The secret to creating display-worthy, do-it-yourself home decor is all in the maker’s ability to relax and trust the process, say the experts of Santa Clarita’s DIY design studios. A little bit of hands-on instruction also helps.
“My biggest tip is to try to relax and not make it perfect. The instructor is there to guide you, but it doesn’t need to look exactly like the example,” said Stephanie Sewell, owner of Pinot’s Palette in Valencia. “The goal is to step back and let the creativity flow.”
As DIY home decor continues to be a rising trend, local studios offer a safe environment, engaged teachers and fail-safe experiences that invite creatives of all degrees to enjoy the process as much as the final product.
Take a look at these five businesses in Santa Clarita that teach varying creative skills, from woodwork to pottery to furniture painting.
Board & Brush
One of the newest shops on the block is Board & Brush, an instructor-led wood sign workshop in Old Town Newhall that hit the nail on the head when it comes to wall decor.
“When you come in, we have all the raw wood and materials ready for you,” said owner Sue Wilkin. “We work from stencils, so you don’t need any artistic abilities or experience, and an instructor walks you through the process, step-by-step, during a 3-hour workshop.”
With more than 300 designs to choose from, guests can look through an online gallery, register for a design and class time, and just show up. Everything else is taken care of, Wilkin says.
While some customers like to work solo, many also come in groups for birthday parties, wedding or baby showers, company team-building events, fundraisers, and other occasions.
“It’s also a great date night because it’s totally different than the usual,” Wilkin said. “Every guy who’s come in has loved it.”
Part of the draw, Wilkin said, is the atmosphere. Music plays throughout the studio, while beer and wine is available at the bar. Guests also are invited to bring their own food or snacks. With a relaxed vibe and plenty to choose from, there’s one thing for sure, Wilkin says, and it’s that you’ll leave happy.
“Even if you have no idea what you want to create, we’ll help you make something you’re proud to hang on your wall,” Wilkin said.
Board & Brush is open to guests age 21 and older. Projects are priced at a flat rate of $65 for three hours of instruction, the raw materials and the finished product. Some additional charges may apply. Board & Brush is located at 24417 Main St., and can be reached at 661-202-3044.
Ceramic Arts Studio, Inc.
While the name may sound more sophisticated than the average person’s pottery experience, Ceramic Arts Studio, Inc., in Newhall is as approachable as a wheel of wet clay on a hot day.
“Everyone makes their own style of art here, and as long as you’re having fun and picking up some techniques, that’s what it’s all about,” said owner Rima Raulinaitis.
To get the full experience at CASI, Raulinaitis recommends new students take the Beginning Ceramics class, an eight-week instructor-led workshop that teaches all the basic skills necessary to successfully create with clay. Each class begins with the demonstration of a new technique, followed by supervised time to practice and build your own piece. Students typically walk away with eight pieces of what Raulinaitis calls “functional art,” or the art you use every day.
“Think about all the functional art pieces you use every day,” she explained. “Who doesn’t love using a favorite mug or vase? They’re quite easy to make, and the results are stunning.”
A few student favorites include mugs, cups, planters, vases and wall plaques. Succulent art also started a huge craze last year that has continued strong into 2019. Wheel-thrown projects, however, aren’t taught until the intermediate class, Raulinaitis added.
“Most students think of our studio as an escape,” Raulinaitis said. “We play music and encourage friendly conversation. We like to call it the ‘Zen Zone.’”
Open to adults 18 and older, the Beginning Ceramics class costs $295 for eight classes, or 20 hours of instruction, plus three hours a week of open studio time. CASI is located at 22504 6th St., in Newhall and can be reached at (661) 260-2274.
Barn & Charm
Barn & Charm, a vintage boutique in Old Town Newhall, is as much about creating decor as it about shopping for it. With a wide range of semi-private workshops, Barn & Charm students can learn furniture painting and refinishing, transfers, hand lettering, quilting, sewing, candle making, planter design and more — all in an instructor-led, small-group setting.
“Everyone makes different pieces, chooses different colors and tries different workshops,” said owner Carol Reesha, “yet they all leave the workshop with their piece exactly the way they want it.”
Though there’s a wide range of workshops available, each class or series teaches students the basic techniques necessary to finish a project, and everyone walks away with a completed piece.
Since offerings evolve with students and trends, class availability and times are always changing. Barn & Charm first alerts its customers of new workshops through an email newsletter, and if the class doesn’t fill up, then it’s opened to the public, usually via Facebook and Instagram.
Classes fill up quickly, Reesha says, and the most popular ones include chalk/clay mineral based paints, furniture design, succulent terrariums, hand lettering, sewing and quilting.
Prices vary per workshop, from $15 for a single class to $138 for a five-week series. Barn & Charm is located at 22700 Lyons Ave., Suite A in Newhall and can be reached at (661) 255-5466.
For creative instruction the entire family can enjoy, Pinot’s Palette in Valencia teaches painting with a step-by-step, foolproof approach even kids can follow.
“The whole atmosphere lends itself to taking a break,” explained owner Stephanie Sewell. “You’re unplugged from technology, and after a couple of hours, you look up and think, ‘Wow, I connected with something other than my phone.’”
Artists start by checking the online calendar and registering for a time or painting they like the best. When they arrive at the studio, the materials will be set up, and their spot will be marked with their name on the table.
Once the two- to three-hour class begins, an instructor will walk the group through a painting lesson, shape by shape, while another instructor walks around to assist and answer questions. At the end of the evening, each artist goes home with their own personal masterpiece.
Wine, beer and music set the tone for a relaxed, creative session, and guests are invited to bring their own food or snacks. “Generally, you don’t come in looking to learn painting techniques, but you end up picking them up anyway,” Sewell said.
Different classes are open to different age groups, starting at age 6 and up. Classes cost $30-$45 depending on the age range and duration of class time. Pinot’s Palette is located at 25850 McBean Pkwy., Valencia and can be reached at (661) 260-0846.
At AR Workshop in Saugus, home decor projects are built to order, and dreams go according to plan, says the mother-daughter team who owns the studio.
“You can be fearless with your choices here because we teach you each technique you’ll need to create the piece you’re imaging,” said Brianna Burton, co-owner alongside her mother, Rhonda Knights.
Guests start by choosing a project from the large online catalog and registering for a date. When guests walk in, their spot on the workbench has all the power tools, paints and stencils needed, and step-by-step instruction begins. Classes last about 3 hours, and everyone goes home with a finished project.
Wood-based projects include plank trays, frames, clocks, pedestals and more, while fabric-based projects include canvas pillows, totes, canvas wall hangings, knit blankets and other holiday-themed designs.
There’s a non-alcoholic drink bar for light refreshments, and guests are invited to bring their own food and beverages.
“In every group you have a crafty person and not-so-crafty person,” Burton explained. “Even if you think you’re the not-so-crafty person, you will still go home with something you’re proud to display in your home. We make sure of it.”
Projects start at $39.50 for three hours of small-group instruction, all materials and supplies, and a finished piece. AR Workshop is located at 27916 Seco Canyon Rd., Suite 204 in Saugus and can be reached at (661) 288-1903.