DIY Gold Tree Stump Table

…and Another Craft Project Is Born.

Several of the magazines that arrived in the mail a few months back had stories about metallics. Silver, bronze, copper and gold are all back in style and in a big way. As I perused the magazines and other catalogs it became apparent that many of the vintage looks were also coming back (as they always do) into vogue. I then started seeing vintage gold tree stump side tables and I fell instantly in love.

I began searching for such gold tree stumps and came across a variety of different styles, sizes and textures. Some of the tables were created using plaster, others were actual tree stumps with all of their imperfections. How designers were incorporating these tables into their décor was sometimes funky, sometimes whimsical and sometimes rather sophisticated.

These stump tables, which as you can see, aren’t actual tree stumps remain at auction. Perhaps because of their price. They are selling for $5,000 – $7,000 for the pair! Designed by Patrik Fredrickson and Ian Stallard, these two tables have more of a nugget-like quality to them.

While this was not the look I was going for when I started this project, I’m sure it could be achieved using real tree stumps and some plaster.

I found this tree stump table at love This was the look that I wanted. According to the blogger, she purchased two of these tables and only paid $50.00 for the pair. What I loved about this table is the rough sides with all the knobs and knots. I also liked how the top of the table flared slightly.

The gold color on this stump has a warmer patina than the two tables shown above. I hadn’t yet decided how I was going to paint my tree stump, but I definitely wanted it to have a warm glow to it like this one.

The other element about this table that I like, is the height. If you are planning to make your own stump table, decide where you want to put it and be sure to take measurements.

I enjoy decorating with nature, but I sometimes like to do it in a more unusual way. Something a bit more unexpected. In my home, this would certain be considered unexpected.

Always preferring to try my hand at making rather than buying, I started looking for tree stumps.

On many of the hiking trails around our home, loggers clear and leave downed trees. I had originally thought of asking for one of these trees and cutting it myself. However, I couldn’t find a tree that wasn’t a bit too weather-worn, so I kept looking.

One evening when visiting friends, I mentioned my project to my friend Jim. Jim is a tree guy. No really. Jim works with trees, all kinds of trees from all different parts of the country and beyond. I should have realized that if I mentioned this type of project to a tree guy, he’d somehow get his hands on a tree stump. He did.

A few days after my visit, Jim called me and told me he had found a stump that just might work. So, I jumped in my car and headed over to his house to check it out.

With a delighted look on my face, I hoisted the heavy mass into the trunk of my car and off I drove.

The first thing that I had to do with my new tree stump was de-bark it. Using a small chisel and a hammer, I stripped of the layer of the tree’s outer bark and the thin inner layers until the tree was bare of the rough, textured outer surface.

Removing the outermost layer of tree bark took some time. Some pieces of the bark came off quite easily, while other sections required a bit of tenacity.

Eventually, the entire tree stump was removed of it’s bark and was ready to be sanded.

I tried a few different methods for sanding my tree stump. I wanted the table to have a very smooth and polished appearance. Because my tree stump didn’t have any knobs or knots, it had more of a barrel look, I was able to use float (a rasp-like tool), a power sander and different grades of sandpaper.

I started with the float to remove any small bits of tree bark. Once I’d removed all the bark, I used the power sander and ultimately I finished using a few pieces of sandpaper. During each of the sanding processes, I would brush the stump and clean the surface.

All told, this work took me about an hour and a half. By the time I cleaned up my workbench, it was time to make dinner and enjoy a glass of wine.

Next stop – Gold Paint.

A quick trip to the craft store to buy metallic paint isn’t what it used to be. Today, the selection is vast and paint colors have greatly improved. I originally thought that I would apply gold leaf to my stump table, disbelieving that any paint could produce that real gold look. After a little more research and taking into account the amount of gold leaf that I would need for this project, I decided to buy a can of spray paint. I shopped at Michael’s and, as you can see, the paint was only $7.49. I scrambled to the bottom of my purse and found a 20% off coupon (big smile). If this spray paint didn’t have the look I was after, I could always apply gold leaf over it.

When I was working on this project, the weather was still warm enough to paint outside, if I was in the sun. I had the first few coats of gold paint applied within minutes. I applied 5 coats of spray paint before I decided that it was enough.

Like most projects, once you have completed it, you have a better understanding of how to make it again. That is true here, as well. Next time, I would apply a base coat to the tree stump. Perhaps several base coats, in fact. By applying a few base coats, the tree stump would have begun to resemble more of a gold plate.

One of the reasons why this was such a satisfying craft is that from start to finish it really only took a few hours. Let’s face it, none of us a tremendous amount of free time, so creating something, having a bit of fun and having a treat to show for your efforts is all good in my book.

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