If your budding Martha Stewart goes through acrylic paint like it’s apple juice, you might want to take them to this just opened DIY haven in the heart of downtown Bethesda. Make Meaning, a 6,000-square-foot outpost, offers foolproof crafts—from soaps and candles to pendants and ceramic mugs—for all skill levels and ages. Plus, there’s enough fun at this spot to shake a craft stick at.

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A Candy Shop for Crafters
So what’s there to make at this art studio? The real question should be, what can’t be made here? Make Meaning let’s you get your hands dirty while working on ceramics, jewelry, soaps, candles, cakes, cookies, and canvas paintings (or if the mini isn’t in an artsy mood, she can sit back, relax, and let an A.C.E.—Associate Creativity Enthusiast—apply a glitter tattoo to her forearm…#diva). Once kiddo has chosen his poison, you find a seat at one of the communal craft tables, place your order and wait a few minutes for an A.C.E. to bring over your supplies, including an apron if things get messy. And they will.

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Go…On a Whim
What really sets this craft corner apart from other art spaces in the DMV is the fact that you don’t need a reservation and you don’t need to be registered for a class to drop by and have fun. Walk-ins are welcomed any time during store hours. The only time you should call ahead is if there are more than six people in your group or you want to set up a birthday party. Otherwise, make this your rainy/too-hot day go-to.

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Get the Party Started
From “First Birthdays” to pre-teen shindigs, Make Meaning makes planning a party a cinch for the grown-ups. Packages (which you can sign up for online) start at 19.99/person, and aside from food, everything in the 90-minute party is taken care of. Maybe this time you can—hmm…we don’t know, enjoy your kids party for a change. If your wee partiers do catch an appetite get grub delivered to Make Meaning from one of the restaurants (Cava for Mediterranean, Mama Lucia for pizza, or Georgetown Cupcakes for confections). Since each party-goer gets to make and keep their very own artproject, you can leave the goody bags at home.gallery-parties-on-the-road-13

For the Grown and Artsy
Why should kids have all of the fun—while you look on enviously as they glop glue and glitter all over a princess piggy bank? Show off your creative side anytime you feel like it whilst designing candles and travel mugs, or during an adults only canvas painting class (pssst…occasionally going solo or with your main squeeze—sans kids—is oddly relaxing. Try it!).

Open: Mon-Sat, 10 am-9 pm; Sun, 10 am-6 pm
Cost: $36/annual membership; $12/flat day rate

4809 Bethesda Ave. (Bethesda, Md)
301-828-1086
Online: makemeaning.com

Where does your family go to get a creative fix? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Photos courtesy of Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Make Meaning