The friendly staffers at this scrapbooking bazaar guide ambitious crafters through shelves loaded with memory-preserving supplies, including page embellishments, stylish adhesives, hundreds of patterned paper designs, and more than 400 colors of cardstock. Beginners can grab a We R Memory Keepers 12"x12" leather album ($35) and start filling its pages with significant artifacts, such as photographs of a youngster taking his first steps on the moon. Stacks of pretty paper ($.60–$2/sheet) and vibrant Bazzill Basics cardstock ($.65/sheet) host parties for fun flourishes ($2–$5), which patrons can attach to pages or origami airplane pilots using adhesives from Herma, Tombo, and Glue Dots ($2.50–$8).
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze, fire, and de-genie it for them, and they may retrieve the finished piece after a few days.
At Live Laugh Love Glass, the hot shop and fusing studio are welcoming venues even when filled with molten glass. Open to students age 9 and over, classes in glassblowing invite tender-footed artists to cut their teeth by creating blown-glass pieces ranging from votives to colorful flowers. Those seeking something a little more low-key can head to the glass fusing studio, or partake in painting classes, which include all materials and easy-to-follow instructions to create a finished painting.
Frame Central, where the upbeat, fun-loving staff works alongside customers preserving their artwork and keepsakes. Frame Central prides itself on its expedient one-day framing. Staffers have devoted years to learning how to craft custom frames fast without sacrificing quality. For one thing, they keep all their materials on hand, saving on time spent sending off for special orders. For another, customers can design and make the frames themselves or meet staffers halfway by allowing them to professionally cut the materials for easy home assembly.
At Paint N' Fire—a paint-your-own pottery studio—shelves of unfinished plates, mugs, and other ceramics wait to be adorned by walk-in painters of all skill levels. Artists work at tiled tables in an earth-toned studio to create imagery that's wildly innovative, beautiful, or commemorates the ancient Athenian victory at Marathon on pottery ready to be filled with flowers, pencils, or wishes. Pottery painters can also use an onsite copier to magnify or reduce graphics and apply those to ceramics. Within a week after studio sessions, glazed and kiln-fired masterpieces are ready for pickup.