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.


 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.


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!


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.)


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.