6 Clever Ways to Burn Incense Sticks Without a Holder

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Lighting a stick of incense can entirely change the mood in a room. But if all you have is an incense stick and nowhere to put it, you may be frustrated! You may ask yourself what can I use as an incense holder?

Typically incense sticks are burned in incense holders like this. But if you don’t have one, or maybe yours broke, you’ll need to improvise!

In today’s guide, we’re going to take a look at how to burn incense sticks without a holder. We’ll look at six simple ways to embrace the calm and meaning of incense.

How to Burn Incense Sticks Without a Holder

Holding Incense

If you’ve recently broken your incense holder, or if you forgot to get your hands on one before your incense sticks, then you have a few options at your disposal. For some of the following options, you may have to get creative and do a bit of DIY. Others are a little more straightforward.

We’ll be looking at the following DIY-incense holder replacements:

  1. A beverage can
  2. An urn with sand
  3. Two objects and a fireproof surface
  4. A sink
  5. A glass of water
  6. Holding the incense stick

A Beverage Can

If you’re wondering how to burn incense sticks without holder, then one of the simplest replacements you can find is a drink can. The exact kind of drink that the can once held doesn’t really matter, but you’ll want to be sure to finish or pour out any remaining dregs of the beverage.

You should also rinse out the can and thoroughly dry it before using it as an incense holder, as you don’t want to accidentally put out your incense or alter its smell.

There are a few different ways in which you can use a drink can to hold an incense stick. The simplest way would be to put your incense stick in the drinking hole vertically, but this will eventually cause your incense stick to burn itself out within the can.

A better option is to align the tab with your incense stick, ensuring that the stick is balanced on top of the can. This will allow you incense to burn entirely outside of the can, spreading the incense around the room without you having to worry about it getting snuffed out.

However, there’s always the concern that the can will get knocked over by the wind, as empty cans aren’t the most stable things you can put a burning incense stick on top of.

If you want to make your DIY incense holder a little safer, we’d recommend filling up the can with sand or another inert material that won’t accidentally catch fire.

An Urn with Sand or Salt

Incense in Urn

If you have an urn, pot, cup, any similar fireproof container, plus some sand or salt, you should be good to go. Simply fill up the vessel with sand or salt, and stick the incense in the urn. It will burn down safely. And as long as you position the incense stick correctly, you’ll catch the ash in the vessel.

Just be careful if you choose to burn a bunch of incense in one urn. This can cause air problems, so ventilate! Incense can cause headaches and other health issues and can be harmful to cats and dogs. It can even get rid of fruit flies by irritating their lungs.

You can also set off your smoke alarm if you’re not careful, as well.

A Couple of Bricks and a Fireproof Surface

If you don’t have a drink can at your disposal, you can get a little more creative with your DIY incense solution by using a couple of heavy objects to brace the incense stick. However, if you’re going to do this, you’ll want to position those objects on a fireproof surface like a stone countertop.

Using a fireproof surface will ensure that your incense stick doesn’t set a fire if it is jostled out of the wedge formed by the two heavy objects. The objects themselves should obviously be fireproof since they’re going to be in direct contact with the incense stick as it slowly burns down.

For example, you could position two bricks next to each other, inserting the incense stick between them. When you have the incense stick in the right place, move the two bricks closer together until they’re holding the incense stick up.

The only downside to this method is that the ash will likely get blown around or will at least create a mess on the underlying surface.

A Sink

Using a sink to burn an incense stick is another great alternative that everyone should have access to, especially if neither of the previous options work well for you. In most cases, kitchen and bathroom sinks are made out of fireproof materials like ceramic, metal, or stone.

However, not all sinks are fireproof, so make sure that your sink isn’t made out of a material like wood before you decide that this is the right option for you. Even if your sink is fireproof, it may not be resistant enough to heat to not end up permanently scorched by your incense stick, so that’s another thing to make sure of.

There are a few ways you can use a sink to hold an incense stick. In most cases, you’ll want to suspend the burning end of the incense stick over the sink. We’d recommend weighing down the end that doesn’t burn with a heavy object to ensure that your incense stick doesn’t roll away while it’s burning.

Another option is to insert the incense stick into one of the holes of your sink’s drain. This will typically only work if your sink has relatively small drain holes that will be able to hold an incense stick without it sliding into your pipes.

The nice thing about this is that there’s no real cleanup. Just wash the sink and flush the ash down the drain. We wish cleaning an incense burner was as easy as this!

A Glass Of Water

You can use a glass partly filled with water as a quick and dirty incense holder. Fill the glass party-way with water, so that the water level will be below the incense area when the stick is rested against the glass. In other words, make sure the water is on the wood part, not the incense part.

Rest the incense against the side of the glass at an angle, and light the incense. Make sure that nothing flammable is underneath the stick, as the ash will fall partly outside the cup.

Hold It

The final option is to simply hold your incense stick, and while this option may seem obvious, it can also get a little tiresome.

Some meditation techniques even rely on you holding incense sticks. So you may want to give these a shot until you can get your hands on a genuine incense holder.

How To Burn Incense Cones Without a Holder

The easiest way to burn incense cones without a holder is to simply place your incense cone on a ceramic dish. You can use any sort of plate. The cone should burn in place, and will not drop ashes all around.

Another couple of simple options for burning cones is to use aluminum foil or a flat stone. Just make sure that your stone is totally stable and will not cause the burning cone to fall over if jostled!

However, if you’re burning cones this way, you’re definitely not getting the most out of incense cones — particularly the amazing backflow cones.

Incense Sticks vs. Backflow Cones

Black Walnut Wooden Originality Backflow Incense Burner Holder Censer

You may have seen fancy backflow incense cones and stunning waterfall burners that seemingly burn in reverse compared to incense sticks. While they’re a little more expensive than traditional incense sticks, backflow incense has a few advantages over burning incense in stick form.

The most noticeable advantage to backflow incense is that it leaves the ashes in a neat pile instead of having them fall haphazardly, like when you burn an incense stick.

Keep in mind that backflow incense takes a little more effort to light, so there is a bit of an adjustment process involved if you’re coming from incense sticks.