Fill Your Own Capsules

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Choosing the Right Capsule for Your Filling Needs

Choosing the Right Capsule for Your Filling Needs

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Empty capsules now come in so many different sizes, colors, materials, and even flavors, that it can become confusing or even overwhelming to choose one.   I’m only going to cover information on capsules that are available to the everyday person, not those who are wholesaling with pharmaceutical companies.  To make things simple, let’s start with the basics.


Common Materials that Capsules are Made From


This is the most popular material available for empty capsules. Gelatin capsules are made from beef gelatin (like Jell-O, but thin & crunchy).    They are readily available in all sizes and they are the most affordable option.

Vegetarian capsules

There are two types of vegetarian capsules.  The less common and harder to locate is a capsule derived from tapioca starch.  Those who are, or have to be, hyper-health conscious, may find these to be an ideal choice although they are not available with as many size options as the others.  You can often find them called pullulan capsules.

In more common use, is your standard vegetarian capsule.  They do not contain any animal products or by-products, but they don’t contain any vegetables either.  Don’t let the name fool you, even if it says vegetable cellulose. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just a little misleading to some.  Most vegetarian capsules are made from the cellulose pulp of trees (usually pine).  A material that has more in common with paper than vegetables.

They do cost a little more than gelatin capsules, but if you’re trying to avoid animal products, this is the most convenient choice.


Choose the size capsule you will need

Capsules come in a variety of sizes, the largest being the 000 (triple zero).  Lots of people are able to swallow a capsule this size and it is widely used in popular supplements, but fair warning, it is referred to as a horse pill by many.

The most popular size capsule and most commonly used in supplements is the size 00 (double zero).   Five of these capsules will equal a teaspoon of powder.  Learn more about teaspoon dosing here: How Many Capsules Make a Teaspoon?

The next size down is the 0 (zero).  This size is easy to swallow because of its smaller size, but can still hold up to 800  mg. (chart below).

Even smaller than the size 0, is the size 1.  Now this is where capsule sizing numbers get confusing.  As the numbers go up, the sizes goes down because the size 2 is even smaller than then 1.   When you start getting into the smaller sizes of 1 through 4, you’re usually getting these capsules for pets or children.

When choosing a capsule based on it’s milligram capacity, keep in mind that different ingredients have different densities.  A capsule filled with a light, fluffy powder will weigh less than a capsule filled with dense clay.

If you’d like to see all the sizes before you commit to buying a big bag, you can get a seven-size variety pack to try them out. The package features a dozen or more of each popular size, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 00, and 000.  Plus it comes with a simple to understand chart to help you calculate milligrams based on the different densities of powders. Check it out HERE on Amazon.


Do you need them to come pre-separated?

Many of the new generation capsule filling machines operate most efficiently with already separated capsules.  These new machines make it easy to set up your filling station by pouring in the capsule tops and letting them settle into the proper holes.  This goes for the bottom portions of the capsules, as well.  When you’re doing 100 capsules at a time without the separated capsules, you will be required to remove all the tops manually, increasing the time by about 2 minutes per 100 and also increasing your frustration.

With capsule filling machines, such as the Cap M Quik and The Capsule Machine, separated are helpful too, but not as frustrating to use because you’re working with a smaller quantity.  The professional capsule filling machine, The ProFill 100, a wonderful machine by the way, is best used with closed capsules as the machine separates them for you.

Expect to pay a little more for the convenience of separated capsules, about $5 more per 1000.


coming soon:

How about flavored capsules?

Alternative or other options

How about enteric coating or acid resistant coating to delay dissolution.

How many do you need?

Copycat Capsule Recipe – BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine 1500mg

Copycat Capsule Recipe – BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine 1500mg

Get a year’s supply of BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine for only $77.  That’s a 70% savings!


How to Save Big Money on Your Herbal Supplements


Did you know you can easily fill your own capsules?  Yes, you.  Even my mother does it and she’s 81 years old with arthritic fingers.

Filling your own capsules is not only easy, but very cost-efficient.  The first time you do it, it might get a little messy.  The second time, you’ll get the hang of it.  By the third round, you’ll be zipping through the process like a pro.

There are “machines” out there to help you get it done.  They hold all the capsules in place while you spread the powder, then cap them.    There are several types of filling machines you can choose from, each have their benefits and pitfalls. We’ll get into that a bit later.


Why BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine?


BioSchwartz (formerly known as Schwartz BioResearch) is one of the top names for quality supplements and it’s no surprise that their Turmeric Curcumin formula is the #1 best seller on Amazon.

If you browse this product’s 10,000+ Amazon reviews, you’ll see that this formula is the best for inflammation, aches & pains, sciatica, autoimmune diseases, and much, much more.  The price isn’t bad either, it’s around $19 a bottle for 90 caps (a month’s supply).  Customers have posted before & after photos of the almost miraculous results they’ve had with this herbal blend.


Same EXACT Formula, Just Cheaper!


I’ll show you how to make the same (or maybe better) formula with this copycat recipe.  All the ingredients and materials are readily available and I’ll guide you through it.  I’ve copied it milligram for milligram and you can easily reproduce this amazing formula.

After this, you might even get inspired to try new formulas and soon realize that you’ll never have to pay high prices for herbal capsules again!



Let’s analyze what’s in BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin 1500 mg.


The ingredients are simple, there’s only 3!  They use no fillers and they are packed in size 0 veggie caps.  There’s 90 capsules in a bottle and the recommended dose is 3 capsules per day.  For an average user, that’s a one-month supply.



The bottle label states the ingredients for 3 capsules as:

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa root) 1350 mg
Turmeric Extract 95% Standardized Curcuminoids 150 mg.
Black Pepper Fruit Extract (BioperineR) 10 mg

Divide by 3, and each capsule contains:


Turmeric  450 mg
Turmeric extract 50 mg
Bioperine 3 mg



Next, Gather Your Cost-Saving Ingredients


I was able to find all the ingredients on Amazon for reasonable prices.  You might be able to do better elsewhere.  For the turmeric, the price was for certified organic, so right there, that’s an improvement over BioSchwartz.

I’ve listed enough for a year’s supply or 1000 capsules.  If you feel inspired, you can make them all at one sitting and with the right machine, could take you an hour.  The capsules can be easily stored for that period of time, away from heat and light.



Materials You Will Need

  • 1 lb. of Turmeric (Curcuma Longa root) Powder      $11 on Amazon
  • 2 ounces of Turmeric Extract 95% Standardized Curcuminoids    $25 on Amazon
  • 3 gr of Black Pepper Fruit Extract (Bioperine) (Bioperine is a brand, you can find other Piperine products that are of similar grade and quality)    $30 on Amazon
  • 1000 empty capsules, size O   $11 on Amazon
  • A large bag or container to mix your powders

Total cost to make year’s worth of capsules: $77


I didn’t include the cost of a capsule filling machine because you might already have one.   You can pick one up for around $20.



Not Too Much Time or Effort Needed



Many of the new generation capsule fillers that you can find on Amazon let you fill 100 capsules at a time.  When you’ve gotten comfortable with the machine, you will be able to do a batch 5 minutes.  In an hour you could have all the capsule filling said and done.  A year’s supply!

The more manual filler types, like The Capsule Machine or the Cap M Quik, would take you about 2 hours, but that’s if you wanted to do all 1000 caps in one sitting.

You will also have to set aside a few minutes to blend the powders.  That is best accomplished using a large ziplock bag.  Carefully seal the powders in the bag, leave air the bag when you zip it.  Then carefully roll the bag around until it the powder is blended.  Be sure to hold on to the zipper top while rolling to avoid it accidentally opening.  If you don’t have a big enough bag or container, you could mix it in a bowl, but it will be dusty and it’s probably best done outdoors.


The Savings


This copycat recipe is calculated for 1000 capsules.  A one-year supply of BioSchwartz, 3 caps a day, equals 1095 caps.  I’ve found Amazon’s price of $18.89 a bottle to be very good, with the average price being $23 a bottle on the web.

A year’s supply of BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin would cost you ($19 x 12 months) $228.00.  Filling your own caps, $77.  That’s a $151 in savings!

Don’t Be Afraid


First time capsule filling can be messy and daunting, but don’t let that deter you.   You will get comfortable with it in no time.  Watch a YouTube video for guidance, there’s lots of them there.  Good luck & Enjoy!

Counting Capsules the Easy Way

Counting Capsules the Easy Way


Counting capsules can be tedious work, especially when you have a lot of them to do.  I’d like to offer you some tips for making the process potentially easier and quicker.  These tips should help whether you have a few dozen or a few thousand capsules to count.


Counting by Hand


When you don’t have any capsule counting equipment and you are looking for accuracy, hand counting is your safest bet.  Though hand counting can be time consuming and you often run the risk of losing count, there are some tricks to help you breeze through it smoothly.


First things first, expect that you’re going to loose count and plan for it.  A simple technique that works well, especially when you have to count to higher numbers, is to use multiple bowls or cups.  For example, if you’d like to count 300 capsules, fill 6 cups with 50 capsules. You can even use 5 cups of 10 to get the 50’s.   If you loose count at any point, it’s just one cup to recount and you can get back on track.


Next, I’m going to assume you can count by two’s quickly enough.  Now double it with two hands.  Count and fill 2 cups simultaneously by picking up 2 capsules at a time with your left hand and 2 capsules at a time with your right hand.  Each hand has it’s own bowl to fill.  This technique will cut your time in half.





For Small Jobs Try a Counting Tray


This is almost an unnecessary item and you could do the same job on your counter with a paper plate.  However, if you need to be really careful with dosing and would also like to keep your fingers off the capsules, then a counting tray might be right for you.  They are very inexpensive, like this one I found on Amazon for under $10:


Approximating the Number of Capsules With a Measuring Cup


When you just need to be close, using a measuring cup is the fastest way to count capsules.  Here’s a handy chart for reference.  I was using level cups when measuring (like in this image)


Approximating the Number of Capsules By Weight


When using small weight measures like milligrams, a chart like the one below can help you calculate your individuals capsule’s capacity.  For example:  If you fill 100 size 1 capsules and all together they weigh exactly one ounce (28349 mg).  To calculate each capsules milligrams, take the total weight, minus the weight of the empty capsules (76 mg), will give you 28273 mg. Divide that by 100 capsules and each capsule contains 283 mg.


Use a Counting Board


If you can pick up an inexpensive one, it might be worth it for you to have one of these handy items.  The biggest problem seems to be the price.  The price range on Amazon seems to be between $30-$60.  I found this one on eBay for $16, that’s a big difference. 


Building a Homemade Capsule Counter


If you’re low on cash or just like making things, you can make your own capsule counting tray.  I made a detailed tutorial, you can see it here:


5 Easy Ways to Hand Fill Capsules

5 Easy Ways to Hand Fill Capsules


Don’t have a capsule filling machine?  No problem.

Whether you need to fill a few capsules for a one-time dosing or you need a week’s worth, filling capsules by hand just might be your best solution.  There’s no need for a big mess or a machine, with these 5 simple techniques.


Just Have a Few Capsules to Fill?

Filling empty gelatin or veggie capsules can be quick, easy, and neat.   The trick is using the technique that works best with the particular powder you are using.  Some powders are more dense than others, some pour easily, some clump together with pressure.  You can choose which method will work best for you.


It’s nice and easy when you can just press your open capsule into the powder and it packs in nicely, shown here with the spoon method.  This method works best with a shallow, concave small bowl or spoon.  The less powder you have, the smaller the container should be, so that you can press the capsule to the bottom.  If the powder is too deep, you don’t get the resistance needed to pack the powder deep into the capsule.



Unfortunately, not all powders are dense enough to pack and hold in a capsule.  In the next image, you can see the contrast of how turmeric stays put and garlic powder falls right out of the capsule.



For this reason, many people recommend the scoop and push method.  That’s when you dip both ends of the capsule into a pile of powder and connect them there.  It doesn’t matter if the powder packs well or not, it works.   I actually prefer to dip only the large end of the capsule in.  Dipping both ends creates an over-filled capsule that is harder to close.  If you have a large amount of powder, you can fill dozens of capsules very quickly with this technique.  One caveat, if your powder is slippery, it makes holding onto the capsules difficult.


become an herbalist


When you have a light powder that’s difficult to work with, there are a few methods you can try.  If you just happen to have a small tipped lab scoop, you can try the scoop method.  For ultra fluffy and fly-away type powders, this method is ideal.  You simply dip the tip of the scoop into the powder to pick it up and then pour it into your empty capsule.

You could try making a lab scoop, it’s easy.
(note: I used a plastic deli container lid)


printable lab scoop template



There’s also the piece of paper method.  Simply use a post-it note, index or business card.  Fold it in half and use it as a chute.  If cross-contamination prevention procedures are necessary, you can use pharmacy grade non-absorbing gloss weighing paper, available on Amazon.



To pour a measured amount of powder into a capsule, the small funnel method can be very handy.

You can get the mini measuring spoons on Amazon for as little as $4.99 and a 5-pack of mini funnels for $3.75.



To hold your capsules in place, like in the above image, you can make your own out of a piece of scrap wood and a drill or purchase this great multi-size holder that comes with a filling spoon on  Amazon.



A drill bit size of 5/16″ works well for size 1, 0, and 00 capsules.  Use a 3/8″ drill bit for size 000.  For the smaller capsules, drill only 5 mm. deep, for the large capsules, you can go 1/4″ deep.  Use masking tape on your drill bit for depth guidance.  You may need a little sandpaper to clean it up the hole edges when you’re done.


What size capsule should you get?

Seven capsule sizes are readily available on Amazon.  The smallest is a size 4, the largest is a size 000 and they are usually sold in bags of 500 or 1000.  If you’re not sure which size you need, you can purchase a super handy variety pack.  It contains a dozen or more of each popular size, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 00, and 000,  Check it out HERE on Amazon.  For more detailed capsule selection information, see our blog post Choosing the Right Capsule for Your Filling Needs.


Have More Than a Few Dozen Capsules to Fill?


You might want to consider heading on over to Herb Affair and get yourself a capsule filling machine.  With their premier product, the Capsule-It, you can fill 100 capsules in 8 minutes or less.  There’s video evidence to prove it, just look at their terrific reviews.  If you don’t need to fill that many, that fast, they also offer two other brands, the Capsule Machine and the Cap-M-Quik.

I might also add, that you can trust the integrity of this small business.  I’ve known the owner, Derek, for years.  He’s a stand up guy, with a wonderful customer following.

where to buy Capsule filling machine
How Many Capsules Make a Teaspoon?

How Many Capsules Make a Teaspoon?


Figuring out how much can fit in a capsule can be confusing.  There’s charts available and they complicate matters by discussing powder density and its relationship to how much a capsule can hold.  While this is important information when you are calculating milligrams, when calculating teaspoons, it’s not necessary.


Here’s Why..


A teaspoon is a measure of volume, not weight.  Capsule sizes are based on volume, so a teaspoon’s volume will remain the same no matter what your powder’s density is.  A teaspoon of a fluffy powder will make the same number of capsules as a teaspoon of dense clay, but they will differ in milligrams (weight/volume).  The fluffy powder might contain 2000 milligrams in a teaspoon, while the clay might have 4000 mg.

If this is difficult to understand, here’s another way of looking at. Capsules have a volume capacity range, for example, a size 000 capsule can fit 1600 mg of a dense powder, yet only 650 mg of a fluffy powder.


So, How Many Capsules Make Up a Teaspoon?


For capsule size 000, it’s 3 capsules.
For capsule size 00, it’s 5 capsules.
For capsule size 0, it’s 6 capsules.
For capsule size 1, it’s 9 capsules.
For capsule size 2, it’s 12 capsules.
For capsule size 3, it’s 16 capsules.
For capsule size 4, it’s a whopping 19 capsules!

Scroll down to see the handy infographic.



You can try all seven gelatin capsule sizes with this Handy Capsule Kit available on Amazon HERE.

Have all capsule sizes readily available to you at a moment’s notice.

Includes the rare sizes that are appropriate for small children and small pets.

Every household should have one of these kits!

– This kit is great for those who only need to use capsules a few times a year.
– For those who have to swallow a bad tasting herb or medicine.
– When you need to hide medicine in you dog’s food.

Cost saving & convenient!

You’ll get one dozen (12) gelatin capsules in EACH size (from smallest to largest) 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 00, and 000.

All capsules are made from high quality BSE-free 100% bovine pharmaceutical gelatin, and both Kosher Pareve and Halal certified.

Comes with free sizing and dosing charts.
This handy reference guide will help you:
– When you have to take a teaspoon of something, you’ll quickly know how many capsules (of any of the 7 sizes) you’ll need to take.
– If you need to take specific milligrams of something, you’ll quickly know which size capsule to use and/or how many.

Each size comes individually packaged in 3″ x 3″ zip-lock bags.

Capsules are manufactured in the USA.

gelatin caps assorted sizes