How to Make an Incense Burner

Written by ryn gargulinski
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Incense burners don’t have to be some elaborate, expensive item bought only at overpriced stores. You can make an incense burner yourself using a few simple items and a little imagination. Your incense burner could be as simple as an ashtray with an old toothpick holder glued to it, or it can be as elaborate as you can imagine if you fashion it out of oven-baked clay. You can make an incense burner with a few simple steps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Basin
  • Piece with small hole for sticks
  • Glue
  • Oven-baked clay (to create from scratch)

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  1. 1

    Find something to work as a basin. You will want something that works to catch all the incense ashes so they don’t drop all over the world. It should be a circular basin if you intend to have the incense stick stand upright and a long, narrow basin if you are going to have the stick at an angle. Old ashtrays or candle holders work well and you will also know they are durable enough to withstand the heat should the incense stick fall over. Vintage glass or ceramic dishes, glasses or any other item with enough surface to catch the ashes will also work.

  2. 2

    Get a tallish item with a small hole in it that will fit an incense stick. If you find an item that would be fabulous, such as a miniature statue, and it does not have a hole in it, drill one with a very thin bit. Items that come furnished with holes and hold up to the heat include ceramic toothpick or small utensil holders, knobs from lamps and furniture and other pieces that have holes for screws. If the hole is too big for your incense stick, you can stuff it with tinfoil for a quick fix or fill it with clay for a more permanent structure. Make sure to outfit the foil or clay with a stick in hand so you can gauge how big the hole should become.

  3. 3

    Glue the pieces together. Once you have your basin and stick holder, all you need to do is glue the two pieces together. Use a heavy duty glue that is not water soluble as you will want to wash the burner when it gets full of ashes or too dusty.

  4. 4

    Fashion your own out of oven-baked clay. If you want to create your own incense burner from scratch, find a heavy duty oven-baked clay. Self-drying clays are more prone to disintegrate, so pick one that is oven baked or go for ceramic if you have access to materials and a kiln. Roll a long piece of clay which you can coil into the holder portion of the burner and create a basin to go with it with a flattened piece. Paint it or use coloured clay to create designs.

  5. 5

    Use pieces of old incense burners to create your own unique new one. You can glue two or more pieces of old burners together, even breaking them apart to fashion a brand new burner. Glue pieces together with heavy duty glue.

Tips and warnings

  • Check stores’ candle aisles for an array of holders and other things you can use to create your own incense burner.
  • Pieces of piping, hardware, small metal or ceramic items also work well.
  • Let your imagination go wild.
  • You can create an incense burner with several tiers by using several holder pieces and staggering them at various angles and heights. Think of it as a tree and find something to serve as the trunk with the holder pieces as branches. Just make sure your basin is large enough to catch all the ashes.
  • A hard wood can be used, but do make sure the incense will not fall over and burn it or that the hole is deep enough to touch the part of the incense that burns.
  • Never use plastic, paper or tissue items. They will melt.

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