Crafty Kid Places in NJ: Beading, Pottery, Glass-Blowing and More!
As Easter and Mother’s Day quickly draw near, you’re facing the age-old “what to give to Grandma/Grandpa/Aunts/Uncles and various other relatives” quandary. But really, how many “#1 Grandma” mugs can a cupboard hold? You know they truly treasure the handmade gifts from the heart (and little hands) than a trinket from the mall. But before you pull out the playdough, paints and glitter, consider a trip to one of these Create-Your-Own Studios where kids can make blown glass ornaments, a fused glass dish, a hand painted bowl, silver or beaded jewelry, and more. Not only will you wow the crowds, but mom doesn’t have to worry about cleaning paint off the furniture or getting glitter out of the rug!
Create-Your-Own is a blast, but remember that you can’t take it home right away. First it has to be fired. Expect to come back a week later to pick up your finished item, or check with the individual studio as to whether your pottery will be available for pick up earlier. It may seem like a pain, but when you consider the results, it’ll seem a small price to pay.
When the kids want to really impress Grandma with something made by hand, go to Glassworks, a make-your-own studio specializing in fused glass. Even preschoolers can participate by picking out colorful pieces of precut glass and arranging it on clear glass in their layout of choice. The studio then fuses the glass together and you end up with a small tile or large piece of glass to take home (and maybe even make into a night light!). Pick up projects a week later. Projects range in price from $10.-up. Tuesday-Sunday, noon-6pm; Friday noon-9pm. Check out the website http://www.umakeglass.com/studio.html to see samples of what kids can make!
Hot Sand (Asbury Park)
If glass-fusing impresses you, Hot Sand will blow you away! A wide variety of walk-in glass making projects including glass blowing, quick casting, and sun tile await you. Small children can create sun tiles by arranging pre-cut pieces of glass on a clear square and the studio will “melt your collage into a colorful tile.” Quick casting involves making an imprint in sand that the studio uses as a mold and fills with glass. Finally, kids 9-and-up can blow glass into Christmas ornaments, Easter eggs, and glass bubbles. Projects can be picked up 2-3 days later. Prices are $20.-up. Call 732-927-5475 before you go to ensure that the studio will be open.
Artrageous Creations (Moorestown)
The best part of painting your own pottery is that the paint isn’t really permanent until it’s fired so the end result is a surprise, and the chalkiness of the paint leads to less of a mess than you would think (but don’t skip the aprons!). Pick your project and paints, and make sure the little ones paint both sides! Cost depends on the size and complexity of your piece of pottery. Saturday, 10am-9pm, Sunday noon-6pm, and Friday night until 9pm. Check the website for weekday hours or call 856-727-0090.
The Pottery Zone (Philipsburg)
We love paint-your-own pottery places, especially when the drop-in offerings include something for everyone in your family, including paint-your-own pottery, paint-your-own glass, and mosaic making. Just pick your project and pay the studio fee to cover paint, glaze and firing. Individual projects vary in price depending on the size of the pottery you decide to paint. Studio fees are $7.50 for kids 5-and-under, $8.50 for kids 6-12, and $9.50 for adults. Wednesdays, kids pay a half-price studio fee. Saturday, 11am-5pm; Sunday, noon-4pm. For weekday hours check the website or call 908-454-0770.
Brushes and Bisque (Denville)
With a selection of 200 different pieces of bisque and unfinished ceramics, there’s no shortage of creative projects at this paint-your-own studio. Pottery pieces range in price from $4.-$40. and studio fees are $7. for kids under 12 and $9. for adults. Weekend hours are 11am-6pm and Thursday and Friday Brushes and Bisque is open until 9pm. For more information, call 973-627-6292.
The Pottery House (Matawan)
The Pottery House goes beyond just painting pottery. Get your creative fix with a wide variety of drop-in projects including paint your own pottery, mosaics, beading, fused glass projects, and even metal art and silver jewelry making! The prices of projects vary greatly, so call in advance if you have something specific in mind. Saturday, 11am-9pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. Fridays open until 8pm. Check the website or call 732-970-7613 for weekday hours, especially if you are planning to come within an hour of closing time.
Color Me Mine (Summit)
Whether you are in the mood to paint pottery or make mosaics, Color Me Mine is the place to get it done. They have a selection of 400 different pottery items and offer extras like pre-made line drawings that you can apply to your work if you feel your drawing is not up to par. Pottery prices start at $3.50 and go up to $60. Studio fees are $9. for ages 10-and-up and $6. for kids under 10. Monday-Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, noon-6pm. Call 908-598-0248 for more details.
Express Yourself Studios (Maplewood)
While this is mostly a painting and art studio, a couple of the drop-in events caught our eye. On Saturdays there are artistic outlets for kids of all ages:. Crafter Toddlers takes place from 10am-11am with a new theme every week ranging from paint to clay. Studio Saturday for kids ages 5-12 are offered from 1pm-2pm or 3:30pm-4:30pm. Both events are just $15. per child (and do I need to remind you that there’s no mess to clean up at home)?. Even more fun are the studio’s Pizza & Pottery events every fourth Thursday of the month. From 6-8pm, kids 5-to-12 learn and use hand-building techniques to make clay masterpieces while munching on pizza for just $20./person. Call 973-763-5256 in advance to reserve a spot.
BEADS & JEWELRY
Just Bead Yourself (Westfield)
Rather than bringing beads home so they end up lost under the couch or forgotten in a drawer, make the kids design and make their creations on location! Just Bead Yourself has walk-in workshops with experienced staff there to help out which requires no advance planning or notice. Cost per project varies depending on your bead selection. Or you may want to sign up for one of their "Afternoon Tea with my Doll and Me" where little girls can create matching necklaces for themselves and their dolls in a two-hour tea party event ($35. per child, advance registration required). Calling ahead is recommended even for walk-ins. Walk-in hours are Saturday from 10:30am-4:30pm, Sunday from 12:30pm-4:30pm. Check the website for holiday hours and after-school hours or call 908-232-3411.
Montclair Bead Works (Montclair)
Montclair Bead Works wants kids ages 6-and-up to “Bead it, just bead it, Unh!” Kids design and finish two bracelets complete with clasps for $35. Closed Mondays and open from 11am-6pm most days except Friday, when they’re open until 7pm, and Sunday when they close at 5pm. For more information including specific class times, call 973-744-3202.