DIY: Make an Original Incense Holder With Clay

When I was a child I remember that my parents would always burn incense sticks in the living room where my father would read books. It would give such a nice perfume and bring a soothing atmosphere in the whole house, that it became a confort memory for me. As a grown up, naturally I’m attached to that memory, so I love burning incense at home and appreciate the perfum it brings along while the smoke dances around the entire room. I’ve been thinking of making a cute incense holder to match my personality and my taste for a while now. After looking for inspiration on pinterest, I came a cross a cute cereal bowl in ceramic, and that’s how I got the idea of making it as an incense holder with air dry clay, in my own style.

What material I used for my clay incense holder


  • Air dry clay
  • Clay tools for sculpting
  • Acrylic paint
  • Uv Resin for varnish
  • Sandpaper

My Sculpting Process – Clay incense holder


Step 1: Prepare the Clay

The first step is to prepare your air dry clay. Knead the clay until it is soft and pliable, then roll it out into a flat sheet using a rolling pin or clay roller. The sheet should be about 1,5 cm thick.

Step 2: Create the Base

Place a round piece of cardboard or plastic on the clay sheet, and use a cutting tool or knife to cut around it. Remove the excess clay and set it aside for later use. Carefully lift the clay circle and smooth out any bumps or air pockets.

To create the edges of the bowl, roll out a long cylindrical piece of clay using your hands or a clay roller.

Now to assemble the bowl, make small cuts and score both the circular base and the edge of the bowl. Then, carefully press the scored edges together, smoothing out any gaps as needed. Smooth the joint to ensure it is securely attached. You can use a modeling tool to create a more defined connection between the edges and the bottom of the bowl.

clay incense holder
clay incense holder

Step 3: Add details

The spoon

If we’re making a cereal bowl, then we need a spoon to eat it, right?!

Take a piece of air dry clay and roll it into a ball to then shape it into a spoon’s handle. When making your handle, you have to keep in mind that it should be long enough for it to hold your incense stick, as well as to make sure the ashes would fall right into the center of your bowl.

Use a sharp pointy tool to make a small hole in the handle. This is where the incense stick will be placed. Carefully examine the handle and decide on the ideal placement for the hole. Typically, it is best to position the hole towards the end of the handle, closer to where the handle connects with the bowl. Keep in mind that the size of the hole should be appropriate for the incense stick to fit through easily, and not fall off either.

To give the handle a more organic shape, you can gently curve it along its length.

Connect the spoon to the bowl with the score and slip method.

The cereals

I wanted some cute and colorful cereals so I went with 2 basic rounded cereal, 2 rainbows and 2 clouds. All you need to make them is your hand and some modeling tools.

For the first ones, I took a small piece of clay, roll it into a ball then flaten it to the desired thickness. I made a hole in its center and smoothen any bump. With a toothbrush I proceeded to make little holes to give it the cereal look that I wanted.

For the rainbow, I sculpted the basic shape of it with my hands, then cut a little hole in the bottom center to give it the bridge like shape. With a knife tool, I made, on the front face, 2 slight curved slit around it, to demarcate each color of the rainbow that I would paint later on.

As for the clouds, I sculpted them with my hands and some modeling tools.

Once you are satisfied with the shape of your cereals, connect them inside your bowl with the score and slip method.

Step 4: Let the Clay Dry

Allow the clay to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes 24-48 hours, depending on the thickness of the clay.

Step 5: Sand and Paint

Once the clay is dry, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or bumps. Proceed to paint the bowl, the spoon and cereals to your liking. Also paint in white the inside of your bowl for the milk.

clay incense holder
clay incense holder

Step 6: Varnish

Now the interesting part! Before varnishing your bowl, you have to make your milk for your cereals (we pour milk after the cereals in this house!). This is how I made mine, but please note that when working with UV resin, it is crucial to take proper precautions to ensure your safety and the best results, so I recommend you to read this article right here.

To make the milk, it would be the best to have a white UV resin or some UV resin pigments/colorants at hands. But it was not my case, so I had to think of another idea to create my milk where the cereals would be floating around and chilling.

clay incense holder
clay incense holder

So I made a mixture using UV resin and some white titanium acrylic paint. The more paint the better. What I noticed though, is when curing the mixture get a blueish color, but it’s still white looking so it’s okay. Mix the resin and paint together well, don’t leave any lumps in the mixture. When you get a smooth liquid milk looking mixture, poor it delicately and evenly into the bowl, around the cereals. Please note that you should not poor the mixture on the cereals, it should be around them only. Don’t forget to drop a little of it inside the hole of the 2 rounded cereals.

Cure the resin under an UV lamp or the sun.

Once it’s dry, you can now varnish the bowl entirely. Make sure you don’t put varnish inside the incense stick’s hole on the spoon though. Let it dry completely.

clay incense holder

And voilà! Your clay incense holder is finished!

clay incense holder

With these simple steps, you can create your own cereal bowl incense holder out of air dry clay. This holder is not only functional but also adds a touch of personal style to your home decor. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article, you can create a unique incense holder that perfectly suits your style and preferences.

Don’t forget to check out my TikTok video here, where I share a quick visual walkthrough of the entire process, providing you with additional inspiration and guidance.

With a little clay and some imagination, you can elevate your decor and create a soothing ambiance in your home. So why wait? Grab your air dry clay and let your artistic journey begin. Happy crafting!

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