with stuff you have at home?
It is totally possible to make your own vape juice using only household items, such as glycerine and food flavourings. However, these ingredients will produce a relatively soft-tasting, nicotine-free e liquid. To make a stronger and more satisfying homemade vape juice, you will also need to buy nicotine and propylene glycol liquids.
This article shows you how you can make your own e liquid at home using the most basic kitchen or household ingredients and equipment.
How to make vape juice from household items
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to make your own vape juice using only items in your home. I’ve left out nicotine and propylene glycol for reasons already mentioned, though you can add these items if you do happen to have them at home anyway.
Here’s how to make your own vape juice using only household items
- Make a base liquid for your vape juice from household glycerine and water
Mix glycerine and water in a clean glass or ceramic kitchen bowl to a ratio of about 80% glycerine to 20% water. It will still look a bit gloopy, but you can adjust this later. If you already have propylene glycol at home, mix to a ratio of 70% PG, 20% glycerine and 10% water, instead.
- Add vape-safe kitchen food flavourings, or homemade flavours to your base
Mix in a few drops of any vape-safe oil-free food flavouring (e.g. Cappella) or add your own vape flavour concentrates and stir well with a metal or plastic kitchen spoon. If you already have some nicotine liquid or shots at home, you should mix it in now at the strength you require.
- Temper (or steep) your homemade vape liquid to blend ingredients
Heat your vape juice briefly to liquify glycerine and/or PG and stir so that all ingredients are properly blended together. You can temper 100ml of newly-made e liquid in the microwave oven at full power for 10 seconds, or else leave in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes till warm. Doing this will improve flavour and fluidity of your finished vape liquid.
- Transfer your e liquid to a glass or plastic bottle
Once your home made vape juice is cool, transfer it using a kitchen funnel or baking pipette into a glass or plastic bottle and shake well. If you don’t have a funnel or pipette in your home, you can make a makeshift funnel. Cut a 15cm circle from a sheet of greaseproof paper and cut a slit from one edge to the centre. Roll into a cone, then cut the sharp point off to make a hole to pour through. Your liquid is now ready to vape!
Now let’s look at some of the home ingredients and equipment you’ll need to use to make your own e liquid:
Using household glycerine to make a base liquid
Using PG is the best way to make a nice, thin and flavourful vape juice, but not many people have this ingredient item lying around in in their kitchens. A simpler way to make your own smooth-tasting e liquid with home items is to just use a mixture of glycerine and water.
Glycerine is a soft, gloopy liquid used for softening and moistening homemade icing and cakes, but it’s also a common vape juice base ingredient. Glycerine not only produces vapour when your e liquid is heated, but also softens the inhale.
You can make great-tasting vape juice bases or flavour concentrates using household glycerine. However, if you have some, PG is the preferable option for these purposes as it is runnier, and carries flavour more effectively.
Is any kind of household glycerine safe to use in vape juice?
Any glycerine you use in homemade e liquid must:
- be food-grade (i.e., for cooking and eating purposes only) or pharmaceutical grade (e.g. BP)
- NOT be for cosmetic purposes
- NOT contain any other additives, such as colourings, stabilisers or preservatives (check the label)
Using water to thin your vape base
Because household glycerine is such a thick and viscous ingredient, you’ll need to thin it out before you can vape it. The best way to do this is by diluting it with a little PG and water.
But if you’re making e liquid only with household items, then thinning your glycerine with water alone will do the trick.
Filtered, distilled or tap water to dilute vape juice?
Some say that you should only use distilled or filtered water in homemade vape juice to avoid contamination from minerals building up on your coil.
Technically, tap water in hard-water areas might produce more mineral deposits when you vape. But given the tiny quantity of water in homemade vape juice mixes, to my mind, these are hardly worth worrying about.
How much water should I add to my glycerine vape juice base?
You’ll need to add just enough water to your glycerine to get your vape liquid flowing properly, but without letting it get too runny. A mixture of around 80% water and 20% glycerine is usually about right to start with. Don’t forget you can add more water later, once you’ve “tempered” your e liquid and added flavourings.
Flavouring your home made vape juice with household ingredients
Once you’ve made a base liquid which generates vapour and tastes ok in your device, it’s time to add some flavour to it. But how can you flavour vape juice using only stuff you find in your kitchen cupboards?
Can I use kitchen food flavourings in my vape juice?
Ordinary food flavourings used for home baking are best avoided in DIY e liquids, unless you are absolutely sure they are safe to vape. Some household food flavourings contain ingredients like oil, which can damage your device or even harm your body if inhaled. For this reason, it is wiser to use only approved, vape safe food flavours in homemade juice.
Which kitchen food flavourings should you avoid?
You should NOT use any food flavourings in your vape juice which:
- contain any oil at all (e.g. lemon essence, oil of cloves, etc)
- have a buttery smell or taste
Which household food flavourings are safe to use in homemade e liquid?
Brands like Flavourart and Cappella supply flavour liquids which contain only non oil-based food flavour compounds and PG.
These flavourings are designed for both food and vaping purposes, and so are suitable for use in homemade vape juice blends.
Making your own vape juice flavour concentrate from home ingredients
If you don’t fancy using commercial flavourings, it is quite easy to make your own natural vape juice flavour concentrates from household ingredients, like cocoa powder, or even tobacco.
Homemade e liquid flavourings are a lot of fun to make and can be very rewarding if you get them right. However, just like using commercial food flavours, homemade vape concentrates are not without risk, so you will still need to choose ingredients carefully.
How to make homemade vape flavour concentrates
To make your own vape juice flavour concentrate, you first have to choose a suitable ingredient you like the taste of. Then you just leave it to soak in VG or PG for a few days until flavours begin to emerge. PG is really to solvent of choice for this job, but if VG is your only option, thinning it with a little water may yield acceptable results.
Once the colour has darkened and flavours have started to seep out into the liquid, you simply filter out the dry ingredients, mix with your juice base and vape.
Follow these steps to make your own vape flavour concentrate:
- Choose a vape safe ingredient to extract flavour from, e.g. cocoa powder
- Fill up a glass jar or glass with enough PG or VG to cover your dry ingredients plus a little more
- Leave the mixture for several days, stirring daily to extract more flavour
- Filter using a sieve and fine jelly bag or (if using PG) coffee filter paper
- Add your flavour concentrate to your own mixed base liquid and vape
General tips on making vape juice flavour concentrates at home
- keep liquid at room temperature while extracting flavours and do not heat, even when filtering
- PG is better than glycerine for extracting flavours as it is thinner, though glycerine can be watered down a little to make it draw in flavours faster
- Filter your concentrates roughly through a sieve first to remove dry ingredients before fine-filtering
What ingredients can you make vape flavour concentrates from?
You can make your own vape flavouring concentrates from various dry, strongly-flavoured ingredients. I have made vape flavourings from all of the ingredients below and got good results.
- Cocoa powder
- Tea leaves (black or green tea)
- Fat-free herbal teas (leaves not powders)
- Freshly-ground coffee (not instant)
- Dry spices like ginger, cardamom, black pepper
Which ingredients to avoid using in homemade vape juice flavour concentrates
As a general rule of thumb, you should only make your own flavour concentrates from simple, dry food ingredients like spices, tea, etc. But if you’re still unsure about the safety of extracting vape juice flavour concentrates at home, it’s best to stick to vape-safe drops, instead.
Use your common sense when choosing ingredients, but you should definitely not put these items in your homemade vape juice concentrates:
- food ingredients with high fat or oil content (e.g. orange peel, chocolate)
- cinnamon (can cause irritation and damage polycarbonate vape or pod tanks)
- ingredients containing too much sugar (can burn and damage vape coils)
How to make vape juice sweeter using items at home
If you’re using household glycerine for either your vape juice base or flavour concentrate, you probably won’t need to sweeten your e liquid. Glycerine (VG) is a natural sweetener and will add sweetness to your vape all on its own. But if you still need a sweeter brew, you can try using a liquid sweetener.
Can I use household sweetener in vape juice?
Household sweeteners which come in tablet form often contain additives, like caking agents, which make them unsuitable for use in vape juice. However, liquid sweeteners only containing sucralose are suitable for vaping, and you can add these in small amounts to sweeten DIY vape juice.
Household equipment you need for making vape juice
You only really need a bare minimum of equipment to make your own vape juice at home, and most people have these items in their homes already.
Basic home kitchen equipment you may need to make your vape
- a deep ceramic or glass bowl or mixing jug (500ml capacity is fine)
- a few metal or plastic stirring spoons
- paper towels to wipe up drips and spills
- a plastic tablecloth to protect surfaces
- rubber kitchen gloves, to protect hands (if you’re using nicotine)
- a glass jar (old coffee jar or Kilner jar is fine)
- a sieve (for rough filtering homemade flavour concentrates)
- coffee filter paper or kitchen towel (for making PG flavour concentrates)
- a kettle or microwave oven for tempering your finished juice
- small plastic or glass bottles (50-100ml) for storing finished e liquid
I hope all this goes to show that making your own e liquid with items in your home is not only possible, but very easy too. Ok, so unless you’re vaping nicotine-free, you will of course still need to buy nicotine liquid, and maybe PG too.
But I think the rewards of being able to complete 90% of the home vape juice-making process off your own back still make it worth doing. Have fun!