before & after: karen’s log table + jaime’s jewelry display

Expert scavenger and DIY genius Karen is back again with this simple log table design. After seeing a log table she liked in a magazine, Karen decided to take matters into her own capable hands and make a quick and easy budget-friendly version. We’ve included the instructions after the jump, but to view the full project, and to read the story behind Karen’s inspiration for the idea and her acquisition of the stump, visit Karen’s very entertaining site, The Art of Doing Stuff. Thanks for sharing another awesome idea, Karen! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE for more of Karen’s log table and Jaime’s jewelry display after the jump!


  • tree stump
  • sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  • polyurethane (high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin . . . whichever you want. I used satin, which has a nice sheen.)
  • paintbrush
  • 1 package of 4 Capita legs from Ikea (I used 6” ones), $19.99
  • drill and appropriate bits
  • pry bar


1. Allow your stump to dry out for two months. It’ll lose several pounds and the bark will loosen, making step 2 easier!

2. After your stump has dried inside for a couple of weeks, insert the pry bar between the bark and the stump. Hammer it enough to loosen the wood. Then keep hammering, or pull the bark loose with your fingers. Keep doing this all the way around the stump until all the bark is off.

3. Sand until you can run your hand over the stump and it feels smooth.

4. Once your stump is smooth, wipe it over with a damp, lint-free cloth.

5. Place your legs on the underside of your stump. Use a measuring tape to make sure they’re an equal distance apart. Once you have the legs positioned, mark the holes in the plates with either a pencil or a marker.

6. Drill holes at the spots you marked for the screws. Once all your holes are pre-drilled, place your legs and brackets back on and screw them into place.

7. Seal the stump with at least four to six coats of polyurethane. Sand lightly between the first couple coats.

Maybe my creativity is a bit tapped out today, but I can honestly say that when I look at this image, all I see is a wooden suitcase. Luckily, when Jaime looked at it, she saw a lot more potential, and she has turned this simple supply box into a beautifully organized, one-of-a-kind jewelry display cabinet with just a few minor adjustments. The lace detail is very charming, and I’m shocked at how many pieces Jaime can fit in there just by adding some strategically placed eye hooks. Job well done, Jaime!

  1. I’m a jewelry hoarder — so that jewelry displa case is right up my alley — what a smart idea!

  2. Gretchen says:

    Wow! Both awesome ideas!

  3. I like the little bit of organic accents in a home…breaks up all the “store bought” feel that can sometimes take over a home…makes the home more real… great project to do with kids…make several tables of different sizes…
    great idea…

  4. Connie says:

    The furry chair is to die for…sitting in a hug!!!

  5. Anna @ D16 says:

    Okay, I really, REALLY need to make something to store my jewelry in. I avoid wearing necklaces just because I don’t want to deal with the detangling involved! Thanks for the inspiration, Jaime. :)

  6. Sing says:

    Love the log table.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Both are brilliant! I might have to make that jewelry display myself. My stash is overflowing!

  8. Julie says:

    I think I see a log table in my future…

  9. Love the log for my urban forest-themed home. I’ve actually already got one quite similar (no legs). Refuse to admit how much I paid for a glazed stump…

  10. bekah says:

    the chair is a bold choice, having the fur cover and having a kitty? They must go through allot of lint rollers!

  11. rebecca in seattle says:

    i have a log slice that’s been hanging out for a couple years. time to do something!!

  12. maranda says:

    love the jewelry organizer-would be great to add a mirror onto the front as well!!

  13. Morgan says:

    This log table how-to + this link I bookmarked a while ago give me ideas :)

    love that furry chair, too !

  14. Love! I’ve been meaning to make a log table for months!

  15. Xoray says:

    Love the jewelry cabinet! Thank you for the inspiration!

  16. Thanks all!

    Morgan –

    Holy CRAP. I’m RUNNINGGGGG for my spray can of 24K Gold right NOW! LOVE IT. ~ karen

  17. KJ says:

    I have been eyeing local tree debris piles for a while and wondering if I could salvage a couple of trunks for night tables…never knew how to strip the bark this is perfect timing!

  18. cait says:

    what a wonderful (& easy) idea for a side table. i LOVE it. for me, anything wood is great.

  19. KelliJ says:

    The jewelry case is brilliant! I’m going to have a DIY project of my own now.

  20. LOVE love love the table! Although… I’d rather buy one than make it. I wonder if I could talk my DAD into doing something like that for me! (o:

  21. love this, can’t wait to make one!

  22. Clare says:

    LOVE the log stump. Going to have to look into making one of these.

  23. Tracy says:

    Love the jewellery case idea! But where do you get a wooden case like that??

  24. Evita says:

    The log table is wonderful.

  25. Nicole C says:

    wow what a wonderful idea!! I would love to have the wooden side table in my house

  26. Betty says:

    I love your furry chair and table combo! Where did the chair come from??

  27. Dayce Cruise says:

    What a nice idea for my custom jewelry!!!
    I have one of those small suitcases where I keep my paint brushes, now I know what to do with it!
    Cute… I can paint it pink or purple and give it to my daughter as a gift, so she can put her collection of long necklaces, great!

  28. Melissa says:

    Love the mongolian lamb fur chair. Where is it from?

  29. Erika says:

    Love both projects!
    The jewelry holder is a very smart idea! Great!

  30. Deena says:

    These ideas are fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration!

  31. Karalee says:

    I am so excited about the log table. I just told my stepdad the other day to bring me home a log the next time he goes to his cabin in Maine to make a side table. Now I don’t have to figure out how!

  32. Jaime says:

    @Tracy, I purchased the wood box from Michaels, but I’m sure any art supply store would carry something similar. Its actually used for paint and paint brushes. Hope you can find one!

  33. Ursula says:

    Karen, I love your cat!

  34. Michael Muro says:

    Do you sell those log tables? I’ve looking for something just like that for a side table in my modernist home. I just would not want legs but the log all the way to the ground. Thanks, Michael

  35. Great ideas. Especially the log table. Very smart
    We have several logs that we want to convert into sidetables for our living room and have been trying to figure out what to use to finish it.
    Thank you!

  36. Sherie says:

    I have a stump, a wine box, a box of cup hooks and Ikea is the next town over. Will do BOTH projects. Thanks for sharing — I’m crafty, but not particularly creative — and appreciate your instructions.

  37. The jewelry display case is fantastic! I am a jewelry artist and always looking for ways to display and store my creations. Thank you for sharing!

  38. Kirsten says:

    Help! Designer flaw on my part- If I hacked off the bark when the wood was still drying ( about a week after it was cut) versus waiting for the bark to peel off. Will the wood still dry properly ? I can’t seem to find any info because you’re suppose to wait! I want this table bad but I fear taking the bark off early ruined it…?


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