I am still recovering from an amazing day at The Handmade Fair at the weekend. I’d been looking forward to it for ages, and took my sister along with me*, along with two friends. If you’ve read my review of last year’s event, you’ll know I absolutely loved it. And this year was just as good, although the weather wasn’t as sunny. I think this gorgeous pink craft bus made up for that though; it belongs to Miss Libby Rose, who was running mini sewing workshops.
There was a huge variety of workshops on offer – whatever you’re in to, you’ll find something to interest you.
It’s a great, low-risk way to try something new, without having to invest in all the kit. I tried needle felting at the Christmas version last year and didn’t really like the feel of it. I’m really glad I found that out without having bought all the materials!
The instructors are all experts and they demonstrate the make, and walk you through the steps to make sure you don’t get left behind. It really is suitable even if you’re a craft novice. You come away with something that you have made, which is such a great feeling.
This year, I decided to go for a painting theme with my sessions. I’ve always loved painting but haven’t done any for years (apart from walls, of course!) so I was super excited to get the brushes out and get stuck in.
Skills Workshop at The Handmade Fair
Our first workshop was Enamel Mug Painting with Teri from The Lovely Drawer. We used porcelain paints and it was a bit strange painting on a curved surface, but we got the hang of it.
I was pretty pleased with my finished mug – it was still a bit sticky at this point and need baking for half an hour to set it.
Super Theatre at The Handmade Fair
Next came a Super Theatre session with Annie Sloan (of chalk paint fame) and Kirsty Allsopp. It was a fun session, and Annie had some great advice about doing anything creative:
“Don’t procrastinate… get on with it!”
I have a tub of Chalk Paint but haven’t been sure what to do with it, so I’ll take her advice and get stuck in! Apparently you don’t need a primer with her paint – just paint it on. She says she doesn’t even wipe the surface most of the time, apart from kitchen doors which would probably be greasy. Then you need to add a coat of wax to protect it. It sounds easy enough!
We found out that you can use chalk paint to dry fabric, as well as upcycle furniture, who knew? You just mix some paint with some water in a bath, and dunk the fabric in to it. Then wash it, and either iron or tumble dry the fabric to set the colour. Annie recommended using a baby bath or bucket of some kind, as you wouldn’t want to dye your bath.
Grand Make at The Handmade Fair
Finally my Grand Make workshop was with Folk It! to paint a dot daisy folk heart. We had a dotting tool and two cardboard hearts, with white, pink and green acrylic paint at our work station. We started off practicing on one heart, to make either daisies, or roses. I chose roses, and they were easy to make- just a dot of pink paint next to a white one, then swirl it with the tool.
Next we added green hearts, followed by little green and white dots, to make the finished heart.
It was so quick easy to make, and they would make great Christmas decorations.
Food and Facilities at The Handmade Fair
Aside from the great hands-on workshops at The Handmade Fair, you can also eat pretty much any food you fancy, including several gluten-free options, and loads of cake. How pretty is this cupcake at the Mollie Makes tent? It tasted as good as it looked.
There are more pictures of the food on offer on my review from last year, I think all the same ones were there again. The toilets were posh portaloos with proper sinks, and there were plenty so I didn’t have to queue. But they were teeny, and I’m not sure how pregnant ladies managed to get in to the cubicles!
Shopping at The Handmade Fair
One of the main attractions of The Handmade Fair is the amazing shopping. Last year I went a bit wild in the aisles and came back with loads of things (some of which are still unused in my craft cupboard, oops!) But this year, I looked a lot but was much more restrained. I just bought some beautiful prints from Zeena Shah for my girls.
Zeena’s stand was filled with gorgeous things… a few of which I already have. I did one of her classes last year and she’s a great teacher, and so lovely.
There were lots of beautiful things to buy, too many to include here – you’ll just have to go next year and discover them for yourself! But here is a little taster from Kitty Kay Make & Sew and The Make Arcade, amongst others. Basically, if you like a craft, it is certain to be represented! These were my favourites and there were also lots of lush kids’ clothes.
I’ll leave you with a comedy picture of me in the press tent…
Don’t you just love that colour-it-yourself wallpaper behind me? So cool, Ava and Thea would love it.
So what do you think of my makes? Would you like to go next year? I’d love to know what you think!
*I was gifted two entrance tickets by the Handmade Fair team to allow me to review the event, but we paid to upgrade to the Full Experience to do the workshops. All opinions and words are my own, as always.
Why not Pin my review so you can find it next year?