Inside: Save hundreds of dollars and make your own DIY Tree Stump Table; this tutorial shows you how to strip the bark off the log, dry it out and seal it to create your own boho style, natural log side table.
Using items from nature in decor is always a great idea. It adds a softness and an element of surprise to every room. So when our neighbour had a bunch of trees fallen in a storm and wanted to get rid of the stumps – I knew what to do! With the popularity of the Hygge movement, as well as boho design, I knew a natural DIY Tree Stump Table would be a great fit for our space.
Here’s are all the steps I took to turn an old log into a cute tree stump side table!
First of all, you do need to focus on the size of the stump. With Hygge decor, you are encouraged to use nature in all it’s forms in your space. So really, it depends on the size of table you want. But finding a coffee table sized tree stump will be a challenge (let’s not get into moving it!)
If you want a larger table, maybe go for a grouping of stumps or logs and tether them together with rope, or just group them closely to get the effect of a larger surface. We ended up using a cool thrifted subway art coffee table in our living room that compliments the styles really well.
For my tree trunk table, I wanted something slim that could easily slide into a small space in my office – so I opted for a maple stump that was about 14″ in diameter and then we used the chainsaw to cut it to about 21″ high (give or take).
Yield: 1 log table
DIY Tree Stump Table
Prep Time: 8 hours
Active Time: 4 hours
Additional Time: 182 days12 hours
Total Time: 183 days
Estimated Cost: $10
Save hundreds of dollars and make your own DIY Tree Stump Table; this tutorial shows you how to strip the bark off the log, dry it out and seal it to create your own boho style, natural log side table.
Once your log is selected you want to check it for any obvious flaws. Sometimes one side will be more straight than the others etc. If that's the case, you want to be aware of that before you start. You might want to take advantage of the straighter edges at some point. Mine was pretty even all the way around and had no real core damage to it - so I was good to start stripping the bark.
Initially, you'll want to just peel away the layers of bark manually, trying to get as much of it up as you can. At some point though, you'll reach a point where the bark is too thin to grab and that's when you can turn to a chisel. Gently use it with a mallet to release the bark as best you can. Be careful not to gouge the wood though, because that will be in the end product if you do.
Consider as well, the type of tree your stump came from. If your stump was evergreen, you will almost certainly have sap to contend with. You will have to allow that to really dry out before proceeding. In my case, it was a maple, so it was moist, but not sappy. I picked away at the bark on the log for a few minutes a day over the course of a week.
The process of removing bark from a log is long unless you have some machine to dry it out, like a heated kiln or a smoker or something. I was prepared to let mine dry out naturally. I made sure to always work in a warm place. Once I was satisfied I had all the bark off the log, I sanded it down really well.
Then I put it in the living room and started using it. I knew it was going to need to be exposed to air for a good six months before it would be dry enough to accept paint. Think about it - the tree was a living thing with moisture and living cells. It doesn't actually want to be covered with paint! One winter in the living room and I was good to move to the final step.
The last step in turning a log into a table is to tape it off and paint it the colour of your choice. Once the paint is dry, seal it well with a polyurethane to prevent chipping and colour distortion from the tannins in the wood. I also adde three swivel casters to the bottom of the log to make moving it around easier. That is entirely optional.