Do you love incense? I do! I also love a good treasure hunt! I truly enjoy the challenge of finding just the right object for a project I have in mind. I also feel a sense of gratification repurposing items and giving them a new life outside of someone’s trash bin.
This is one of those fun projects that will have you scavenging every garage sale and thrift store in your neighborhood!
I’ve been holding on to this craft idea for years now. I made a few of these for my coworkers years ago and they went crazy for them! I knew that someday that I’d start my craft blog and that my readers would probably love this idea. It’s FINALLY making its debut!
I think the best craft projects are the simple ones that give you that “V8 moment”. Instead of smacking yourself on the head and saying, “I could’a had a V8”, you will smack yourself (gently, I hope) and say, “I could’a thought of that! It’s so simple!” (Am I showing my age here with these vintage commercial references? Probably.)
Extra bonus points for being inexpensive to make and something you can give as a gift. This one is a winner!
Watch my video for a quick 4-minute demonstration on how to make an incense burner!
The links below point to products I’m using in my tutorial. They may be affiliate links where I earn a small commission and they DO NOT increase your cost at all. Thank you!
- some little dishes, child’s tea set plates, coasters, or ashtrays as a base
- some strong adhesive, such as E6000
- Here’s what I use: https://amzn.to/2Y3OM3c
- large 15mm-20mm beads (with a hole large enough for the incense sticks)
- bead caps (with a hole large enough for the incense sticks)
- incense sticks
Honestly, this takes very little explanation. You glue the bead to the base and then glue the bead cap to the top of the bead. (Use a toothpick for that part.)
The thing to be careful with here is to make sure that the bead hole will hold the incense straight up and down. Beads are not always made perfectly so it is helpful to place a “thicker” stick of incense in the hole before you glue anything. If the bead hole is tilting funny, you can sometimes glue the bead cap in a way to correct the position of the incense stick. Hopefully, I’m being clear about this. Incense sticks are wonky anyway, so it won’t be perfect!
Be sure to clean the base and bead so that the glue can stick well. Sometimes rubbing some sandpaper or an emery board on the bead and base can help. You can also use a Dremel tool with a diamond bit or sanding bit. Only rough up the spots that you’re gluing!
Here are some little tips that will also be helpful:
Tip 1: How to choose your base…
Small plates, bowls, cups, and ashtrays all work. A saucer is a little too large because it makes the bead look tiny, but you can go that route if you’d like. Ideally, you want the base you’re using to be smaller than a baseball for the best look.
(Another idea is to use a longer oblong base and glue your bead at an angle so that the incense is more horizontal like you see in the more traditional holders.)
Tip 2: How to choose your beads…
Look for beads that are larger than 1/2 inch in diameter with holes large enough for a round toothpick to sit in. That’s about how wide the incense sticks usually are – unless you happen to have some particularly beefy incense! You can always carry a toothpick or piece of incense with you when looking for beads to see if the holes are large enough.
Tip 3: Beads don’t have to be new or round…
The next time you go to a garage sale, estate sale, or thrift store, look at the jewelry. Sometimes you can find some great beads that are on an old necklace or bracelet for a good price. Many of the beads in my collection are from vintage or pre-owned costume jewelry. You can also use wood beads and paint them! The chances are pretty slim that the ashes are going to hurt the beads even in they’re wood. I do suggest that you don’t seal the beads with anything flammable though.
You can also use different shaped beads. I have some really pretty glass beads that are rectangular or cone-shaped – or animal-shaped like the adorable owl bead below. They work just as well as long as the hole is large enough and you can fit a bead cap on the top (if you wish).
Tip 4: Beads caps are optional, but…
You don’t have to buy bead caps, but they really do finish the look. You can find them at most craft stores such as Michaels, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc. I’ve also bought them in bulk on Amazon. (I will add a link above!) Many are large enough for this project. The smaller ones will be used for other things.
Tip 5: You can add embellishments…
Glue some small beads around the big one or add some bling to your base!
I am really excited to bring this project to you and I hope you enjoy it! If you do, please comment, share and pin!