DIY Incense (sticks and Cones).




Homemade 100% natural incense. Easy to make.

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Step 1: 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)

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

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

Step 4: 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!

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?

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!

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

Step 8:


If you can, try with organic coal (I could not find it in my country).
The wire I used is safe (I am sure), but if you are not comfortable using wire, try bamboo or suggest me alternatives (I could not find it too).
I made cones with lavender organic oil (no chemicals added) and they take too much time drying but smell better than the cinnamon sticks. Do not use oil if it is not organic or if you are not sure that it is safe to burn (we do not want explosions).
Do not use peppermint plants! They smell horrible when you burn them!
Thanks for the support and the suggestions! And sorry if I wrote something in a wrong way!



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    32 Discussions


    Reply 5 months ago

    I know this is an old post.. but in case any new viewers see it..

    You can use Powdered Gum Arabic... but you need to turn it into a solution before starting this recipe. 1 part Powdered Gum Arabic to 4-6 parts water

    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.

    9 replies

    There's an easy way around this!

    Once you have your mixture to a Play-doh consistency, instead of forming it around a wire, extrude it through a Play-Doh extruder ($5 on Amazon), or you can get a professional icing and fondant extruder for around $20.

    Extrude your sticks, and let it dry for the 3 days... you now have a nice coreless incense. Also, play with your recipe. I'm starting to play with ratios of Coal : Oud. I'd like to see if it's possible to lower the burn temp from approx 1200 Celsius (pure coal) to handle more delicate Ouds (such as Agarwood).

    Also, another note of safety, avoid the 'Easy Lite' Charcoal. These have been treated with additives that allow for easier ignition (such as Sulfur and Nitrates) as they're bad for you when burned in closed spaces and usually impart a chemical smell in your final product.

    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!


    Reply 5 years ago

    The wire won't burn aaaaand this wire is completely safe to use.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I don't disagree, but people should use caution when selecting a wire. Iron or steel wire is perfect, but should be cleaned with sandpaper to ensure there's no clear paint or zinc coating...


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Heating the wire is enough to create harmful metal vapor.
    Are you aware of the temperature that a glowing coal burns at?
    Hot enough to vaporize some of the wire, which will damage you and "paint" your home with metal. Please reconsider the idea that the metal is safe. Chemists, physicists, and physicians disagree with the "it's safe" opinion.

    Azleggy1 jsawyer

    Reply 2 years ago

    What are the odds that you can use a large paperclip that has been straightened out?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Most paperclips are steel with a zinc coating to inhibit rust, or possibly a coating of paint... If you clean them with sandpaper, it should be fine. Iron/steel wire is not toxic...


    Reply 5 years ago

    Do not be paranoid! I used organic oil and I am sure that the wire is safe and it won't burn.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    thanks! i was wondering if this person meant real coal (which i have being near a railway line) or charcoal. it makes me wonder what would happen if i did use the actual coal instead of charcoal.

    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 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 :)


    4 years ago

    I tried making those with powder instead of drops but it didn't work..


    5 years ago

    REBE :I xD I am her brother xD


    5 years ago on Introduction

    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.