Whether it’s to save money, create a personalized gift or just for the fun of getting your hands dirty, DIY has gained buzz as the new thing to do. But being a “maker” doesn’t always have to be an at-home experience. Case in point, MakersKit opened its first retail store on Melrose in L.A. April 10.
MakersKit began as a way for co-founders Phillip Kuhn, Mike Stone and Jawn McQuade to share their love of DIY with customers through workshops held in a clothing store they owned. After customers started asking for kits to make their creations at home, the trio created them on demand. The kits can still be found in Macy’s, Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table and Anthopologie. Notable online home goods retailers including Food52 and Houzz also carry the brand. The success of the kits led to DIY books, including “The Maker Boys Fun and Easy DIY Projects” (get a free digital download here) and the just-released “MakersKit Terrariums.” Now the makers have come full circle and incorporated their DIY-savvy into a destination that not only sells their take-home craft kits, but also offers DIY workshops on a walk-in basis. What that means for families is bonding without the mess, the pre-planning or the time-suck of buying the stuff required to make cool stuff.
I joined the grand opening of their brick-and-mortar store at the corner of Melrose and N. Curson to create my first terrarium. For beginners like me who need guidance, there were cards with instructions for making the soaps, bath bombs, candles, lip gloss and terrariums available. There are other projects available there as well, as I saw a dinosaur egg craft kit on the shelf.
I chose a hanging glass as my terrarium’s “palette.” There are cacti, rocks, dirt, moss, sand and the like as well as toy animal figures to liven up your terrarium to your heart’s content. You pay for your and if you customize your kit, you pay per added item. You can go it alone with the card or have staff help you along.
I opted for the card until I realized how well others were doing with the help of experts. I ended up with a piece I will relish once I find a hook to hang it from in my bedroom.
I wish I’d taken my husband along, as it seemed like an engaging experience for the couple across from me (albeit one-sided from a design standpoint). There was a family of four in attendance as well and the proverbial girls night out crowd to round out the experience. Loud, uncontrollable laughter mixed with heartwarming encouragement is my idea of a good time, so I will be returning when we get a babysitter to watch the kids.
If you’re thinking of sharing this experience with your family, be advised that glass is involved, so kids under 6 or so may not be ready for the experience. There is no established age restriction, so take your child’s personality into account. The 8-year-old and tweens in attendance were right at home. While you can reserve a time, as mentioned above, walk-ins are welcome. There’s a Starbucks on the opposite corner to keep you nourished and a pay-to-park lot just behind the store in case you think you’ll go beyond the 2-hour metered parking in front. The MakersKit website is full of DIY tutorials, but if you’re ready to start creating, the store is located at 7600 Melrose Ave., 90046 and can be reached at 213-973-7019. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.