DIY Swirl & Speckle Incense Bowls

By Kate Riley August 24, 2021

I love to burn candles, especially during the colder months, but I wanted to try something new for scent. My seventeen year old daughter is really into incense and she’s got me feeling nostalgic for when I used to burn it in college.

I thought I’d make myself some incense holders using oven bake clay and they turned out pretty cute, I especially like the patterns in the clay and the gold speckles on top.


The materials and steps are so easy. I used oven bake clay (from Michaels), liquid leaf paint, a butter knife to cut the clay, and a tall drinking glass to roll it out. The colors I used were a mixture of olive green, white, black, and gray.

I followed the same steps for cutting, mixing, and rolling clay like this tutorial for making mini clay marble dishes.

I used mini oven safe dishes I had in my kitchen as the mold. Before baking in the oven for 15 minutes, create a little hole in the bowl with the base of a stick of incense at the angle you want the incense to burn. It helps to reinforce the back with extra clay for stability.

Once they were baked and cooled, I added flecks of liquid leaf paint and also painted the edges too.

I was so proud of how my little clay incense bowls turned out…

But then I realized something after burning two sticks of incense in my studio.


I don’t really like the smell of incense.

Its too pungent for me and if it burns too long, it gives me a mild headache.

So….. I will return to burning my milder scented candles.

And I’ll be using my swirl & speckle bowls as jewelry holders instead.


I do like working with the clay, it’s therapeutic to cut and twist and roll with this medium and the patterns are random and unpredictable but that’s part of the fun! These make great little gifts for friends too.

For those of you who like incense, this is a creative way to make bowls for burning it. For those that don’t, simply make little bowls without holes for holding little things like paper clips on your desk or as a catchall to hold your rings or earrings.



  1. Right there with you Kate!
    Our teenage smellers certainly were more tolerant than our today smellers.

    I’ve made these as jewelry dishes too. Love them.

    • My sensitivity to smell changed after pregnancy, strong perfumes or colognes or intense smells really bother me now!

  2. Thank you for the idea and directions. I will be giving this a try.
    Some incense bothers me also, but I can tolerate Nag Champa sandalwood and Nag Champa agarbatti. I also love palo santo.
    The bowls would be perfect for holding a stick of palo santo. You could even make a little raised opening in the middle for that purpose.

    • Thank you! I am open to trying incense that is more mild, perhaps I just chose the wrong ones! :)

  3. Oh my! I love these so much! I am in need of a little fun project right about now. Thanks for the inspiration!

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