When I first heard the word crafternoon a year or two ago I was amazed. The words afternoon and craft seem just made for one another, don’t you think? So how had it taken this long for the word to reach me? I mean I had been taking part in various forms of crafternoon (an afternoon of crafts) since my early childhood. It is something I loved to do. As a child I’d craft, or make and do as we called it then, with friends, cousins and siblings. Over the past few years I’ve begun crafting – mostly needle crafts – with friends and I have found I still love a crafting afternoon.
Whether with children of your own, with your children’s friends, with your own friends or your own friends and their children, a make-and-do get together can get messy. As time has passed, I have learned from my experiences and now have a set of basic rules I try to implement when hosting a crafternoon. It may sound a bit Monica but crafting is so much more fun when there are a few ground rules.
Don’t panic, I’m not going to suggest you whip out a flip chart and make your friends learn the rules before you’ll let them at the glitter and glue guns. Much of the success of a crafternoon lies in a little bit of preparation and following a few largely unspoken guidelines.
Before I turn you off the idea altogether, let’s just dive into it, shall we?
What to do?
The impulse to say” Let’s get together and craft!” is pretty strong in many of us, regardless of age. But hold back a moment. Before suggesting to your friends or children that you hold a crafternoon, think of a theme or particular craft. Rather than go with Easter decorations for example, choose a couple of projects – dyeing eggs, making Easter nests, sewing garlands – and suggest you do those. Otherwise you might end up with a table full of material, no ideas and nothing much to show at the end of your crafternoon. It is so much more rewarding to finish up your afternoon with a completed project or two.
Who’ll bring what?
Obviously as a parent hosting a crafternoon for your children and their friends, you’ll be in charge of organising the materials needed. If you are teaming up with other families or having a grown up crafternoon, decide in advance who will bring which materials. This may be as simple as asking everyone to bring a scissors or it may mean dividing up responsibility for the materials needed. A quick plan in advance of the crafternoon will save a lot of uncertainty and of people arriving laden down with surplus craft supplies. Obviously the same applies for the bringing of coffee and cake.
The Clean Up
Normally I don’t advise thinking about the end of an event before you even get started, but as I mentioned earlier, crafts can get messy. To avoid leaving yourself with a massive clean up, lay down a few simple rules, for yourself at least. If there’s going to be paint, glue, glitter and so on involved, then lay out newspaper, a disposable tablecloth or a wipe-clean tablecloth. This will mean you’ve a lot less scrubbing and mopping at the end of the day. If sewing or cutting of any type is involved, a box or tin to function as a table bin for scraps of paper, thread and the like is a great idea.
As the beginning of the crafternoon, point out to adults and older children where things belong. I find tins or jars really useful for materials like spools of thread, pins, glue sticks, crayons, poster paints and so on. They also work well for holding scissors, stamps or paint brushes. Paper and fabrics can be kept near at hand in jumbo zip-closed storage bags. From there you can refill supplies on the table.
Free for all (within reason)
If, like me, you are lucky enough to have a great group of like-minded friends, an easy way to host a crafternoon is to set a time, date and place and ask everyone to bring a current project of their own that they can work on while catching up on a chat and a cuppa. My friends and I often meet for a afternoon or evening with our needle craft. That sounds incredible boring, but in reality it is not. Several of them sew at a very good level, making dresses for their daughters, hoodies for sons and all manner of pretty things for the home. A couple of us crochet. One knits with such fine needles it amazes me. I sometimes embroider. What is essential is that everyone looks after their own work and material and can still join in on the social element.
We sit for three or four hours, working away at our projects, chatting about all sorts, finish a bottle of prosecco while are at it or maybe just have coffee and a cake one of us has made. We learn from each other, chat out all our concerns, cry if we need to or simply have a good old laugh. It does us good, relaxes us and gives us that bit of time we might not usually make for our hobbies.
If you haven’t held a crafternoon before, why not try one now in the run up to Easter?
[Disclaimer: The kind people at Rex London (formerly dotcomgiftshop) asked me to choose some of their products for styling this post. All words, opinions and photos are my own. As you’ll know from previous posts, I am very fond of a crafting session and stand by my opinions in this post. ]
Rex London Products gifted:
Red Spotted Jumbo Bag
Retro Sewing Scissors
Set of Retro Tins