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Measure out 20 ml (4 tsp) dipropylene glycol into the box or lipped dish you intend to soak your sticks. Then, measure out 10 ml (2 tsp) of your chosen fragrance oil (or essential oil) into the box/dish with the DPG. This time I’ve opted for sandalwood. Stir well, but be careful to let the oil on your spoon drip back into the box/dish.
Take your sticks, in batches of 10, and soak them in the oil blend. As we have 30mls of oil, you won’t want to soak any more than 10 at a time as you’ll need the sticks to be fully (or at least mostly) submerged in the oil. If you’re using longer sticks, remember you might have to put in a few less, and you can trim the plain, bamboo stick end if you need to make them fit.
Cover the box with plastic wrap so that nothing can evaporate and place aside, out of direct sunlight, for 24 hours so that the sticks will fully infuse with the oils.
Once they have soaked for 24 hours, get another box/dish. I’ve used one similar to the box I infused the sticks with, only longer. Wearing a rubber glove, pick out the sticks and place them, spaced out onto your second box/dish so that air can circulate around them (see picture).Then put aside, out of direct sunlight, to dry for 24 hours. Depending on the climate of where you live, you may need to leave them a few days, particularly if it’s humid. If you find they aren’t drying quickly enough for you, pop them somewhere a bit warmer and dryer.
Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 until you have 2 or 3 batches. You may find your sticks do not fully return to their original color once dry, which is fine.Once your sticks are dry, they will be ready to burn. I keep my batches separate at first and burn one from each as quality control. There will be less oil after each batch soaks, so you will need to be sure that each batch has been fully infused. If I’m making them just for me, sometimes I skip this step, but it’s vital if you’re planning to gift these.Store homemade incense sticks in a zip lock plastic bag to maintain their strength.
Important: This probably goes without saying, but be careful to watch your little ones when burning incense in the house, and NEVER let them light them themselves.Store in a dark place, out of the reach of children. Also, do not attempt to burn these until they are fully dry.
You must buy pre-prepared, unscented sticks. Ordinary bamboo sticks will not work.
Dipropylene glycol is a chemical (although has exceptionally low toxicity) that will help your incense burn properly and reduce black smoke.
If you really want to impress, when you make your incense sticks you can substitute the fragrance oil with essential oils.