How to Burn Wood with Electricity

How to Burn Wood with Electricity?

Have you ever heard of using electricity to create beautiful patterns on wood? You can make all kinds of images and even messages on wood if you know how. We’ll give you the secrets of how to burn wood with electricity including a list of the things you’ll need for this activity and step-by-step instructions. Passing electricity through wood has been done for many years, you can do this too with simple items you have at home.

Safety first

The very first thing to consider when learning how to burn wood with electricity is safety. Working with electricity requires wearing safety attire and following important guidelines. Instructions must be followed very closely to avoid any accidents.

Work in a well-ventilated area of your home. If you can work outdoors then do so. Wear safety work gloves, check electrical voltages and keep the project away from water to avoid electrocution. Use only the materials we have listed in this guide and never improvise.

Check your power source. You need a high voltage power source for this project so you should always pay attention to safety.

You need the following materials for this project

Have everything ready before you proceed


Many types of wood will burn well with electricity but the best has to be plywood. But if you prefer to use a larger piece of wood, divide it into smaller pieces to save time.

Electricity supply

Use a transformer to supply electricity to wood. A transformer has two leads; use appropriate wires to supply electricity to wood.


You need glue if you want to glue pieces of wood together. Use wood glue which is available in most hardware stores.


You need paintbrushes to brush the wood surface and to apply wood glue. You may also use a sponge to apply glue evenly.

Fan for ventilation

You need a small fan to remove smoke that can build up when the wood starts to burn. Also, a fan is needed to blow any fire so you can better see the electricity moving through wood.

Saw and sandpaper

You can use a handsaw or table saw, whatever suits you, to cut wood. Use sandpaper to remove any sharp edges on wood before you use electricity.

Instructions on how to burn wood with electricity

Remember that safety is your number one priority. Here are the steps on how to burn wood safely with electricity.

1. Practice safety

It’s time to wear your working gloves, safety goggles, and safety boots. Check the electrical current in your home and check the transformer equipment you will use beforehand.

2. Prepare the wood

Cut the wood with a saw, table saw, or router. Make sure that it’s the right size before you start plugging in your power supply. Use sandpaper to carefully remove all imperfections and uneven areas on the surface of the wood. Once you’re satisfied with how it looks, use a brush to get rid of dust, dirt, and any debris on the surface. Use a vacuum to remove all the dirt and dust before you proceed.

You may need to clean the surface of the wood with soap and water but do so minimally. If you wet the surface, dry it completely and wait until a day to proceed. Dry it under the sun to make sure that the piece is completely dry.

3. Improving resistance

Some experts in burning wood apply a substance like baking soda or water to improve wood’s resistance. Use a brush to apply baking soda to areas where you don’t want the wood to burn. Aside from adding resistance to wood, baking soda and water will help control the electricity and prevent large fires.

4. Electrify your wood

Now that the piece of wood is ready, it’s time to burn it with electricity. Place one lead to one end of the wood and another one at the opposite end. You can install a small nail where the lead will connect to.

Once your leads are connected, power on the transformer and start burning your wood. This will happen very fast so be prepared to cut the electricity quickly.

The electric current will pass through the areas of the wood that are not coated with baking soda or are not wet with water. The current will appear like thunder and will spread fast all over the wooden piece. It’s possible to see electricity and fire as the current builds up so be ready to cut the electricity as soon as possible. Use a fan to blow smoke or any fire. As the fan does the job, you’ll clearly see the results.

5. Clean up time

This is the hardest but the most important part of burning wood with electricity. Once the circuit is turned off, remove the wires and leads and keep the transformer in a safe area. Open windows and doors and let fresh air in.

Gently tap the piece of wood to remove ashes and burnt pieces. A brush can help remove dust and ashes found in the crevices where the electric current passed. Clean up will depend on what you want to do with the wooden piece. You can apply varnish over the area to preserve the piece, you can use paint to transform it into artwork or frame it as it is.

You may also link small pieces together and for this, use strong high-quality wood glue. If you must electrify wood again, make sure to keep it safe and use proper equipment.

Now you know how to burn wood with electricity, you can perform this project with ease and confidence. But if you have never worked with electrical equipment before and you don’t have an idea how this is done, ask for help from a professional. Always perform this project in a safe, ventilated area and never near flammable objects and open circuits. If you don’t have a transformer, you may borrow or rent one instead. Always yield to the side of safety before, during, and after the project.