Behind the Scenes – How Incense Sticks Are Made

Behind the Scenes How Incense Sticks Are Made

Incense has been around for thousands of years. It was first used to create scented smoke and has since evolved into various forms that can be burned like matches.

Essentially, bamboo sticks are rolled in a variable paste of charcoal powder, wood powder and joss/jiggit/gum/tabu powder (an adhesive made from the bark of litsea glutinosa trees). Then they are either sun-dried for several days or dipped into a scented solvent.

The Basics

Many of us know incense for its calming and therapeutic effects. Incense sticks can aid relaxation, meditative practice and even help with focus and concentration.

Indirect-burning incense includes aromatic resins like myrrh and frankincense, powdered wood and bark, and additions like seeds, roots and flowers. The precise ingredients vary widely by country, but typically these are balanced with binding and combustible materials, as well as the essential oils used to fragrance them.

Stick incense – or joss sticks – are rolled incense with either a bamboo core, or without it. They are then perfumed with mixtures that may be rolled into a paste or simply coated in powder. Traditionally this was done by hand, but increasingly machines are being used.

Manufacturers design their incense based almost solely on the desired fragrance, and select their raw materials accordingly. They monitor trends in fragrances, obtaining samples and talking to their employees and customers to find out what smells good.

The Scents

Fragrance is an important factor in the success of incense and the scent can alter your mood. You’ll find that you are able to calm your thoughts, relax and even sleep better when burning incense!

Traditional loose incense is a mixture of aromatic resins, wood powders and spices or herbs. Some of the most popular scents include sandalwood, rose, mogra, kewda (flower from the screw pine tree) and frankincense.

Resinous ingredients such as mastic, storax and myrrh are often combined with a variety of other oils including amber, agarwood, cedar and jojoba. The ingredients are blended with a sticky incombustible binder such as gum arabic or labdanum.

Some manufacturers create their own incense mixes from raw ingredients, while others buy bundles of unscented combustible wood sticks, also known as punk sticks, and dip them into any kind of fragrance they desire. This is the style of incense commonly sold at flea markets and sidewalk vendors.

The Sticks

If you have a friend that loves the scent of incense you might consider making them a unique gift set. You can buy a nice censer at most stores, or you can make your own holder out of natural air dry clay.

In India, incense sticks are rolled and perfumed using mixtures of charcoal dust, binding agents (often natural gums such as guar or xanthan), and scented additions like sandalwood, ginger, cloves, and star anise. Some producers use stick machines to complete this process, but many still hand roll their products.

Once the bundles are shaped, they are dipped in fragrance oils and left to dry overnight. They can then be packaged for sale.

The Packaging

Incense is an ancient practice in many cultures, but today it’s a simple way to add an aromatic scent to your home. With the right fragrance, a few sticks can help to create a calming and relaxing environment.

Besides choosing the right blend of ingredients, manufacturers also have to select the right type of packaging. They can use a traditional paper bag, or they can choose a box that’s made of odor-retaining cardboard.

The odor-retaining boxes are designed to protect the incense from damage during shipment and storage. They can fit 20 to 40 sticks, depending on the size and thickness of the sticks. Moreover, they can be customized to meet the needs of specific markets. Magnificently designed incense stick boxes are essential for establishing brand identity among customers. This is because they provide a high-end feel to the product. They are also a great way to make the products more visible and appealing on store shelves.