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DIY wall art

So you’ve been looking for something nice to hang on your wall, and after racking up tons of miles driving all over town, nothing seems to float your boat. Well, there’s truth in the old adage that if you want something done right, then do it yourself.

The do-it-yourself trend is quickly becoming the go-to option for alternative home decor solutions nationwide. Several small businesses offering a variety of workshops have recently popped up throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Board &Brush, a Wisconsin-based company that started in 2017, has two franchises in Las Vegas: 4790 S. Ft. Apache Road, which opened in February 2018, and 3255 St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, which opened in March. Both are operated by co-owners Lesli Lewis and Amber Jung.

With more than 200 different wooden signs to choose, Board &Brush offers workshops where people can select a precut sign of their choice, sand it, stain it, paint it and stencil on their own personal declaration. All is done under the direction of either Lewis or Jung at workbenches shared by family, friends or strangers in a stress-free environment augmented, if you like, with a glass of wine or beer. Sweet!

“The fun thing about our projects is that they are all personalized,” Lewis said. “People come here for date night, corporate team building, birthday parties or just to do something fun with friends.”

Board &Brush’s rustic wooden decor signs range in sizes from 12 by 12 inches and up depending on what pattern sign is selected. A workshop usually lasts 2½ to three hours.

Kim Bannister was making a sign to hang in the kitchen. It stated: “Yours + Mine = Ours. Kim &Ed.”

“This is something a little more creative and fun to do and something I didn’t think I could do,” Bannister said. “The most difficult part is getting a little messy.”

Samantha Roberts and her daughter, Haley, decided to take the workshop together for some mother-daughter bonding time. Haley’s sign said: “Always Do What You Are Afraid to Do.” Samantha’s sign was more light-hearted: “Sippin’ Grillin’ and Chillin’ at the Roberts.”

“I’m the artsy-fartsy girl,” Samantha Roberts said with a grin and little laugh. “We’ll put this on the patio.”

Workshops are booked to accommodate from four to 30 people, Lewis said. Cost is $68 per person, which includes instructional support and supplies of paints, stains, stencils and use of tools. For team-building events and teenagers 13 to 16 years of age, the cost is $35 per person; children 6 to 12 is $25 per child; and private-event fundraising is $65 per person.

“I love that people come in who aren’t sure about themselves,” Lewis said. “You don’t have to be good at a craft. You leave with something you are super proud of.”

“People like learning new things,” Jung added. “And when they create something themselves, it’s more personalized.”

Corks ’N Crafts, located at 1875 Festival Plaza Drive in Downtown Summerlin, recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Its workshops range anywhere from 10 to 50 people, attesting to the popularity of the DIY trend. Offering workshops in building your own personalized wooden sign, instructor-led classes are given in creating three-dimensional string art on wood, acrylic pouring with gold leaf and resin geode works of art on canvas.

“We try to be super trendy with what we are doing,” founder and owner Alainah Paul said. “We want to create an environment where people can come and have a nice time out and meet other people and enjoy themselves.”

In leading the resin geode class one evening, Paul began by offering a little positive encouragement and advice. “Open up your minds,” she said. “Remember, this is going into your home or office.”

Each student was given a blank 10-by-10-inch white-framed canvas. In front of them on the table were about a half-dozen cups of colored crushed glass. They were instructed to lay the glass on a small bar in the corner and order a glass of wine or beer.

Jake and Rebecca Leiba were taking the class for the first time.

“She dragged me in to do this,” Jake Leiba said with a smile. “But there’s liquor and coffee. How can you go wrong? This will probably be a Christmas present for our parents.”

Teri Thomas took the class before to celebrate a girlfriend’s birthday, mainly as a fun social event.

“That was more cork than craft,” she said with a laugh, remembering her alcohol-fueled fun time. “For an adult, there are not a lot of classes like this that are instructor-led. This is more fun, and what you create becomes a conversational piece.”

Laura Devine took the resin geode class to unwind and relieve stress. She especially liked having an instructor to guide her through the process, which she quickly discovered included a little chemistry.

Standing on a small step stool at the head of the class, Paul instructed her students on how to carefully mix resin and hardener at a 1-to-1 ratio of 2½ ounces of resin to 2½ ounces of hardener, followed by 2 minutes of brisk stirring with a popsicle stick. She explained that if the ratio were wrong, the resin would remain sticky and wouldn’t dry properly.

Once mixed, students added a mixture of four paint colors they preselected and then dribbled the resin concoction onto their artwork. The finished piece takes approximately 24 hours to harden.

The resin geode class usually runs from 2½ to three hours and costs $60 per person. Wine, beer and finger foods are offered for an additional cost. Shorter classes in making wooden signs, where customers simply drop in, start at $15 per person.

Paul said DIY workshops are becoming more and more popular because they offer an alternative to going out to bars.

“People like coming to a place like ours because we offer a fun night out,” Paul said. “About 99 percent of the projects people make go into their homes as personal home decor.”

Gina May remembers as a girl sitting at the kitchen table cutting paper with her mother and grandmother and carefully rolling the card stock into a beautiful paper flower. Today, she proudly boasts of being a third-generation Argentine paper flower artist.

May created Paper Flower Couture, a specialty design firm, three years ago and has done lavish paper flower projects for several Las Vegas properties, including the MGM Grand, Aria, Linq Promenade and Caesars Palace. She has also done flower displays for the Las Vegas Design Center.

In July, May opened her own gallery, Paper Petals and Wine, in Town Square Las Vegas at 6569 Las Vegas Blvd. South. She offers paper flower classes and will have a full bar available to offer wines and beers.

Until she gets her liquor license, classes are $35 per person. This will increase to $45 per person once alcohol is available, which will carry an added cost per drink.

Classes include choosing a colorful paper stock, learning how to cut petals from a pattern and then curling the edges and gluing the petals to a firm paper base. Costume jewels will be available for an additional cost.

“This definitely takes patience because it takes time to make flowers,” May said. “But making paper flowers is very relaxing and calming.”

Making 20-inch paper flowers in class will take about two hours, May said, because it takes time to cut the paper. Students will have the option to select either single-color or multicolor papers.

May’s new studio is a virtual cornucopia of paper flower creations. Entire walls are covered in beds of flowers. One wall displays the entire Vegas Golden Knights hockey team with managers and the owner depicted in the hearts of each flower. May invited team members and the owner to drop by her studio to view the mural of flowers, but none has taken her up on the offer. She spent four months cutting, curling and creating each flower for the Golden Knights wall.

“I liked the class very much. I brought my daughter, Calissa, with me to help,” Daniella Chau said of her recent experience making a paper flower. “It was actually very easy making the flower. I hung it as a decoration in my daughter’s room.”

Chau said all her friends were surprised at the large size of her flower, which she posted on Instagram.

“A lot of people put flowers above their headboards or above the sofa,” May said. “Paper flowers have become the newest thing in home decor. Instead of fresh flowers, paper flowers will last for years if you keep them out of the sun.”

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