Thinking about hosting your first craft party? This week I’m sharing tips and ideas on how to get started. I think planning a party is the toughest part of the whole process. I usually have too many ideas and it’s not clear where to start. It takes me a bit to sort through all that and get into the swing of things. I’ve found over time by doing some creative thinking on these key elements of a planning a party can help me get to work quickly. Here’s what I focus on:
1. Party Purpose
Why do you want to host the party? Do you want to get together with friends? Is there something you are celebrating (bridal shower, birthday, etc.)? I start with the reason I’m hosting the party as the first thing I do. This helps me set up the other parts of the party – theme, project, schedule, venue, guests, etc.
For example, I hosted a holiday craft party for friends last year. My party purpose was to celebrate the holidays with my friends before the season got too busy and I missed a chance to wish them Happy Holidays. So I planned a brunch craft party on the first Saturday in December. I knew hosting the party earlier in the day worked better for most of their schedules. Our party project was a fun holiday gnome. I served mulled wine as well as brunch foods such as coffee cake, egg casserole, and coffee. Since my good friends were attending, I hosted the party in my home craft studio. We crafted, chatted, and enjoyed Christmas movies, too! By starting with why I wanted to host the party – to gather with friends to celebrate the holidays early – it was much easier to plan other parts of the party thanks to identifying the party purpose early on.
Craft parties with themes are a lot of fun! A good theme will tie together all the elements of your party, including the project, venue, and party favors. The theme can revolve around just about anything that you think will be fun to share with your guests. Here’s some of the themes I love:
- Holiday Themes– It’s easy to host a party around a holiday theme and you can make some great holiday projects, too!
- Special Occasions – Gather to make something for a new baby, a new bride, a housewarming party, a special event and more.
- Sports– Make a project for a fun pre-game celebration or make something while you watch the game. Great projects for this party theme are anything that can help fans celebrate their team – banners, pennants, scarves in team colors, decorating fan hats and more.
- Friends Night Out– Invite friends to a favorite brewery or wine bar and make something fun.
- Friends Night In– Host friends at your home serving favorite drinks and food while making a great project.
There’s no limit when it comes to party themes. You can also host a party without a theme, too. You don’t always need a theme to host a great party. Maybe your general theme is just crafting or getting friends together. Do what works best for you and your guests!
3. Party Project
I think picking a party project is one of the trickiest parts of planning a craft party. It can be tough to find a project that most of the guests want to make and can also be made by crafters of all abilities. Most guests just want to get together, so making a project is often secondary, which helps take the pressure off. But still, I want my guests to have a good experience.
Here are the parameters I use when picking a party project:
- Does it tie in with the party theme and purpose?
- Is it something I would want to make?
- Do my guests want to make the project? I usually check in with a couple of friends to see what they think. Sometimes I’ll even invite guests to an online poll to help me pick the project.
- Can crafters of all abilities do the project? Or am I working with a group of experienced crafters where I can pick a project specific to their abilities?
- Do the project supplies fit my budget?
- Can the project be completed within the party’s timeframe?
- Can the project be made at the party venue? Do I need any special equipment, etc., like electricity or water?
If the answer is yes to most of these questions, then I know I’ve got a good party project. If the answer is no to most of these questions, I know that I need to do more homework and come up with a different project. I also like to test party project at least a couple of times to make sure it’s a good fit for my group and to identify any variables or challenges ahead of time. This also allows me to create project samples to show at the party.
Figuring out the venue and location of a craft party is one of my favorite things! There are so many great places you can host your craft party. I recommend exploring your area a bit and see what area attractions and venues are available. Do you have a favorite restaurant? If so, check to see if they have a party room you can use. Area breweries and wine bars are great, too, and will often set up drink flights and food deals for your event.
Think outside the box, too, and think about museums, parks, and sporting events. Many museums, attractions, and sports teams will work with you to set up group deals and have space onsite for your guests to make a craft project as a fun pre-game or post-tour activity. There may be rental fees involved, but many venues will waive or reduce fees if you open your party to their customers as well.
If you are hosting one of your first craft parties and feel a bit uncertain, you may want to think about hosting it in your home. I’ve had a lot of fun hosting parties in my craft room, on my patio, and in my kitchen. I appreciated having extra supplies close at hand if needed and not having to worry about making a mess or not having enough room in an unfamiliar venue.
Here’s a couple of important things to finally keep in mind with your venue, regardless of where you host your party:
- Make sure there’s enough space for guests to create and socialize. A cramped craft party is not fun! I think it’s better to host fewer people than to crowd guests.
- Host your party in a venue that’s okay with craft supplies being used. Sometimes creating can be a bit messy despite your best efforts to keep things clean. I find there’s always some kind of clean-up from the party. You’ll want to host your party in a venue that’s okay with this.
5. Party Schedule
Another important key to a great craft party is managing the party schedule. You’ll want to give guests enough time to create their project, but also socialize. Also, not everyone crafts at the same rate, so you’ll want to factor in extra time for guests to complete their projects. You don’t want guests to feel rushed either. You want to encourage them to enjoy the whole experience.
Typically, I like to plan on about 2-3 hours for a craft party depending on the project we’re making. I plan an hour to create the project and another hour to socialize and eat, etc. If the project is involved or has many more steps or pieces, I plan extra time. I also save complex party projects for longer events like workshops or retreats, too. By managing the party schedule, you’ll ensure that guests have a good time and are able to relax and enjoy the whole party.
Figuring out the party budget can be tricky, but it’s a critical piece of planning your craft party. You want to create a budget that works for you and your guests, so you don’t create and additional stress when planning and hosting the party.
When it comes to the budget, I start with a budget that works for me. I make these decisions to help me create the budget:
- What are my project costs?
- What are my food and drink costs?
- What are my party favor, decorations costs?
- What are my venue costs?
I take the answers from these questions to craft a simple budget. Next, I figure out who is covering the party expenses. If I’m hosting the party for my friends, I usually cover the costs like I would for any other type of party I’m personally hosting. I plan on covering food, drinks, and venue costs as part of my hostess responsibilities.
I may have guests contribute to the party if my friends want to do a project that’s outside my budget. In that case, I put together a kit and ask friends to pay ahead of time if possible. If you opt for friends to pay for their project, you can use your favorite online payment platform (PayPal, Zelle, Venmo to collect the fees or collect cash or checks. It’s up to you and what you are comfortable with. You can also ask guests to bring their own supplies. This is a great option to help defray costs for you as a host and let guests select the supplies they want. This works especially well with Sewing Bee parties as guests often want to pick out their own fabric.
Keep in mind these are tips if you are hosting a craft party for friends and family. If you are planning a craft party for profit, I recommend researching different payment platforms to see what services they offer and what additional fees are charged. Some of the payment platforms I’ve used are SquareUp, PayPal, CheddarUp, and Eventbrite. I’m not affiliated with these platforms. Overall have had good luck using each one.
7. Project Supplies
Doing a bit of homework can help you find the perfect craft supplies at a good price. My go-to craft supply places are Amazon and my local craft chain stores. Often these stores will have good sales which can help you save money. Keep in mind sales can change often. If you need a last-minute craft supply right before the party, it may not be on sale. You’ll want to factor in a bit of cushion in your party budget in case this comes up. I also like to shop local independent craft retailers when possible, too, for unique supplies and to support local businesses.
Keep an eye out, too, at thrift stores or ask friends for supplies they don’t want anymore. This allows you to upcycle and re-use supplies, which helps your budget and the environment, too. Also, consider your time when purchasing craft supplies. I like to order supplies online that can be delivered to my door or can be picked up at my local store. This saves me a lot of time.
8. Party Favors
I always like to offer a cute takeaway or party favor for my guests. This can be something small I’ve made, a fun sticker, candy, etc. Often it revolves around the party theme. For example, I’m planning to give guests a bottle of sarsaparilla at an upcoming Old West themed craft retreat in Kansas. I think it’s nice to give guests a souvenir of the party and it elevates your party a bit. Party favors don’t have to be elaborate and you can have a lot of fun creating them. Do what works best for your budget and your party.
9. Guest List
I think creating the guest list is one of the most fun parts of planning a party! I love thinking about who I can gather and who I want to craft with. Usually my list is really long, and I have to be thoughtful about who to invite or host multiple parties so we have enough space to create. When planning a party, here are some guidelines to help you create the guest list:
- How many people your venue will hold comfortably?
- How much space guests will need to create their project?
- How many guests do you want to host? Do you want a large party or something smaller?
You will likely not have everyone attend, which may allow you to adjust your numbers to invite a few more people. If you are hosting one of your first parties, think about hosting a small number of people at first. This will allow you to enjoy the party but not get overwhelmed by so many people and the variables that can crop up at a large party.
By planning for these key party elements, you are well on your way to a successful party! To help you work through each of these party logistics, be sure to download our Craft Party Planning worksheet and tip sheets here. I hope these ideas, tips, and tricks help you as you are planning your first craft parties. Please reach out if you have any questions or there’s anything I can help with. You can contact me here. I’d love to hear how your craft party went!