How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump? (Step By Step Guide)

After a big tree falls, either naturally or by hauling the stump usually remains in the garden. While you may be leaving these around to save cost and time, they are potential trip hazards and unsafe for those with children at home. Besides they also put a damper on the aesthetics of the garden.

The best way to deal with such stumps is by hollowing and turning them into something creative. This article has covered various methods regarding how to hollow out a tree stump and a few creative things you can do after hollowing. 

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump? Complete Guide

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump?

Though there are not many reasons to cut down trees in your yard or garden, it’s advisable to be down with the dangerous ones that are damaged in some ways. However, not many can part with their beloved trees completely. Hollowing the tree stump and using it as a garden or indoor decor is a good idea.

Materials needed for hollowing out:

Hollowing a tree requires proper planning. Besides, you need to have your tools and resources to make your project successful. Though the choice of your instruments will depend on the method you select, the basic ones are:

  • Chainsaw.
  • Power drill.
  • Hammer and chisel.
  • Wood carving gouge.
  • Protection eye gear.
  • Sandpaper.
  • Garden gloves.

As you see, these are standard tools available in both online and offline hardware and garden storefronts. 

How to Hollow Out a Tree Stump (step by step guide)

Step-by-step instructions for hollowing out

  • Preparing the stump for hollowing out: In the preparation stage, wait for the wood to soften. Thus, starting the hollowing process a day or two after a rainstorm is advisable. As the wood gets softer by absorbing water, it becomes more pliable. 
  • Marking out the area to be hollowed out: Make the process simpler by marking the portion of the tree you want to hollow. Use a drill machine to punch holes across this section. Make sure the holes are a few inches apart in the section.
  • Removing the inner wood: Using tools like an ax, hammer, chisel or chainsaw, remove the wood from within. Begin the chipping from the edge of the holes by keeping the chisel at a 45-degree angle. Once the wood is removed, place it on a compost pile. You can use this as mulch later.  
  • Sanding and smoothing out the inside of the stump: Clean the hollowed area and even its jagged edge with coarse sandpaper. 
  • Adding drainage holes to the bottom of the stump if desired: This will be essential if you want to use the stump as a planter

How do you hollow out a tree stump by hand?

Hollowing a stump by hand is the safest approach, however, it’s also the slowest and labor-intensive. It’s advisable to have your safety gear on during the process. 

How do you hollow out a tree stump by hand
  • Select a chisel: Pick a chisel with a rounded rather than a pointed tip. This will make it easy for you to scope out chunks of wood smoothly. 
  • Work on a wet stump: If you are working manually, it will help greatly if the stump is soft, to begin with. 
  • Drill holes: Some people drill holes at the center of the stump, 8 inches deep and a few inches apart to make the process smoother. 
  • Chisel out: Use the chisel at a 45-degree angle from the flat stump surface. Using the hammer on top of the chisel, scope out chunks of wood from the center. It’s best to leave a few inches around the edge. 
  • Smoothen: Clean the jagged edges with sandpaper.

How do you hollow out a tree stump to plant flowers?

Using the tree stump as a planter is an innovative idea; people have tried it in the past. The process to achieve desired results, in this case, is simple. 

How do you hollow out a tree stump to plant flowers
  • Start by sectioning: Begin by marking the area you will be cleaning to make the planter. Start drilling holes in this area. You can use a chisel or chainsaw to remove the wood too. 
  • Clean the edges: Once you have achieved the desired depth for your planter, use sandpaper to smoothen the rough edges. 
  • Add holes for drainage: It’s best to drill some additional holes at the bottom or the side of the planter to ensure proper drainage. Your plants might get waterlogged otherwise. 

How to hollow out a tree stump with fire?

If you are not comfortable with manual methods and not confident about using a chainsaw, you work with fire. However, using fire to hollow a tree stump is not without challenges. Thus it’s mandatory to take proper precautions. 

This method is not ideal for those with wildfire-prone gardens. Additionally, this method is not ideal if the stump is too close to your home or garage. Finally, check with the local authorities about this use of fire before you use this method. 

How to hollow out a tree stump with fire

1. Prepare the area

Clear the place of any trash, leaves, and debris. Additionally, keep water hoses and fire extinguishers handy. 

2. Drill holes

It’s best to use a Power drill to make some holes in the stump right at the beginning. Otherwise, it might take longer. The holes must be at. 30-degree angle and around 8 inches deep. There should be some space between the holes. Remove the debris that forms around each hole. Avoid drilling to the edge of the stump. 

3. Add inflammable to the holes

To burn the stump well, add inflammable like potassium nitrate to the stump. Do not forget to wear protective gear like gloves and masks while handling such chemicals. If you use white crystalline salt, fill each hole with ½ inch of powder, right to the top.

Pour water into the holes and ensure the powder is dissolved. Once done, wash your hands well and store the remaining powder away in a safe place. 

4. Start the fire

Cover the wood stump with leaf litter, or dry wood scrape and light the fire. The fire will ignite the potassium and it will burn through the holes. It takes time for the stump to catch fire, so be patient.

Avoid using gas to light the fire as it may get out of control. Do not leave the fire alone. You don’t want to burn the stump completely so monitor the process and if the fire gets too big, use the extinguisher. 

5. Douse the fire

Once the fire has taken down most of the stump’s center pour water and sand over it to tame the flame. Cool down the stump completely and dry it before doing anything else. The drying process might take a week or two depending on the weather. 

Creative uses of a hollowed-out tree stump

Once you have hollowed the tree stump, the next thing to do is upcycle it and there are some wonderful things you can do with a tree stump. 

  • Using as a planter: You can use your tree stump as a flower or herb planter. To keep the soil moist, you can plant the trees horizontally or vertically with some potting soil or wood chips. Succulents are ideal for growing in a tree stump planter. 
  • Making it a seat or table: By sanding the tree sump well, and adding polish, you can use it as a nice and chic coffee table. You can also add some cushion and turn it into an earthy seating stool. 
  • Making it into a birdhouse or feeder: Many people do not remove the stump from the garden and use it as a bird feeder or a birdhouse after hollowing. You can also create a bird bath out of it. 
  • Tree trunk bulb holder: This is an easy DIY project, simply smoothen the rough parts of the stump, add a wire connection after drilling the bulb holes and you are set to add a tasteful bulb holder to your home! 

You May Also Find Useful: How To Seal A Tree Stump?


Though trees are an essential part of the ecosystem, leaving the damaged ones in your garden or yard for a long time is unsafe. The best thing to do is to take down such trees and turn them into something creative. In this article, we have highlighted a few ways to hollow a tree stump.

You can choose any as per your convenience. Once done, come up with creative ways to transform the trunk. We have suggested a few methods, but the sky’s the limit for a creative person. 

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