Make your own home decor at these Howard County classes

For Howard Magazine

Sure, you could fill your home with mass-produced decor from big-box stores, but a personal touch is nice now and then. These local classes can help teach you the skills to create your own one-of-a-kind home accents.

Signs of the times

Proud of where you live? The Pottery Stop in Ellicott City offers a class to help you display your little slice of Maryland in your home.

Submit details about what you want on your trendy wooden sign online ahead of time, and the staff creates a personalized stencil. The class walks you through the wood-staining process and how to paint an outline of the state of Maryland on the wooden planks with a little heart on top of your town.

There are other wooden sign options, including “Welcome” and monogram designs with the option for an “established” date. You can also add clothespins for hanging or a key rack for the entrance to your home.

“The wonderful thing about these boards is that they are unique,” says Maegan Supple, owner and manager at The Pottery Stop. “It is your own artwork that you’re creating. And it’s a fun experience as well. You’re going to make memories.”

The cost ranges from $40 to $54 per sign. Classes are held on Thursdays and Fridays. Visit or call 410-480-0111 for schedule and registration information.

Flower power

As a former floral designer, Michele Schroder has a passion for creating items from nature for her home.

Now an art teacher in the Howard County Public School System, she is also teaching adults to decorate the with flowers through the continuing education noncredit program at Howard Community College.

“It’s a really nice feeling to be able to show people that they can create something beautiful for their home themselves,” says Schroder.

Next month, Schroder is teaching a create-your-own silk floral wreath class at the Turn House restaurant on Hobbit’s Glen Golf Course in Columbia. The class is scheduled for May 10 at 6:30 p.m. All of the tools, materials and instructions are provided for $79.

Schroder also regularly teaches mosaic flowerpot-making through HCC at the Turn House. All materials are provided, and the class costs $69.

“We’re trying to show people that they can make all of those fun things that people post on Pinterest and that they can take those skills and use them to decorate their home,” Schroder says.

Find Michele Schroder’s wreath and flowerpot classes through Howard Community College at or 443-518-1000.

Different strokes

Looking for a fun night out that also checks an item off the decorating to-do list? Pinot’s Palette in Ellicott City’s Turf Valley Towne Square offers a chance to make a unique painting for your home, even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush.

The franchise has a library of more than 1,000 paintings and offers a 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. class format on Thursday through Saturday nights at an average of $38 per painter.

“I think that people like the personal touch,” says Rod Vese, owner of Pinot’s Palette. “Most of those who take our classes end up very proudly displaying them in their home and are happy to say that they painted them.”

Paintings range from impressionist landscapes to wine-themed still-lifes. Pinot’s Palette also offers frames for $39 to create a finished product that’s ready to hang.

For Kirstin Pipes of Columbia, Pinot’s Palette has helped her hone a new talent while finding the perfect pieces to display in her home. She started as a novice and has created 13 paintings at the Ellicott City location.

“Everyone should try it at least once, because even if you don’t have any artistic talent they make it easy enough that you come out with something that you won’t be embarrassed to show off in your home,” Pipes says.

Visit or call 443-420-8378 for schedule and registration information.

In stitches

Learning to sew starts with the first stitch. Jo-Ann’s in Columbia offers classes to help get you started on several functional fabric decor items. Three-seam pillowcase and the learn-to-quilt classes do not require any experience prior to registration. Through the pillow class, those who are new to sewing learn to cut fabric pieces, pin fabric and sew simple and French seams.

For those who have some experience sewing, classes on making pillows from quilt puffs and making table runners teach skills like fabric sandwiching, batting before binding and piecing fabric together.

Gather materials from an online supply list online before heading to class. The cost for these classes ranges from $35 to $40.

“Hand-making is a great way for our customers to bring their inspiration to reality,” says Shauntina Lilly, public relations planner at Jo-Ann.

More information on classes offered at Jo-Ann’s can be found at or 410-872-0550.

Terrarium creations

It’s a twist on paint-and-sip events for nature lovers — and a way to craft a living home accent.

Plant Nite at Mimi’s Cafe in Columbia teaches participants how to build a terrarium full of succulents and how to care for their creations. Glass and wooden planters with three succulent plants, soil, deco gravel and any specialty items to complete the design are included for the base cost of $55. A special birdcage design offered at some events starts at $65.

“No experience is required, and it’s a great chance to get away from social media and being attached to your phone and get out with your friends to learn something new,” says Daraja Asili, Plant Nite regional manager for Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.

Asili says the most important thing that event goers learn is when to water and when not to water.

“People believe with succulents that they should water them a lot, but that’s not the case,” says Asili. “You have to water them more in the summer and less in the winter.”

More Plant Nite locations will be added later this year.

For a schedule of Plant Nite classes, visit or call 855-767-4270.

Glass for houses

Looking for a sculptural or functional art piece for your home? Create it yourself at the ClayGround Studio & Gallery in Ellicott City.

At classes in mosaics, glass fusion and pottery, come up with your own color theme and idea, and the staff will help you create it.

“It is about the experience of creating art,” says Michael Koplow, owner of ClayGround. “Even if you say that you’re not an artistic person, I will almost guarantee that you will walk out of the studio with a piece that you are proud of.”

The studio offers classes Tuesday through Sunday, starting at $45. Many classes allow you to work at your own pace, even if that means coming back another day to finish or pick up your piece.

Find a class at the ClayGround by visiting or calling 443-812-1158.

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