Explore another side of vacation with a creative workshop or class where you can make your own souvenir.
Rainy day in Toronto? Drop into one of the city’s visitor-friendly makers’ hubs, where you’ll find all the supplies you need to craft your own one-of-a-kind souvenir. Or, if you’re planning a birthday weekend getaway in the city, consider including one of these creative workshops, so you can kick off a new year with a new skill or two, too.
Zuozuo Tufting & Fluid Bear
Head just north of the Greater Toronto Area to this Richmond Hill studio café for a fun day of drip-painting your own adorable keepsake, a “fluid bear” in a beautiful marble effect, or sign up for the popular tufting (a type of textile weaving) workshops where past guests have created everything from Chanel-inspired bags to corgi portraits.
Maker Bean Cafe
Drop in to make your own laser-engraved keepsake like a wood trivet or whatever 3D creations you can dream up—someone’s done a bust of Nefertiti and a custom cookie cutter—made with Polylactic Acid (PLA) filament, a biodegradable plastic made from renewable resources like corn starch or sugar cane.
Or, create a vessel in a drop-in class where you can hand-build or use the pottery wheel. If you’re here for two weeks, you can pick up your fully fired piece; otherwise, take it home with you unfired—it won’t be waterproof, but it will be perfectly fine for display and an apt memento from this modern gem of a museum.
The Loom Studio
Make your own Etsy-vibes tapestry wall hanging in a group class while discovering frame-loom weaving, a technique used to make textiles since Ancient Egyptian times.
The Junction neighbourhood’s Loom Studio also offers circular weaving workshops to make pretty round wall hangings: you’ll learn four styles of weaving and how to “warp” a circular weaving loom. Then, take home your richly textured creation on a beech wood frame for a cute keepsake that doubles as decor.
Spend a drizzly day at Paperhouse Studio, in the eclectic west end, practicing the paper arts, including how to make colour-drenched deckle box paper, one of the oldest forms of papermaking and still used primarily in Nepal, Tibet and India.
Or, learn the Labyrinth Spine Binding technique, also called onion skin binding for its visible layers and make your own book out of thick, handsome handmade paper.
Try your hand at acrylic landscape painting, dazzling watercolour masking techniques or even drop in for a two-hour group Sketchbook Meetup where you can explore new materials (beginners welcome) at this Junction art supply store. Other workshops include printmaking with gouache and watercolour and the Tiny Tin Make Your Own Travel Watercolour Kit, a perfect souvenir.
Craft a brass holiday ornament, a pair of dangly brass earrings, or a sterling silver confetti necklace, or carve a wax mould for a one-of-a-kind sterling silver or 14K gold ring at RAWspace, a jewelry maker space meets shop in North York.
It’s not just jewelry workshops here either: past guest artisan classes have included cakelet decorating, macrame necklace making and even Contemporary Phulkari, a beautiful Punjabi floral needlework technique.
If you missed out on Home Economics class but (wisely) prefer in-person instruction on sewing machine basics, skip the YouTube tutorials and hone a new skill at The Workroom.
Sewing Machine Essentials is one of the most popular three-hour workshops, and it offers other one-day offerings such as classic darning, patch mending and even pretty clamshell patchwork at this Parkdale-area fabric store and sewing essentials shop-meets-studio.
The Knit Cafe
Make sweet needle-felted birds or pink-cheeked Matryoshka dolls (they make the sweetest Christmas ornaments) at The Knit Cafe, or learn visible mending, the skill that’s gaining popularity with sustainability advocates.
Workshops at this cozy Little Portugal shop also include a scarf-knitting crash course and a crochet basics class. All of the above are suitable for total beginners.
Black Creek Pioneer Village
The costumed educators at this re-created circa-1860s village will delight the whole family with homesteading tales that now include installations weaving Indigenous voices and perspectives throughout.
Black Creek Pioneer Village Makers Workshops offer an array of creative experiences, including a candle-making workshop where you can craft two plant-based poured wax candles and a soapmaking workshop where you’ll make a soap loaf you can slice into six bars. Wood carving and needle felting are among the other fun offerings.