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How to make your own incense?

Making your own incense is a very easy thing to do! It is inexpensive and fun. You can make it as simple, or as complicated as you like by adding ingredients and experimenting with the ratios until you find something that works for you.

Making an incense stick:

1-Get a large pot (I used my spaghetti pot) and fill it with enough water to allow room for stirring without spilling; Have a spoon/ladle ready beside the stove. – Measure 5 cups of water into the pot (if you use 4 cups of water make sure not to use more than 8 ounces of gum Arabic! Are you looking for “online garden designer”?

2- Add 1 teaspoonful powdered Aloeswood (Agarwood or Oud is most common; Sandalwood will help to keep the mixture from becoming too “bitter”; you can experiment with other woods) – Add 1/4 cup gum Arabic (if you have powdered gum Arabic just measure out 1/2 cup and grind it up a bit more in your blender!

3- Mix the ingredients together thoroughly and allow them to settle (should take about 5 minutes).

4- Heat on high until it becomes bubbly, stirring constantly; at this point turn the heat down to medium and continue stirring. This is where patience becomes a virtue: DO NOT let the mixture foam!  If it starts foaming then turn off the stove and stir vigorously (it will look like soap suds). Keep doing this until all of the froth is gone and the mixture becomes clear again. If it does foam, wait until you have a steady boil before turning down the heat to keep from having a messy stove!

5- Test for readiness by dropping a small amount of the liquid into cold water; if it becomes gooey then it’s not ready yet. Continue heating and stirring – When your gum Arabic/water mixture is ready (should take about 30 minutes or so) it will be transparent and look like light syrup as opposed to just plain water. At this point you want to begin “piping” through your funnel set up into something that holds all of your incense mixtures while they are drying out. You need some sort of drying rack that will allow air circulation on all sides while still holding the incense in place while it dries.

6- While your mixture is boiling heat up your metal cookie or biscuit cutters on high in the oven (or over a flame if you prefer). DO NOT USE NONSTICK COOKIE SHEETS! The non-stick coating can give off fumes that are poisonous when heated to high temperatures. Non-stick cookie sheets also can not withstand extremely high heats and may warp/melt.
7- You need to get the cutters really hot so that when you press them into the liquid mixture, they leave their shape inside of it. This will ensure that your sticks have a clean, sharp break line down the middle once they dry out and harden.  Make sure you do this over a sink, with gloves protecting your hands and long sleeves covering any exposed skin to protect you from the heat of the handles.

8- When your cutters are hot (after about 10 or more minutes in a 400*F oven), press them firmly into the mixture and lift up quickly; if it doesn’t release then press down harder and pull up more forcefully (the syrup will be less runny at this point). Repeat until you’ve made enough incense sticks to fill your drying racks; make sure your racks can hold all of them before proceeding!  Allow the sticks to cool COMPLETELY before handling them (this may take several hours) – Once cooled, use a box cutter/utility knife to carefully cut your incense sticks apart (if they’re still warm, the cut will be jagged).

9- Place your tray of incense sticks outside in a well-ventilated area to dry out for at least 24 hours; depending on the humidity/temperature this may take longer. Avoid getting them wet during this time. DO NOT PLACE THEM IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT!  The sun can cause colours to fade and make your incense brittle over time if left out too long.
10- Once dried, you’ll need to dust off any loose ash before burning them. The first time you burn an incense stick it’s normal that some ash falls off due to green wood not being completely burned away through the process of making it into an incense stick.


Your incense can be used immediately or stored in a cool, dark place for later use. 

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