Caffeine Patches (Transdermal Caffeine)





Introduction: Caffeine Patches (Transdermal Caffeine)

About: I am all about audio production and electronics. Experienced with audio, not as experienced with electronics but still know things.

Of many mind altering substances, I have found that caffeine is a good stimulant when used in small doses. However, one thing I don't like about caffeine is the way it is usually taken: coffee. While I do savour the smell of coffee, the taste is unenjoyably bitter and the processing of ingested chemicals is dependent on how much food you have eaten beforehand. This means that one cup of coffee can make one very jittery if he/she hasn't eaten 4 hours beforehand or hardly affect one at all if he/she has eaten a lot recently, making coffee drinking a variable experience. Also, I just don't have an inclination towards coffee, I prefer tea.

I like exploring different ways of using chemicals. One method I have found that works for me and that I enjoy is transdermal administration of caffeine (through the skin). These caffeine patches give a more controlled release throughout the day and make the experience smoother, plus all I do is slap on a patch and forget about it.

This instructable will show you an alternative to the traditional method of ingesting caffeine from coffee: caffeine patches!

Step 1: Materials (Inexpensive)

Items you will need:

-Large Bandages (small ones work too but are less effective, found at your local pharmacy for ~4 dollars)
-Pure Caffeine/Caffeine Pills (found online or at local pharmacy. I bought 1/2 pound pure caffeine online for ~4 dollars)
-A Cup/Glass

-A dropper
-A scale
-A caffeine addiction

Step 2: -Measure Out Your Caffeine-

One large patch can hold about 200-300mg of caffeine which is about the average cup of coffee. If you are using pills, one pills is usually equal to 200mg. Use a little more caffeine than you want in your patch. Calculate the number of patches you want based on your addiction.

(I used 800mg for visual purposes.)

Step 3: -Dissolve Your Caffeine in Water/Alcohol-

Now take your cup/glass and put your caffeine inside of it. Slowly add water until some of your caffeine is dissolved, NOT ALL OF IT! This is important for the next step. You should have about 1/2 of your caffeine dissolved in the water. You can drink this, it tastes really good.

You can also use alcohol (ethanol). The higher the purity the better.

Step 4: -Microwave Your Caffeine Water-

If you are using alcohol, DO NOT MICROWAVE and skip this step.

Now microwave your caffeine until the water is hot. One minute is a good universal setting since you are only microwaving a small amount. After microwaving, swish around your solution to ensure that all the caffeine has dissolved in the water.

The reason you are microwaving the solution is because caffeine's solubility in water increases with temperature. This concentrates more caffeine in less water and will make your patches more potent when you put the solution on the bandage. If you are using pills, this also helps to get more of the caffeine in the water and less of the binders/fillers in the pill.

Step 5: -Place Your Solution Onto the Bandage-

Now while your caffeine water is still hot, open your bandage fully and lay the cotton/gauze side facing up. Using a dropper or your creative mind, soak the bandage until it cannot hold any more water. Once water starts to puddle/form drops on top, your bandage can't hold anymore.

Once it is dry, your addiction-feeding patch is ready.

Note: If you wait too long and your caffeine solution starts to cool, the extra caffeine which dissolved will start to recrystallize aka turn back into solid caffeine. If this happens, simply re-microwave.

Step 6: Apply Liberally

You are now done. You can take your patch and save it for later or use it now. I like to use them every now and then because the caffeine is administered much more slowly than coffee and sustains a subtle energy for a longer period of time that can be really handy sometimes (I have no tolerance for caffeine so one patch works great). Also, if you sweat, the caffeine is more likely to be absorbed than with dry skin so do not worry about it getting moist/wet while working out (unless you have non-waterproof bandages).

You can apply this anywhere, I place it on my arm because I can. It is important to note that the thicker the area of skin, the less likely it is to absorb so don't place it at the bottom of your foot.

Using the patch immediately after preparing (while still wet) will significantly increase the effective absorption of the caffeine through the skin. Alcohol has better skin permeability (ability to move through the skin) than water and will maximize efficiency of your patches.

Enjoy your jitters!

Future Instructable: Rectal Caffeine, complete with pictures! (I'm messing around, you can do that one on your own.)



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    will this really work like a strong cup of ground roast coffee????????????? rsvp.

    spot on energy 4 patches will be must usefull products..if we patch any were we arraiving this..this is best product

    Um. If you use the alcohol or ethanol, don't drink it. High purity alcohol can kill you, caffeine or no. Just thought I should mention that.

    3 replies

    Any purity alcohol can kill you. It's a matter of how much you drink. You will need 2.5 times less pure ethanol to kill you than 40% vodka, and 20 times less than 5% beer.

    In fact, you would need even less than that. High purity alcohol contains bitterants, which can cause permanent intestinal damage.

    Any purity alcohol can kill you. It's a matter of how much you drink. You will need 2.5 times less pure ethanol to kill you than 40% vodka, and 20 times less than 5% beer.

    Thanks for the great idea. I was able to quit smoking by using nicotine patches. They worked better than the many other methods I tried, I believe because they allowed me to deliver nicotine slowly and slowly cut down on the amount by reducing the size of the patches. I found the "Spot On Energy Patches" pictured in your instructable, but they also contain other compounds which may be stimulants or have other pharmacological effects. I don't know what they do or if they are addictive, but I don't need another addiction.

    I am going to try making my own caffeine patches per your instructable to see if they help. They best way to determine the initial patch size and amount would be to compare with blood or urine caffeine levels of the person in question. Does anyone know of an inexpensive urine test kit or method for finding caffeine in urine?

    My apologies, but I seem to be slightly confused. This is an interesting Instrustable. Well made, and all, but I found it under the coffee contest. I see no use of coffee, however, in the instructable. I mean, yes, you are using caffeine pills, and are showing us a way to get the caffeine into our system, but this is not coffee, this is a pill. Commenting that it is comparable to X amount of coffee isn't using coffee.

    That being said though, this is an interesting and well put together Inst.

    1 reply

    I don't really think you can blame me, Instructables makes the contest rules. What constitutes coffee is what we really should ask. Does it have to have a certain tannin content? Can dairy queen and starbucks drinks using artificial coffee flavouring with no real coffee content be considered coffee? Does it have to have a certain flavour? Do coffee-dyed scarves count? Does there have to be a liquid or only use brown beans? The line of defining coffee seems vague at this point and I'm in no position to decide what is right and wrong. I cannot say whether my submission qualifies.

    Ordinary Caffine does not pass the dermal barriers very well. The average particle size is around 100 microns, in order to pass through the skin in this way it would need to be less than 20. it's POSSIBLE but not easy and not cheap.

    1 reply

    I would like to agree with that statement this but this only confuses me because there are other chemicals which are structurally far larger than caffeine (such as fentanyl, scopolamine, vitamin B12, etc) that are transdermally active as well. I have however edited the instructable to note that using alcohol (ethanol) will increase skin permeability. By calculating the longest length of a caffeine atom (based on bond lengths) if you were to stretch out it's longest possible side, it would be ~779 picometers, which is 1/1284th of a micron, much smaller than the average particle. Not to be mean, but could you clarify? The first structure below is caffeine, the second one is fentanyl and the third is vitamin B12.


    I haven't slept in 8 days! Ive got the caffeine patch! each patch is worth the equivalent of 12 cups of coffee! you can stay awake for DAYS! with no side effects. AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! sorry.

    3 replies

    No side effects? You sound a little...jumpy.

    But as I said in the instructable, one patch can only hold roughly 200-300mg of pure caffeine (roughtly equivalent to one cup of strong coffee) + absorbency through skin delays and reduces caffeine administration. You have supercharged patches!

    I was quoting "meet the Robinsons"

    Sorry, I've never seen it. =\