10 Things to Do with... Cross-Cut Trees

Cross-sections of a tree branch are all that keep you away from a house full of one-of-a-kind rustic, woodsy decor.

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  1. Cross-Sections


    Fallen branches and trees don't often have much to look forward to besides becoming mulch on the forest floor. But with a little ingenuity, designers are starting to find new ways of using wood and cross-cut lumber indoors as decor.


  2. Trivet


    A medium-size cross-section of a log makes an excellent trivet, protecting your kitchen counters and dining table from the likes of hot casserole dishes. Add felt pads from the hardware store to make the trivet easier to move, and you've got a versatile and attractive new kitchen staple!

    DIY Del Ray

  3. Charger


    Rustic chargers under fine holiday china create an interesting juxtaposition, while the levelness of the chargers steady dinnerware on the table. If you're short on timber, an online source like Save on Crafts offers pre-cut versions that you can seal yourself.


  4. Coasters


    Around the holidays, there's bound to be a lot of company at the house. Use tree-slice coasters to protect the finish on your coffee and side tables from spills. Made from smaller tree branches and sealed with mineral oil, these can also be bundled together as a set to make a host or hostess gift. To skip the DIY route, try this readymade version from Terrain.


  5. Cake Stand


    When the dessert hour rolls around, surprise your guests with multiple levels of treats displayed on a woodsy cake stand. A smaller trunk acts as the base while a larger slice adhered with wood glue holds the cake or pie. Seal the top with a food-safe finish or add a round doily cut from parchment paper. Full instructions, including a source for cross-cut wood plaques, are available from Once Wed.


  6. Vase


    Vases made from logs are another take on the theme. If routing out the log is too time-consuming or tool-specific, try using a sheet of bark, often sold at craft or floral supply stores, wrapped around a yogurt container or large glass jar to get the look without the work.


  7. Place Cards


    If you need to keep certain relatives apart, place cards make it easy to assign seats. These place card holders are made from medium-size branches that have been saw-cut on an angle and notched on top to hold cards with guests' names.


  8. Table


    Beyond tabletop decor, a coffee or side table made from a fallen tree trunk makes a bold yet relaxed statement. After drying out the wood in a warm room, sand down the top with a hand sander, then apply primer and a coat or two of paint (remembering to sand with fine grit paper between coats). Furniture coasters on the bottom make these heavy specimens easier to move around. Full instructions available from Martha Stewart.

    Martha Stewart

  9. Cutting Board


    A good cutting board is a kitchen necessity. To make your own, simply sand a medium-size log cross-section on top and bottom before applying a food-safe lacquer.


  10. Ornaments


    Holiday ornaments can cost a pretty penny. Slices of a tree branch, each drilled with a hole and strung with twine, make for great alternatives to store-bought decorations.


  11. Night Stand


    At the end of a long night of entertaining, tuck into bed next to a log night stand. Again, let the log dry out completely in a warm and dry area (this also allows the bark to be easily removed). Next, sand down the top and sides. Keep it natural with a coat of low-luster polyurethane.


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