If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend the Resources and Tips post that is stickied at the top of the Beginners tab. It’s got most(if not all) of the information that you need to get started on the road to mixing great tasting juice at a fraction of the cost of buying pre-made juice. As to your questions…
Yes, you’re going to need additional VG PG to make juice. Most people like to mix in a 70VG/30PG ratio(Some prefer “Max VG” or 80/20, 60/40. It’s personal preference) Most flavor concentrates are suspended in PG, so you’ll not need as much PG as VG. When I started, I bought a quart of both VG and PG, and was ordering more VG within a couple weeks. Get a gallon of VG if you’re serious about mixing-if you’re unsure, stick with the quart.
Some flavors do, some don’t. I wish there was a more concrete answer, but there’s none If you like REALLY sweet juices, then you’re probably going to want to get some additional sweetener-the most common being Ethyl Maltol(EM) Some flavor companies label it as EM, some label it as “Cotton Candy”(10% EM solution in PG to be precise) I would strongly suggest that you make some bottles WITHOUT adding any extra sweetener first. You may be surprised to find that you enjoy juices that don’t taste like you’re vaping the sugar bowl!
There’s no one “brand” that’s better for beginners. Here’s what you want to do-look over some juice recipes and pick two or three that sound good. Then, go buy the flavors for those recipes ONLY. It will give you a chance to get your feet wet with mixing, and it will also tell you fairly quickly if this is something that you want to pursue. Besides, the flavors that you get for those recipes could possibly be combined to make different juices, or used as standalone flavors! WINNING!
Again, generally there’s no one brand that steeps quicker. Flavors that are PG-based will steep quicker than flavors that are alcohol or VG-based. Also, fruits/candy flavored juice tends to be more towards “shake & vape” than bakery/dessert flavors. Custards and tobacco flavors can take weeks and sometimes months to come together. Patience is your friend when it comes to these!
As a final note, I’d like to make a couple suggestions. If you don’t have a PG sensitivity, I’d recommend getting your nicotine in a 100% PG base as opposed to VG. VG-based nicotine is a tad more difficult to work with for the budding mixer. You’ve got to shake the ever-loving hell out of your source bottle when you pour off aliquots, and again shake your aliquots when you go to mix. Why? VG-based nicotine can get “hot spots” where the nicotine is more concentrated in one portion of the bottle than another. This can cause you to mix with nicotine that can be much stronger or weaker than what you’re aiming for. Weaker isn’t a real problem but stronger? Recipe for disaster. I’ve been mixing since January of this year-I’m no expert, but I did a LOT of reading before I took the plunge. This is what I gleaned from all that I read, and what a few much-more-experienced-than-I people recommended to me. If someone has a different opinion, I’d love to hear it. If I am incorrect, please let me know as I don’t want to spread erroneous information.
Finally, you didn’t ask about mixing by weight versus mixing by volume. Mixing by weight is a little bit easier, and gives you repeatable results in a much simpler fashion than mixing by volume. Plus, you don’t have to worry about cleaning out syringes, pipettes, beakers…Just mix directly in your bottle of choice on the scale, cap shake and BOOM. Juice! Lovely, lovely juice!(Again, my opinion on mixing by weight. We all know about opinions, yes? Good.) The scale of choice for most mixers is the AWS LB-501 You don’t have to but this scale exactly, just make sure that if you do purchase a scale it can a)weigh down to the hundredths of a gram and can take up to 500g(In case you decide to mix 300 ml of juice at a time in one container)
That’s about all I’ve got. Reading is your friend at this point, so hit the guide and if you’ve still got questions, hit us up. Welcome to the Rabbit Hole-Cheers!