Experiences over things, that’s the new consumer mantra. But while creating is in Austin’s collective DNA, not all of us (of any age bracket) were endowed with the genes to naturally prevent a #PinterestFail — and that’s where Austin’s maker community can really save the day this holiday season. They’ve got a veritable Advent calendar of DIY classes.
Whether you just want to create a memorable night out with family, friends, or your significant other, or you want a pro to walk you through the skills and steps needed to create the homemade presents of your dreams, we’ve got you covered with an extensive schedule of 22 crafty events and DIY workshops all happening between December 1st and 24th. It’s Festivus for the rest of us!
Make trendy terrariums while enjoying a Thirsty Thursday with friends or some Saturday morning QT with your mini-me at the Slavonk + Hortus DIY plant bar. Owner Kerri Anderson, whose own stone crop designs are carried by Whole Foods, will teach you how to sling modern succulent arrangements like the pros while playing in the dirt. Plus there’s wine + cheese (on Thursday evenings) or coffee + breakfast bites (on Saturday mornings)!
Deck your doors with something decidedly different this year by letting local East Side floral designer Sam Jenson of Bricolage show you the way to “found & gathered” design. Organic, foraged materials provided, as well as bevvies and snacks.
Is your house looking a little bare, rather than all “stockings hung by the chimney with care”? Fix that in a fury, and with personal flare, by creating handmade holiday heirlooms under the watchful eyes of Stitch Lab mentors. There’s a reason Austinites flock to this shop for sewing lessons: Lookbooks, pre-cut kits, and an arsenal of trimmings make this the place to get your DIY on — only thing you need to bring is your basic machine sewing skills and your best Will Farrell in Elf can-do yuletide ‘tude.
Fact: no one ever regifts liquor. Or cocktail-making supplies. Get crafty with a favorite drinking buddy at this class for artisanal barflies, complete with history-of-hooch lessons, or learn how to brew up a batch of custom elixirs to distribute to everyone on your naughty list. Because they’ve been especially good this year. Creative botanical recipes like Coffee + Texas Pecan and Cherry-Hazelnut will no doubt make you the jolliest Santa in the Lone Star State.
One class to yule them all! Part classroom series, part holidays support group, this adults-only weekly workshop is everything you need to click off your gifting list — plus complimentary wine while you DIY popular prezzies like handmade soap, hand-painted and stenciled accessories, and cement home decor.
If hyperlocal organic is your game, this class has your name written all over it. Instructor Kirstin foraged the downed wood branches for each wreath on her grandparents’ property in Fredericksburg, then cut into slices and treated to last. A cool way to introduce a friend or family member to sustainability, or just a feel-good way to spruce up the doorway of your own home (or your holiday host).
Calling all Candy Chemists and Gingerbread Technicians! Get all SCIENCE on your holiday sweets with this unique family-friendly day of fun at The Thinkery. Buy a kit of fresh-baked gingerbread house pieces (made locally by La Mexicana Bakery) and let the Thinkery experts walk you through building with icing and candy, then walk around the museum while your creation dries in the Gingerbread Village.
Trim the tree in a DIY spree thanks to this double-header of workshop events for kids and adults, each featuring six different ornament-making stations set up so that each one is a unique and complete project. Wine (for the big kids) and snacks included!
The ultimate bargain of a DIY-binge, the first 50 tickets sold to this crafting marathon will be just $2 per person thanks to sponsorship from Mighty Swell and CLIF Bar — who also just happen to be providing all the gratis sip + snack goodies to fuel you through making winter decorations and holiday cards.
If you’ve always lamented missing wood shop in high school, then this open-door all-day Santa’s workshop is calling you home. Learn to use multiple types of saws, cut, sand, smooth, and stain/paint all the pieces of this heirloom-quality children’s puzzle — all while noshing on complimentary sips + snacks.
Holiday Pick + Plant: Cement Planter Walk-In Workshop
With Concrete Theory
At The Paper + Craft Pantry
December 3rd, 2016
12 to 5 p.m. (walk in anytime)
2511 E 6th St
Cost: $12 for one; $30 for a set of three
Drop by for some succulent therapy while doing your local holiday shopping at this walk-ins-welcome DIY event with Austin-based Concrete Theory. Make a trifecta of trendy planters for just $10 a piece, perfect for holiday host gifts, and personalize them on site with a plethora of The Paper + Craft Pantry’s lending paints and brushes.
Needing something to look forward to? Swing by the @thepapercraftpantry anytime from 12-5 on Friday, December 2nd for their Pick & Plant event! They are featuring mini planters from Concrete Theory that you can paint for yourself or give as the best gift ever! It's guaranteed to be a good time! 🌵(photo via @ohhhchelsea & @thepapercraftpantry)
Springerle: Making Hand-Carved German Cookie Molds
With Pascal Simon, Owner of Bake Austin
At Austin Tinkering School
December 7th, 2016
7 to 9:30 p.m.
1122 Airport Blvd
Cost: $135 (3 classes + materials)
Part of the “Women, Woodworking + Wine” series, this 3-week class pairs boss babes Kat Heitman of Austin Tinkering School with Pascal Simon of Bake Austin to create traditional German holiday cookies from scratch — including the Springerle mold! The first two classes will be held at the Austin Tinkering School to carve the molds, the last evening will be held at Bake Austin to make, roll, press, and finally bake the cookies. Sampling German “Gluhwein” and Springerle cookies all the way through, naturally.
A really good Pinterest gift combines multiple trends with solid design expertise, and this workshop features a veritable Austin power couple of maker-mentors in Kerri of Slavonk + Hortus, who will teach you everything about serene, detoxifying airplants (aka tillies), and Drea of Hill Country Weavers, who will teach you everything about bohemian yarn design, while you create a hipster wall hanging + nosh on wine/cheese.
Craft Crawl 2016: Holiday Edition
Austin Public Library Carver Branch
December 9th, 2016
1161 Angelina St
Cost: Free (includes supplies)
It’s the library card after dark! For the second year in a row, the Austin Public Library is going hands-on happy hour for the adults with craft stations, live DJ, festive drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Leave the kids at home, grab your best girl or guy, and crank up your creative imagination while learning the “surprisingly accessible” art of quilling, or paper filigree design.
Leave the kids at home and grab your friends for the second annual Austin Public Library Craft Crawl: Holiday Edition! At this adults only, free event you will be able to eat, converse and create a plethora of crafts, including quilling! Quilling is the dazzling art of paper filigree and is a surprisingly accessible art form! So join us after hours on Friday, December 9th from 7-10PM at The Carver Branch Library! #austinpubliclibrary #feelingcrafty #craftcrawl2016 #quilling #quillingart
Even a Charlie Brown tree can get a cool makeover with this ornament-making workshop, where you’ll make a trio of mini succulent orbs — which you can then move from the tree to the windowsill for the rest of the year. Booze and bites, included!
Cookie Decorating 101 Workshop
With Mindy Cohrs of Mindy’s Bakeshop
At The Paper + Craft Pantry
December 10th, 2016
12 to 2 p.m.
2511 E 6th St – Bldg 4, Unit A
Cost: $60 +$5 for gluten-free (includes materials, recipes, 10% off store purchases)
From Instagram cameras to cacti, iced cookies are the “it girl” of sweet treats RN. Learn all the step-by-step basics for creating your own designs from Mindy the Baker at this nearly sold-out session. Includes materials (12 pre-baked cookies + icing), recipe guides, decorating tools to borrow, and 10% off all in-store purchases during class.
Crowler? Growler? Learn all about the trends in craft coffee from Austin’s own Cuvee while crafting three different projects with The Swoon Event and REVELRY. Samples of specialty coffees paired with sweets from local bakeries will power you through, and everyone will go home with a VIP swag bag filled with creative goodies.
Redefining the “craft fair,” the Make-it-Yourself Market features various assembly-line style project-making stations set up so that each one is a unique and complete project. Perfect for the kids, and for parents who want to tag along. Customize your creations, make multiples and give them as gifts, or keep them all for yourselves!
Natural Bath + Body Scrub Workshop
At The Paper + Craft Pantry
December 15th, 2016
6 to 7 p.m.
2511 E 6th St – Bldg 4, Unit A
Cost: $25 (includes materials, recipe guide, sips + snacks, 10% off store purchases)
Treat yo self! Make luxurious DIY all-natural bath supplies to personally get through the present-making marathon of the holidays or whip up perfectly-packaged scrubs with natural ingredients like sugar, salt, essential oils and coffee grounds as stocking stuffers. Pampering and wine drinking led by founder Pei Sim and Chelsea Laine Francis.
Falalalala: Holiday Cocktail Workshop
With The Swoon Event
December 15, 2016
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
2511 E 6th St, Unit E
Cost: $50 (includes materials, light snacks: pastries from local shops + bakers)
Whip up true batches of holiday cheer this year by learning how to properly prepare, measure, and mix delicious, holiday-themed cocktails. This class will cover cocktail basics, like the proper equipment and techniques needed, while serving up snacks and pastries from local Austin shops and bakeries.
Finally learn how to turn those 3 for $10 bunches from Central Market into a professional centerpiece worthy of your holiday table at this workshop with Julie Foreman, owner of Merci Bouquet. The class will cover the basics of how to buy and care for flowers, basic floral arranging, and best of all you’ll be able to take your creation home to impress your guests or to give as a gift.
Brown paper packages tied up with string…look so much cooler when you DIY instead of buy the gift wrap. Learn how to hand-print and -stamp your own wrapping paper patterns as well as techniques for making bows and gift tags. Bring your actual gifts in need of wrapping and check off one more t0-do from the list, while enjoying complimentary wine and snacks. The finish line is in sight!
Be sure to tag Austin.com in your Instagram photos of your finished products!
Featured photo courtesy of Mindy’s Bake Shop/The Paper + Craft Pantry