How to Make Incense Sticks


Incense is a vital part of many religions, cultures, or even the health sector. It has found applications in many religious events, faith-based ceremonies, or even sessions of aromatherapy in which incense is used for health reasons. Making incense is not difficult and if your goal is to have your own personal or customized scent, then this is for you. 

Using Essential Oils to Make Incense Sticks

Get Unscented or Blank Incense Sticks

It is possible to make this purchase from an online store or household item shops in your area. You can get them as unscented or blank and for a few bucks, you can get a full pack. You should know that the sticky external coating is present as that is what will soak up the scent. That means you cannot just make use of a typical bamboo stick. 

Select Preferred Essential Oils or Mix If Need Be

You can find essential oils easily in local pharmacies or big supermarkets in your area. They are usually marketed as highly concentrated liquid scents which can be soaked in the incense sticks. It is possible to make use of just one with an intense flavor or you can combine more than one to get a unique mix. There are scents for the incense that you can choose from. These include wood scents like juniper, pine, pinion pine, cedar, or sandalwood. 

There are also herbal scents like star anise, rosemary, thyme, sage, and lemongrass. There are also nice and pleasant floral scents like saffron, iris, hibiscus, rose, and lavender. Other selections include calamus root, vanilla, orange flower, myrrh, frankincense, and cinnamon. 


Get a compact and shallow bowl then mix around 24 drops of the essential oils per stick for your incense. For those who prefer just one at a time, 24 drops will be sufficient. On the other hand, you can use batches of about six drops at a time. For those who want to do up to five sticks at the same time, as much as 120 drops of the essential oil will be needed. That is approximately four milliliters. 

When doing mixing of the scents you should commence with just about a couple of drops and continue until you get to the blend that you want. Some combinations will not come out to be pleasant so you may have to experiment well before you get precisely what you want. 

Turning the Sticks

What you do at this stage is to put the sticks inside the shallow bowl and keep turning to form the coating. If the sticks do not fit well, move the essential oils to a layer of aluminum and rub the stick on the essential oils until all is soaked up. 

More Turning for Absorption

Turn the sticks while gently pressing the sticks inside the oil and this continues until there is full absorption. This typically takes some minutes if you do it properly and the goal is to ensure that the coating is done properly. Once you see that is done and there are no oils left in the container again, it is time to proceed to the next level.


Arrange the incense sticks with the end sides up inside a mug or cup then you leave it overnight for it to dry properly. All the sticks have to dry well before you can make use of them. While the sticks are drying they are going to release a pleasant smell and that is a good pointer. 

Extra Mixing and Soaking for Additional Strength

If you want the scents to have an even stronger tinge, you can do a mixing of the scents with a chemical like dipropylene glycol (DPG) which is readily available in the same supermarkets where the blank sticks are sold. You can also choose to do soaking using test tubes instead of a cup or mug so that the concentration can even be more intense. 

Another method that is popular for making incense sticks is by hand-rolling them. The first step here is for you to know which scents you want to mix for your incense and you start with a couple of tablespoons. You can use any of the pre-powdered scents like the herbs and spices group that includes the lemongrass, sage, cassia, thyme, juniper leaves, lavender, lemongrass, patchouli, rosemary, and orange powder. 

You can also select from the tree gums and resins group. These include hibiscus, burgundy pitch, acacia, balsam, copal, and amber. There are also dried woods like cedar, pine, juniper, agar wood, sandalwood, and pinyon. 

You have to carefully mix the water and binding agents that you are making use of. Overall, making use of one to two tablespoons per ingredient is a good method but you can customize it as you want. Learn to write the formula for the composition down if you want to make the incense more frequently. 

The first step here is to mix and grind all the selected scents and ingredients together using a mortar and pestle. Allow the powder to sit for like two hours so that the scents can blend very well. Add the selected quantity of makko so that everything can burn well. The precise amount of makko used will depend on the kind of scents you are using. 

When making use of just spices and herbs, a makko ratio of 10 to 25% will be adequate. A proportion of 40 to 80% is needed when working with resins. Once you have decided the amount of makko to be used, slowly add water using a pipette or similar dropper, and mix all into a fine paste. Kneading of the dough using hand should be done for about five minutes until it is smooth enough and this can be detected with the feeling. 

Cut off the dough and place on the stocks which are then placed on wax paper so that they can dry. The sticks should be turned over a couple of times every day. This should continue for up to five days and then you are ready to make use of the incense sticks. 

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