By Nicole Tinkham
Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? The best way to get out of that rut is by discovering fresh new ideas. And the best way to discover these new ideas is by learning something new. The answer? CRAFT GROUPS! A craft group is a gathering of creative minds working on projects together. We mentioned crafty parties in a previous blog but now we’re talking about regular meetings. We understand that putting something like this together can be overwhelming with meeting times, location, projects, cost, food, and more. But we’ve also realized how simple it can be if done right. For instance, having a different hostess each month can take a lot of the pressure off of you. Read on for 6 things to consider when starting a craft group.
1. Initial questions – Figure out what type of group this will be and who will attend
What’s the goal of the craft group? – Improve skills? Make new friends? Swap ideas?
Who do you want in the group? – What are they into? How old are they? What other hobbies do they have? What’s their home life like (married, children, etc.)?
When, where, and how often would you like to meet? This can be decided in the first meeting as a group discussion.
What type of projects will you focus on? – Of course you can do a variety of different crafts but it may be helpful starting with something specific like paper crafts or jewelry making.
2. Ways to get started – How to spread the word and invite people
Word of mouth – Start with your group of friends and host your first meeting among like minded people. Then have those friends invite some of their friends next time who might be interested. You can see how this has potential to grow quickly. It depends on the space available but if you have a large area and a few people instructing, you can turn these groups into something huge. But if you want to keep it small, we recommend about 10 people.
Social media group – You can meet a ton of new people in Facebook crafting groups. Form relationships with these people first before inviting them to your craft group and if they aren’t local you could try a virtual craft group.
Meetup.com – This is a social gathering tool where you can find a ton of different groups centered around various hobbies. Create your own to get more local artists in your craft group!
3. The details – What you need to start thinking about
Length of time (we recommend two hour sessions)
How often – Once a month works well for most people.
Each person pays the hostess for supplies – $10 to $20 typically works well but it depends on the project.
Things work out nicely when the hostess provides the supplies so people don’t have to bring their own. However, if they want to bring something special (like a particular craft paper) that’s fine too.
The hostess should also be the instructor but the hostess can switch from person to person each month.
It’s a good idea to email the invites and have recipients RSVP by a certain date so the hostess can get everything ready. Also consider requiring those who RSVP pay the fee even if they don’t show up.
You can also host the group at a place where you can rent space if you have little room in your house.
Have others bring the food. We recommend keeping it simple and nothing too messy!
Set up supplies ahead of time, make sure you have plenty of space, and have extension cords ready if needed.
Complete an example of the project so others can mimic it. Also be sure to float around to help others when they have questions.
Consider dry time and the tools needed. Some projects may not be dry in time to do the whole thing in one session. And certain tools like a saw for wooden projects may not be the best idea in a group like this.
4. Your first meeting
Do something simple that doesn’t take long.
Plan for future meetings and brainstorm project ideas together. You can even vote on projects that people want to do in the future.
Act as if this is a trial run. It doesn’t have to be perfect but from the first meeting you’ll learn and be able to make changes for future meetings.
Start with just a few close friends so you don’t overwhelm yourself.
Do a project you’re confident with and can easily explain.
5. Why form a craft club?
To try things you wouldn’t normally do on your own
To learn new things from other creative people
To meet new friends in your area
To gain a social life and escape the stresses of life
To be inspired and get your creative spark back
6. Craft ideas
Holiday themed projects
Get more ideas on Pinterest and get the whole group involved
Don’t let the planning part of a craft group hold you back from starting your own! Determining what type of group it will be with what type of people, switching hosts every month, planning it out as a group, and having a fun purpose behind it sets you up for success. The key is having fun. It doesn’t matter if there are slip ups or few people attend your first one. Make it fun anyway!
Tell us, do you have a craft group you’re part of? What are your best tips for starting one?