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How to Make Incense (With Recipes)

Updated on August 23, 2014

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 and using your own loose incense requires very little in the way or tools and equipment. Making incense also means you can cater to your own taste and preferences and it is relatively inexpensive to get started with.

Fresh ingredients are very important so that they have retailed their beneficial properties. A mortar and pestle or electric grinder is needed to grind and combine the ingredients. You will also need a set of measuring spoons which generally come in ¼ tsp, ½ tsp, 1 tbsp and dessert spoon measures and suitable containers for storage. Small glass jars or plastic containers will work for storage or small zip lock bags can be used. Loose incense should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place. After making your incense you will need incense charcoal or incense stove to heat it and realise their fragrance.

Pestle and mortar used to grind ingredients for loose incense.
Pestle and mortar used to grind ingredients for loose incense. | Source
Frankincense - A common ingredient in loose incense.
Frankincense - A common ingredient in loose incense. | Source

Making 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 burnt for that aspect alone or also to make use of other properties these items natural possess such as mood enhancement, relaxation and meditation and to ease or alleviate health issues.

Step 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’ then 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 too 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 burn to be difficult and also for there to be an uneven blend of all the ingredients being burnt. This can then effect 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.

Step 2 – Combine all the ground ingredients.

Step 3 – This loose incense is now ready to be burnt. 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 when you use the incense 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
loose incense blend - Prosperity, made using Cloves, Nutmeg, Lemon Balm, Poppy Seeds and Cedar.
loose incense blend - Prosperity, made using Cloves, Nutmeg, Lemon Balm, Poppy Seeds and Cedar. | Source
Loose Incense blend - Citrus, made using Lemon Peel, Calamus Root, Juniper Berries and Frankincense.
Loose Incense blend - Citrus, made using Lemon Peel, Calamus Root, Juniper Berries and Frankincense. | Source

Business Promoting Incense

2pt Benzion
1pt Cinnamon
1pt Basil


Samhain Incense

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


Relaxing Incense

3 pt Sandalwood
½ pt Lavender
½ pt Marjoram


Prosperity Incense

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


Citrus Incense

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


Love Incense

2 pt Sandalwood
½ pt Basil
½ pt Bergamot
Few drops of Rose essential oil
Few drops of Lavender essential oil


Business Success Incense

2 pt Benzoin
1 pt Cinnamon
1 pt Basil



All Purpose Incense

1 tbsp Rosemary
1 tbsp Cinnamon
Dried peel of one Lemon
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Lemon
1 tsp Almond extract


Spicy Incense

6 pt Sandalwood
1 pt Thyme
1 pt Coriander
1 pt Cardamom

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

Making Incense Pellets

Ground loose incense can also be made into pellets that can be heated on incense stove or using charcoal. These are simple to make, though they do require some drying time so cannot be used straight away like loose incense.

Step 1 – Use an already ground mix or grind the required ingredients into a coarse mix.

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

Step 3 – Break off small roughly almond sized pieces from the mixture and roll into balls or pellet shapes.

Step 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.

Step 5 – Move the pellets into a lidded glass container. Place them in a single layer as if stacked they will stick together. Leave for at least 48 hours before using.

Making Incense on a Budget.

© 2013 Claire

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    • 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.

    • Elderberry Arts profile image
      Author

      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.

    • 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
      Author

      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.

    • 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
      Author

      Claire 4 years ago from Surrey, Uk

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

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