Creative workshops are opportunities to bring large groups together that share an interest or hobby, to help them enhance their skills and hone their craft. While often used as a form of art therapy to support those with physical and/or mental health issues, creative workshops have a range of benefits for absolutely everybody. These include:
Social support – finding your ‘people’
Practicing mindfulness and encouraging relaxation.
If you’re ready to venture into the world of creative workshops, look no further! While the most common workshops are normally around art, writing, dancing, and singing, there are plenty of other interesting (and niche) creative ideas and topics to choose from. Below, we’ve put together 11 creative workshop ideas for adults.
Workshops can last anywhere from an hour to several days. However, the foundation of the workshop (or each day) is generally the same.
Introduction and greetings
In the beginning, introduce yourself and your expertise. Encourage everyone to introduce themselves to the wider group, too. This is a good point to use an ice breaker or play a quick game.
The next step is to share your goals for the workshop. What can your participants expect to achieve by the end of it?
This is the bulk of the session, where you teach the group the skills, techniques, and theory required as part of the workshop.
Then, encourage your group to break into small groups to share progress, give feedback, and problem-solving.
Once finished, wrap up the session by allowing everyone to share their work. Then share the next steps such as a follow-up email, handouts, a certificate, or an overview of the next workshop session!
Creative workshop event ideas
From the niche to the more frequently attended, here are our best ideas for creative workshop event ideas.
Painting class workshop
Painting classes, as well as paint and sip classes, are both great ways to encourage creativity and emotional expression. The best thing about painting workshops is that they don’t require experience from the attendees, and they can cover anything from brush strokes and painting techniques to art history and step-by-step tutorials.
Photography lesson workshop
With cameras on every phone nowadays, plenty of people fancy themselves as a bit of a photographer. But, a photography lesson can take this to a whole new level. Studying movement, lenses, apertures and focus lengths means the workshop can be a mixture of theory and more practical work.
Creative writing workshop
Not only do creative writing workshops encourage new ideas and boost writing skills, but they give outlets to those who may struggle to get to grips with their feelings. Some workshops also encourage peer-to-peer feedback and critiques, which can boost communication and collaboration skills with the rest of the group.
Crochet planters and hangers workshop
During the recent lockdown, two big things happened in our homes. One, we turned to indoor hobbies and activities, and two, many of us filled our homes with plants and greenery. One awesome way of combining these two trends is by creating crochet planters and hangers. These are beautiful, handmade crochet pieces that can either hold a plant (much like a traditional plant pot) or can be hung from the ceiling with a small succulent or trailing plant in tow. Crochet is a very calming and relaxing activity — much like knitting, and it’s always a bonus for your participants to be able to take the thing they made home.
Screen printing workshop
Screen printing is an innovative and fun way to create art. It involves physically pushing ink through a stenciled mesh screen to create a design. It’s used for lots of different things such as posters, artwork, printed textiles, and more. This type of workshop combines design, painting, and printing, making it a super-fun form of art.
Body art workshop
Body art workshops are one of those group activities that offer a wide range of practical advice, technical skills, and techniques to participants. Workshop activities might include:
Festival eye design
These workshops are not only engaging and hands-on but can actually teach skills that can lead to a new hobby or even a career!
Theatrical and special effects makeup workshop
On the theme of body art and makeup, theatrical and special FX are another super-engaging form of adult creative workshop. These workshops can cover topics such as theatre makeup, or can extend to special effects (also known as SFX) such as bruises, scars, skin diseases, and sometimes even prosthetics! Generally, these sorts of workshops run over a period of days or a couple of weeks.
Create, cook, and consume workshop
Perhaps the tastiest of workshop ideas, a create, cook, and consume workshop is a delicious way of learning new skills and dishes. Often, these workshops have a theme in mind such as one-pan meals or takeaway classics, or may cover a single dish such as a gourmet risotto, a perfectly-cooked steak, or a delicious creme brulee.
Stop motion animation creative workshop
One for the creative and tech-savvy customers, a motion animation creative workshop helps your participants to create animations using stop motion. This means creating a piece by taking photographs of a scene that’s manipulated frame-by-frame. A workshop like this requires the best in technical equipment such as cameras, tripods, and editing software, and can end with a small showcase of everyone’s 30-second stop motion animation pieces.
From bouquets to terrariums, a flower arranging workshop can cover a wide array of floral topics. The subject matter expert can teach everything from seasonal flowers and lantern arrangements to table decorations and door designs.
A woodworking workshop or course can cover plenty of skills. These include furniture making, shelf creation, wood carving, or even longbow making! This gives everyone the chance to create their own piece that they can use or display in their home.
7 workshop success tips
Now you’ve found your inspiration, how can you make sure your workshop is successful? Follow the below tips for some pointers.
1. Offer workshops more than once
It goes back to the old adage — practice makes perfect! By running your workshop more than once, you will not only improve them in quality, but you’ll also gain feedback and referrals from those who have previously attended. You can run a workshop every Tuesday evening, once a fortnight, or even for a week at a time across several months. Don’t forget virtual workshops are an option, too.
2. Provide professional networking opportunities
Some of the best workshops offer networking opportunities. Especially when looking at skills such as creative writing, virtual design thinking, or SFX makeup. Look at bringing in guest instructors, social media groups, and plenty of chatting opportunities among your clients to make this work. This also adds value to your workshop, allowing you to charge more.
No one wants to be left out and having only a few spaces each time also creates a sense of urgency for those who are thinking about signing up. Limiting your space also gives you more time to give attention to each person, and you can always create a waiting list or a newsletter sign-up for those who are interested in your upcoming workshops.
4. Create a workshop based on what’s trending
The first rule of creating a workshop is to make sure it’s something that you’re good at, and a topic where those who attend can come away having learned something from the experience.
However, you also want to run a workshop that’s going to be popular. So, try to find something that’s trending. If you’re not sure whether or not a topic is on the up, look at Google Trends to find search engine data over the last 3, 6, or 12 months. This will give a good indication of trending topics.
5. Make it relevant
The key to a successful workshop is relevancy. This means not teaching techniques that were used 5-10 years ago, but using up-to-date methodologies with the best-in-class resources to help you.
Also, it’s crucial to create relevancy to the topic. If you’re promoting an art workshop, but end up teaching more art history than giving the opportunity for your clients to practice their own art, they may be disappointed with the experience. So set customer expectations when marketing your workshop.
6. Play games
Although a game may sound childish, games are an effective way of breaking the ice among your group and helping them feel more comfortable with you. Try a fun icebreaker, activity, or puzzle at the beginning of your session to create a warm and welcome atmosphere. You can also encourage teamwork if you split participants into small groups.
7. Get organized
Finally, get organized. Running a workshop by yourself can take a lot of admin time, effort, and resources. So consider using class scheduling software that helps you reduce admin time by managing your calendar, taking payments, and sending automated reminders to customers on your behalf. This will give you more time to plan and run your workshops!
So, there we have it. Our top 11 creative workshop ideas for adults, and 7 tips on making your upcoming workshop a success. Remember that these can be run virtually or in person, and remember to plan how much to charge for your workshop before you get started. Read our other recommended articles below to give you a hand!