Guest blogger: Yes, Please Design: railroad tie centerpiece

Categories   DIY Projects

Hello there! Kelly here from succulentLOVE and yes, please design. I am super thrilled to spend the week with you. Let’s get acquainted. You: super fabulous 100 Layer Cake reader. Me: Purveyor of all things lovely. As a floral designer and event/paper goods designer I am a sucker for the pretty things in life. I do cartwheels for the aesthetically pleasing. Twirl for beauty in any form. With spring in the air and Earth Day right around the corner, I am inspired by finding beauty in the unexpected. This week I’ll be sharing projects that involve using (and in some cases upcycling) everyday objects to create the loveliest of centerpieces.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the natural beauty of the Railroad Tie…


You can find these treasures at most hardware stores. I got mine at Anawalt Lumber on Highland. These railroad ties are mighty heavy, so you may want to recruit some help for this one. My help came in the form of my super handy mister. First, we sawed through the width of the piece to form a 7x9x6” chunk for our centerpiece. You can get about 3 vessels out of one railroad tie.


Said mister then took his handy tools (namely a 2 1/8” Forstner bit) and drilled down about 2” to create a cubby in the wood. Then, using a 1/8” drill bit, he drilled a much smaller hole about 4” into the wood. When he handed me my canvas I squealed with glee. To finish the centerpieces, I took a medium sized succulent and nestled him into the larger hole. Then I took three dried craspedia balls and arranged them in the smaller hole for a pop of yellow.



Lean a vintage metal number against the block and you’ve got a modern rustic centerpiece. Lovely isn’t it?

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Rachel Elizabeth on Apr 19, 2010

These are really cool. I like the rail road tie idea. Reusing something is almost always a good idea.

lydia {ever ours} on Apr 19, 2010

thank you to kelly and thank you for sharing this creative and quite simple diy! looks so cool!

aubrey on Apr 19, 2010

absolutely lovely!

Maaike on Apr 19, 2010

Railroad ties are typically treated with a chemical compound called creosote and can give off a toxic, strong odour. Might want to avoid those kinds of ties! : ) on Apr 19, 2010

Kelly!! Love this great idea! Thx for sharing!

postcards and pretties on Apr 19, 2010

love it!!!

Katie Jo on Apr 19, 2010

LOVE THIS!!! Wish I could start over on my centerpieces now. :(

kelly :: yes, please design on Apr 19, 2010

hi maaike - thanks for your comment. for those ties treated with creosote you can clear coat the block after drilling the holes.

Scottage on Apr 19, 2010

This project dulls your chain saw and removes a guy from his Saturday and Sunday! Buy a pot!

Cathy Crawley on Apr 19, 2010

This is so cool! I can imagine this at a gorgeous country reception.

Audra Colpitts - Vancouver Photographer on Apr 19, 2010

This is so super cute. I love how succulents are becoming beautiful and simple wedding favors and centerpieces.

Jillian on Apr 19, 2010

My wedding is in December and I'm currently LOVING succulents...will they be out of season when its time for me to buy?

Flowers Vancouver on Apr 19, 2010

Genius and brilliant. I particularly love the contrast between the brown and yellow. It feels really earthly but not too much dark. Impressive work of art.

wholesale flowers on Apr 20, 2010

Great idea. I'd probably not go with a railroad ties though because they are treated and don't smell all that great. But it's a fantastic way to create beautiful centerpieces out of old logs. Thank you for the terrific idea!

AugustBride on Apr 21, 2010

Hi Kelly - this is amazing!!! Where did you get the metal numbers from?

kelly :: yes, please design on Apr 21, 2010

thanks AugustBride! The table numbers are from Anthropologie last season. But check out your local flea markets for vintage house numbers for the same effect.

lisa on Apr 22, 2010

in love with this centerpiece! so clever.

Katie C. on Apr 25, 2010

LOVE this!! I have become totally obsessed with billy balls and succulents...such a beautiful, fun yet sophisticated combo! And the added wood...just lovely!! Thanks for sharing and inspiring. I actually posted a little pick of your bouquet on my own blog a last wk :)

helen on May 24, 2010

this is such a lovely idea and looks great - another one for my scrapbook

Flowers Vancouver on Nov 27, 2010

Interesting design..

Juliana on Nov 28, 2010

Amei! lindo demais.

white strapless dresses on Mar 19, 2011

Today is fine. My mother said to me:"Get karen millen dresses please!And look out of the window. What a fine day! Let's go to park,"It was really a good day, So my mother, my classmate and I went to the park. We took some foods in my schoolbag. On the way to the park. I saw strapless dresses in the blue sky with snow-white clouds. I saw pear trees and some apple trees and so on. Below the trees, there are several kinds of flowers. It's colorful, blue, red, yellow, pink, purple, orange and white.I saw some karen millen halter dresses and butterflies in the sky. I ate popcorn, cornflakes, banana and lollipop. They were wonderful. In the afternoon, we went to buy karen millen skirts. I visited the birds, mice, cats, dogs, budgies, hamsters, rabbits and so on.

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