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Step by Step Guides to Natural Incense Making   



How to Burn Incense Trails
Incense trails can be created by simply placing one or more natural aromatics on an already burning Makko trail or... by pre-mixing your natural incense recipe with Makko to create an aromatic incense trail powder.

Materials Needed:

  • Incense Bowl filled with Ash
  • Makko, Sandalwood, or Pre-Mixed Incense Powder*
  • Loose Natural Incense (if using Makko)
  • Koh Press or equivalent
  • Spoon
  • Lighter/candle flame or matches
  • Small 1" piece of incense stick or a match

Burning Incense Trails

1 an incense bowl is filled with white chaff ash and compacted by tapping lightly on the bottom of the bowl
2 an indentation is made in the ash with a "U" shaped koh press. If a koh press is not available you can use any small object that will leave a straight line or shaped impression in the ash

press into the ash to make an indentation roughly about 1/2 inch deep x 1/2 inch wide

*note: this style was used to create beautiful and elaborate patterns that were used as clocks in ancient Asia - See "The Trail of Time"

3 fill the entire indentation with either Makko powder, Sandalwood powder, or a pre-mixed incense powder (makko + loose incense)

if using Makko powder, then you'll sprinkle either loose incense or pellets on top of the trail once it's burning

Sandalwood will burn on its own and produces its own wonderful aromas

a Pre-Mixed Incense Powder is a finely powdered loose incense combined with the proper amount of makko powder to create a fragrant incense powder that will burn on its own once it's lit

to pre-mix your incense with makko follow the instructions for making incense sticks/cones/molds/trails

4 the koh press or its substitute is used to lightly compact the makko trail
5 light one end of a small 1" piece of a Japanese incense stick, about one inch long, and place it into one end of the trail and let burn

if you don't have the incense stick, use a match and lay it on the end of the trail while still lit

6 once the makko is burning red-hot you can sprinkle your incense mixture or ingredient directly on top of the burning makko
7 you can either sprinkle your incense all along the entire trail now (but don't smother it!) or... wait and as the makko trail burns you place additional incense only on the portion of makko that is burning - the latter requires more direct attention


Cleaning: After everything has completely cooled (left overnight), you can clean the ash by removing the spent trail with a spoon and discarding it. The ash can be cleaned further by sifting it through a flour sifter.

Always keep incense and incense burners away from children.

Never leave burning incense unattended.

Make sure the incense trail is completely extinguished and cooled before discarding; hot trails can easily start fires and cause severe burns. It's best to wait overnight before cleaning and/or discarding any used trails.

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