Art

From Ornament Painting to Bookbinding: The Best Craft Classes to Take This Month in Chicago

Get those creative juices flowing

Calligraphy made by instructor at Japanese Cultural Center

It’s painfully cold outside, and maybe you’re over Netflix and chilling. If you’re looking for an indoor activity to keep warm, check out one of these crafty classes around town, from a calligraphy workshop to a community bookbinding session. Why not exercise some artistic muscles while making some new pals?

Ornament Painting with Revolution Brewery
There’s no better bauble for a Christmas tree than a handmade ornament. Paint one (or many) at this festive adult party hosted by Logan Square’s popular Cafe Con Leche, and enjoy a few brews by another neighborhood staple. It’ll be a trinket to remember for many Christmases to come.
Details: December 11

Paint Your Pet & Sip to Benefit ALIVE Rescue at Off Color Brewing
Have a dog, cat, rabbit, fish or other animal that you love? Why not immortalize it on canvas in the name of charity? With the guidance of skilled instructors, paint your pet’s headshot while enjoying some craft beer, with portions of proceeds going towards this Roscoe Village adoption center.
Details: December 11

Shedd Aquarium; Credit: Brenna Hernandez

Wine and Waves at the Shedd Aquarium
From classroom encounters to dynamic water shows, the Shedd really strives to get visitors up close to its residents. This opportunity for adults invites you to examine and better understand one of the aquarium’s habitats by painting it in an artist-led class; drinks, of course, will be available for purchase, to really get those creative juices flowing.
Details: December 12

Paint Nite with Cats! at the Windy Kitty Cat Cafe and Lounge
Is there no harsher critic than a cat? Find out at this painting session in one of the city’s few cat cafes, where felines roam free as you release your inner Claws Monet or Frida Meow-lo. Maybe you’ll find a muse in a purring fluffball, or simply get inspired to adopt one to be your furr-ever friend.
Details: December 15 and 29

Zero Waste Garland Workshop at the Ace Hotel Chicago
If you’re planning to host any party this holiday season, you’ll need a showstopper of a garland to pull a room together. Don’t worry: the pair behind local children’s clothing line, Wolfchild, has your back. In this eco-conscious class, learn how to breathe new life into old textiles so they’re ready to show off to your guests in new form.
Details: December 15

Japanese Calligraphy at Japanese Culture Center
Calligraphy is more than written communication; it’s a form of penmanship closely tied to meditation. Learn how to wield an ink-dipped brush the traditional way in this lesson led by a Japanese calligraphy master. Even if you can’t read or speak Japanese, chances are, you’ll enjoy the motion and poetry of each brushstroke.

Art After Work at the Intuit
If you’re looking for a way to unwind after a full day in the office, look no further than the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. The esteemed institution hosts drop-in art classes in its galleries, boosted by refreshments, every third Tuesday of the month. The artists the Intuit represents made work for no one but themselves, so whom better to get inspired by than those who expressed themselves without inhibition?

Ikebana at the Japanese American Service Committee
The name for the Japanese art of flower arrangement can be translated into “make flowers alive.” Learn how to do so at one of these recurring classes, which blend botany and sculpture. As we get deeper into winter, why not surround yourself with bright, elegant florals of your own making?

Community Binding at Zhou B Art Center
Every third Friday of the month, this massive art center hosts a super casual bookbinding session. This is your last chance to attend one this year and not only learn how to make a book but also contribute to the project’s Neighborhood Archive—a growing collection of handmade books created from past gatherings. You’ll give away one copy of the book you’ve made, but get to take one home as well.
Details: December 21

Palestinian Embroidery Workshop at MAS-ICNA Convention
The arts studio Watan will teach participants how to create a traditional Palestinian embroidery known as Tatreez. Learn about the history of the endangered art form as well as the basic skills to create a pattern, and take a standout design home with you.
Details: December 28