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How Do You Fill Capsules Manually? Here’s Our 5 Favourite Methods

By Rylee in Blogs   •   Jan 23, 2022   •   12 minute read
vector illustration of bottle of capsules on doctor's hands

If you're new to the world of empty capsules, you may have heard some of your 'expert' friends - or an internet forum - advise you that you most definitely, 100%, no-doubt-about-it also need to get yourself a capsule filling machine as well. And hey, we're definitely not going to put you off buying a quality capsule machine, especially if you're going to be working with a lot of capsules and fillers, day after day. They're great, they're cheap, and they work a treat.

But do you really need a machine for filling capsules? The answer, thankfully, is as short as it is clear, simple and correct: 

No.

We can be so clear and confident about that because it's a little-known fact that so many people actually prefer manipulating their gel capsules with free, human energy rather than putting yet another task in the ever-growing basket of 'machines'. Sure, a capsule filler machine isn't very high-tech, but wouldn't it be wonderful if we could do more and more things with our very hands? When it comes to easily filling all of the gelatin capsule sizes with precision and hygiene, it's definitely more than possible.

In fact, we absolutely love hearing from people who buy empty capsules and use - and even invent - the most simple and at the same time ingenious methods that work for any and all capsules sizes for hand-filling. And all you need, of course, is your hands (ok, and a couple of other things as well). But at this point, should we just get into our favourite 5 cool techniques for filling pill capsules that really do work? Alrighty then ...

Our favourite 5 methods for hand-filling empty capsules

1. The spoon method

The method that's best for you really depends on what capsules filler or powder you're working with. That's because some are super-dense, others are easy to pour, while another category of filler will just turn into a messy clump under pressure.

That's why we're starting with the simplest spoon method, which works by taking a nice tablespoon worth of powder in one hand, and pressing the empty gelatin capsules into the powder with a few separate presses with the other to pack a full dose in. If you're going to be filling a lot of gelatine capsules in this way, swap that spoon for a bowl that remains small enough for you to hit the bottom for nice, dense packing.

 2. Scoop 'n' push

The spoon method, however, works best for those particularly dense powders, which tend to easily pack into those little empty capsules with quite little persuasion. It doesn't work nearly as well with less dense powders, which tend not to firmly pack into that tight space but instead simply rush back into the spoon or bowl as soon as you've dipped those empty gelatin capsules in. That's when you should revert to what we call scoop 'n' push, which will need a bowl rather than a spoon. Hold each end of those empty gel or veggie capsules - one in one hand, one in the other - dip them into the powder in a scooping motion, and quickly connect those two ends together. Voila!

3. A real scoop

Method #2 includes the word 'scoop', but it's your hands doing the scooping action. With the method we call the 'real scoop' ... we'll be making an actual scoop! If the earlier-mentioned methods don't work with your particularly light or fluffy powders, either get your hands on an actual small lab scoop, use something like a lid container, or make your own. Then it's just a matter of scooping up the powder and carefully pouring it into the capsule size of your choice.

4. Piece of paper

If making a scoop sounds tricky, or you're struggling to find something that works really well, you could always just grab a piece of paper. A folded business card, however, might work even better, but the principle is the same. Simply by making a fold in the middle, you've instantly transformed that boring paper/cardboard into a perfect chute. Just load up the improvised chute, pour in the filler in a controlled stream, and close. Done!

5. The funnel method

But if you're getting a little bit serious about your capsule filling, and you're still resisting the lure of a commercial capsule filler machine, then why not make your very own, hand-made machine for filling capsules? It's not as difficult as it sounds - and you're halfway there if you already have your hands on a small funnel. The beauty of this method is twofold:

  • It's easy to get a specific quantity of filler into that funnel for precise dosages
  • It's easy to fill multiple gel or vegetarian capsules at the same time.
vector illustration of people carrying capsules

But because you'll need to hold the funnel with one hand, and the powder source with the other, you will need a way to hold those capsules and complete your homemade capsule maker. The best way we've come up with is a piece of scrap wood with holes drilled into it to hold whatever quantity you're working with. You can even use your different-sized drill bits to create custom holes for absolutely everything on the capsules size chart.

With any of the easy methods listed above, filling all of the various empty capsules sizes is a breeze - and you'll easily be completing dozens upon dozens of them in a single sitting with little more than your bare (or gloved!) hands and a few basic household items. The best way to discover the method that works most ideally for you will probably only be discovered through trial and error, but we think our favourite 5 here will cover just about every dry capsule filler or ingredient under the sun. If you're a particularly prolific hand-made filler of empty gelatin capsules, you may just find that a commercial capsule filling machine is right for you, so look out for where to buy a machine wherever you look for where to buy empty capsules!

Buy Empty Capsules delivers right to your door, we only stock quality empty gelatin and veggie capsules in everything on the capsule size chart, and our products are fully compatible for both a capsule machine or with one of our favourite 5 easy DIY filling methods by hand listed above. Happy filling!

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