Stump Creations

by swampnut

Where others see trash or something for the burn pile, I see the possibility of creating something unique. I use azalea bushes or cedar tree stumps for this.

That is an unusual title for any written piece, I believe. But, it does adequately describe the topic of this piece. I have found that using old stumps from things like cedar trees and azalea bushes can be a fun way to create interesting table top decorations. In the pictures accompanying this article, you will see two or three which I created recently. One was used as a display in one of our local school libraries leading up to Christmas. Another, I used to accompany a fictional short story I wrote and posted on my short story blog which drew a fair amount of praise. Folks seemed intrigued by the idea of using something which is often discarded as useless.


The Owl's Tree
The Owl's Tree
Clint Bowman
Christmas Decoration: No Tweetin' Please
Christmas Decoratio...
Clint Bowman
The Honey Stump
The Honey Stump
Clint Bowman

The Basic Idea

I use stumps of azaleas and cedars which seem to have a little “character” about them.  The stumps must have some of their root system still attached. For the cedars, I turn them upside down and clean them well with water and a scrub brush. Then let it dry. As I view it for a view days, usually an idea will begin to form of how I can turn this upside down stump with its “root forest” or “root jungle” into something unique. I then usually trim a little bit here and there for shaping purposes. The second step is to varnish it or to use something like Mod Podge to cover it and create a shiny look to it. It also seems to make the natural reds and browns in its color to stand out.


Now Create

At this point I usually have an idea. Most of mine run to thinking of birds usually, since my wife loves bird watching. However, the Honey Stump I created which is shown in one of these pictures accompanying this article, actually grew out of my browsing through various things at a local Hobby Lobby. I was looking for small birds to attach to the roots when I saw these bees. That led to my thinking of what might be used as a sort of honey pot (think Poo Bear). A little more browsing and I found the wooden barrels and bucket. Then I found some honey colored paint, and I was on my way!

Don’t be afraid to experiment. I actually created the two with the Christmas themes so that those things can be removed from the stump and another seasonal theme can be developed. Warning: if you want to do that be sure you do not glue things to the stump!  

As for tools you might need, I found that a pair of needle nose pliers to hold things while painting or attaching them can be helpful. A small saw for trimming and a pocket knife are also sometimes helpful. A couple of good small and pointed paintbrushes were useful as well as a little larger brush for the varnish or Mod Podge sealant. For paint, I used the bottled acrylic types which sell for around .89 to about 1.50 each. They are water cleanup types used for crafting, usually.

The fun of doing something like this, for me, is the experimentation and the uniqueness of the creations. Where others see a stump which needs to be burned or trashed, I see the possibility of creating something which makes folks stop and smile. I hope you do, also.  Have fun!

Helpful Paints

Apple Barrel PROMOABI, Assorted Colors 1 (18 pack)

Apple Barrel 2 oz Paint-Best Selling Colors Features: Quality selection and value. Formulated for use on all surfaces including wood, styrofoam, plaster, terra cotta and tin. Th...

$17.99  $17.81

View on Amazon

FolkArt Multi-Surface Paint Set (2 Ounce), PROMO830 No.1 (12-Pack)

FolkArt Plaid Multi-Surface 12-Color Paint Set, No.1 This kit is a FolkArt Multi Surface Paint Kit. Kit Contains: 12-2oz bottles of paint Wicker White Bright Pink Cardinal Red P...

Only $19.89

View on Amazon

22-4806 Sargent Art Primary Acrylic Paint Set, 4 Ounce, 6-Pack

Sargent Art acrylic paints can be used for variety of painting techniques. Opaque colors combined with permanent coverage makes this paint applicable for all surfaces and projec...

Only $11.45

View on Amazon

This is a very handy item!

Mod Podge CS11303 Waterbase Sealer, Glue & Decoupage Finish, 32 oz, Matte

Matte Finish Mod Podge in a 32 ounce plastic bottle. Mod Podge dries clear in approximately 15-20 minutes and can be sanded to a smooth finish. Apply with brush or sponge applic...

$13.49  $11.97

View on Amazon

Mod Podge CS11203 Waterbase Sealer, Glue & Decoupage Finish, 32 oz, Gloss

Midge Podge in a 32 ounce bottle. Mod Podge dries clear in approximately 15-20 minutes and can be sanded to a smooth finish. Apply with brush or sponge applicator. Close contain...

$15.50  $9.71

View on Amazon

Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Waterbased Sealer, Glue and Finish (8-Ounce), CS15059 Gloss, 8 ounce

Plaid:Craft-Mod Podge dishwasher safe: gloss. Use on all surfaces indoors and out! Waterbase sealer glue and finish for every occasion. This package contains one 8oz jar of dish...

$9.59  $5.99

View on Amazon

Updated: 12/18/2015, swampnut
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swampnut on 06/16/2016

Sarita, thank you!

Sarita Dixon former person on 06/15/2016

You are creative....always have been

swampnut on 01/17/2016

Yes, usually that is the first thing folks think of when I talk about this. We live only 60 miles from the coast, so that probably explains that.

blackspanielgallery on 12/31/2015

Use of driftwood, often as is, has long been used decoratively. I see a similarity here.

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