Making Incense Cones
Used for ritual, medicinal, and aromatic purposes, incense come in many forms. In this post we're going to focus on incense cones. We'll use a combination of a base, a binder, an aromatic, and a liquid to create a dough that we'll use to make incense cones.
A base takes up most of the incense blend and is most often a wood powder. Bases are the fuel for your incense cones. The most popular bases used are sandalwood powders, clove powder, and makko powder, but you can also try evergreen powders, hardwood powders, and bark powders. Your base should have a light scent and burn easily. Some like to add powdered charcoal to help with burning.
Binders hold the incense together and are normally gums or wood powder binders like makko powder. The nice thing about wood binders they also act as a base (makko).
Aromatics give the incense blend scent. It can be a combination of scents or a single fragrance like rose. If using resins (frankincense) for scent, don't add too much of it, they don't burn well. Feel free to play around with the aromatics in your blend. Try rose petal powder, sandalwood powder, clove powder, sage powder, cedar powder, etc.
Any water-based product will work as a liquid. Liquids help shape the incense cones. I normally use water or a strong tea. You can try a hydrosol or low alcohol wine.
Lavender incense cones I made using makko, lavender powder, and tea.
Lavender Incense Cones
I love lavender and wanted to make a single scent incense cone. This is the recipe I came up with. This incense cone burns well and smells great.
Preparing the Liquid
1 oz. lavender flowers
2 cups water
Place buds in a pot. Add the water. Bring the water and buds to a boil. Turn the heat to low. Mix and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain. You'll have extra of this tea. Use it for a beverage or save it for more incense cones by placing it in the fridge and using within 5 days.
Preparing the Aromatic
1 oz. lavender flowers
Place lavender in a clean coffee grinder. Grind for 60 seconds, 10 seconds at a time with a 5 second pause between grinds. Sift to obtain the lavender powder.
The Base and Binder
2 teaspoons makko
2 teaspoons lavender powder
2 ¼ teaspoons lavender tea
2 drops lavender essential oil
Add the makko to a bowl. Add the lavender powder. Mix until combined. Add 1 teaspoon tea. Mix. Add another teaspoon tea. Mix. If you still need tea add an 1/8 teaspoon. If it's still dry add the last 1/8 teaspoon. Mix until dough is combined (like cookie dough). If dough is too wet add more base. Add 2 drops lavender oil to center of the dough and knead well. Take about a ¼ teaspoon of the dough and make a cone. Use pointer of right hand to hold the base. Use middle, pointer, and thumb of left hand to roll the incense dough counterclockwise to form a cone shape, kind of like turning a dial. The base should be about the size of a pencil. Long and thin incense cones normally have low smoke and a slow burn. Short and thick incense cones normally have high smoke and a fast burn. Cure cones on a board until completely try. My cones dried in 5 days.
Burning of, "The Magi Incense" cone. I took this picture and included here to show you how chunky they are. Even though they are chunky they are formulated well and shaped evenly. They burn down to the base. I have purchased incense cones that have a long thin tip and they never burn well for me. That goes to show you how a well formulated and even shaped cone can burn well.
Incense: Crafting & Use of Magickal Scents by Carl F. Neal
Making Your Own Incense by Tina Sams & Maryanne Schwartz