Saturday, August 01, 2009

Making Incense Cones

Yesterday I tried to make incense cones for the first time. It was fun and exciting but I can't say I've neither mastered the technique of shaping the cones and determining their size, nor did I nail down the formula for what I envisioned for my first cone incense.

Just for fun, I'm sharing here photos of the process and the materials.

The ingredients: dry woods (i.e.: sandalwood, agarwood, cedarwood), leaves (patchouli) berries (juniper) roots (vetiver) and mix them with makko powder or another combustible binding agent that allows for thorough, even burning incense and also binds all the materials together.

Mix the ingredients thoroughly together, and add water or hydrosol to bind the ingredients together and allow for shaping the incense.

Kneading the incense mixture into a paste that will be shaped into cones, sticks, spirals, etc. Sticks are pressed out of a machine (kind of like noodles in a factory), while cones are hand shaped. Joss sticks are made differently - the paste is rolled onto a thin wooden or bamboo stick.

Shaping the cone is done by hands alone.

The cones lay flat on a tray to dry. This can be done outdoors in the sun as well (but make sure the incense does not get dew on it or wet if it rains!).

The incense may take up to a week to dry. It's been very hot and dry here last night so I was able to have a preliminary testing for this cone today. The bottom and centre was not dry enough so it did not burn all the way down.

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At August 01, 2009 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fun post. If you have not already seen this site, check it out, it's the best for making your own incense,
I love all the different thing and ideas you present in your blog, the photos are wonderful. Thank you for presenting such a wonderful space.

At August 03, 2009 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

always wanted to know how incense is done!
are you happy with the scent?
...could I use any kind of dry ground spices/herbs
plus the wonderful woods?
...getting inspired big time ;-)
would love to hear more about this!
thanx so much!!!

At August 05, 2009 10:56 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

This is just the first run of this incense, and it was only ready for burning today (it takes about a week to dry thoroughly).
While the scent is pleasing, it's still not what I had in mind for this particular incense. So it's still in development.
There are so many factors with incense - even burning, aroma, gentle smoke... At least I nailed two of them here, but the scent still leaves much to be desired and I need to figure out how to achieve this. It's not going to be easy, because once burnt, the plant materials smell completely different.
Still more to work on!
But I'm very proud to say that I'm happy with how well it burnt - the cone went all the way down and did not smell like burnt weed ;-)

Another cool thing is that if something goes wrong, you can always grind the cones and adjust the formula, add water and shape the cones again!

I will report with my next run, which will be a completely different scent and a challenge on its own because I will be using resins in this one. Resins require a different ratio of combustible, so I hope it will burn as evenly; but I have a good feeling about how it's going to smell!

At August 10, 2009 12:04 AM, Blogger dea said...

This is so cool, Ayala!

Thanks for sharing.


At June 07, 2012 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Vancouver, BC as well. I'm interested in making my own incense but don't know where to find a binding agent here in BC. Did you buy online or local?

At September 10, 2012 4:14 PM, Blogger Berry Blue Toes said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At September 10, 2012 4:15 PM, Blogger Berry Blue Toes said...

Can you tell me where you found Makko powder in Vancouver? I've been searching all over for it on the net and can't find a resource.

At September 10, 2012 8:30 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

There is no incense supplier in Vancouver. You will have to search online for your ingredients.

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At February 20, 2014 4:16 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

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At May 02, 2017 5:11 PM, Blogger Jade Forest Co. said...

What does makko powder smell like? Does it have a scent of its own, or is it more like a sawdust type thing? I ask because I purchased some, and it smells like cinnamon! While thats lovely and all, I didn't desire for all my incense to smell of cinnamon..... could you shed some light on makko and what it's primarily made of (as I am aware its sawdust, but that is really all I could find). I did come across information that it's a Japanese tree that is used to make makko, but how accurate this is Im not sure, and of what particular tree it did not say. I usually use sandalwood powder but wanted something more neutral. I suspect and I believe I received makko powder that is somebodys rendition of makko or incense binder.Thanks ;)


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