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What to Burn the Incense In 
Incense sticks produce a lot of heat, so they should to be burnt in a suitable ash catcher. These come in many different designs and sizes, but if you don't have an ash catcher you can use another container which can safely hold the stick, contain the heat and catch the falling ash. When using this method you should pack out the container with a material such as sand. 
 
Incense sticks consist of a thin, wooden stick (usually bamboo) that is coated with incense material; only the bottom inch or so is uncoated. The uncoated end will fit in a small hole in the ash catcher. Make sure when placing it in the hole that it won't fall out, and the ash will fall as the design intends. 
 
Where to Burn the Incense 
Your incense holder should be placed on a flat, heat-proof surface away from children and animals; and away from anything flammable, such as curtains, lampshades, or paper. The room needs to be well ventilated, but burn the incense away from drafty areas or open windows. 
 
Lighting the Incense 
Use a match or lighter to light the tip of the stick until it has a flame when you take the match or lighter away. After a few seconds if the stick still has a flame blow it out, and watch for the tip to glow orange. If the tip looks dark try to relight it until the tip is orange when left alone. 
 
If the orange tip goes out it may be that the stick isn't getting enough oxygen. If your incense holder has a lid, remove the lid to give the cone more air and try relighting. 
 
New incense sticks can be a little more oily than desired. You could use a paper towel to gently blot the incense stick to remove any excess oil or moisture so that the stick will burn well. 
 
Using the Incense 
Never leave burning incense unattended. The stick will continue to burn from the tip down to the base of the incense, leaving the uncoated end unburnt. Burning times vary between different makes and sizes of stick. A finished incense stick may still be hot, so it should be left to cool before disposing of the ash. 
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