How to Make Charcoal Incense Sticks

Written by michelle norton
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How to Make Charcoal Incense Sticks
Incense sticks can be hand-rolled at home. (incense image by Charles Taylor from

Incense is used for ceremonial purposes in various religions, and can also be used to cover bad odours in the house. Incense sticks with a charcoal base burn until the charcoal is used up. This type of incense stick will add a charcoal scent to the resins and herbs that comprise the stick. Making your own incense is an easy process; you will need a selection of oils, herbs and resins for the scent, and incense blanks. Incense blanks are charcoal-based incense sticks with no fragrance added.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Charcoal blank sticks
  • Dry herbs
  • Resins
  • Scented oil
  • 2 parts Dipropylene glycol (DPG)
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • 2 shallow pan
  • Airtight container
  • Mortar and pestle

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  1. 1

    Put on the rubber gloves.

  2. 2

    Thin the scented oil with the Dipropylene glycol in a mixing bowl. This stretches the amount of oil you have, and will allow the dipped sticks to burn slowly instead of all at once with undiluted oil. It will also keep the incense from over-smoking. Add the DPG a few drops at a time. Adding two parts DPG to one part oil is enough to dilute the oil while leaving the scent intact.

  3. 3

    Crush the herbs and resins in the mortar using the pestle until they are a fine powder. Place in the powder in a shallow pan and spread it around evenly.

  4. 4

    Place the charcoal blanks in the shallow pan and pour the oil over the sticks. (See the Resources section below for links to stores that carry incense blanks.) Roll the sticks in the oil and then pull them out.

  5. 5

    Roll the sticks in the powder and lay them on the paper towels to dry.

  6. 6

    Store the sticks in an airtight container.

Tips and warnings

  • Incense blanks are also referred to as unscented incense.
  • Do not use undiluted oil. The oil will smoke and the incense will burn too quickly.
  • Burn charcoal-based incense in a well-ventilated area.

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