Looking through Pinterest and our property listings lately a cool home decor trend has caught our attention: beautiful natural tree stump stools and side tables.

Here…

12 Gaskell Avenue, Mount Eliza, VIC

…here…

15 Bloom Street, Moonee Ponds, VIC

& here again.

45 Hayward Street, Paddington, NSW

We’re into this rustic look in a big way but with furniture retailers charging anywhere between $169 to $750 for stump stools and side tables, this hot trend is slightly unattainable if your budget doesn’t stretch that far.

So, we’ve come up with an easy and economical way to upcycle tree stumps and get the look for less, all in a weekend. Plus DIY projects are always fun and greatly satisfying!

You will need:

Tree stump

Hammer

Chisel

Sander or sandpaper

Clear timber varnish

Paint brush

Cloth

Safety goggles

Face mask

Step 1- Source a tree stump.

First things first you’ll need to track down a tree stump for your project. Start by asking around. Your friends, friends of friends, colleagues or family members may have a tree stump kicking around their backyard or have had a tree cut down recently. They’ll surely be happy to see their stump put to good use and find a new home at your place.

Check online classified websites such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, people are often selling or giving away tree stumps for FREE. You usually just have to arrange pick up and do the heavy lifting yourself. Try searching for firewood, logs, timber and tree stumps.

Alternatively, get in touch with a local tree removal company, they will sell you a tree stump they’ve removed for low or no cost. Make your life a lot easier by picking a stump that is already cut to the size, height and shape you desire.

Keep your eyes peeled around your neighbourhood. When a developer is clearing a vacant block they often give away the timber from the trees they cut down to locals for firewood (or DIY projects!). Also, often after severe storms you can score a tree stump during the clean up.

Step 2- Bark removal.

Now that you have your stump remove all the bark around the exterior. Depending on how dried out your stump is you may be able to peel off the bark easily using your fingers or you may have to use a bit more force and remove it with a hammer and chisel.

Step 3- Sanding.

Next you want to sand the sides, top and base of your stump so that the finish is nice and smooth. Pay special attention to the top so the surface is nice and level to rest things on and comfortable to sit on. You may want to leave the sides a bit unpolished and slightly rough or completely smooth around the edges depending on the look you’re after.

I’d highly recommend using a hand sander, which you can pickup for about $27 at the local hardware store, to make the job a lot faster and less labour intensive. But you can use sandpaper if that’s what you have on hand.

Note: Don’t forget to wear safety goggles and a face mask when sanding.

Step 4- Prepare the surface for varnish.

Wipe your stump down with a damp cloth to remove any bark residue and dust from the sanding process, to ensure a professional, smooth and shiny finish.

Step 5- Varnish.

You may want to paint your stump or stain it to a darker shade to suit your decor. I opted for a clear varnish because I was happy with the shade of the natural timber and wanted to show off the beautiful orangey wood grain and texture. Review the instructions on your paint, stain or varnish for dry times and application instructions. I did two coats of clear varnish 24 hours apart and allowed it to dry overnight.

All done!

From attaching wheels, to painting half for an ombre effect to gold spray paint patterns, there are so many ways you can customise your stump stools.

7 uses for your shiny new stools-

1. Bedroom side tables

2. Coffee table

3. Plant stand

4. Extra seating

5. Outdoor sculpture

6. Hallway table

7. Bathtub side table

For more DIY inspiration check out these 11 stunning upcycling projects, DIY paper feather artwork and seven crafty DIY projects perfect for the weekend.

Happy DIYing!

The Homely Team

Author

Larissa Gardner
Larissa Gardner is the Marketing Manager at arguably Australia’s best looking real estate website homely.com.au. With a superb devotion to product innovation, user-centred design and innovative marketing platforms for real estate agents, homely.com.au helps millions of Australians find their next home.

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