DIY Studded Tree Stump Side Table

DIY Studded Tree Stump Side Table 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. DIY Studded Tree Stump Side Table 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.

DIY Studded Tree Stump Side Table DIY Studded Tree Stump Side Table DIY Studded Tree Stump Side Table abeautifulmess.comIt’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.

  • Hi there,

    Just discovered your blog and I love it! I have to know where you got those fab mugs!

  • I already wanted a tree stump table and you just took it up about a million notches for me, haha.


  • Wow this looks amazing! Love the white with the studs

  • Me encanta! hace unos meses hice una también para mi blog, aquí se los dejo!

  • This is such a good idea! I have a whole list of DIY projects to do and this has to go on there!!!

  • I absolutely love how this turned out! Such a nice touch with the pyramid studs.

  • hammer idee – sieht super aus. bin hin und weg.

    vreeni von freak in you

  • Love, love love! I’m always grabbing items from my yard to bring in, dry out, and use to decorate. I love the touch of studs. All this picture needs is a real-life stud or two. 😉

  • at first i was kinda lukewarm about it but as i read the tutorial and saw more pictures i really started liking it. good job!

  • I like the idea of painting the tree stump………but I’m not a fan of studs. However, this would be a great idea for two bedside “tables” (without studs) maybe in two tones….food for thought.

  • I’m LOVING this DIY side table! What a fabulous idea… so chic and unique. I’m coming to find that I pretty much adore all of your DIY’s…! Thanks for sharing!

  • I’m drinking out of the same mug right now! It’s my favorite. The project seems really cool. Did you level the tops and bases of the stumps first?

  • So creative!
    Never thought of placing studs on a tree stump!
    What a fun project.

    🙂 Liz @

  • Very cool. My friend Bianca did something like this – but she didn’t add the white or the studded detail – just created a very cool shiny tree stump side table.

  • This is so cool! I always try to keep an eye out for cool stumps, but I find the same thing: they always are rotting instead of drying out. Hopefully I can find a good one soon.


  • Did you find that having freshly cut wood helped. I have been dying to try this but 6 months is a long time to wait.

  • I love love love this! I love the beauty of its imperfections (which is a biggie for this perfectionist!) like the cracks in the wood and the bumps in the stump, it’s like a coffee table that tells a story of a hundred years right there under your coffee cup! Love the old stump and the contrast with the modern studs too. Thank you for sharing.

  • This looks fab, I want to do one now! I’m off to talk a friend into a donation, they’ve just cut down a tree, perfect . GG

  • Wow! I can’t believe it took 6 months to dry out, you must have patience of a saint.

  • This is the coolest DIY post yet! Such an amazing idea & so inexpensive. Thank you so much for the inspiration, now all I need to do is find a tree stump haha 🙂

  • this is crazy cool! it looks like it’d be in the lobby of a museum or something. LOL! I love it!!!

    xo. holly

  • This is perfect! I would love to try making one with stained raw wood and studs!!! Love this, great job girls!

  • Love the stump and love the wall color Laura. Any chance you want to share what it is? Pretty please…

  • Well wowza, what a unique project! Love that your brain is constantly working on a DIY tip haha!

  • Woo hoo! Great job it looks awesome!
    Just found your blog (saw your book at our library where I work, yeah, your book is in a tiny library in a town with 1400 people in the middle of Kansas) and everything here is so wonderful. you’ve gained a new follower and I will be back often as everything you galls do is so inspiring.
    Keep it up 🙂

  • I don’t get it… Why use a tree stump if your just going to get rid of it’s tree-ness?!

  • Hi Liz!
    I just left mine in our dry garage, it’s been cold out there since winter started, but it was in there during a few hot months too 😉


  • Such a sweet idea! Love the white paint! So darn creative!

  • That looks fantastic! I would love to add those pyramid tacks to my existing coffee table. Didyou put anything in between the tacks and the hammer when knocking them in? I am just wondering if I should be concerned about damaging the surface.

  • Please, everybody, make sure the storage you let this sit in is completely airtight if possible if you live in termite-prone areas. If you just let it sit in a storage shed in your backyard, and there’s even the slightest way in, you’re liable to be crawling with termites before it’s ready for use. Make SURE the storage is airtight!

  • Do you have to do anything special to let it dry, or just let it sit somewhere? Like a specific temperature or anything?

  • This is awesome! SUCH a fun and unique take on this. Perfectly rock’n’roll and rustic. Laura, you just get better and better!

  • So cool! I tried a project like this without waiting for the drying process–big mistake! Looks adorable!

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