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!

maureen lynne

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…

Anna @ D16

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. :)

Theoretical Shopaholic

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…


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

rebecca in seattle

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


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


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!


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


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


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


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

Dayce Cruise

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!


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!


@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!

Michael Muro

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

manvi @ mochatini

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!


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.


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…?