Style » Grooming

Get Crafty: DIY Home Decor

by Jill Gleeson
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Apr 2, 2014

Spring has at long last sprung and that means spiffing up the homestead. But this year, why not indulge that do-it-yourself urge and make your own décor? In addition to saving money, you'll also be setting free your inner artist.

Even if you've never so much as picked up a hammer or threaded a needle, there are special places out there that are itching to mold you into the next David Bromstad or Nate Berkus and help you build your own furniture, sew your own quilt and make all manner of awesome art you'll be proud to place on your walls.

EDGE discovers five DIY destinations for playing with your inner child with results that are age-appropriate, though the taste level may be in the eyes of the creator.

Rebuilding Exchange, Chicago

At Chicago’s innovative Rebuilding Exchange, not only can you make your own home décor, you can also help the planet by doing it with reclaimed materials. Beginner workshops offered include the four-week Woodworking 101, which teaches students shop class fundamentals as they fashion their own tabletop using salvaged lumber from the Rebuilding Exchange’s warehouse.

For more advanced craftsmen, says instructor Sergio Castro, "We have classes in which you can build anything you can dream. You pay per class until it’s done. My favorite was three tennis court lamps that were repurposed into a chandelier to hang in a beautiful loft. Also, we have the ’Make It Take It’ classes that are typically three to four hours and you can take home very useful things such as benches, framed mirrors and crates, all made from reclaimed wood."

Painting Lounge, New York City

Want to create your own masterpiece to hang on the wall of your home but worried you don’t have a Picasso-esque bone in your body? Check out New York’s Painting Lounge. During each two, two-and-a-half or three hour class, an instructor leads students step-by-step through recreating the evening’s featured painting.

While the artwork replicated is often by a heavy-hitter like Monet, Van Gogh or Warhol, the atmosphere of the class is laid-back and fun. Not surprising, since the Painting Lounge’s Manhattan studio is now sporting a liquor license so students can BYOB. (The Brooklyn location doesn’t yet have its liquor license.) All art supplies are included in the price of the class, including the canvas on which you’ll paint your pièce de résistance.

Creative Art Center of Dallas

No matter what the objet d’art you envision producing for your home, chances are you can get help making it a reality at the Creative Art Center of Dallas. CAC annually serves up more than 500 eight-week classes and one-day workshops for 1,500 students of all skill levels, covering such disciplines as drawing, photography, mixed media, fiber arts, mosaic, sculpture and even stone carving.

According to the Center’s Executive Director Diana Pollack, "A lot of people come here to work on fused glass, metal art and ceramics. It’s definitely a big trend!" CAC’s home, situated on a two-acre site in a former grade school erected by the WPA during the Great Depression, is pretty nifty, too.

Next page for AS220 in Providence and MakerPlace in San Diego.

AS220, Providence

For DIY’ers anxious to make inventive, singular décor for the home, AS220 in Providence is the place to go. The organization runs a variety of unique workshops dedicated to diverse pursuits like origami, the art of paper folding; collography, which combines the sculptural elements of mixed media with printmaking; and even building a word clock, those clever constructs that tell the time in phrases rather than numerals.

There are also a variety of photography classes available at AS220, including introductory 35mm and darkroom classes, and several levels of silkscreening courses. Looking to print fabric with designs from the deepest recesses of your mind for cool curtains, aprons and more? Don’t miss the intermediate silkscreening workshop later this spring.

MakerPlace, San Diego

With complete metal, wood and electronic shops boasting some seriously heavy duty machinery - including everything from high-powered lasers precise enough to engrave wine glasses to multi-needle embroidery and industrial sewing machines capable of stitching comforters - MakerPlace in San Diego is a home décor DIY fantasy made reality. Membership is required for access to equipment except during classes, which are open to the general public and cover topics like copper enameling, sewing and TIG welding.

"We’ve got people who are making anything from dressers to jewelry boxes," says co-founder Michael Salmon. "People make wall art, furniture... I’ve had guys upholstering their couches, doing coffee tables. My mom has been in there quilting. We really do have a strong population of people who do home goods - it runs the whole gamut. There isn’t really anything that people aren’t doing!"

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.


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