How to Make Incense (With 5 Recipes to Try)

Updated on February 4, 2018
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I have studied crystal healing for many years and have studied and been attuned to reiki levels one and two.

Pestle and mortar used to grind ingredients for loose incense.
Pestle and mortar used to grind ingredients for loose incense. | Source

How to Make Incense

Using dried herbs, barks, spices, flowers, and other ingredients make it easy to create your own loose-incense blends for any occasion. Other than the ingredients themselves, making loose incense requires little in the way of tools or equipment. It's relatively inexpensive to get started with.

What You'll Need:

  • Fresh ingredients
  • Mortar and pestle/electric grinder
  • Measuring spoons
  • Containers

Loose incense should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. After making your incense, you will need incense charcoal or an incense stove to heat it and release its fragrance.

Frankincense - A common ingredient in loose incense.
Frankincense - A common ingredient in loose incense. | Source

How to Make Loose Incense

In simple terms, loose incense is a combination of ground, powdered, or chipped natural ingredients such as herbs, flowers, seeds, spices, woods, bark, and resins. Each ingredient has its own fragrance and can be burned for that aspect alone. You can also use other properties these natural items possess such as mood enhancement, relaxation, and meditation.

1. Measure your ingredients into using measuring spoons or if specified by the recipe, digital scales. You can measure them into a bowl or straight into the mortar ready to be ground together. When a recipes states ‘pt’ or ‘parts’, you can adjust the quantity to how much incense you wish to make. For example, if you wish to only make a small amount to test a recipe use a small measure such as ½ or 1 teaspoon as 1 part. For larger quantities, use a tablespoon or even cup measures.

  • For larger ingredients such as barks and resin, it is best to grind those separately first before measuring to get a more accurate amount. You can grind everything into a powder if you wish, but a coarser mix will also work fine. Do not leave large pieces in your mixes, as these can cause measuring the incense to be more difficult. This can then affect the fragrance and properties of the incense.
  • An electric coffee grinder could be used instead of a pestle and mortar to grind ingredients. It is worth remembering that some of the ingredients you may use in incense making are not suitable and/or safe for human consumption so equipment should be thoroughly cleaned or kept purely for the purpose of making incense. Many ingredients can be bought ready ground so for ease and time saving you can buy these if you prefer or ground a large batch of your own at one time for future use.

2. Combine all the ground ingredients.

3. This loose incense is now ready to be burned. Store the finished mix in ziplock bags, jars, or other similar containers and label with names or recipes for future reference.

  • You may also wish to make notes of any adjustments that you would like to make in future batches.
  • Store incense in a cool, dry, and dark place such as a cupboard or drawer. Small containers or ziplock bags can also be kept in a larger container such as a tin or wooden box.

Loose incense blend - Relaxing, made using Sandalwood, Lavender and Marjoram
Loose incense blend - Relaxing, made using Sandalwood, Lavender and Marjoram | Source

Incense Recipes

1. Business Promoting Incense

  • 2pt Benzion
  • 1pt Cinnamon
  • 1pt Basil

2. Samhain Incense

  • 3 pt Frankincense
  • 2 pt Myrrh
  • 1 pt Rosemary
  • 1 pt Cedar
  • 1 pt Juniper

3. Relaxing Incense

  • 3 pt Sandalwood
  • ½ pt Lavender
  • ½ pt Marjoram

4. Prosperity Incense

  • 1 pt Cloves
  • 1 pt Nutmeg
  • 1 pt Lemon Balm
  • 1 pt Poppy Seeds
  • 1 pt Cedar

5. Citrus Incense

  • 1 tsp Lemon Peel
  • ½ tsp Calamus Root
  • ½ tsp Juniper Berries
  • ½ tsp Frankincense

Burning incense pellet in a cone shape.
Burning incense pellet in a cone shape. | Source

How to Make Incense Pellets

Ground loose incense can be made into pellets. They can be heated in an incense stove or by using charcoal. These are simple to make but they do require some drying time. You can't use them right away the way you can with loose incense.

1. Use a ground mix or grind the required ingredients into a coarse mix.

2. Slowly add honey until the mixture comes together. Mix or knead well.

3. Break off small roughly almond-sized pieces from the mixture. Roll them into balls or pellet shapes.

4. Cover a board or similar flat-ridged surface with wax paper. Place the pellets on to the wax paper and then put the board inside a paper bag. Leave the pellets in the bag until they are dry enough to handle.

5. Store the pellets in a glass container. Place them in a single layer; if they're stacked, they will stick together. Leave this for at least 48 hours before using it.

How to Make Incense on a Budget

© 2013 Claire


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    • profile image

      Martushka 7 weeks ago

      How can be done as a kyphi style? not to be a incense stick, but as a paste? thank you

    • Elderberry Arts profile image

      Claire 4 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      I buy most of herbs and other incense ingredients on eBay.

    • krillco profile image

      William E Krill Jr 4 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      I'd be interested to know where you might find raw sandalwood?

    • Elderberry Arts profile image

      Claire 4 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      I have only made pellets a few times but often make my own loose incense. I have used it to fill little pouches too with can be hung up to fragrance a room or other space.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Very interesting Hub. I love incense. It would be lovely to have a go at this.

    • Elderberry Arts profile image

      Claire 4 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      Thank you for your comments. I have also found the same with many bought incense sticks and candles and find making my own better. Hope you have the same success. It also means you can adapt recipes to your own tastes or even create new mixes of your own.

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

      I like this hub thanks. I have found I have a strong reacvtion to the manufactured aromas that some people use in their homes and offices. This is a lovely natural alternative and would make a great boxed gift set too. Voted up and useful.