First of all, you need to make mucilage. You will need this to make incense adhere to the stick. In order to make mucilage, you will have to add around 10 oz. of warm water to 1 tsp. gum arabic. Cover the mucilage with a warm, wet dishcloth to keep it moist while you work on the rest of your ingredients. You'll want the mucilage to sit and thicken for at least a couple of hours.
Make the base of your incense. This is done by combining a wood, a resin and an herb. As a basic incense recipe, use six parts of a powdered wood, such as cedar, pine or juniper. Add two parts benzoin and finally, mix in one part orris root.
Add the essential oils. Begin with six to eight drops of the oil of your choice. Blend this into the incense base by kneading with your hands. Be sure to wear your gloves! If you prefer not to use essential oils, you can also use honey or wine as a liquid.
Blend together your favourite herbs. Add five parts herb blend to your base mix. You should grind the herbs until they are powdery before adding them in. Use your mortar and pestle if needed.
Once you've got everything blended together, weigh the mixture, and calculate 10% of whatever unit you're using to measure. Add that much saltpetre. If you have 9 tbs. of incense mix, then 10% will be 0.9 tbs. of saltpetre. If you have 20 oz. of incense, add 2 oz. of saltpetre respectively.
Add the mucilage, a little bit at a time, and blend it into the incense mix. Your final result should be a bit like dough - pasty and thick, but not too clumpy. Also, you don't want it to be too moist, but it needs to be wet enough that you can shape it with your hands.
Roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper so it's very thin. Gently roll the bamboo sticks in the pressed dough, so that a thin layer of dough forms around each stick. Be sure to leave a few uncovered inches on one end for you to hold. Squeeze the dough around the sticks so it will adhere better. Stick the uncovered end into the Styrofoam block, so that the stick can dry. Repeat this process until all the sticks are coated or you run out of dough.
Allow the sticks to dry for five to seven days in a cool place. Once they are completely dry, store them in an airtight container until they are ready to be used.