November 3, 2011

✥ DIY ▪West Elm▪ Tree Stump Table ✥



I've seen these tables around the Internet for awhile and I loooove them! I would probably put two in my living room if there were space for them. I've seen painted and stained versions. But the one I'm hacking is from West Elm. I love it so much, from the stump, to the rug to the cool chair. {Doesn't it look a lot like an "inspiration" chair from my classifieds search?}
I kept an eye out for tree stumps for ever months! If you get a newly cut stump, it needs to dry out for a few months. After it's dried out the bark will come off. If you get one that's been cut for awhile, then you need to make sure it's not bug infested! {eek!} 
So that's why it took so long, trying to make sure it was tall enough, wide enough, old enough, but not too old or too short, etc.

First

 Clean'er up! Z and I sprayed pest control all over it for several days {some homemade stuff I whipped up, another post, for another day.} We left it outside to try while it simultaneously repelled pests. Then I washed it down to remove any residue.


 Second

The sides were the easy part, I just used a palm sander and some 80 grit sandpaper, then 180, then 320. Unfortunately, the top was cut a little uneven. I don't have a circular sanded so I improvised.  I added a sanding disk to my drill and it worked like a charm. Isn't she so pretty! Love, love the gray undertones in the worn wood!


Third


I used a homemade stain made from White Distilled Vinegar and Steel Wool pad. Just let the mixture sit for a couple days outside, it doesn't smell pretty. I didn't measure, I just stuffed a steel wool pad into the bottom half of my vinegar bottle (bottle was .5 gallon.)



Fourth


Wearing gloves, I ragged the mixture on, moving in the direction of the wood grain.
You can see what it looks like, as I'm wiping, the color is forming. The stain is a stinky, gray liquid. It's very easy to work with, easier than "real" stains, I think. When dry it looked like this. I was kind of shocked. I thought it would be a lot grayer in color. So, I started Googling and found this stain reacts differently with different trees. {whoops!}
I have no idea what tree my stump was from.
But the stain turned sort of reddish.




Third & Fourth {again!}


I lived with it for 1 whole day, before I made a new stain.This time I used Apple Cider Vinegar, the all knowing Internet said it would turn the wood grayish. I used the same process, just threw the wool right in the vinegar, sanded the stump super lightly, and reapplied the mixture.



You can see where I made hash marks on the stump there's almost a line down the middle, showing you the different colors that the 2 stains turn. Isn't it funny that the white vinegar turns reddish and the red vinegar turns wood gray?

I was kinda petrified to do the new stain right on top of the old, but I figured  could always sand it. {again} The new color is just perfect, a tan and gray mixture! I am so glad I tried again. 




Since I was already playing around with it, I tried two more experiments staining the wood.


  1. I also sprayed some clear sealer on, just to see what would happen. It made the wood look a little yellow.
  2.  I also brewed some Tea to stain the wood. Tea has tannic acid in it, a chemical that reacts with the vinegar
  3. I read a few different tutorials and some said to apply the tea 1st, let it dry, then brush on the vinegar; while others said to do the opposite.
  4. I just brushed some tea over the vinegar that I had put on the stump days before. I was shocked how dark it tuned! I tried to give you guys a picture of the different results.



Thanks for checking out my new table!!  Have you guys made one of these? Are you planning to now that you've seen my beauty? lol  I wouldn't blame you cuz I love it!


Disclaimers: I've heard this stain will keep long term. That's awesome, but I probably wouldn't keep it a plastic bottle, like the one I used to mix my stain. Make sure you poke a hole in the lid, to let the fumes escape! As always, I'm telling you all how I did this project, but I'm not a furniture professional or a scientist- so wear gloves and follow along at your own risk. Although I didn't have any problems and haven't heard of anyone having them either.
I'm also linked up here.

54 comments:

  1. I love this!! I always drool over it in the west elm catalog too ;) This seems relatively easy once you find a good stump (that's that hard part huh?) I love the homemade stains, what an awesome idea! And more natural too which is great. It looks so nice in your house. I'm going to be on the lookout for a random stump hanging around Boston now ;)

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  2. This is so cool! Great job. NOw I just need to find a stump...
    I'm a new follower! I'd love it if you followed me back, but no pressure :-)

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  3. Love the stump table! This is the first time I've heard of making a stain using vinegar and steel wool. Thanks for sharing the process!

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  4. OK, that's it, I'm following you now.

    I too am madly in love with the tree stump tables from West Elm - and also detest the price of them! I've got my eye out for a good stump now - thanks so much for the excellent tutorial on how to do this project!

    BTW - I tried to make this stain myself as well (just this past weekend in fact!) But it didn't turn out - the steel wool did not dissolve whatsoever in the vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, and wondered if that was perhaps the problem - but apparently not since you had success with this type of vinegar as well). I believe I first tried leaving it for ~17hrs (with no dissolving happening at all). I ended up completing the project I was working on just using regular stain. I threw out my experiment stain probably the next day - but still no dissolving of steel wool! Is there perhaps a magic ratio of vinegar to wool? I kinda had a lot of wool and only a little vinegar left - but the vinegar did cover the wool. Just wondering what you discovered with your experiments - since they all turned out amazing!!!

    Take care,
    Christina
    designingbynumbers.blogspot.com

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  5. WOW!!! That looks amazing!! I don't think I'd have the guts to try somethings like that. Just have to live vicariously through you!!

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  6. So neat! I love it. I wish I could get my hands on a piece of wood like that.

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  7. Looks like it was always beside your chair as a little table. Great tutorial. Thanks.
    - Joy

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  8. This looks awesome!! I think you ended up with the perfect color! great job :)

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  9. Oh my, you scored big time with that little stump. :) I LOVE how perfect it fits in your room. Thanks for the tutorial as well, I would love to find one. :)

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  10. I've never thought of using a tree stump as a table. It would go so well in my house. I'll be keeping my eyes open for a stump.
    Rachel
    adventuresofadiymom.blogspot.com

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  11. I LOVE this! I've been on the lookout for some stumps for just this same reason. And I dying to find one soon! I've never heard of those homemade stains before, but how cool is that? I'd love to give it a try {when I find the perfect log}. Yours turned out so beautifully.

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  12. Great looking stump table - and really interesting to see how you treated and stained it!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

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  13. Totally amazing table! Good tip on getting rid of the buggers first. I was thinking these would also make great stools for outside, just put a pillow on the top for comfort. Thanks for sharing...saw you over at Skip to My Lou.

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  14. I love the table, its such a great idea and brings so much character to the room!

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  15. I LOVE this! It's beautiful & what a great tutorial! I found your blog from the Tip Junkie party. I'm your newest follower. If you get a chance, I'd love you to stop by my blog & maybe follow along too! Thanks, Jeni @Becoming Martha

    http://jensidea.blogspot.com/

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  16. Gorgeous. I have been waiting to find a good stump and now the waiting will be in earnest as I cannot wait to have a table like yours. Excellent!

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  17. I love the stump, and all your info on the stains. Thanks for sharing!
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

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  18. what i lovely idea, it looks great next to the chair xxx

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  19. Great job! We have a dead tree in the back yard.....It is coming down soon, maybe it will have a new life, as a side table....BTW, love your chair!

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  20. i love it! i'm all for finding a way to recreate west elm finds!

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  21. gorgeous!! I've been trying to find a good size stump to put in my house! Yours is perfect!!

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  22. I would love that table in our ski condo (where I am now) or at the beach...it is so versatile and pretty. I did buy a wooden geometric shaped table from West Elm a while ago and it has dried and split a bit...looks rustic though.

    The thing I like about your side table is that you can use is as a seat in a pinch! Great job.

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  23. I had no idea you could make your own stain. And with things in my kitchen. I just might try this on a piece of furniture I've left unfinished for months. I really like the dark stains from the tea/vinegar mixtures. They look like a dark gray/charcoal in the picture is that accurate? Pinning this. Thanks!

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  24. Love the tree stump! I have a few sitting on my deck waiting for the bark to fall off. I've tried the vinegar mix with tea before and tea after and I think it works about the same. It is interesting how it reacts to different species of wood. It's my new favorite wood treatment!

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  25. holy lotsa work! at least you have a fabulous outcome!

    enjoy!

    amy

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  26. such a great idea and
    very cool looking

    thanks for sharing your hard work
    at fridays unfolded!

    alison

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  27. I LOVE this! I would love if you would share this at the Crazy Cute link party happening at Between U & Me right now! I've got a totally awesome giveaway this week, too!
    OOH! AND, I'm your newest follower! ;)
    www.betweenuandme.com

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  28. Your stump table turned out magnificent...just the right color after lots of experimentation...a girl after my own heart. I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me back. I have a great driftwood sailboat give-a-way this week. Looking forward to hearing from you. Sherron
    http://smallholdings.blogspot.com

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  29. It looks fantastic!! Great job! I've been wanting a stump table for some time myself, but haven't really found anything yet...
    Thanks for sharing!

    evie @ brown paper packages

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  30. I'm pretty much convinced that I need to find myself a stump. Something about that sounds funny! I think, though, that my hubby might think that I went off the deep end if I make him stop and grab a tree stump! It looks awesome!

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  31. I so love this! I seriously don't know where you get the time to do all of these fabulous projects but thanks so much for sharing them at The Creative Spark. I'll be featuring this one on Sunday. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
    Jenn :)

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  32. It turned out awesome!! I've never seen vinegar used as a stain - interesting!! Tree stump decor has been on my to-do-list for an eternity! Can't wait to find the perfect stump!! Love yours!

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  33. Thanks for the great tutorial! Like you I have been searching the woods around my house high and low for the perfect stump. I can't wait to find one and use this method! Thank You!!

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  34. This looks amazing! I had no idea you could make a stain using vinegar and steel wool - I learn something new everyday! :)

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  35. Love this! Thanks for showing all of the different techniques. Your table turned out amazing! Thanks for sharing it with us at Inspiration Friday!

    Heather

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  36. just a note
    to let you know know
    that i'm featuring your stump table
    on this week's fridays unfolded!

    alison

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  37. That turned out so great! I love using natural elements in decorating! And your staining techniques are pretty awesome as well. Great job!

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  38. Thanks for the tutorial and being the test subject for all the different stain methods! I'll have to bookmark this post for future reference. I'm a new follower too!

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  39. you are my savior! I made my husband pick up a giant tree stump on the side of the road the other day...but wanted to know...how did you get the bark off? is there a treatment you could do to keep the bark? reeljagkb at yahoo dot com is my email it would be awesome if you could give me a little direction...thanks! and it looks ah-mazing!

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  40. Love it!! Thank you for linking this project to our party too!
    Shannon
    www.akadesign.ca

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  41. This is really great, I think I would have liked the stump even before you stained it too. This is one project I just don't think I have the patience for. Finding the stump and letting it sit for months drying out...I'm more of a right now girl! Thanks for sharing!

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  42. I love this! I've been wanting to do a stump side table but already have too many side tables so I haven't gotten to do it. I love how yours looks and look forward to trying one of my own! Some day.

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  43. Your table looks great!! I'm on the hunt for stumps too! Never dreamed they would be so hard to find!!

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  44. The tree stump table is terrific and you are amazing, Becca! Thank you for sharing your creativity at Potpourri Friday!

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  45. I have a stump table in my living room, I had no idea they were so popular! Wow! Your table looks fantastic!

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  46. I have to FB this one! Love, love, love it!

    Thanks for linking!
    --Katie

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  47. Who would have thought a simple tree stump would take so much WORK? It looks so good though...just like you bought it at a fancy-schmancy store. Excellent job. Lisa~

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  48. This is just stunning! We shared it on our FB page!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uncommon-Designs/230596840284698

    Take care,

    Trish

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  49. GORGEOUS!!! I have wanted to do one with casters on it.

    Cheri from Its So Very Cheri

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  50. Oh I looove this!! I love West Elm's tree stump table and yours looks just like it! You did great!
    www.inside-outdesign.blogspot.com

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  51. Do you have to treat the wood for insects prior to starting the table project?

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  52. Looks GREAT! Remember to keep us posted!

    -Asheville Tree Removal
    Tree Pruning Asheville NC

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