New Modesto business owner Linka Schroeder doesn’t have to wonder what she’d do if she has a hammer. She has plenty. And she wants you to use them, too.
On Wednesday she debuts her new do-it-yourself creative studio, Board & Brush, in northeast Modesto’s Village One Plaza. Part of a Wisconsin-based national franchise that specializes in custom wood sign-making, the workshop’s concept combines craft nights with craft beer and wine.
Much like the paint-and-sip studios that have caught on across the country and in the Central Valley, Board & Brush takes patrons through a step-by-step process to create their wall art. The booze, well, it helps lubricate the creative process.
Local owner Schroeder worked for years as a teacher before moving to Modesto about two years ago with her husband, the pastor at St. Peter Lutheran. She wanted to open the shop to help stoke people’s imaginations and give them something fun to do. Rustic wooden signs, with sayings or slogans on them, continue to be a big trend in home decor.
“I absolutely love people and I want to bring them joy. Once you experience the classes it’s an exciting experience,” she said. “I want people to make things they can feel proud to put in their homes.”
At Board & Brush the process starts when customers pick a design and reserve a class on the studio’s website. Sessions must be booked at least 72 hours in advance to allow for customization and pattern printing. So there are no walk-in appointments available. Each class runs between 2 and a half to three hours. When you show up, you are given your raw wood, and start the process.
“It’s funny to watch people come in and say, ‘I can’t do it. I’m not artistic.’ This is art for everyone. Anyone can do it.” Schroeder said.
The studio has more than 400 designs to choose from including seasonal patterns, wedding announcements, family names, kitchen decor and many more. Each can be personalized and people in classes all work on different projects.
But it’s what happens once customers step inside the studio where the work, and fun, begin. Projects all range in size, some as tall as 6 feet, others around 2-foot by 2-foot and other variations. Each starts with raw boards or planks, which are then fastened together if necessary.
And then, the real distressing stuff begins — as in you get to take hammers, meat tenderizers and chains to the wood to make it look vintage. After that you stain, paint, stencil and sand the project to perfection. Schroeder and her 11 employees help guide you through each step.
Of course, all that hard work can work up a thirst. So Board & Brush sells wine by the glass (or bottle, if you really need creative inspiration) and local craft beer in the bottle. She also sells non-alcoholic drinks and a small assortment of snacks. But the alcohol means the studio is strictly 21-and-over. Children are not allowed, but then it’s probably for the best given all the power tools.
Classes run $65 per person and include all of the wood, stain, paint and other supplies and tools needed to make their masterpieces. The studio can also be booked for private events like birthday parties, corporate team-building sessions and bachelorette parties. The space seats up to 24 and classes will begin Friday, Aug. 31.
Board & Brush has more than 100 locations across the country, though only a handful currently in California, with the next closest in Walnut Creek.
“Most people are pretty amazed at the end,” Schroeder said. “They’re like, ‘Did I make that?’ ”
Board & Brush, at 3020 Floyd Ave. Suite 309 in Modesto, will hold an open house with food, drinks and prizes from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. The studio is open 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information call 209-416-0086 or visit www.boardandbrush.com/modesto.