Looking for a fun birthday experience with end product
October 3, 2015 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Recently, a friend celebrated her birthday with a "learning to Batik" party. We all went to a Batik shop, created a design, Batik'd that design onto a product of our choosing, and then had lunch together. I really enjoyed that we got to learn something new to all of us, were all working on the same type of thing but out own separate versions, and there was an end product for each person. I'd like to something similar to celebrate my birthday and would love more Maker/geeky-esque ideas. Any suggestions for what the skill/end product could be? More specifics inside.

My friend's party was a surprise party, so each guest foot the bill. I'm not sure how to broach any cost issues and I'd love for inexpensive ideas.

I live in NYC and already know how to knit, crochet, and fold origami. I have taken both drawing and painting classes. I'm not a fan of the paint & drink wine shops. I am not interested in food/drink preparation or a sport. Something more Maker/geeky would be really cool, but I don't know what's available.

My birthday is next weekend, but I'd be more than happy to do this celebration later if more time to plan would make it easier.

posted by wiskunde to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
The classic 80s version of this is Paint Your Own Pottery.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:52 AM on October 3, 2015

I like to sew, so I'd suggest sewing. You learn how to wind a bobbin, thread a machine and make a pillowcase typically.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:54 AM on October 3, 2015

You can make your own Harry Potter wands. I used long chopsticks instead of the paper and provided them pre-glued and then let the guests paint and decorate with ribbon and glitter/sequins/doodads (all provided) but glue guns dry really quickly (and you can buy them from cheap shops for like $2 or less) so having a few available would not be horribly expensive. The wands all turned out looking surprisingly excellent, particularly considering the materials cost less than $30 all up and that was for about 20 or so.
posted by h00py at 8:04 AM on October 3, 2015

Indigo dying. Spoon carving. Soldering kit. Learn to embroider risque items on fabric. If you search for "squam classes", you can see a sample of similar classes that are done in a few hours.
posted by umwhat at 8:04 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've seen ads for plant a terrarium and drink. I don't know how educational it would be, but I'd rather have a terrarium as a take home than a crappy painting.
posted by Kriesa at 8:55 AM on October 3, 2015 [6 favorites]

Could you get a henna artist in to show you all how you do beautiful henna designs on yourselves/each other with those nifty little pre filled cones? You can download lots of free patterns.
posted by antiquated at 9:18 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

And serve delicious samosas and other Indian snacks?
posted by antiquated at 9:19 AM on October 3, 2015

What about a factory tour? Ex: Steinway piano factory (but only on Tuesday mornings), kazoo factory (but that's kind of a long hike from NYC). Other ideas. (I mean, you're not going to be taking home your own grand piano or anything, but factory tours are prettt geeky.)
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 9:33 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Meat Hook/Brooklyn Kitchen has all sorts of fun classes. You could all go home with sausage!

Brooklyn Brainery has some fun looking classes too.
posted by rdnnyc at 9:36 AM on October 3, 2015

I have always thought it would be fun to make a block printed wall calendar with friends. (Or screen printing. Anything where you make a series of prints seems good for a group calendar.)
posted by vunder at 11:28 AM on October 3, 2015

There are quilt-in-a-day classes, though I'm not sure if they have them near you. Look for a sewing store, or sometimes they'll host these things at a library or whatever... you can figure out who's offering the class and maybe contact them directly to see about arranging one for your group.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:31 AM on October 3, 2015

I went to a make your own greeting card party at Paper Source a few years back that was surprisingly fun. It was a raffle prize so I don't know what the logistics of setting it up would be, though.
posted by fox problems at 5:36 PM on October 3, 2015

Please - for goodness sake -- if you are going to try the henna thing, do NOT use those pre-filled "emergency or instant cones" you find at the ethnic shop or grocery store!! They are filled with toxic chemicals and dyes and often contain little to no actual henna!

Henna paste has a "demise time" of only a few days at room temperature, after which the lawsone (the natural dyeing molecule) no longer stains skin effectively. Which means that anything that has been sitting on a shelf for god knows how long has to rely on cheap toxic chemicals and hair dyes to try to dye your skin, usually at the expense of your health. (Do an image search for "PPD Black Henna" to see the types of scars that can result.)

I'm not trying to freak you out, but the idea is to have fun with your friends, not injure yourself and them with toxic chemicals. Search online for a local reputable professional henna artist; they can often supply you with all natural pre-made henna paste that is safe to use for you and your guests to play with.

** Disclaimer: I am a long-time professional henna artist based out of Montreal.
posted by Jade Dragon at 6:43 PM on October 3, 2015

Bind your own books. Paper Source even has kits.
posted by sarajane at 11:50 AM on October 5, 2015

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