February 8, 2014

How to Host a Craft Night

Earlier this fall my husband and I joined a new life class (modern speak for Sunday school class).  Even though we had been members of our church for 20+ years, we suddenly became the new people.  It was a little strange to find us introducing ourselves and trying to find our niche; but we found a wonderful group to do life with.  After just three short months, we had wiggled our way in enough for the class leader to ask me to host a craft night.  I eagerly said yes, after all, it was a great way to really connect with the other ladies in the class ... and well, CRAFT!  
Obviously there was a great desire for crafting because 25 ladies signed up!  It was a huge success so I decided to share my thoughts with you.  
 1. Plan ahead.  I'm not a big planner, so this was the hard part for me.  Make a list of all the supplies you will need.  Prepare yourself that you might have to visit more than one craft supply store.  Before I realized the crowd would be so large, I decided on three crafts.  In retrospect, we could have just done two, but it worked out fine.
2. Know your budget and stick with it.  I originally told the ladies it would be "around $10."  Our actual cost ended up being $11.75 each.  With that many women, the extra $1.75 adds up quick, so I couldn't just cover the extra cost.  Thankfully, the crafters were gracious about the expense.
 3. Provide written directions.  This will help with the chaos of everyone asking a million questions at the same time.  It won't eliminate questions, but there will be fewer.  It also helps the visual learners.

 3. Create designated spaces for each craft.  While we were preparing the house for the night, one of my kids said, "you're putting people in the laundry room?!"  With such a large crowd, we filled the whole downstairs!  By keeping the personalized coaster craft in one room, it helped contain the mess supplies.

4. Ask for help.   I only provided coffee and water... and crafts.  I asked each crafter to bring an appetizer or dessert and a glue gun. I even designated the coffee creamer.  Some brought homemade food, some brought store-bought.  One even brought some fun sparkling waters.  It all works out!
 5. Plan on mess, questions, and lots of laughter.  Crafting is messy.  Once you get over it, you will enjoy it so much better.  Sometimes even the most experienced crafters will have "silly" questions.  There is really no such thing as a silly question.  Let them know it's okay to ask for help.  You want them to go home with a craft they are proud of, not something that is disappointing because they weren't brave enough to ask a question.

When women have fun, we get loud.  Prepare your family (if they are hiding out upstairs like mine were) that it will be loud.  My husbands said he could tell we were having a lot of fun because we sounded like cackling hens.
6. Keep the fellowship flowing.  Choose crafts that aren't so labor-intensive that it suppresses conversations.  Our main craft (most time consuming) was the coffee filter wreath.  Once everyone got going, it was the perfect craft to chat through.  One of the ladies said, "I like that this is a mindless craft so that we can talk to each other."

7. Encourage creativity.  Some women will want to follow your example to the T.  Others will venture down their own little creative path.  I loved making the personalized coasters because each crafter got to choose their own paper pattern and monogram color.  There were so many beautiful, unique finished products.  Each one truly fit the owner's style.

8. Realize that each person crafts at their own pace.  The coaster craft made me realize this truth.  What I expected to be a ten minute craft ended up taking some of the women 30+ minutes to accomplish.  That is okay.  The important thing is that they accomplished it!  If you see someone lagging behind, just encourage her or help her make a decision.  Sometimes we just need someone to say, "Hey those two colors look great together!"

9. Start the evening organized and then let the chaos ensue.  Before we began the crafts, I gave directions to everyone, altogether.  This prevented me from having to explain the same craft 16 bajillion times.  I also made sure everyone knew where the bathroom was located and that the coffee was decaf, very important details. 
The craft station tables were labeled with a number. Before we began, each person drew a number (1-5) and then went to that table respectively. This helped with the whole "mingling" thing.  With 25 women, I had 5 craft stations (3 of which were the same craft) with 5 women at each station.  It mostly worked out that way.  Because of space, one station had four at a time with another holding 6 at a time. Once they finished their first station, I let them choose where they went next.  That way they could connect and chat with new friends.  Flexibility will be your best friend.  
10. Relax and enjoy.  If the hostess is stressed out, no one is going to have fun.  Use these simple steps to help you enjoy the gift of friendship.  Craft on!!!

I'm linking up with The Dedicated House, A Stroll Thru Life, Chicken Chick, Cozy Little House, Imparting Grace


Parlor Room Ponderings said...

That looks like so much fun!! I wish I had a bigger house. Great post!
Blessings, Diane

Sandy said...

I am sure it was a blast & that you were great as a hostess & a teacher: 2 things that you are really good at!
Just wished I hadn't had a conflict so I could have "helped" you (translation, crashed the party with a good excuse...)

Lisa said...

Wish I could have been a part of your party! Looks like a fun night of fellowship and crafting! Where did you find the stands that held the craft instructions? So pretty and functional! Blessings, Lisa