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How to Make Incense

Make Incense

Things You'll Need:

  • Bamboo Skewers
  • Eucalyptus Powders
  • Ground Benzoin
  • Ground Orrisroots
  • Polyethylene Bags
  • Saltpeter
  • Styrofoam Block
  • Waxed Paper
  • Lemon Oils
  • Essential Oils
  • Gum Arabic
  • Latex Gloves
  • Medicine Droppers
  • Myrrh
  • Sandalwood Powders
  • Kitchen Scales
  • Large Glass Bowls
  • Small Bowls
  • Essential oils

How to Make Incense. It's easier to buy it already made, but you can make your own.

Preparing the Incense

Put on your gloves.

Put 1 tsp. gum arabic in about 8 oz. warm water and mix thoroughly. This is the mucilage. It should absorb enough water to become a thick paste. If it's too dry, add more water a little at a time.

Note that if you plan on making incense sticks, the consistency should be like oatmeal. For cones, it should be a bit thicker, like pudding.

Cover the mucilage with a hot, wet dishcloth and set it aside.

Make the incense base by blending 6 tbsp. powdered sandalwood, 2 tbsp. ground benzoin and 1 tbsp. ground orrisroot.

Use an eyedropper to add 6 drops of the essential oil(s) of your choice in any combination.

Mix the oils in thoroughly with your hands.

Add 1 1/2 tbsp. myrrh, 2 tbsp. sandalwood, 1/2 tbsp. eucalyptus and 3 drops lemon oil to form a fine, powdery mixture.

Use a kitchen scale to weigh the incense.

Add 10 percent of that weight in saltpeter (potassium nitrate). For example, if you have 10 oz. incense, add 1 oz. saltpeter.

Mix the saltpeter in completely.

Check the mucilage. It may have thickened as it sat. If that's the case, stir in a little bit of water.

Add the mucilage a little at a time. Keep adding it until the powder is thoroughly dampened.

Making Cones

Realize that the texture should be doughlike for cone incense. If it's too thick, it will take too long to dry. If it's too thin, the cones won't hold their shape.

Shape the mixture into cones on a piece of waxed paper.

Let your incense dry for at least five days in a warm, dry place.

Making Sticks

Add thinner mucilage to make stick incense. The mixture should be thin enough to dip, but thick enough to keep a stick dipped into it standing.

Dip the sticks into the mixture. It will take several dippings to get the right thickness. You'll need to let each layer dry a few minutes before adding the next one.

Poke the ends of the sticks into a Styrofoam block to hold them upright.

Let your incense dry for at least five days in a warm, dry place.


Store the cones in 3-by-4-inch poly bags. Store the sticks in 3-by-12-inch poly bags.


  • Saltpeter should not make up more than 10 percent of the incense. Too much causes it to burn too quickly, and too little may mean it won't burn at all. Always wear gloves when making incense.
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