DIY Studio Brings Workshops to Woodbury

Nicole Hanselman helps Kelly Allen create a custom board.

When Nicole Hanselman visited the St. Louis Park branch of Board & Brush twice last summer, and returned home with two stunning wood signs that would secure a spot on the walls in her home, her husband suggested she look into a franchise. So she did.

“With St. Louis Park being on the opposite side of the cities, I thought Woodbury is a perfect place to have one,” Hanselman says.

Hanselman has lived in Woodbury for 20 years and has worked as a pet-sitter for 15. Now, she’s the owner of Board & Brush’s Woodbury location. The studio offers guests more than 400 designs to choose from, with the average workshop running anywhere from two and a half to three hours.

Attendees receive the full experience of crafting a sign in a workshop. They start by hammering the wood to create a distressed look, using both sides of the hammer, and even pounding a screw in sideways to add texture and the aura of a vintage heirloom—the ideal time to release any pent-up frustration or anger, according to Hanselman (we tried it, and it was definitely cathartic!). Next, art makers sand the edges of the wood before picking up a drill to finish off construction, adding hardware for hanging, which is usually some hooks connected by a durable wire.

Once their wood piece is assembled, attendees can chose from a wide selection of stains and paints to bring their design to life (guests choose a design before they attend the workshop). Each month, new designs are added to the lineup of options. Custom designs can also often by done, by request. For some upbeat background ambiance, music videos play during the workshop, as attendees paint their piece using a dabbing technique. To immortalize each masterpiece, the wood receives a wax finish that protects it from the elements and makes it shine in the light.

Not only are wood signs available, but attendees can also construct and paint a 24-inch working clock. “I’ve seen where someone has done 5s all the way around and put in the middle, ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,’” Hanselman says. “You can be creative.”

Hanselman and her team host everything from bachelorette and kids’ birthday parties to corporate events—no artistic experience is necessary to make your own piece of wood art. (Bring your own snacks and beverages, too, to make it a full night out with pals.)