Instructables
Picture of DIY incense (sticks and cones).
Homemade 100% natural incense. Easy to make.

 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
2 tsp. gum arabic.

2 tsp. of cinnamon or aromatic herbs (powder).

4 tsp. of coal (powder).

10 inches of wire or thin bamboo sticks.

1 piece of sandpaper.

1 little bowl.

1 bamboo stick.

Cutter and scissors.

Vegetable oil.

Optional: gloves.

Step 2: Prepare the wire or the bamboo (for the sticks)

Picture of Prepare the wire or the bamboo (for the sticks)
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Skip this if you are going to make cones.

Remove the plastic cover with a cutter and cut the wire (or the bamboo) in pieces of 2 inches each one.


Step 3: Making the coal powder

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Sandpaper the coal until you have enough powder. Use gloves if want to keep your hands and nails clean.

Step 4: Grind the herbs

Picture of Grind the herbs
Skip this step if you are going to use cinnamon powder.

Use a mortar with its pestle to grind the dried herbs (lavender, peppermint, rosemary...). Make a "herbs powder".

Step 5: Mix time!

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Use the bowl and the stick to mix the coal and the cinnamon (or herbs), then add all the arabic gum and mix until you have a paste with a "Play-Doh texture" and just a little sticky.

If you think that it is pretty dry, add two or three drops of vegetable oil and mix (add more if you need it) and if the mixture is wetter than it has to be, add coal and cinnamon in equal parts.

Do not use your hands to mix, the paste is very sticky when you start mixing!

Step 6: Sticks or cones?

Picture of Sticks or cones?
Use your hands (with or without gloves, the mixture will not damage your skin or nails and it will be better if you do not use gloves) to make the sticks or the cones.

Make thin cones (the base must be smaller than 0,3 inches) or they will not burn well.

If you make sticks, put the wire pieces as you see in the image.

Let the incense sticks dry for three days (or more) and the cones for one week (or more), under the sun if it is possible.

Step 7: Enjoy!

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When the sticks and cones are completely dried, make them burn like normal incense.

epoveda2 months ago
REBE :I xD I am her brother xD
lynn07592 months ago

Well this instructable also provides the option of making cones, so make cones and forego any concerns about wire and old women eating gyros while making bamboo skewers, lol.

NO! Don't do this. Sure it will smell nice. But the materials used will form hazardous compounds, that you will inhale. Especially the oil and the metal wires.

There is a reason scented candles that have metal filaments in the wick have been banned. The heated metal releases so much micro-particles that it actually measurable in your blood. Even worse, if the particular metal you use contains lead you might actually get lead-poisoning if you use these kind of "incense" in a closed space.

Candle wicks used to contain LEAD. Yes, that wonderful heavy metal that causes all kinds of neurological issues, from Birth Defects to insanity and death. Fortunately for some of us, Lead based wicks were banned in the USA in 2003. Today, metal cored wicks use Zinc or Tin. Personally, I'd avoid Zinc cores, as airborne Zinc, though an important mineral in small amounts, in large doses can cause flu-like symptoms. (ask a professional welder!)

That said, choose your metal core carefully. Most electrical wires are copper, or tin-plated copper. I'm no expert, but I would think that steel wires would be safe. Just make sure they're not galvanized. (Galvanizing means covered with zinc to prevent rusting.) A lot of the safety issues with the metal will be highly dependent on the temperature the material burns at.

Now as to the safety of the other materials? I have no idea. Happy Burning!

RebecaP (author)  jsawyer2 months ago
The wire won't burn aaaaand this wire is completely safe to use.
RebecaP (author)  daniel.gustafsson.5262 months ago
Do not be paranoid! I used organic oil and I am sure that the wire is safe and it won't burn.

Thank you, I was wondering about that while reading.

Is there any other material than coal that you can use?

I'm also sceptic about the metal wire, maybe it is possible to use a wood stick?

RebecaP (author)  Ellaurenzovfoot2 months ago
I try to find thin bamboo sticks but I don't know if they're safe to use...
You can use dried sawdust instead of coal.

It is possible and it is safer than burning metal, but buy wood that is suitable ( round, small diameter, etc.) and most incense companies actually use wooden sticks for their incense and it's made in a foreign country by women sitting in rocking chairs whilst eating a gyro so it isn't even questionable if this is possible.

lynn07592 months ago

Overall, a great instructible! I was thinking of using thin bamboo skewers from the dollar store, mixed herbs with a couple of drops of essential oil. Thanks for the great idea!

RebecaP (author)  lynn07592 months ago
Read the update! Ty!
saturno.limao2 months ago

I've got a doubt about Gum Arabic. Is it the resin? Is it a glue? Is it liquid or also pownder?
I am having difficultie in getting it ( i'm from Brasil). Is there a suitable substitute?

RebecaP (author)  saturno.limao2 months ago
You can buy it in an art supplies shop, it is used to dissolve watercolors.

try a cake decorating supply store or a pharmacy. It comes as a liquid gel or powder.

lazemaple2 months ago

Very nice instructable thank you. I too would advise hardwood charcoal and you can purchase organic charcoal powder on Amazon or health product stores. Its fairly cheap by the pound. Yes the bamboo shish kabob sticks would work... so might stainless steel wire, 20 guage at the hardware store in small rolls for about $3. The reason wire was banned from candle wick is it was ZINC wire, very toxic with a very low melt point around 300-400 degrees compared to 2700f which your incense stick won't even come close to that temperature.

Gum arabic has many uses among which is as food additive, usually as a thickening or gelling agent.

Dark Bottle2 months ago
Cool!
thestodman3 months ago

This is pretty cool. Can you use essential oils as opposed to ground herbs. I really like the aroma of bergamot but only have access to the oil.

Also, that's a charcoal briquette, not coal. I would advise using a hardwood charcoal without any additives. Briquettes usually contain some sort of binder which would probably affect your desired scent.

I wouldn't recommend using essential oils. Heat can destroy the composition of the oils, changing their potency and effectiveness. Reed diffusers and cool humidifiers are recommended for that reason. I don't think you would be pleased with the resuts at all. I have a cool mist diffuser, a reed diffuser, and some ceramic ball diffusers in my house and office and it never ceases to surprise me how little oil you need versus how long the smell lasts. There are a million different styles, prices, and places to get them, but two diffusers that I like are at http://www.gardeners.com/search?q=diffuser. I'm not sure where you get your oil, but that can make a difference, too...if you end up wanting more info on that, just give a shout and I will do what I can to help :)

rather than wire, very thin slivers of bamboo.and yes, as suggested use lumpwood charcoal...try also patchouli oil, cinnamon oil, sandalwood, use oils with dried herbs, lavendar etc, and very sparingly or you will cough!

audreyobscura3 months ago

Huh. I never knew what made incense burn. Thanks for the tutorial.