How to Plan and Set Up for an In-Person Craft Workshop
I remember a few months ago a very well-meaning customer asked me if I taught craft classes. I immediately said “No.” I write tutorials, I make most of the crafts, we do shows, and I sell at retail locations as well as online. That’s enough, right?
Fast-forward a few months and guess who is planning her next class? The same girl who said to her husband almost two years ago, “I don’t ever want to do an arts and crafts show”. We are booked for another season of shows and I’m super excited!
I seriously put that question out of my mind and never thought about it again, until an acquaintance reached out to me and asked me to teach a class. My answer this time was a quick “yes.” The rapidity of my reply surprised me. I have learned to say no at this point in my life. So, I spent some time thinking about why I said yes so quickly.
Then I remembered my commitment to lean into the crafting world. I had decided to leave the healthcare field and focus entirely on art as a career. This was another opportunity to do just that.
How to Find Participants
My first craft class came together at my friend’s church. She asked me to teach a class of her lady friends at their church. Perfect! She did all the signups, and I came up with an idea. Since then, I’ve been given the liberty of asking a few of my friends to join. This Friday, we’ll have over 20 ladies in the fellowship hall, making fall lanterns with glass jars.
Starting in November, I will be conducting a class at the public library. If you have a desire to teach what you love, check out the options at your local library. Ours has a database of what they call performers. It is available to librarians county-wide, so in my case, there are seven libraries that could potentially use my services. They are willing to pay me for my time and provide the supplies.
Another option to consider is your local craft stores. Michael’s offers classes at their retail locations.
Now that you have some ideas for the “where,” let’s talk about the “how.”
Part of planning a successful craft workshop is choosing a project that can be completed in the time allotted. Between 1-2 hours is the typical time frame it takes to conduct a class.
As for the craft we make, I like to consider the season and the holidays that may be approaching. Another consideration is the location. We live in a beach community, so anything related to coastal décor is a hit. For instance, the last workshop featured these coasters complete with caddy. Everyone left with a finished set and a functional item they were proud of. Several of the women have gone on to make more sets to give as gifts.
They also left with a few new skills that will translate to other craft projects they may do in the future.
Making Craft Kits and What to Charge
So far, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to walk into a prepared space in a designated room. The tables are set up with appropriate covers and there is nothing I need to do to the space. That doesn’t mean that I don’t spend hours preparing for a class. After I think of or research a project, I must do the project to make sure I can teach it and that it can meet all skill levels. Then there are the materials to consider.
If you follow me here, you know that I am a thrifter and I like to get my materials for free if I can. It keeps junk out of landfills, helps me make a bigger profit and it keeps my workshops affordable. I’ve been charging a $10 flat fee per person. The challenge for me is to find supplies that will still allow me to get paid. This payment schedule is working for me and most of my students agree that they’re getting more than they paid for.
Once I’ve decided on a craft and made it, it’s time to put those kits together. Every attendee will need a bag of materials that we will use in the workshop. For the coaster project, each kit contained four ceramic tiles, four cork tiles, a napkin, a foam brush, and a small paper plate. Common-use items like mod podge can be passed around the table as needed.
My class sizes have been about 20. I use Ziplock bags to assemble kits and I always make a few extra in case we have some stragglers. For our next workshop, we’re using glass jars. I am requiring each crafter to bring their own jar of choice. Everybody has access to glass jars and most of us can get ours for free right from our own refrigerator. Just eat the pickles first! It also allows everyone to choose the size and shape of their project. And it saves me the hassle of toting around a few dozen jars.
Since I am a working artist who is on a local and national show circuit, I also include my business card and information about shows we may have coming up in the craft kits.
Opportunity Creates Opportunity
You don’t have to say yes to everything that you are asked to do. I have found that saying yes to the right things, makes more opportunities to promote my business. Last week, I was busy in my workshop when a new friend who attended a craft class dropped off a box of beautiful handmade wood products that I can add my artwork to.
Another opportunity that arose from saying yes was the door it opened at the local library. Once I had a class or two under my belt, I knew I could do it and pursued more venues with confidence.
If you’re itching to start a craft class, start with your circle of friends and watch it grow! Until next time – happy crafting!
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