Home CRAFTS Wood Burning With 2000 Volts Of Electricity! Lichtenberg Figures

Wood Burning With 2000 Volts Of Electricity! Lichtenberg Figures

If you have ever tried woodburning, you know that it can be time consuming and rather uneventful. This instructable aims to change that. Let’s create beautifully intricate fractals in seconds using high voltage electricity.Making lightning tree figures aka Lichtenberg Figures using the transformer out of a microwave oven that produces about 2000 volts run on 120 VAC.

image/text credit: Brad Russell

A solution of sodium bicarbonate is painted on the wood to increase its conductivity, then the transformer is applied. The circuit creates an unpredictable, treelike burn pattern.Fractal wood burning is a process of applying an electrically conductive solution on wood and then applying high voltage electricity through a transformer using two probes.

When this electricity is applied, it burns in the wood from one probe to the other. The figures that are created are commonly called Lichtenberg figures or fractal burns. These burns create a lightning like image that is burnt into the wood.


The high voltage electricity is provided by some type of a transformer. These transformers are powered by 120 volts and can create between 2000 and 15000 volts once the electricity comes out of the transformer. The most common type of transformer used is a microwave oven transformer.