In case you haven’t noticed (although, chances are you have!), there’s a whole new kind of PYO in town. While once reserved for the likes of fruit picking (Pick Your Own), this acronym is quickly coming to mean something very different in the world of art activities: PAINT Your Own!
We thought it was high time we got in on all this new PYO fun! (Plus, that other PYO is still months off. Sigh.) So over the holiday break the boys and I headed to the (relatively) new paint-your-own art studio in our town: Glazed.
Now, this was definitely NOT our first visit to Glazed. The boys had been to numerous birthday parties here and in fact, my older son actually had his 8th birthday party here back in September!
But ever since those events, we’d been talking about going back just ourselves for a painting outing. Truth be told, I had thought my younger son (the 5-year-old who usually says ‘no’ to any activity that doesn’t involve some amount of bouncing), wouldn’t be interested, and that the big guy and I would have ourselves a one-on-one date.
But to my surprise, the little guy was totally game. So all three of us bundled up and jumped in the car, stopping at the nearby Starbucks on the way over for a festive Gingerbread Latte for me and a couple of cake pops for an après-art treat for them.
So I’ve got you right there, don’t I? You can bring your coffee into Glazed! I know that was welcome news to me 🙂 (You can actually bring beer and wine too, but that’s a totally different post…)
So, coffee in hand we arrived at the studio, which is located above the popular local toy store (you should really save time to check that out too!), Pinwheels. Walk-ins are welcome anytime at Glazed (though if you will be coming with 6+ people they do suggest a reservation), so we didn’t even need to plan ahead.
One of the first things you’ll notice is how s-p-a-c-i-o-u-s this studio is. It’s HUGE.
All this space allows guests to really spread out and have plenty of elbow room so they won’t accidentally, well, hit elbows 🙂 It also means that I can take my antsy boys over to a table in the corner where I won’t stress so much about disturbing the grownup painters who are there for a nice, quiet, relaxing experience. Ha!
When you arrive, one of the staff will welcome you and assist you in finding a table where you can deposit your things. Once you are settled, the first thing you’ll do is head over to the sink to wash your hands. The oils in your skin can actually affect how paint covers the unfinished pottery pieces, so it’s important to give your hands a good wash before you start touching anything– even if you think they are already clean!
You can also grab an apron if you’d like.
All the paying happens afterwards, so you can get started by selecting the piece of pottery you would like to paint and bringing it back to your table. The price range for pottery pieces is wide, starting at around $18 for some of the smaller figurines and going up towards $100 for larger items (there might be some less expensive and more expensive items there; I admit that I did not look at all the prices).
Most of the pieces we considered were around $25. That may seem expensive at first, but consider that all the paint is included, as well as use of art supplies and the glazing and finishing of your piece. When you look at it that way, the cost is not much more than you’d spend on one of those DIY art kits from a craft store– and the result here will be far superior to anything you could make at home. (Not to mention that they handle all the cleanup and my own house stays untouched; I would pay $25 for that alone!)
After much deliberation (and gratitude that we did not break anything in the selection process), we had our winners!
Once we were settled back at our table, one of the friendly staff came over to show us the dizzying array of paint colors we could choose from.
Fortunately, getting your paint is a very easy and organized process. For each piece that you paint, you will fill out a form that includes your contact information (for their records when you come to pick your piece up later), and also the paint colors you would like to use. As far as I know, there is no limit on how many different colors you can choose, but my recommendation for painting with kids (as was their recommendation) would be to narrow it down to three or four, or at the very most no more than would fit on a single pallet. So we selected and wrote down our paint colors. I was particularly grateful that we were asked to write down the colors because we needed several refills and that made it very easy to remember what color to ask for!
Once you’ve filled out your form(s), hand them to a staff member who will retrieve your paint. Brushes and water to clean the brushes will already be at your table.
If you’re a novice like us, you’ll be glad for the short tutorial you’ll get from helpful staff. They will go over tips like: wipe off your piece with the provided damp sponge before you start painting (to get off any residual clay dust), paint your light colors first, and paint a full THREE coats of each color for the deepest and most vibrant coverage.
It didn’t take long before we were hard at work (play?). To my surprise (and delight) the boys took this activity very seriously. They were very focused on their projects!
When we arrived, I had contemplated selecting my own piece of pottery to paint. But it didn’t take long for me to be glad that I had chosen to skip that. Three coats of paint is a lot of painting, and both boys were grateful to have a little extra help. Let’s just say I got my fill of painting anyway! So definitely keep that in mind when you are selecting projects with your kids. Even though these pieces look small, it took us almost 2 hours to complete them from start to finish. I don’t think even my artsy 8-year-old would have had the patience for much more.
If you can’t finish your project, don’t fret. You can come back and finish it at a later date. You will need to pay a $10 studio fee for that return visit, but again, I think I would pay double just to avoid having to clean up the mess at my own house 🙂
Next the boys had their initials painted on the bottom of their pieces while I settled the bill at the register.
You’ll want to make sure your initials make it onto your finished piece (and if it’s a box with a top and a bottom make sure the initials are on both pieces). That ensures that your lovely blue and gray whale bank won’t be confused with the other 6 blue and gray whale banks that go into the kiln that day 🙂
Then comes the real challenge. In the immortal words of Tom Petty: the waiting is the hardest part. And wait you must. 7 days. That is how long it will take until your piece has been fired in the kiln and ready to go home. You can stop by anytime after those 7 days to pick up your pottery (just don’t take longer than 6 weeks because after that it may not be waiting there for you anymore.)
Right on schedule, a week later our pieces were fired and ready for pickup. And now have pride of place on the desk/shelf in the boys’ room.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure (because we like nothing more here at Out and About Mom than being brutally honest about our mom experiences), I completely misjudged the timing of this whole outing. Based on our experiences at birthday parties, I was assuming that the painting would be done in an hour tops. I thought we’d arrive at 11:00, paint until 12:00/12:30 and then head out for lunch. What I didn’t take into account was that we were selecting pieces that were bigger or more complicated to paint than those we had done at parties (which now makes me understand why Glazed has a list of items that they recommend for birthday parties).
So what actually happened is that by the time the boys picked out their pieces and we got started with the paint it was already closer to noon. Two hours later I was practically ready to give them those aforementioned cake pops for lunch. LOL.
Fortunately, if you get yourself into a situation like this, you can purchase some snacks.
Glaze also offers a variety of technique classes and special projects for all ages (even for toddlers!). Be sure to check their event page for the latest updates.
Drop-in ease, open space, helpful staff and no hourly charge (so we didn’t feel rushed) made this the perfect introduction to the newest PYO phenomenon. I have a feeling there will be more little painted creatures joining our family in the future. And maybe I’ll get to paint this for myself:
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, right folks? 😉
Happy New Year Everyone!
60 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury, Connecticut (Second floor; use door to the right of Pinwheels entrance.)
Friday & Saturday, 10:00am-8:00pm
There is no hourly fee; simply pay for the piece(s) you’d like to paint! (There is a $10 studio fee if you need to return at a later date to finish your project; however, if you bring a friend who is starting a paint project they will waive your studio fee.)
Pricing for paintable pieces starts at $14.
Stroller Friendly: Well, I’m sure no one would have a problem with you bringing a stroller, but I am not sure if there’s another way up except those stairs…
Coffee Mug Friendly: YES
Baby Changing Station: NO.
Parking: YES. There is a parking lot out front. It’s not huge, but there are parking spaces devoted to Pinwheels/Glazed (I’ve been told it’s okay to park in those “Pinwheels” spots if you are going to Glazed).
Food for Sale: YES. A selection of prepackaged snacks and cold (soft) drinks available for purchase.
Outside Food Allowed: I am about 60% certain it’s okay to bring in food if you keep it at your table. 100% certain you can bring in coffee and booze (Hey, I always get the important details, right?! Haha!)
Cash Required: The credit card minimum is $5. As far as I know, everything you can paint costs more than that. But if you were wanting to purchase snacks separately from your total bill, you might need cash for that.
Dress Code: Dress for a mess so you don’t have to stress.
Age Recommendations: Ooooh. That’s a tough one. It really depends on the personality of the child. I will say that my younger son went to a birthday party there when he was 4 and all those kids did pretty well with it. For drop-in painting I might say 3 or 4 for the minimum age. But Glazed does offer special toddler events, so keep an eye out for those if you’ve got a very little one.
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Discounts: Occasionally you can find seasonal pottery pieces marked down.
Birthday Party Venue: YES. Find more info here.
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