How to Make an Outdoor Tree Trunk Side Table

When you need an outdoor side table, instead of buying one, use a nature made tree trunk table.

How-to-make-an outdoor-table-from-a-tree-trunk

A tree trunk stump makes the best outdoor table for a deck in a wooded setting. I even made it easy to move. 

How Do You Turn a Tree Trunk into a Table?

To make my tree trunk table, I asked the guy at my local nursery if I could buy one of the cut sections of logs that he was chopping up to make firewood to sell. He sold me this chunk of trunk for $10.  Look for stumps with a wide diameter and about 18″ – 22″ high. 

plant caddy

I placed my stump on a wheeled plant caddy so that I could easily move it around.

Outdoor dining

The tree trunk stump table works perfectly to hold a plant or plate to place an afternoon snack on when I find myself needing a break and want to relax outside.

How to make a rolling outdoor table using a tree trunk

The tree trunk also looks great with a pot of flowers on the top. 

Tree trunk table on deck with a pair of binoculars and flowers on it.

My tree trunk table is going on 4 years. It has greyed with age, but still looks good. 

How Do You Seal a Tree Trunk?

Since my tree trunk table is on my deck that is surrounded by trees, I wanted to keep it as natural as possible. I didn’t remove the bark or seal it with polyurethane. 

If you do want to seal or stain a tree trunk stump:

  • First remove the bark using a crowbar.
  • Once the bark is off, clean the stump well with a hose and scrub brush and let dry.

To seal the tree trunk stump:

  • Use a small to medium-sized paint brush, apply stain, let dry.
  • Then apply two or three coats of polyurethane wood sealant over the surface of the stump. Be sure to get the top and all sides.

  • When finished, allow at least 48 hours for the sealant to dry.
  • This should keep the stump preserved for many years.


Outdoor decorating idea. How to make an outdoor table using a tree trunk. Find out where I found it and how I made it easy to move around my outdoor living space. | In My Own Style

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  1. My neighbor cut her tree and I got a piece of trunk rom her. How long should I dry and how do I find out if it has any bugs. I want to make an outdoor table. Please help.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Raji – If you haven’t seen any bugs on it or channels on the top where a bug may have worked its way out or in, then the tree trunk section may not have any bugs. Mine didn’t. If you are going to keep it outside, it really should not matter. If you are worried that there may be bugs, just look for channeling on the top over a few weeks time. Or if you start to see white crusts forming in spots n the bark. If you don’t see any of this then your tree trunk is good to go.

  2. Alisha Wells says:

    I don’t want to take the bark off, love to keep it as is. But don’t want it to turn gray or attract bugs. What can I use to preserve it?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Alisha – My stump is going on about 4+ years now. I thought over time the bark would come off, but it never has. I didn’t have a problem with bugs, but understand why that could be something to deal with. If you want to seal yours, I would use the spray version of Thompson’s water seal. It would help to stop the weathering process and keep it looking nice. You can check it out here: