You’ve wracked you brain. You’ve even looked for inspiration at the bottom of that cup of egg-nog, but you still haven’t figured out what to give the grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, etc.  How about home-made gifts, minus the at home mess? Plus, these crafty adventures at our favorite DIY shops make for an amazing experience and a unique gift that will be treasured forever.

DIYPLAYsnowmenpaintingphoto: PLAY via facebook

For Mini Michelangelos
Have a pint-sized painter on your hands? Let your kiddo create a masterpiece of their very own, frame the painting, and boom – an instant gift that’s the perfect showstopper when it comes time to unwrapping.

Messy art is the name of the game here. Your kiddo is given a smock and an easel and away they go. Watch as they splatter and brush their way to artistic freedom. The paintings get hung to dry, and you can either take them home right away or return the next day to pick up your art. Kids will feel like professional painters in this studio, and they’ll be allowed to paint on as many pages as they like. The studio is always drop-in, so no need to plan. Go when the creative juices are flowing, then simply frame and wrap for a gift that will “hang” around forever.

When: Mon., Tues, Fri. & Sat. from 10:45 a.m.-noon
Ages: Toddler to age 5
Cost: $12 per child

5814 W. Third St.


PaintLabMermaidpaintingphoto: PAINT Lab via facebook

Paint Lab
Open painting is available every day, so you can let your kiddos express themselves whenever the mood strikes. Kids get access to paints and easels, and you can either buy the canvas there, or bring your own. Professional artists are on hand to help guide your mini Rembrandt, and when it’s through you’ll have unique art worthy of your wall.

When: Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ages: 5–12
Cost: $15 per kid plus canvas (either bring or buy)

1453 14th St.
Santa Monica

PaintnGlazeboyphoto: Paint n’ Glaze via facebook

For Pint-Sized Potters
Got a kid who wants to play with clay all day? Gotcha covered.

Paint N’ Glaze
The possibilities are endless: your tyke chooses from a wide variety of ceramics (mugs, plates, bowls, jugs, piggy banks, etc), then the painting frenzy begins. The creation is then glazed and fired, and you come to pick it up later. Voila: instant gorgeous gift! Walk-ins welcome during studio hours.

When: Tuesday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday & Saturday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m.
Ages: Any (with adult supervision)
Cost: $8 per kid (but check online for various daily specials!)

3960 N. Studebaker Rd.
Long Beach

Bitter Root Pottery
Here’s the deal. You dress your kiddo in a pair of ok-to-get-dirty clothes, show up 15 minutes prior to the class you’d like to take and away you go. Everything is included. The 1.5 instructional session will include the clay, firing and selection of glaze color (glazing done by the staff, of course). You’ll come away with a gorgeous hand-made creation, ideal to wrap and give to someone dear.

When: Woodland Hills Monday and weekend mornings, Beverly Grove weekend mornings (see website for details).
Ages: Babies to 12 years old
Cost: $35 for a 1.5 hour class for 6-12 year olds. Contact directly for 0-24 months sessions and costs.

Locations in Beverly Grove and Woodland Hills

glaze1photo: Christina Fiedler

Glaze Fire 
Looking for hipster friendly colors and décor? Glaze Fire isn’t your average place–that’s clear just by the entire wall-full of choices. Kiddos will go gaga over all the options, from dinosaur (not piggy) banks to doggie bowls. Your heart will melt at the option to make footprint/handprint plaques for all ages (the perfect gift for Grandparents!). It’s true that the prices are higher here, but you’re getting top quality items–keepsakes to last a lifetime. Check out our inside scoop on this new spot.

When: Daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Ages: Any age (with a grown-up)
Cost: You pay per piece (ranging from $10 – $40), plus a $10 painting fee per kid.

1937 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Feliz

colormeminestudiocity photo: Color me Mine Studio City via facebook

Color Me Mine
A staple in LA, this tried and true drop-in paint and glaze chain definitely knows pottery. With hundreds of pieces to choose from and over 60 paint colors to play with, your babes will be bursting with do-it-yourself joy.

When: Drop-ins anytime during store hours (depending on location)
Ages: Any (with adult supervision)
Cost: $10/adults $6/kids plus the price of the piece

Locations throughout LA

Musicstarsandmastersgirlsphoto: Music Stars & Masters Facebook Page

For Petite Popstars
‘Cause you know your kid’s got pipes.

Music Stars and Masters
Your little performer is always belting out a tune, whether it’s singing along to the radio or shouting out a tune in the bath. Put those vocal chords to good use at Music Stars & Masters in the Westside Pavillion Mall. Book a recording session, and for a solid hour your young Adele in the making can belt along to their favorite tracks. A professional recording is made and burned onto a CD for you to keep (make extra copies at home or get them done there for $10 a pop). An ideal gift for all the family, and kids will have a blast playing rock star during the recording session. Plus, since the location is in a mall, you’re in a prime spot for other more conventional Christmas shopping. Done and done.

When: By appointment (1 hour recording session)
Ages: Best suited to bigger kids who can carry a tune
Cost: $100 per 1-hour recording session (includes 1 CD, but extra copies are $10 each)

Westside Pavilion, Next to Nordstrom
10800 W. Pico Blvd.
West LA

DIYarticletheknittingtreephoto: The Knitting Tree via facebook

For Knitting Kids
Your kid clicks with those knitting needles and gives Grandma a run for her money.

The Knitting Tree
Knitting isn’t just for Grandma. Let your big kid knit something cozy for the loved ones in your life. Call or e-mail to book a private session and you and your own personal knitting circle can get advice from one of the knowledgeable staffers. They stock plenty of kid-friendly knitting supplies, including chunky yarns in bright colors and large needles (that come in a variety of colors).

When: By appointment (call or e-mail to book a lesson)
Ages: Suited to older kids (typically 9 & up is best, but patient younger kids have the knack, too!)
Cost: $25/hour per student

6285 Bristol Pkwy.
Culver City

DIYarticlebeadboutiqueon3rdphoto: Bead Boutique via facebook

For Little Jewelry Makers
If your little one is always admiring your bling, here’s where to take them.

Bead Boutique
For the more discerning eye, this bead store stocks only the highest quality goods. They have a gorgeous selection of interesting beads in a variety of colors and shapes. You may pay a tad more here, but you won’t have to sift through the bargain big of cheap beads. Your keen-eyed kiddo will enjoy making a custom-made piece that nobody else will have. From the stunning options to the informed advice, you’ll walk away with something to truly cherish. Perfect unique gifts for teachers and friends!

When: Daily from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ages: Best for kids big enough to string beads without trouble (and without eating the beads).
Cost: $25 per class. You get 20% off all purchases on the day of your class. Each session is 1 to 1 ½ hours with a devoted staffer.

8313 W 3rd St.

DIYarticleLeannasWonderlandbraceletsphoto: Leanna Lin’s Wonderland

Leanna Lin’s Wonderland
Eager for a drop-in jewelry making session when the mood strikes and your schedule permits? Head over to Leanna Lin’s Wonderland during business hours and get set for a jewelry beading workshop that will rock your world! With inspiration all around you and a rainbow of fun beads to choose from, you’ll feel like Alice exploring a Wonderland of candy-colored creative options.

When: Tue.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ages: Any age, with parent supervision
Cost: Prices depend on what you make. (Prices range from $12 and up, and include include beads, wire, signature Wonderland closure, studio time + assistance.)

5024 Eagle Rock Blvd.
Eagle Rock

DIYmakersmessphoto: Makers Mess

For All-Around Artists
Your imaginative kiddo likes a little of this, a little of that…why put boundaries on an artist’s soul? Check out these places that combine crafting, painting, you name it.

Maker’s Mess
There’s so much on offer at this creative space designed for artists to learn, collaborate and inspire. From Saturday morning art camp, where you can drop off your kiddos (age 4 & up) for some awesome art exploration, to weekly after school art classes (for kids as young as 6), as well as Holiday Art Camps to get you through the no-school sludge, not to mention mid-morning Parent & Child classes, this place has your creative side covered. Makers Mess invites you to come and make messes or masterpieces, while your kiddos discovers and perfects their artistic talents. They also offer classes for grown ups (BYOB) so starting thinking about your own gift making, too.

When: Check website (varies by activity).
Ages: Best suited for toddlers and up.
Cost: Varies by activity (check website for prices).

602 North Hoover
Silver Lake

DIYarticlePurpleTwigphoto: Purple Twig via facebook

Purple Twig
With drop-off classes for kids aged 3-10, family classes for parents and kids aged 2-3, an open drop-in art studio for kids ages 2 & up and various Holiday Camps for school-aged kids, variety is the name of the game at Purple Twig. Your little one’s world will expand when they experience new ways to express themselves, from printing, painting, sculpting, cutting and gluing. There are lots of unique workshop on offer, from winter mobiles, to paper maché creations or hand-built ceramics. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding what to make. Rest assured, no matter what you choose, your kiddo’s DIY gift will be one of a kind.

When: Varies by activity (check website for details)
Ages: As young as 2.
Cost: Varies by activity (prices range from $15 per drop-in session, and go upwards depending on the class).

2038 Colorado Blvd.
Eagle Rock

Are you into DIY holiday gift-making? Let us know what your little artist creates at these cool spots or at home!

—Elena Wurlitzer Fenegan