Add water to the vase section so that the bottom of the stem will be approximately 1/2 to 1 inch below the water level.
Insert the bottom of the hookah stem into the top of the hookah base and fit the metal plate over the top of the stem.
Insert grommets into the top of stem and the stem’s hose port.
Attach the hose to the hose port, and check air flow by blocking the top of the stem with your hand and sucking in with the hose. There should be little or no intake of air.
Fill the tobacco burner to its rim (but no higher) with your favorite tobacco or fruit shisha. Sprinkle the shisha loosely so that air can pass through.
If you use a metal screen, place it on top of the bowl. As an alternative, you may tightly wrap the top of the bowl with foil, and puncture a series of holes in it to allow air to pass through.
Prepare your coals. If you use the instant lighting variety, you can light them with a lighter or match. Other types of coal require a stove or a torch. After the coals become red hot, carefully use tongs to break the coals into smaller pieces, and distribute them evenly on top of the metal screen or foil covering the head.
Inhale on the hose. You may need to wait a minute or two for the hookah to begin operating properly.