D.I.Y. Not?

Feel the Burn with These Homemade Herbal Incense Bundles

Whether or not you’ve gone deep into a Marie Kondo house-cleansing in the new year or are just looking for a fun, easy indoors D.I.Y., making your own dried herb incense bundles is a great way to keep your hands busy and your home smelling fresh. The tradition of using burned herbs to re-energize a space or set a mood dates back to ancient indigenous ceremonies, when bundles (often made of white sage) called smudge sticks would be lit as part of a larger ritual. But this project is as flexible as it is smokin’.

What you’ll need:

  • A handful of clippings of fresh or dried aromatic herbs, each a few inches long
  • One palo santo or cedar wood stick
  • Cotton string
  • Small heatproof plate
  • Matches or a lighter

1. The plant shopping and gathering step of this project is part of what makes it so fun, so take your time with it! Decide which aromatic herbs and green clippings you’d like to use—we chose cedar, sweet grass, lavender, and palo santo wood, but you should go to your local grocery store, a natural food shop, or your own backyard and sniff around to find a combination you like. Things like dried rosemary, fresh thyme, chamomile stalks, or dried juniper would all be great options. Aim for a mix of mostly dried herbs, which are easier to light, and a few fresh ones, which will have a bit of a greener smell.

2. Arrange your ingredients in a neat stack, being careful not to crush any of the dried herbs too much. The shape will probably be fuller toward the middle and taper on the ends. Take a deep breath—even before it’s burned, this bundle will provide some bonus aromatherapy.

3. Wrap it up! Use a piece of cotton string to bind your ingredients. Start by wrapping your bundle tightly at one end, working your way to the opposite end. Secure your string with a knot, and then tuck in the ends.

4. Carefully light the end of your bundle, quickly blowing out the flame. Your stick should smoke for a few minutes like incense—waft it around your space and set it on a heat-proof surface to finish smoking. Repeat whenever you need a fragrant boost of stress-relief.

Burn Bright