I have several tree stumps, and I've been looking for a good way to use them. I didn't really know where this project was going when I started, I just started doing stuff and quit when I felt like it was done.
Step 1: Carving the Top of the Stump
Carve a depression in the top of the log a little deeper than the height of the tallest bead. There will be a thin layer of epoxy below and above the beads, so the depression needs to be slightly deeper than the bead's height.
Draw a line all the way round the top of the stump about half an inch away from the edge.
Use a surfacing bit on a router to cut a smooth and even depression.
Step 2: Carve the Fireplace
Cut a fireplace out the side of the log. A spade bit will quickly remove the bulk of the material. Then a chisel can be used to clean up the edges and give the shape a bit more character.
Step 3: Adding the Top Image
Pour a couple layers of epoxy into the depression you carved in the top of the stump. This will seal in the cracks and keep the air bubbles from spoiling the final image.
After the epoxy dries, arrange the beads and pour another thin layer of epoxy over them.
Draw/carve/paint the scene. I practiced on a sheet of acrylic to get the right look. I decided not to paint the tree trunk because the wood from the log looked better than any tree I could paint.
I'm not a very good painter, so I masked off the tree while I painted the sky. Then I masked off the sky while painting the grass.
Finally, pour enough epoxy to make the surface smooth. I did this in several stages to make sure the top was perfectly smooth and level.
Step 4: Building the Fireplace
Glue square beads across the bottom of the fireplace.
When the glue dries, lay the log on its back and coat the inside of the fireplace with epoxy.
When the epoxy dries, stand the log upright, and pour round beads into the bottom of the fireplace. Pour epoxy over them and mix them around to make sure all the beads are lightly coated.
Step 5: Adding Fire to the Fireplace
Drill out a cavity in the bottom of the stump to hold the battery pack container. I used an outdoor electrical conduit box. They can be found in the electrical section of any hardware store.
To simulate firelight, I used a theater prop sold by J2 LED lighting. Here's a link to the light I used: J2 LED Firelight
Solder a switch into the line, and mount the switch onto the battery pack container.
Drill a hole up through the bottom of the stump, and down through the back of the fireplace for the wire.
Thread the wire through the hole. Connect everything and close the box.
Step 6: Seal the Bark
Seal all the bark with either epoxy or polyurethane. This will help keep the bark on the stump.
Step 7: Add Logs to the Fireplace
Place small sticks over the fire LED and glue them in place