Monday, May 2, 2011

DIY Silver Leaf Stump Table

About a year ago, a friend of mine brought me back a large tree stump from a ranch she volunteers at, knowing how much I love the look of natural stump tables. That tree stump sat for nearly 7 months in our basement when I tried to decide how I wanted to finish it. I wondered if it should be stained dark? maybe light? bark on? bark off?  I went back and fourth until one day it struck me that our living room needed a little lightness and some bling, and I  decided it would be silver. My next step was to decide if I wanted to keep the bark on or peel it off. Since it was going to be metallic, I decided that leaving the bark on would  help keep the rustic look that drew me to the project in the first place. I chose to cover it in silver leaf instead of spray painting it silver because I wanted to be sure that you would still get glimpses of the wood in the cracks, and with spray paint it would be too uniform.

This is how the stump looked when I got it

After some elbow grease and some silver leaf...

Tools needed
Tree Stump
Spare rags
Wood hardener
Spray Adhesive
Spray on Gloss Acrylic
Silver or Aluminum leaf
Soft bristled brush
Wipe on Poly

The step by step

  1. Use a scraper to remove any bark that can easily fall off, and any debris or sap left on.
  2. Using an electric sander  even off the top and bottom of the stump. I sanded just until the top and bottom were smooth, since i didn't mind if it wasn't perfectly level.
  3. If any areas of your stump are still soft, scrape off anything that comes off easily, and apply a wood hardener ( I used Elmer's wood hardener) and let dry for 24 hours.
  4. Because I was keeping the bark intact, I gave the entire stump a coating of spray adhesive and let it dry 24 hours.
  5. To give a smoother surface to apply the silver leaf, coat the entire stump with Krylon clear gloss and let dry for a few hours.
  6. Starting with small sections, apply your sizing and wait 15 minutes for it to cure.
  7. Using a soft bristle brush pick up a leaf of silver, lie it on over the sizing and gently brush it until it there are not little flakes of silver coming off.
  8. When applying the next leaf, be sure to slightly overlap the previous leaf, and brush until there are no more small flakes of silver coming off. I find it can help to move in a circular motion over the seams to help blend them.
  9. Repeat steps 6 to 8 until the entire stump is finished.
  10. Apply two coats of wipe on poly, and let cure for 24 hours.
  11. Enjoy!

If you prefer the au natural look, there is a great tutorial on Design*Sponge by Karen of The Art of Doing Stuff. A great tutorial on silver leafing can be found on Little Green Notebook.


  1. Wow! I always wanted a silver tree stump side table/stool! Yours look awesome. Love the look. Well done, Heather.


  2. That is so cool. The end result looks fantastic.

  3. Thanks Jessie and Blake! I was unsure during the process, but am very happy with the end result.


  4. That table is AMAZING!


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