The best things in life may be free, but the next best things are handmade. Give your wallet a break and instead of buying stuff, learn how to make it. Brooklyn is the unofficial home of DIY, so where better to learn to create your own goods? Here’s our guide to crafty classes. Did we miss your favorite? Send it along!
The mothership for DIY-ers is, of course, Etsy. Their craft space, Etsy Labs, is open for general crafting (using their materials or your own) and occasional classes led by instructors on Monday nights from 4-8pm. Check their schedule to see what is happening on the next few Mondays (no craft night on the 19th in honor of MLK Jr. Day). Their recent soap making class sold out in advance, so be sure to reserve a spot if you want to get in on their upcoming sugar scrub or Valentine making classes. They also offer open crafting time from 2-6pm on the first Sunday of the month. There are more in-depth workshops on the weekends as well, like this month’s screen-printing and bookbinding classes (two dates each in January). Past classes include a tutorial on making homemade underwear from old t-shirts and “Embroidery as a Drawing and Narrative Tool.” Etsy Labs, 325 Gold Street, 3rd Floor, Downtown Brooklyn.
Forget about those overpriced design-y furniture shops and make your own coffee table and other functional pieces in 3rd Ward’s woodworking classes. Plan ahead for their February dates — most of the wood workshops in January are booked already. 3rd Ward also offers more artsy classes: Drawing from Chaos (this 8-week class includes free pizza each class night. Score!), Erotic Photography, Night Welding, and Intro to Silver Smithing Jewelry. You can also advance your professional skills with their classes in video editing, web design, graphic design, and business plan writing. 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue at Stagg, Bushwick, (718) 715-4961.
The winter session starts this week at Choplet ceramics studio for their 8-week sessions. They offer one class a week plus unlimited studio time, materials, and instruction for beginners or those trying to brush up on skills learned long ago in high school art class. There are enough wheels to go around for throwing projects, and a hand building studio for sculptural or other hand-built pieces. There is typically a mold making or Raku firing workshop each session. Choplet, 238 Grand Street, Williamsburg, (917) 547-8316.
On the nerdier side of crafts, NYC Resistor is a great place to make creative but techy stuff, typically including a laser or LEDs. Check out their Freeform Flower Workshop on January 25th, which combines soldering, electronics and crafty goodness. Go home with your very own LED-bedazzled hair clip or headband. NYC Resistor, 397 Bridge Street, 5th Floor, Downtown Brooklyn, (888) 881-2802.
Sewing and Knitting Classes
Choose from knitting, sewing, spinning, embroidery, or applique small group classes at Brooklyn General, 128 Union Street between Columbia and Hicks, Columbia Street Waterfront District, (718) 237-7753
Take private or group sewing classes with Laura McCracken, an FIT and Parsons educated seamstress with 25 years of experience. Sew NY, 62 Livingston Street, Suite 8, Brooklyn Heights, (917) 771-6854.
Knit away with knitting classes at the aptly named Knit-a-Way, 398 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill, (718) 797-3431.
We’ve told you about these fine establishments before, but they’re worth another mention:
Flirt offers Intro to Sewing and Intro to Knitting at their Home Ec space, 303 3rd Avenue at Carroll, Gowanus.
Urban Glass offers glass blowing workshops and individual classes. 647 Fulton Street, Fort Greene, (718) 625-3685.
Keep an eye out for Treehouse to announce their new winter class schedule in the next couple of weeks. Treehouse Brooklyn, 430 Graham Avenue, Williamsburg, (718) 482-8733.
Spacecraft has sweet walk-in crafts for kids and grown-ups every day, and will soon begin craft classes and workshops. Plus, you can schedule a one-on-one session if you want individualized crafty help. 355 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, (718) 599-2718.