How to Burn Resin Incense



Since early times, incense has been an integral part of worship and ritual in temples, churches, ashrams, and mosques as well as being used in the home to purify and sweeten the atmosphere and remove or neutralize negative energies. Most of you are familiar with stick incense and cones, but you may never have experienced the pleasures of burning pure resins and chips. So let us encourage you to release these fragrant treasures of nature into your personal environment. Let us discuss how to burn resin incense.

How to Burn Resin Incense The Practicalities.

These are the items you’ll need to get started:

1. Incense Resin.
2. Charcoal Tablets.
3. A suitable container.
4. Matches or a cigarette lighter.
5. A candle.
6. Sand.
7. Mica Plate. (Optional)
8. A feather or piece of cardboard. (Optional)
9. Long-handled Tweezers or long nose pliers.



 Incense Resin

There is plenty to choose from; resins like Frankincense and Myrrh, in granules or powders, and wood chips like Sandalwood and pine, to mixes and ritual blends.

 The Container

You can use a store-bought incense burner or censer, look for one that is brass, bronze, or stoneware and that preferably has legs. The legs of the vessel prevent the heat from damaging the surface beneath it. Traditional incense vessels have three legs – symbolizing the body, mind and spirit.

You can make do with anything else that suits the purpose, such as an ashtray, plain metal, or porcelain bowl, but whatever you are using, make sure you set it on a fireproof surface; a trivet, or an old tile, or a ceramic plate is suitable for this. I prefer to use a little sand in the bottom of whatever censer I am using.

If you are using a plain metal or porcelain bowl, it’s best if you can fill it with sand and place your charcoal on top of this. Use your imagination, most likely you already have something around the house that will make a great censer. You don’t need a fancy incense burner to enjoy the ritual of incense burning.

If you want to burn incense outdoors find a large flat stone and heat it up in the campfire. You may then sprinkle the surface of the stone with your incense. If you throw herbs or incense resins directly into the fire they burn too quickly. This method will also work in your home fireplace.

 Charcoal Tablets or Disks

The Charcoal tablets or disks that are used for incense burning are NOT the same as those used for your backyard barbecue grill. You won’t want to use BBQ charcoal indoors as it may produce noxious fumes.

Once lit, Incense charcoal is self-burning; the means of combustion is included in the disk. If you have a hard time lighting your charcoal, it may be damp. Leave it out in the sun to dry.

It’s always best to place the charcoal on a bed of sand. It will burn more evenly and keep its amber-like glow longer. In addition, the sand will reduce the risk of the container cracking due to the extensive heat charcoal produces. The sand layer under the charcoal should be at least 2cms deep.

If you have a Mica Plate, this is a small thin piece of the mineral Mica; you can lay it on top of the charcoal. You then deposit your resin onto the plate and it will begin to burn. A Mica plate helps your material last longer as it is not in direct contact with the charcoal.


Feathers are traditionally used to fan the lighted charcoal; any kind of large feather will do. If you don’t have a feather then a piece of cardboard can be used as a fan. Fanning the charcoal provides oxygen which allows the tablet to produce a more even burn.


This is used to light the charcoal disk. I have a preference for plain unscented candles for this purpose. Once you light the candle with your matches or lighter, you have the benefit of a continuing flame, which makes it easier to light the charcoal, avoiding the annoyance of matches extinguishing before you get the tablet going and/or burning your fingers.


Use a long-handled pair of tweezers or pliers to hold the charcoal over the candle flame and then deposit it in the incense vessel. N.B. Do not attempt to light or hold the charcoal tablet with your fingers.

 Burning Your Incense

Set aside sufficient time so that you can enjoy the ritual of burning incense. Choose a location, where there are no easily combustible objects nearby. Be aware that fanning and blowing charcoal may send sparks into the air.

First gather all your items together. Start by lighting your candle. Then holding the charcoal tablet with your tweezers, place it in the candle flame until the tablet starts to crackle and glow. Next set the charcoal in your container on a bed of sand. You may now slowly fan or blow on the tablet. Only after the charcoal is aglow and stops crackling do you put your incense into the indentation on the top.

Be careful…it’s hot. Use a knife, spoon, or tweezers to drop your incense onto the tablet.

Finally, be aware of a potential fire hazard: Charcoal may continue to burn for two hours after lighting – so don’t just throw it in the garbage or onto the garden. It’s a good idea to leave disposal for a least a few hours, or I prefer to leave it until the next day.





© Ron and Sue Windred.
Disclaimer: The outlined metaphysical and healing properties in this website are for inspiration and reference. We gather this information and alleged properties from writings, books, folklore and various other sources. They are also dependent upon the attitude and beliefs of the individual. Furthermore they do not replace diagnosis or treatment by a qualified therapist or physician.

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