The objective of this study is to investigate the influence of charge of model small molecules on their encapsulation and release behavior in layer-by-layer microcapsules (LbL-MC). Poly(styrene sulfonate) and poly(ethylene imine) were sequentially adsorbed on calcium carbonate sacrificial templates to prepare LbL-MC. Model molecules with varying charge, anionic - ascorbic acid, cationic - imatinib mesylate (IM) and neutral - 5-fluorouracil were encapsulated in LbL-MC. Free and encapsulated LbL-MC were characterized using zetasizer, FTIR spectroscope and differential scanning calorimeter. The influence of IM-loaded LbL-MC on cell viability was studied in B16F10 murine melanoma cells. Furthermore, biodistribution of IM-loaded LbL-MC with and without PEGylation was studied in BALB/c mice. Results showed spherical LbL-MC of 3.0 ± 0.4 μm diameter. Encapsulation efficiency of LbL-MC increased linearly (R(2 )= 0.89-0.99) with the increase in solute concentration. Increase in pH from 2 to 6 increased the encapsulation of charged molecules in LbL-MC. Charged molecules showed greater encapsulation efficiency in LbL-MC compared with neutral molecule. In vitro release kinetics showed Fickian and non-Fickian diffusion of small molecules, depending on the nature of molecular interactions with LbL-MC. At 50 μM concentration, free IM showed significantly (p < 0.05) more cytotoxicity compared with IM-loaded LbL-MC. Biodistribution studies showed that PEGylation of LbL-MC decreased the liver and spleen uptake of IM-encapsulated LbL-MC. In conclusion, LbL-MC can be developed as a potential carrier for small molecules depending on their physical and chemical properties.