Perfume crafting is the practice of mixing, combining and distilling ingredients to create unique scents. This month’s Craft in Style subscription box includes everything you need to make your own fragrant incense.
Mix your herbs with a small amount of water and Makko powder until it forms a dough-like consistency. Knead the mixture well and it’s ready to be shaped into incense cones.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
Choosing the right ingredients is an important step in crafting a fragrance. You’ll want to choose herbs that are easy to grind into a fine powder. You’ll also want to consider adding wood ingredients like sage, pine, cedar-red, or palo santo. These will give your perfume a woody aroma.
You will need a mortar and pestle, or a clean coffee grinder to crush your herbs into a fine powder. You can also use a food processor with a metal blade to grind the herbs. Make sure you have a jar of water ready to add to the mixture when you need to.
Pour your diluted fragrance blend or single-note oil into the alcohol. You can use denatured alcohol, or pure grain alcohol that is sold at a hardware store.
Grinding the Herbs
You can use a mortar and pestle or an old coffee grinder to crush your herbs into a fine powder. The finer the powder, the easier it will be to form into cones.
If you are using wood ingredients, like palo santo or cedar-red, you will need to grind them even more. It is best to use a specialized grinder for these materials.
You will also need to add a bit of Makko powder. This acts as a binding agent and helps the incense to stick together. The ratio is usually 5% to 10%, which allows the scents of your chosen herbs to stand out. Let the incense dry for a day, turning it on its side halfway through. Make sure to keep it away from children and pets while it is drying.
Shaping the Dough
As you knead the dough, you want it to be firm and even. This will help your incense burn well and smell good, as well as hold its shape while it’s burning. If you notice that your incense cones break during shaping or extinguish quickly, that’s a sign there is not enough binder in the mixture. Add a little Makko powder and knead the mixture again thoroughly.
Once your incense is shaped, place it on a heat-resistant dish and allow it to dry for at least one day. It’s helpful to turn the incense over halfway through the drying process so that the inside of the cone can also dry. If you’d like, you can use a decorative mold or find other items around the house to shape your incense into.
Drying the Dough
The incense sticks and cones will need to dry out before they are ready to use. A simple solution to this problem is placing the shaped incense on a flat board and covering it with wax paper. The board should then be placed in a paper bag, and scrunched closed. This method of drying also allows you to experiment with varying the shape of your incense.
Before the incense is allowed to dry, it should be diluted with some sort of alcohol. This can be a cheap blend of denatured alcohol, or pure grain alcohol purchased at the liquor store. This is necessary because the alcohol will help the incense burn brighter and more quickly when lit. It will also keep the incense from becoming overly smoky when it is burned.
Burning the Dough
To create an incense cone, you will need to first dilute your fragrance blend or single oil in alcohol. The ratio is 1/3 fragrance blend to 2/3 alcohol. Denatured alcohol is inexpensive and can be purchased at a hardware store. Other alcohols, such as grain alcohol, may also be used; however, they should already have a fragrance added and be of high quality.
Add the diluted fragrance to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough-like consistency is reached. If the mixture breaks during shaping, you will need to add water and knead thoroughly. If your incense cones burn poorly or extinguish, they may not be completely dry or have been humidified during storage. When ready to use, place a cone in a heat-resistant bowl and light the tip.