How to make a fake tree stump

Updated February 21, 2017

Fake tree stumps can be purely decorative, such as those found in gardens, or used for practical purposes in a stage play, haunted house or other production. If you wish the stump to be used as a seat, it may be easiest to use a low wooden stool as a base. With the addition of chicken wire and plaster bandages, a stump can be quickly formed around the stool and painted to match whatever species of wood that you desire.

Cut several large squares of chicken wire with metal shears. Begin with 2-foot squares and adjust the size depending on what size you find the easiest to work with.

Wrap the chicken wire around a wooden stool, working from the seat to the ground, to form a stump shape. Looking at actual tree stumps can help you create a natural shape. The stool will ensure that the stump can support weight, allowing you to sit on it if necessary.

Twist the loose end wires of the different squares together with pliers to connect them, and staple the wire to the sides of the stool.

Cut several rolls of plaster bandages into 12-inch strips. Use the widest bandages that you can purchase.

Dip the first bandage strip into a bucket of water. Squeeze out any excess water and place the strip onto the chicken wire located at the top of the stump.

Cover the entire stump in strips of plaster bandage. Apply the bandages in a random criss-cross pattern for the strongest surface.

Arrange the wet bandages covering the seat into a circular pattern to simulate the stump's growth rings.

Allow the bandages to dry.

Apply a second layer of bandages to the sides of the trunk. These should each be slightly crushed and rumpled to simulate an irregular bark texture. Note the pattern and direction of the texture as you add each bandage so that they all appear to travel in the same direction.

Allow the second layer of bandages to dry.

Paint the entire stump with acrylic paint in a dark wood colour and allow it to dry.

Drybrush the stump with a lighter wood colour. Wipe most of the paint off of the brush before drawing it across the bark texture. Only the highest parts of the bark will be painted, leaving darker shadows and crevices intact.

Drybrush the lighter colour onto the top of the stump, colouring only the tops of the swirls and allowing the darker rings to show.

Allow all of the paint to dry. If the stump is to be kept outside, brush on a layer of protective polyurethane to prevent the plaster bandages from becoming soggy due to moisture.


Place some dirt, wood chips or other items from your garden around the base of the stump to hide the bottom edge.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken wire
  • Metal snips
  • Wooden stool
  • Pliers
  • Staple gun
  • Plaster bandages
  • Scissors
  • Bucket of water
  • Acrylic paint
  • Brushes
  • Urethane (optional)
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About the Author

Alex Smith began writing in 2006 and brings a combination of education and humor to various websites. He holds a Master of Arts in theater and works as a professional makeup and special-effects artist.