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How to Burn Incense Sticks

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Part 1 of 3: Selecting Your Incense and Censer

1) Consider purchasing a cored incense stick.These incense sticks consist of a thin, wooden stick (usually bamboo) that is covered with incense material; only the bottom inch or so is left uncovered. The incense material can be smooth and fine, or it can be grainy and coarse. The aroma, which is usually strong, includes both the scent of the incense and the scent of the burning wooden core

2) Consider purchasing a solid incense stick.These incense sticks are made from pure incense material and have no core inside. They have a lighter aroma, making them perfect for small spaces, such as bedrooms and offices. Because they have no core, their smell is simpler with no underlying notes of burning wood.

3) Find a suitable incense holder.Incense holders, also known as censers, come in many different shapes and sizes. What you use to hold your incense depends on the type of incense you are using: cored or solid. You can purchase a special holder designed to hold incense sticks, our you can make your own using the supplies you have on hand.

  • If you have a cored incense stick, consider using an incense "boat," which is a long, thin piece of wood, metal, or ceramic that has a tiny hole at one end. The incense boat usually has a groove down the center, which is used to catch any falling pieces of ash.
  • If you have a solid incense stick, do not use a wooden holder. Solid incense sticks burn all the way down, so using anything made from a flammable material as a censer is dangerous. Instead, consider filling a bowl or cup with grain, rice, salt, or sand, and sticking the incense stick inside. If you wish to use a censer, then look for one that is made of ceramic or stone.
  • Consider purchasing a shaped censer. These incense holders often come in many different shapes, such as elephants, lotus flowers, leaves, or bowls. They are usually made out of ceramic (which makes them suitable for both cored and solid incense sticks) and have a tiny hole at the top.

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