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The Crafty Hen

TOAST gets crafty with The Crafty Hen

Looking for a fun group activity a little more unique than usual? Whatever the occasion, The Crafty Hen has a fun and creative workshop to suit all tastes, from ceramic painting to nipple tassel making (seriously!). TOAST chats to founder Julie Roberts to learn more about the timeless appeal of making things.



As a child I absolutely loved making things. Sticking sequins, sprinkling glitter, loo rolls transformed into space rockets, Play doh molded into mythical creatures – you name it, I would make it. Well, try and make it. 20 years on and there is still something undeniably enjoyable, rewarding and incredibly satisfying about making something with ones own hands, and someone who shares this sentiment with me is Julie Roberts, founder of nationwide craft party providers, The Crafty Hen.

In today’s age where things are so digital, instant and fleeting, having some time away from looking at a screen and focusing on something right there in front of us has a charm these days” she explains.

I’ve always made things from a very young age and I suppose it’s this love of making that set me along this path. I did a textile crafts degree, and then started to facilitate craft workshops for a variety of groups and I really enjoyed the diversity, so The Crafty Hen grew from this…

The Crafty Hen’s initial customers were, as the name suggests, hen parties - looking for a fun and perhaps more memorable alternative to the usual sambuca-fueled, L-plate filled debaucherous night out that tradition often dictates. Julie’s offering is a far more civilized but no less enjoyable affair; there might not be any awkward butlers in the buff, but there are more beautiful ribbons, buttons and lace than you can shake a plastic willy straw at.

Hen parties these days have evolved from being just a night out on the tiles. It’s all about having a really great time with your closest friends and family, bonding, and sharing in a great experience together really makes the whole thing much more memorable” explains Julie.

Getting to say ‘I made that’, gives us all a sense of satisfaction that we can create something from scratch that will last a long time. It is a testament to our individual skills and unique creativity.”

Ideal for artistic hens (and the all-important Bride-to-be, of course), The Crafty Hen’s workshops, which are available accross the UK, encourage the group to work together to create beautiful decorations that can be admired on the big day itself, such as bunting, textile flowers and handmade favours. Alternatively, the group can also choose to make unique and fun accessories to actually wear on the hen night or on the wedding day such as fascinators and flower crowns, or for something more risqué – how about fashioning frilly garters, a knicker customization workshop or nipple tassel making?! 

You’d be surprised what goes on!” Julie laughs. “We also run bespoke sessions quite often - it’s always nice to tailor something exactly to the group’s requests so we know they are going to be so happy at the end!” she adds.

Our funniest workshop would probably be making superhero capes for one group to all wear for a superhero themed wedding. And then another group of hens saw the results and wanted the same activity so they could wear personalised capes on a night out!

Knicker Customisation The Crafty Hen

The Crafty Hen Blue Garter

Thecraftyhen

As well as their various interactive hen party workshops, The Crafty Hen can also deliver DIY Craft Kits which include all the fabrics, trims and materials that you need along with simple step-by-step instructions to guide you through making bunting, fascinators, nipple tassels and more, without the added cost of a workshop leader.

Our kits are great for smaller groups looking for a more informal activity or those on more of a budget,” explains Julie. “They are perfect for a small get together between the Bride and her bridesmaids - we’ve even had orders of our kits for be “Be my Bridesmaid” gifts, which is such a sweet idea.

Fascinator Kits The Crafty Hen

Bridesmaids aside, I am pleased to say that it’s not just hen parties that get to enjoy the inventive delights of The Crafty Hen these days – Julie and her talented team of trained workshop leaders can host their crafty sessions at birthday parties, baby showers, team building days, promotional events and more – ‘any excuse to get crafty!” as Julie says. Sessions can be held in a venue of your choice right across the UK or in your own home – all that’s required is a table space for each guest and a bit of extra room for the wonderful bounty of materials provided. 

“Our workshops are engaging experiences that are great for just having a natter over crafts, breaking the ice, or as team building activities as well, and with a grand sense of achievement at the end too! enthuses Julie.

Over the past 5 years knicker customisation ruled as the most popular activity by far for hen parties - we think it’s the perfect mix of cheekiness and alternative fun for a memorable hen do! But this year flower crowns have completely taken over - our crafty hens do look fab in their floral crowns!” she adds

“Ceramic painting is really popular for our corporate events, and the baby showers were a really organic development from our hen party sessions really, and getting to make the cute examples to inspire our groups was certainly not a chore!

Cup Customisation The Crafty Hen 

The cute examples that Julie refers to here are for the undeniably adorable Baby Grow Customisation workshop where the group can create unique baby grows using appliqué (layered fabrics), hand stitch, ribbons, lace, bows, Swarovski crystals and more, and my personal favourite - the Bespoke Baby Mobile workshop, where guests can all contribute to a beautiful, handmade baby mobile to be hung above the cot, destined to be admired by the new born and treasured by the whole family for years to come.

I think people are often surprised how relaxing making things can be. It’s like a form of meditation in some ways - if you set aside 15 minutes each day to keep up a little hobby or finally knit that scarf you’ve been meaning to finish!” Julie explains.

Flower Crowns The Crafty Hen

As well as their craft kits and wondrous workshops, you might also be able to catch The Crafty Hen at various in-store events up and down the country – earlier this summer they transformed two B&Q stores into hubs of crafty activities where over the course of three days families got the chance to make bug hotels, bird feeders and even some colourful butterfly pollinators too. But even as The Crafty Hen continues to grow, Julie still has a firm grasp on what she believes is the key to crafty success.

Providing excellent customer service, a quality craft workshop experience, and having fun while learning and making something personal is incredible important to us” Julie explains.

We are constantly working on what we offer, making it the best it can be. We always try our very best to make sure that from day one of someone’s enquiry right to the very end of the workshop, that everything runs smoothly. Hen party planning can be surprisingly tricky! So we do our best to help along the way, responding to emails as soon as we can so there is no waiting around for answers

Testament to this – The Crafty Hen recently scooped a 5* Customer Service Award from online wedding planning service ‘Guides for Brides’.

The award was such a surprise but felt very rewarding too! It sits proudly on our windowsill” beams Julie.

So from bee pollinators to baby mobiles, nipple tassels to flower crowns – where does The Crafty Hen get all her inspiration and crafty knowledge from?   

Mainly through playing and learning as we go along. We love nothing more than trying things out and then wearing them at our desks - we can often be found answering the phone, wearing flower crowns” Julie giggles.

And whilst making all these wonderful creations sounds like great fun, it also sounds like it could be a little tricky, especially for those amongst us who are not exactly well practised with a needle and thread, but Julie is quick to reassure me that The Crafty Hen caters for all abilities (phew).

At the start of every single session, there is at least one person who says ‘I can’t do this’, but by the end they are so delighted with what they actually can achieve!” she enthuses. 

Even those who haven’t picked up a needle and thread since their school days are always so surprised with how much they get drawn in! People can’t believe they would go from not knowing how to thread a needle to making a fascinator they would proudly wear to the wedding day in a few short hours, but they do! And that is always the nicest part of what we do.

Cocktail Rings The Crafty Hen

Garters The Crafty Hen Dervyshire


Crafty Hen workshops are available nationwide and cost from £30 per person. For more information and contact details for The Crafty Hen you can find their page in TOAST’s Little Black Book

 

Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 06 July 2017

  hen party craft workshops

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