We were invited to create 3 pieces at AR Workshop Westfield. As always, all opinions are our own.
D-I-Y The Whole Family Will Want To D-O!
You know it was a successful DIY night out when your 7-year-old son says, “Next time we go to AR Workshop Westfield because it was SO MUCH FUN I want to make …” three times before school the next day. When your daughter actually squeals with joy when she sees the stencil prepared for her project, and when your own heart beats fast at the excitement of hanging your creation on the wall of your new home. You’re curious now, right?
What exactly is AR Workshop Westfield?
What makes it so memorable?
AR Workshop Westfield is a DIY workshop business that began in North Carolina and just came to Westfield last month with owner Joanna Rapuzzi. The projects are just like what you’d find at Hobby Lobby or Christmas Tree Shops, or on Etsy but why buy when you can make your own and MAKE them your own? The list of projects includes plank signs, lazy susans, tote bags, pillows and more! The graphics available are on trend and the color options are endless.
I wasn’t sure how we’d choose what we’d want to do at AR Workshop Westfield, but I knew I personally wanted something to mark our upcoming move. My daughter is interested in hand lettering so I knew she’d find something she’d love, but I wasn’t sure about my 7-year-old son. I reached out to Joanna who made some adjustments to what was available for our workshop. Success with a round piece of wood painted to look like a soccer ball!
There’s plenty of DIY places out there, from beading to sewing to painting and even glass making. Any time spent creating with your kids is worthwhile, but as we are in the middle of a move the amount of STUFF accumulated has been a concern of mine. In looking at the projects, I knew I wouldn’t see something from AR Workshop Westfield as STUFF! Not only am I excited to display the sign I created, I imagine it will become quite the family heirloom. I can imagine making gifts for others there, but even more so, I can see giving a workshop as a gift. (In fact, I did – it made a perfect end of the year/farewell gift to a very special teacher!)
At the time you register online for your AR Workshop Westfield workshop or private session, you choose your project. Only the type and graphic is needed, as the staff at AR Workshop Westfield will have your wood/canvas piece and stencil ready for your visit. When you arrive at AR Workshop Westfield, be ready to wish you could do multiple projects! All the samples are so well done – eye-catching and stylish and the space is inviting with music playing, casual seating and even a bar in the back if you’re having a girls night. No detail has gone unnoticed as you can see from the apron rack.
First, you’ll get your apron on and get ready! Before actually getting to work, you’ll need to think about your color palette. I teased my daughter she’d have a time limit because there really are a lot to choose from! From the stain, stain, and color wash or paint to start the project to the colors of the words and graphics, no project is the same and you’re able to create yours to your liking. Also, there’s no right or wrong, so don’t be intimidated by the beautiful samples, instead be inspired.
Before applying the colors though, it’s time to use some of the tools found around the workshop. Round the edges with a planer, add some distressing on the surface, sand the edges; Joanna and staff will guide you along the way for your desired look. Some power tools come out before the staining, to attach the hangers or in my case, nail the entire plank sign together. The kids really liked being trusted to do these tasks, but if you feel their skills aren’t up to it the staff will, of course, help out.
Now for the colors! There are multiple stains to choose from, and an endless number of ways to “wash” them after. Want a hint of blue, or for your sign to be white with the grain showing through? You can do that! My daughter decided to paint her sign, because you can do that too – it’s your creation! Stain dries quickly so there’s a short wait time before applying the stencil to the wood. The application of the stencil to the wood looks intimidating but again, you have help if needed! Then it’s paint time. Watching the project come together from raw wood to your chosen colors is more exciting than I would have predicted. When the stencil comes off and you see your custom piece you may feel like it’s Christmas morning. We all did!
Our projects took about 2 1/2 hours to complete. At no time were we bored or wishing the time to speed past – it was a fully engaging and rewarding practice! Joanna and her staff were so attentive and patient, not to mention encouraging. For someone like me who feels they missed the creativity gene, she has a way of helping without judgement. You can also tell she’s a mom of young kids with her patience and encouragement around her littlest crafters. And with that, AR Workshop Westfield is a perfect place for you to bring your little ones for some summer memory making!
Find out more about the AR Workshop Westfield on their calendar of workshops or website.
Want to see more from our visit to AR Workshop Westfield? See our Facebook album!
AR Workshop is located at 226 North Avenue West, Westfield. On street and parking lot metered parking is available nearby. Check their website to schedule a workshop, hours vary.
Spending the day in Westfield? Make sure you check out our Parks and Playgrounds listing for some of our favorite Union County parks!
In full disclosure, we were invited to create 3 pieces at AR Workshop Westfield. We appreciate AR Workshop Westfield’s support of Jersey Family Fun and our efforts to share fun New Jersey activities with our readers. As always, all opinions are our own.