How to Organize a Handmade Toy Workshop or Hand Crafts Classes

It’s no secret that most people who create handmade toys and crafts often find themselves stranded when it comes to finding craft classes and toy workshops where they can gather and mingle amongst other crafters. So few opportunities exist typically that the Internet has become the primary meeting place for our community of toymakers and crafters to exchange ideas and techniques.

But a small and growing movement of organizers is turning the tide back toward the grassroots method of attending toy workshops. If you find yourself feeling isolated and craving connection with the crafting community, it might be time for you to organize workshop or set up a few hand crafts classes to reel other crafters in and create your own network. To do such a thing may seem a bit complicated, but really, there are only five steps to setting up a successful handmade toys workshop or series of classes.
1. Focus
You first need to decide what you want your event to be about. Here are a few things to consider when zeroing in on your intent:
  • What is your overall goal for organizing the event (socializing, raising money, etc.)?
  • What type of craft or toy will your workshop or craft courses center around?
  • Will this be a one-time event or part of an ongoing series?
  • Will there be a lead demonstrator for teaching your chosen craft or toy style, or will the gathering be more of an idea exchange amongst attendees?
  • How many people would you like to have attend?
  • Will the toy workshop or class be free or will you charge a fee? If you charge a fee, how much will it be?
2. Determine a location
Identifying a location for your toy workshop or hand craft workshops might be as simple as adding a few chairs to your back patio, or as complicated and expensive as renting out a conference hall from a local business. The size of your intended group of participants will generally dictate the size of the location you’ll need to find. Free options to explore might include local libraries, schools, and other community spaces.
3. Determine the toy or craft project and required supplies
You’ve probably got a lot of ideas whirling around in your head for good projects to tackle in your toy workshop or hand crafts classes, but you’re going to have to pick just one of them to start things off with. Once you decide on that, you can start to compile a list of the supplies you’ll need based on the number of people you plan to host at your event. Of course, depending on your project, specific crafting supplies will be required, and often you can have your attendees bring most of what they will need. But always be prepared to provide extra supplies in case people forget theirs. Or, if you want to provide the whole kit and caboodle to your attendees you’ll have to plan on purchasing enough to cover everybody, and still have some extras for demonstration purposes.

Also, don’t forget to think about things like chairs and tables. If you plan to provide refreshments, you’ll need to organize catering and purchase items such as plates, cups, napkins, and the like.

Be sure not to purchase all your supplies up front, though. Only begin buying after you have enough people signed up to cover the costs of the materials.
4. Pick a date
Sit down and take a long, hard look at a calendar. How long is it realistically going to take you to organize your toy workshop or hand crafts class from conception to execution (including purchasing or ordering supplies)? Is there a particular holiday theme you’d like to incorporate as inspiration for your toys or crafts? If your workshops and classes are going to be a reoccurring event, how often will you be holding them? Weekly, monthly, etc.? Start plotting the dates out now to make sure they all work out.

After you’ve picked a date (or dates), you’ll need to choose a time slot that allows for maximum participation. You won’t want to schedule for a time when most people are either working or sleeping so ask yourself when the best time of day would be for you if you were an attendee.
5. Get the word out
Aside from telling your friends and family about your upcoming toy workshop or handmade crafts classes, how do you get people to come and participate? In today’s technological age there are a lot of options to choose from, but social media platforms are always a sure bet.

Not only is Facebook great place for sharing funny pet videos and your latest crafty creation, but it can also serve as a nearly free marketing agency. By sharing a post about your workshop with your connections, they can proliferate it by sharing it with their networks and so on. Also, for as little as $5 you can run an ad that targets a specific audience of at least 1,000 people – the more you pay, the larger the audience. Other popular platforms that can reach large audiences are Twitter, Instagram, Meetup.com, and Pinterest. Additionally, you can post flyers in craft supply stores (with permission of course) and on public bulletin boards, or run ads in local papers.

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to organize a handmade toy workshop or hand crafts class, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start pulling your crafty tribe together!