How to Burn Resin Incense Light your charcoal piece and place it into your offering bowl. Don't hold the charcoal with your fingers - use tongs or even pliers. Apply a flame to the side of the charcoal piece for about 20 seconds. The charcoal will self-ignite across the surface. Charcoal does not light easily if laying flat on some surface or in a bowl. It is best to hold the charcoal in the air with tongs when applying the flame to the charcoal. Wait for the charcoal to ignite and warm up. This usually takes about 3 minutes. You will notice the charcoal starting to go gray around the edges. Add resin, herb or powder incense. Just place a small amount on top of the charcoal. The resin or herbs will begin to burn and release their essential oils through the smoke. Every aromatic herb and resin has different properties and can evoke different moods. Experiment and enjoy!