Many parents are accustomed to adorning their refrigerators and activity boards with their kids’ art. But how often—if ever—do your children get their hands dirty making pottery projects? Paint-your-own pottery studios take DIY crafts to a new level; anyone can participate, it’s fun and you get to create something both special and uniquely personal.
Plus, it’s always a win-win when messy art isn’t created at home, right?
New Jersey boasts many paint-your-own pottery studios, often with no reservations required. We’ve rounded up some spots we think are especially suited to young sculptors. Who knows, maybe you have a future Rodin in your midst. (For other art-related ideas, you can also check out our guide to the best art classes for NJ kids.)
Arts & Creations Pottery Studio
Where: 964 McBride Avenue, Woodland Park
Details: At Arts & Creations, you’ll be charged a flat studio rate of $5. They don’t charge per hour, so you can relax and enjoy the pottery experience. Walk-ins are always welcome. Getting started is easy; coat your piece – from the hundreds they have on hand – three times and pick it up seven days later. They also offer rooms exclusively for parties, canvas painting and classes, and mosaic art. Note: If no artists are in the studio, they’ll close one hour early.
More info: Visit the website or call 973-837-8533.
Brushes and Bisque
Where: 45 Broadway, Denville
Details: Brushes and Bisque has a flat studio fee of $7 for kids, $9 for adults, every day (the bottom of their homepage has additional special offers). The fee includes unlimited painting time, paints, glaze, tools and firing. (Pottery items are additional.) All items are nontoxic and food safe. They can even help you paint a project, so long as you choose one of their designs, bring in something you’d like copied or brainstorm with them. They specialize in wedding plates, baby birth plates and teacher plates.
More info: Visit the website or call 973-627-6292.
The Clay Pot
Where: 290 Main Street, Spotswood
Details: Open since 2008, The Clay Pot prides itself on 100-percent handmade items, not made using a mold. This method results in one-of-a-kind, handcrafted pieces. If enjoying the thrill of turning a lump of clay into a piece of art sounds like too much effort, ready-made pieces are also available. They charge one inclusive price, plus tax. (No sitting, glazing or firing fee.) Pieces start at $10, but vary depending on the type of piece. Creations are usually ready to pick up in a week. They also offer wheel and hand-building lessons.
More info: Visit the website or call 732-251-5112.
Color Me Mine
Where: 438 Springfield Avenue, Summit
Details: This paint-your-own pottery studio welcomes painters of all ages. Their frequently-updated selection includes over 600 bisque pieces along with over 60 colors of paint to choose. You can personalize your piece with brushes, stamps, stencils and more in their design center. Color Me Mine will then hand glaze, kiln fire and finish your pieces in a smooth, glossy shine. Designs can be brought home seven days after painting. The studio fee is $6 for ages nine and under, $9 for ages 10 and over, plus the bisque cost (most pieces are $15 to $25). Plan to stay 45 to 60 minutes with toddlers and 1.5 to 2 hours with older kids. They have crayons and coloring books on hand for those who finish before everyone else.
More info: Visit the website or call 908-598-0248.
Where: 50 Church Street, Montclair
Details: At Doin’ Dishes, inventory is always changing so you’ll never get bored. Choose from more than 150 pieces ranging from $5 to $33. You can select colors from a paint chart, then paint with brushes, sponges, stamps or stencils. Paint time costs $7 an hour, with a one-hour minimum, and includes unlimited use of paints, supplies, idea books and instructions. Projects can be picked up one week later. Every Wednesday from Noon to 3:00 pm, parents/caregivers are welcome to paint an item of their choice while those five and under receive a 6-inch tile plus paint time for free.
More info: Visit the website or call 973-744-8589.
Fire Me Up! Studio
Where: 117 North Union Avenue, Cranford
Details: Fire Me Up! can accommodate groups of 50 or more. Their open studio doesn’t require reservations and has no studio fees. Items (like mugs, plates, frames and figurines) are priced individually, ranging from $8 and up, with the average piece costing $20 to $30. The all-inclusive price includes all materials, studio time and firing (no studio fees here). Projects take one to two hours to complete; glazes are nontoxic and food safe. They also offer a summer camp, instructional classes and birthday party packages.
More info: Visit the website or call 908-272-2600.
Madison Mud Clay Studio
Where: 6 Main Street, Madison
Details: For $30 per project, you’ll get three pounds of clay and can create a handmade sculpture (additional clay is available at an additional cost). No reservation or experience is necessary. Each week, they’ll suggest a different project and have the necessary materials. Teens can hit up the studio one Friday a month at their “No Tech Teen Nite” where kids ages 14 and older can work on a project of the week or their own idea. It’s $25 per project and they’ll glaze it for you.
More info: Visit the website or call 973-520-8480.
Pottery Paint & Love
Where: 502a Cedar Lane, Teaneck
Details: At Pottery Paint & Love, you can choose your paints and take as long as you’d like to create your masterpiece. All the ceramics, paint and glazes are food safe, nontoxic and lead-free. After your piece gets a professional glazing treatment, it goes into the kiln for a day. Once it cools, the locally owned and operated family studio hand polishes your item and bags it up for you to take home (usually within a week.) They also host birthday parties, baby showers, a ladies night out, scouting events, corporate team building and other group events.
More info: Visit the website or call 201-907-0077.
That Pottery Place
Where: 217 Clarksville Rd, West Windsor
Details: That Pottery Place provides you with everything needed to create your own work of art. Pick an unfinished piece from their wide selection that includes dinnerware, figurines and usable pottery, then paint it and they’ll take care of the rest. Creations are ready to pick up seven to 10 days later. You pay for the price of pottery and a one-time studio fee (the fee is always half the price of the selected pottery) that covers glazing and firing. Reservations are only required for groups of five or more. They also have pottery-to-go for sleepovers or family events (you just have to pick up your pottery, paints, supplies and instructions) and you can bring back the finished pieces for them to glaze and fire.
More info: Visit the website or call 609-716-6200
Painting Pottery Café
Where: 35 S. Van Brunt Street 2FL, Englewood
Details: This 3,000-square foot paint-your-own pottery studio has one main room and three private rooms. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are required for large groups. Pick a piece, paint it and they’ll fire it. Alternatively, you can mold, sculpt and paint clay, which they will also fire. They also offer glass fusing, as well as oil, acrylic or watercolor paints to create your masterpiece.
More info: Visit the website or call 201-871-5958.