Since the DIY side of my brain doesn’t really have an “off” switch, I can’t help but process almost everything I see with the question, “What could I make with that??” For a while last summer, I couldn’t fully enjoy walks through nature without scanning the forest floor for a good stump to turn into a side table. I even made my husband pull over on the side of the highway, so I could retrieve a few that I saw by the road. I was so excited to finally get started on my side table plans when I realized that the stumps weren’t drying out—they were rotting out instead. Bummer. Fortunately, there was a nice old man that cut down a giant tree on our street a few weeks later, and he was kind enough to donate two of his cuttings for my project. Yes! I wanted to do something different with the stump, something that matched my personal style, so I decided that this little guy was just crying out for a few rows of giant pyramid studs. Supplies: Wooden stump, white acrylic indoor paint, hand-held sander, chisel, hammer, pyramid upholstery nails, masking tape.
1. Find yourself a stump! I let mine dry out for at least 6 months in the garage (I know, it’s so hard to wait!) until the outer bark started to separate from the trunk.
2. At the top edge of your stump, wedge a chisel between the outer bark and the stump and gently hammer the chisel in a downward motion. The bark should separate from the trunk without too much force. Continue the process until all the bark has been removed.
3. Use a sander with a medium grit sandpaper to sand off any remaining bark and smooth the rough edges. Sand the bottom and the top as well. Wipe the stump off with a damp cloth.
4. I used a white paint (one that includes a primer) in a semi-gloss finish and painted the whole stump. I did three coats of paint to make sure the white would be opaque. If you choose a paint like this one, you won’t need to seal the stump first since this paint also seals the wood for you. Make sure to paint the bottom of your stump as well so all the wood is sealed.
5. Gather your upholstery nails and put a strip of masking tape around the very top of your stump so you have a guide of how far from the top to start your nail row.
6. Using a hammer, nail in your top row of upholstery studs all the way around the top of the stump (use the masking tape as a guide where the top of the stud should be). Once your first row is complete, repeat with the second and third row of studs (I ended up using almost 150 nails for my three rows). I also added some heavy-duty felt furniture pads to the bottom of the stump so I can slide it without damaging the floors.
It’s crazy to think that I’ve been looking forward to this project for the last 6 months (since it took that long to dry out), but I’m so glad to finally have my little side table completed. I’m also so glad that I found out about these studded upholstery nails— I’m excited to think up a couple more things I could use those for in the future too. xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman.