DIY Incense Cones

by Tammy Myers ( 

  • Gathering. A variety of dry herbs can be used to make incense cones. We will start with White Sage as the base but you can add small amounts of other dry plant material, like Cedar, Lavender or Juniper Berry. I like to use the same herbs as the essential oil I will use later.   
  • Crushing. Use a mortar and pestle to pulverize the herbs until they have a powdery consistency. You will need 3 T. total of crushed herbs.
  • Add makko powder. When combined with water, this powder, which is derived from the bark of the Thunberi tree, serves as a binding agent. It is also naturally combustible, which helps ensure a slow, even burn. Use a 1:3 ratio when mixing makko powder and herbs (1 T. makko powder for every 3 T. of dry herbs).
  • Add water. Introduce water to the powder mixture very gradually, only a few drops at a time, until a dough forms. 
  • Molding. To create your incense cones, place approximately half a teaspoon of the dough into a small conical mold. I use the larger metal cake decorating tips. If necessary, insert a pin into the tip of the mold to help dislodge the cones. Or, if you prefer, shape your cones by hand.
  • Drying. Place your incense cones on parchment or paper and allow them to dry for a minimum of 12 hours. Be sure to turn them over halfway through the drying process so the bottoms dry out as well.  Add a few drops of essential oils that will compliment the dried herbs.  Store unused cones in an air-tight container. 
  • Lighting. Fill a small, heat-resistant bowl with salt or sand.  Place the cones you want to burn on top of the sand. Light the cone’s tip and blow it out after a few seconds. The cone should continue to smoke for approximately one hour.