DIY Tree Stump Side Tables

How to make tree stump side tablesTinted stainI 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.

How to make tree stump furnitureFirst 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.

How to get bark off a tree stumpOnce 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.Tips for using wood fillerNow 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.

Tinted wood stainAfter 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.

Tree stump furnitureNext 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.

DIY tree stump side tablesI 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

  • I am joining your site, because I love your designs/work. I love this post. What a fabulous job!

  • Emma, this is amazing!! We JUST found a few huge stumps on the side of the road and are making one into a side table. I knew the gist but this was a great tutorial. About to post on my blog and I will definitely credit and link back to yours!! So happy to have stumbled upon your blog 🙂 Take care, Stephanie

  • This tables look like they were bought, because they look just perfect. I will also try to find some tree stumbs in the forrest. I hope nobody will miss them 😉 Rosa

  • These are sooo beautiful!! I can’t to try this for when I get an apartment….it will be first thing on my list! Thanks for all of the great ideas.


  • Just a heads up, the Minwax clear tint base *has to be tinted*. Otherwise you’re just smearing on a sticky liquid which does nothing to the color nor does it protect the wood- it’s just wasting your time. You should have just used a water-based poly.

  • OMGOSH. These are amazing. I want to do this now! Great tutorial. Makes me feel that I can do it too! Isn’t that what it’s all about? 🙂

  • These are too amazing!! Awesome job!! We also use tree stumps (but on a much smaller scale) 🙂

  • Wow, I love this, it’s the first time I’ve came across it. I’d love to try this with a larger stump for a coffee table. This page is now book marked.Rx

  • I absolutely love this idea – and particularly the stain you chose! So cool.

  • I love the idea of bringing the outside in like this. Thanks for the how-to!


  • Ellen has a huge stump coffeetable on her talkshow. I love it and love your how-to. Thanks.

  • Loooove these! I’ve had my eye on a pair of these for a while now 😉

  • Ok, I love these… and am pretty sure even I could pull it off. Might try painting some gold or silver!!!

  • What a unique idea! I’d love to do this! 🙂 xx

  • These are wonderful!!

    Lulu xx

  • This is so perfect! I love this!

    Juliette Laura

  • The after tree stumps look amazing! That quality looks like a side table you would get from a organic and very expensive home interior store. Great DIY!

  • Wow that is a pretty long (yet rewarding) process! I love the shape of these. Gorgeous peace.

    Tiff Ima
    Style Honestly
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  • So rustic. And I love the wheel on the bottom for easy moving!


  • Wow! These look brilliant, I really love them!

  • I never would have thought of putting white stain over the wood. It looks gorgeous!

  • ou fancy! even though it is a tree stump!
    looks very cook and extremely creative!

    – Janine

  • These are so beautiful! My current project is sprucing up some logs to put around the firepit. I’m thinking of maybe glow in the dark paint! Hopefully it’ll last longer than a day.. 🙂
    xo, Clare

  • I’ve been brainstorming furniture make overs for weeks now, and I absolutely love these. Thanks for sharing!

  • Gah! I had a similar idea when I lived in Maine, but I never executed it. Now I wish I had. I love that white tinted stain, I didn’t know it was available, but it looks amazing!
    Great job, Emma!


  • really cool DIY..

  • AMAZING idea ! love this…

  • These are pretty. I couldn’t help laughing though when I read “You may be able to find some on the side of the road or purchase a few”. We just cut some trees and have about 100 stumps around here! It’s a lot of work to get rid of them and it made me laugh to think that someone would actually buy them. 🙂 🙂

    Thank you for your nice blog 🙂

  • oh, really good timing. i plan to give my cutlery a new home.
    they should hang on a wood stock. ;o)
    but im not sure what i need. but with your post i feel me prepared.

    xo dana

  • Wow – they turned out really nicely! I think this is the first tutorial on stump side tables that worked out (most of the ones I read ended with either rotting wood or bug infestations). I’ll have to keep this tagged for future reference, for sure!

  • I absolutely love this. My mom just ran into a similar set of tree stumps and converted them using a glass top attachment. Looks great! I love this DIY idea 🙂

  • Utilitarian, simple and very aesthetically correct! I love your photography style too! It’s not just because you’re a Canon user 🙂

  • So gorgeous! I used to have side tables just like that, I loved them. I really should try and make my own at some point. Great post! xoxo

  • They are super nice! How do you come up with such amazing ideas???

  • My parents have a couple of nice tree stumps in the garden, they are being used as chairs or to display flowers or little sculptures.

  • What a great idea! I love what you did with these tree strumps! Plus it’s green and sustainable.

  • Hello, I’ve been thinking about doing such a project for several weeks now. love the natural look of yours! I will have to look out for the stumps then…


  • Oh ! it’s so a good idea !

    Thank you !


  • Awesome! I want to do this now!

    I think it would be really cool to do a clear coat on the sides of the stump and paint the top a solid color or with a tinted stain, too. (Totally going to do that, I am so excited now)

  • I love it! The thing that caught my eye the most was the graphic black and white book on top of the tree stump, but I can’t read what the title is, any chance you could say?:)

  • This is so creative and beautiful! Love love love it. Simple and beautiful, and it looks so professional too. Thanks for sharing, might be a little hard to achieve for me but I’m going to give it a try!

  • wow, that is perfect idea and I love so natural wood and things like that. Have a great friday.

  • This is awesome! I think I’m gonna find my tree stump soon! Thanks for sharing! <3

  • I’ve never seen this anywhere and think it’s the coolest, most creative idea ever!
    I love these and I’m sure you’d pay hundreds for something similar in store.
    Your blog is fab, Im’ going back to check out other posts now!

    Lots of love from New Zealand,

  • My brother-in-law owns a couple of ha forest. I never really realised I could have my own tree stump side tables omg. haha SO calling him right now ^^
    Yours came out beautifully!

  • These are so cute and amazing!

  • Get out of here with these crazy cool tree stump tables! Your creativity and craftiness are simply to die for. I love your blog!

  • i love these! i have already scoped out a stump that I want to do! I think I might have to cover it in gold! these are just lovely though!!
    xo, aiyanajane ||

  • That is such a GREAT idea! It’s always nice to have things in your home that are unique and made by you!


  • Wow. These really turned out so lovely! Thanks for sharing! Xo, M&K at

  • They are stunning. Natural always looks best.
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  • I’ve always loved those too. They used to have them at Quixote (oh how I miss Quixote!). These look great, thanks for the how-to!


  • These are beautiful, Emma! What a great idea. I love the white wood stain, it’s subtle, and you’re right, there’s something really lovely about still being able to see the grain. (And they totally look like floating mountains)

  • Man, I’ve wanted to do something like this for awhile! Has a very Restoration Hardware vibe.

  • Awesome! I love this, they do totally look like floating mountains;)
    Would love to try this sometime..

  • These are so lovely! Great DIY project. 🙂


  • these are the coolest small tables have ever seen. No kidding. Your ideas are unbelievable!

  • I love your description of floating mountains; it means a lot to us mountain lovers. 😉

  • So cute and creative!


  • These look great! I made something similar once, but instead I carved the top of the stump into a bowl so I could stick things in it! 🙂

  • These DO look like mountains 🙂 very neat! My bestie and I blog over at Sparrowshaven.blogspot and she did a two tree stump tables as well! She didn’t add casters but that’s a good idea 😉 thanks for sharing!! -Mika

  • Oh these are so pretty! I love that you stained the stumps rather than painted them.

  • Wow, those are gorgeous! If I ever see a tree stump in that particular shape I will definitely add this to my DIY list.


  • Oh my goodness these are amazing! One day when I move into a more permanent apartment I am going to make these. Thanks for sharing.


  • These turned out great! I love the shape of them – kind of floral 🙂

    xx Ashleigh

  • Such a cool idea! Now I jut need to find a tree stump.

  • They turned out beautiful! I have wanted to do something like this for a while too. Time to start putting the word out that I’d take someone’s stumps. 🙂

  • Love them. What a great idea. I need to make one for my front porch.

  • This is baller! Definitely liking the unique aspect of this DIY! Makes me want to go find a stump!

  • Ohmygosh. I need to make this ASAP. So easy and thanks for sharing this tutorial 🙂

  • definitely adding this to my list of things to put in my home when I finally move out one day. who needs to BUY furniture! pfft 😛

  • This looks ah-may-zing!! I love all the projects you do and your twists that you put on them!!

  • These are so cool!

    xo Jennifer

  • I’m in the process of making one of these, but was stuck on how to level it out. Your idea with the washers is fantastic!

    PS If your table is heavy as mine, then I recommend flipping it over and using a saws-all to take out some of the center. Much easier to move!

  • What a beautiful idea! I have always wanted tree stump stools for my kids to stand on around the house, now I know how to do it!

  • I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. Thanks for a great tutorial!

    xo Lisa

  • They are so unique! They’ll be look great as stools too

    Seaside Beauty

  • Emma, your house seems like a truly relaxing and inspiring place. I love your natural, earthy approach to decorating.

  • I think this is by far the best DIY project you guys have done. Bravo to you.


  • I’ve wanted one of these for so long!! Yours turned out really well. Great job 🙂

  • I’m so glad you agree! I found a great hollowed out tree stump at a going out of business sale – it was part of the store decor – and for $10 it was mine (I live in Brooklyn, tree stumps don’t grow on trees here)! My husband thought I was crazy, but my cat loves it as her little tree fort. Here it is with a cocktail too:

  • I think this may be my favourite DIY ever! Not just on this blog, but on any blog! I absolutely ADORE your style, Emma, it’s so distinctive and cool that the instant I saw the photos in this post, I knew you were writing. They look so amazing! I want some in my house ASAP, just where to find some stumps…


  • I really really love this project. They look amazing! I also love the idea of using tree stumps as vases. Do you think it would be environmentally friendly to buy tree stumps if you don’t know anyone who has spares to give you? xx

  • Love these! I was obsessed with having wood stump side tables myself. I was lucky to have a family friend who made mine for me! He did an amazing job, taking the time to hollow the inside of the stump so that it doesn’t weight as much and can more easily be moved. It’s also important not to just set your stump table straight on the ground, but to add legs, castors or even some felt pads so the air can circulate underneath and in my case, inside.

    You can see mine here if you like! :

    It’s such a fun project!

  • Oh wow, would love to make these. They’re beautiful.

    Carina xx

  • These are so cute!

  • Beautiful! A friend of mine did a similar project with tree stumps a little while ago. They look gorgeous in her house too! Love the way your stumps look almost scalloped though. Very unique!

  • When I was very young, my granddad took 3 tree trunks and put them behind a bush in his backyard – we’d sit on them and have tea parties… still one of my favourite memories!


  • Those are very nice, I love them! The rug they are sitting on looks like my carpet in my living room.

  • Such a coincidence, i’ve wanted side tables like this for such a long time i even have the perfect piece of wood in my garden, but i just never knew what to do with it. Thanks for sharing this Emma!

  • love this! and looks like something i might be able to do myself. i’ve seen these sold for like $200!

  • I love this idea. I saw it on a Rebbeca Robeson youtube channel. She was at the house of the man who has the biggest furniture store in the world(forgot the name). The table in the living room was made like this from a ginormous tree, i loved it hope I can do it one day for my home

    I am A Love Addict

  • I love these! I have never seen anything like them and they are so pretty 🙂 thanks for the great idea!

  • I will definatley have to remember this!! We own lots of land, and my husband is a logger, so I have access to plenty of tree stumps. And I didn’t know they make WHITE stain!? I love it!! I love all of ABM’s projects!!!

  • They did turn out lovely, I´d have one in my home any moment! 🙂

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