NEWTON — A meat tenderizer works when grilling steaks, but also has its place in crafting, as do screws, nails, and even a regular hammer or tumbling pebbles.
At Board & Brush, workshop participants learn how to make their own signs, plaques, and other home decor items, gifts, and ornaments. It all comes down to knowing how to combine “disturbing” pieces of wood with paint, stain, other decorations and imagination.
This newest studio of the Board & Brush franchise, and the first in northwestern New Jersey, opened earlier this month at 106 Sparta Ave. — in addition to the QuickChek — and offers public workshops and reservations for holiday parties, private group gatherings, and even corporate events.
Although locally owned, the franchise is part of the national Board & Brush family, which is one of the fastest-growing DIY studio workshop franchises in the country.
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Essentially, the company, owned by Kimi and Steve Sosna, teaches how to turn ordinary pieces of wood into signs, ornaments and other home decor items with workshops that provide hands-on instruction.
Kimi is experienced in crafts and Steve is a skilled woodworker.
“I’m definitely a creative type, but I don’t have much artistic talent,” Kimi said at the recent grand opening. “I love Board & Brush because the stencils make any project come out beautifully.”
During the workshop, participants will learn how to give a piece of wood that “aged, antique” look by aging, a process that uses objects such as meat tenderizer hammers or other objects to dent or “age” the wood . A meat tenderizer with its square, pointy face comes in handy with a few taps that give the impression of instant “wear and tear”.
Screws, nails, screwdrivers and even falling rocks add different textures and shaped dents. A stain can then be applied and paint and stencils can be used for lettering or other decoration. Sometimes the paint is applied first and the stain is used as a finish.
The decorations to be made are as varied as the imagination, from holiday signs to welcome signs to other plaques or even standing decorations. Other techniques can also prepare the signs to hang outside next to a door to decorate patios and decks.
The workshops are instructor-led, with participants learning about power tools, paint, stencilling, and assembly, with all materials provided by the studio. Each “Choose Your Project” workshop lasts about three hours and costs about $75, depending on the supplies needed.
Pre-registration is required by calling the store at 973-262-4886. In addition to the workshops, the owners add a special workshop every month, starting with a doormat workshop in December. The studio has workspace for up to 24 people for a workshop.
Board & Brush will also have new designs on the first of each month, with the latest releases themed around the December holiday season. Kimi Sosna said she also sees a lot of interest in pet designs and expects designs suitable for the region’s many lakeside homes to be popular. Board & Brush designs are known for complementing both rustic and modern living styles with the use of natural materials and options of a wide variety of wood stains and paint colors available.
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Kimi said she knew about Board & Brush when she lived in Staten Island. At the time, she was working as an activity counselor in nursing and care homes, taking a group of residents to a workshop.
“I loved it so much that when I got engaged my bridesmaids and I made all the boards for my wedding at Board & Brush,” she explained. She also noted that the studio is unique in northwestern New Jersey and that both she and her husband will be conducting the workshops.
Kimi said she plans to work with local schools and healthcare facilities on fundraising and donations. She said other local charities interested in hosting a fundraiser at Newton Board & Brush can contact the studio directly.
Newton Board & Brush is on Facebook at facebook.com/boardandbrushnewtonnj and online at boardandbrush.com/newton.