How to Make Things With Tree Stumps


Tree stumps are not simply wood for the fireplace or compost material, but also can be used as lovely decorative objects in the lawn, garden or inside the home. Creative gardeners use sandpaper, stencil and paint to create one-of-a-kind, personalized plant stands, well covers, stepping stools and decorative garden objects. Tree stumps also can be used as end tables and seating. Making your own decorative tree stumps is a simple process that does not require additional skills.

Step 1

Put on your gardening gloves before beginning this project to protect your hands from painful wood splinters.

Step 2

Use your clean towel to wipe down dirt, grime or sap from your tree stump. Ensure that the surface area is clean and dry.

Step 3

Begin sanding the top of your tree stump with a sheet of sandpaper. Use a slow, steady circular motion (as if you were waxing a car) to ensure that the tree stump becomes smooth and even, reducing the risk of splintering. This process will take some time, depending on the condition of your wood and size of your stump.

Step 4

Decide whether you wish to sand the bottom of your tree stump as well. Most decorative tree stumps do not require bottom sanding, unless the bottom stump is particularly uneven and will not sit properly as a well cover, stool, garden decor, etc.

Step 5

Draw or stencil decorative designs on the top of your tree stump. Many gardeners choose a leaf or floral motif, or use stenciling available at local craft stores. Drawing and stenciling is optional; you can choose to leave the tree stump a natural shade of wood.

Step 6

Add paint to fill in your drawing or stenciling design. Small tubes of paint and brushes are inexpensive and readily available at any arts and crafts store. Painting is optional as well, but it makes a lovely personalized gift for special occasions.

Step 7

Let the paint dry for several hours. Test the paint to ensure that it is dry by using a sheet of plain paper. Do not sit, stand or place decorative objects or plants on your freshly painted tree stump without first testing to ensure it is dry.

Step 8

Place decorated tree stumps in your garden to use as plant stands, well covers, garden seats or stepping stools. Place tree stumps in your home to house a favorite plant or to use as an additional seat or stepping stool.

Step 9

Design additional handcrafted tree stumps to give as personalized gifts for weddings, anniversaries or special events to family and friends.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Clean, dry towel
  • Gloves
  • Pencil
  • Paint and brush


  • Tree Stumps
  • Tree Stump Art and Furniture
Keywords: tree stumps decorative, using tree stumps, making tree stumps into things

About this Author

Evan Burgess is an award-winning writer with 20+ years of experience, covering business, politics and government, the arts, public relations and marketing. His popular film blog can be seen at He received his bachelor's degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master's degree from the University of Virgina.