When making plans for December, the time of year most steeped in giving, gifting and getting together with friends, it's clear that hosting a crafting party is a great way to spend time together with friends while crossing something off your to-do list by creating homemade decorations or gifts.
"Crafting parties are about bringing people together in a non-stressful situation," said Jade Harrington, a craft blogger and frequent crafting party host. "Creating crafts is actually a great ice breaker and it's always fun to see how people react to what others are making."
Harrington said successful crafting parties are better the more organized they are. That means creating invitations, décor and drinks that all match a theme.
Planning for the Party
Start by selecting the featured craft and then making a sample, so your guests can visualize the final product and you'll know exactly what it takes to make it. Try taking photos of the completed project and using the image to create a simple electronic invite to send to friends. Ten to 12 guests is usually a good number, depending on how much space you have.
As host, you'll want to purchase all the necessary supplies ahead of time. Harrington recommends displaying the craft's materials as decorations on the crafting table.
When it comes to selecting the guest list, don't limit it to people who seem to be crafty and creative. Instead, use the opportunity to bring together friends with whom you want to spend time. But keep your guests various skill levels in mind when selecting the craft and remember that more experienced crafters can always help the amateurs.
Set up a station for each guest with the basic supplies they will need to get started, said Lenore Welby, a former senior producer on the Martha Stewart Show.
Welby said to remember that each guest not only needs a place to sit, but a comfortable and roomy space to work. Shared supplies should go on trays or in bowls so they are easily accessible. Skip crafts that require lots of messy supplies or odorous glues and choose projects that will be dry and easily portable when the party is over so each guest can take his or her project home.
To select a craft, pull from your own repertoire or look up some crafts online. Plenty of blogs provide step-by-step instructions on how to make their creations. Harrington's blog, Jaderbomb.com, has many simple crafts that use inexpensive materials, including her Christmas Candy Decorations and Cotton Ball Garland. Both are easy designs,, perfect for parties, using inexpensive materials that will add beauty and uniqueness to a Christmas tree or holiday home décor.
Drinks and Conversation
Don't forget that this is a party — so remember to have a great selection of food and drinks for your guests, all kept on a separate table away from the crafts. Avoid greasy finger foods because your guests are working with their hands. You can casually explain the project over the first cocktail and then toast the finished products while they dry. You can even serve drinks to correspond with the craft. Harrington suggests a white coconut cocktail to match the Cotton Ball Garland, for example.
Remember to take lots of photos at your party including a picture of your friends and their masterpieces. You may want to post on Twitter or Facebook or even on Pinterest.