Richmond venues let you ‘do-it-yourself’ in 2019

Richmond’s Slow Burn Glass offers glassblowing classes at all levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced). Photo by Kathy Chouteau

By Kathy Chouteau

Many people who fine-tuned their do-it-yourself (DIY) gift-making and décor skills during the holiday season might be on the lookout for their next great project. Thankfully, the new year has ushered in ample opportunities around Richmond to keep maker spirits thriving throughout 2019 and beyond. Here are a few project ideas to get you going!


Want to take your DIY project-making to the next level? Consider trying your hand at glassblowing! Richmond’s Slow Burn Glass offers glassblowing classes at all levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced). Typically running two hours for $160 per person, sample class offerings include the “Floral Vase/Floppy Bowl Class,” during which students learn to make their own blown glass vase or ruffled bowl, as well as the “Wine Glass or Beer Glass Blowing Class,” where students learn to make their own pint glass or a stemless wine glass. Numerous class topics and session options are available; click here for details. Slow Burn Glass is located at 833 S. 19th St., Unit A, Richmond. Contact 510-778-1548 or [email protected].

Richmond Fab Lab at Kennedy High

The 4000-square-foot Richmond Fab Lab at Kennedy High allows both students and members of the community to create just about anything one can imagine using cutting-edge technology.

Funded by a Chevron grant in partnership with the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the state of the art fabrication lab allows patrons to innovate, design and produce pretty much anything — from art to furniture to shoes and statues — using 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, a mini-mill and more.

The new district facility, which also includes a Mobile Fab Lab, was opened in 2015 in order to bolster science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum at local public schools.

But the award-winning Richmond Fab Lab also offers hours during which members of the public can use the facility, located near the Kennedy High football field at 4300 Cutting Blvd.

According to the district’s website, the Fab Lab is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month. There are also opportunities to reserve the lab for groups.

For most current information about hours of operation and programs check out the Fab Lab Calendar.

Sewing Lab at Bridge Storage and ArtSpace

Sewing lab at Bridge Storage and ArtSpace at 23 Maine Ave. (Photo courtesy of Bridge Storage and ArtSpace)

Everyone’s favorite artist enclave in Richmond recently launched a “Sewing Lab” where everyday peeps like us can learn how to use industrial sewing equipment (such as a Bernina and an Overlock serger) under the tutelage of a trained pro. An upcoming “Industrial Sewing Basics” workshop will be held Sat. Jan. 12 from 1-4 p.m. for $22 pp and will help participants make custom fabric items. The cost includes the fabrics, but participants can also bring their own gently-used materials. Bridge Storage and ArtSpace is located at 23 Maine Ave., Richmond. Call 510-233-3348 or click here for class details.

Soap Making at Richmond Public Library

The Richmond Public Library is welcoming people to get their new year off to a fresh start by signing up for its free “Soap Making Class.” Set for Sat., Jan. 12, from 2-4 p.m., the free soap making session is geared for adult participants and will teach the melt and pour method. Class will be held at the Richmond Public Library’s Whittlesey Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 510-620-6561. No registration necessary, but first come, first served. Visit

Richmond Art Center’s many classes and workshops

Photo Credit: Richmond Art Center

Did you know the Richmond Art Center (RAC) is the largest visual arts center in the East Bay? This means that—with a long lineup of classes and workshops in interesting subject matters such as ceramics, printmaking, screen-printing, jewelry-making, painting, sculpting and the like—you have a world of resources at your fingertips for getting your DIY on. An added bonus is the center’s Open Studios, where people can work on projects outside of class. Currently, the RAC is accepting registrations for its winter session. Click here to see the impressive array of class/workshop offerings; call 510.620.6772 for details. The RAC is located at 2540 Barrett Ave. in Richmond.

The Artisan Kitchen: for pros and amateur chefs

Photo credit: Artisan Kitchen

Got a tasty homemade recipe you want to make on a larger scale? Head over to The Artisan Kitchen, a commercial cooking space in Richmond’s Marina Bay neighborhood that touts it’s open to “people who have a dream.” The Artisan Kitchen’s state-of-the-art kitchen is available to foodie amateurs and pros alike who want to use its professional-grade appliances, ample prep/cooking space, cold/dry storage and other desirable features to produce their culinary creations on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The Artisan Kitchen is located at 45-865 Marina Bay Pkwy., Suite 33, Richmond. Contact them for reservations or pricing info at 510-235-2323 and click here for more info.

Home Depot DIY Workshops

Photo credit: Google Maps

While Home Depot is a well-known resource for the DIY crowd, lesser known is that the mega-store holds a variety of ongoing “Do-It-Yourself,” “Do-It-Herself” and kids workshops covering a diverse range of projects. Current workshop offerings at the El Cerrito Home Depo include a Do-It-Herself “Menu Board” Thurs., Jan. 17, from 6:30-8 p.m., where participants can learn how to measure, mark, cut and assemble a dry erase menu board for their homes; an “Installing Shiplap” workshop Sat., Jan. 26 from 10-11:30 a.m., possibly popular for fans of the TV show, Fixer Upper; and a “Heart Candy Box” workshop Sat., Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. where kids and their parents can build a heart shaped box for Valentine’s Day. Home Depot is located at 11939 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. Call 510-235-0800 or click here to register for the free workshops (some workshop materials additional).