I have always loved seeing tree stumps that people have spruced up to become a part of their homes. They always looks so stunning! I've seen ones that were painted solid gold or silver, I've seen them half painted or just the tops, and I've seen quite a few where folks simply stained the wood so that you could still see the beautiful grain. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with my tree stumps, but I definitely wanted to give this project a try.First step: locating stumps. You may be able to find some on the side of the road or purchase a few, or you can do what I did and start mentioning how you want tree stumps to all your friends and see if anyone ends up having some. I got lucky, a friend's father owns quite a bit of land just outside our town, and he had plenty of tree stumps to spare. If you do go the route of trying to find them try to find the driest stumps you can. If they are wet and won't dry out, they will likely rot, which is no good for furniture.
After getting my stumps I started looking around for information about drying them out. There are lots of resources available, but I was really impressed with this tutorial. They suggested slightly elevating your stumps (so air can travel all around it) and let it dry out in your garage or attic for a couple of months. So that's what I did.Once the tree stumps are dried out (or mostly dried out) the bark will be much easier to remove. Use a chisel or flat head screw driver and hammer or mallet to wedge between the bark and the stump and then peel the bark away. Try to get as much off as you can. If a few small pieces remain don't worry! Because the next step is sanding.
I highly recommend using a hand sander or belt sander to remove any remaining bark and to get your tree stump looking smooth. You can see how my stumps looked after this step in the before and after photo above.Now apply wood filler to any large cracks or holes. The top of one of my stumps had a deep gash that I thought might be problematic for setting cups on the surface, so I filled it in with wood filler. Check the bottle for dry times and once dry sand it down, so it's flush with the wood surface.After much thought (probably too much) I decided I wanted to stain the wood instead of paint. I just couldn't bear losing all the pretty grain marks. I found that you can get tintable stain. It's available in many colors (my dad and I used a bright green stain on a project when I was in middle school!). For my stumps I chose white. Check your stain canister for tips and dry time information. After staining I added a coat of glossy polyurethane.Next I added wheels (casters) to the bottom of my stumps. I used washers to try and even out one that had an uneven surface. This worked ok. But if you need a super level surface (for setting on the floor or adding hair pin legs), use a planer to smooth off the bottom.I really love how they turned out. I think they kind of look like floating mountains. Which means nothing, I just had to put that out there. 🙂 xo. Emma