DIY classes in Chicago

Hone your handiwork at one of these DIY classes.

Photograph: Elizabeth Jochum
Model/Actor - Heidi Johanningmeier Hair/Makeup - Jen Brown

Bake bread
Arguably the greatest thing since sliced bread (pardon the pun), this one-day “Bread Basics” class at bakery/café Baker & Nosh, shows students everything they knead to know (okay, we’re done punning) to start baking. Work with white dough, whole wheat dough and sourdough, and learn mixing and shaping techniques all in a delicious-smelling kitchen. Walk away with a packet of recipes so you can practice at home. Baker & Nosh, 1303 Wilson Ave (773-989-7393). Next class Aug 20, 6–9pm. $75.

Get in touch with the great outdoors…and photograph it
Escape to nature—and capture it on camera—at the tree- and flower-filled Morton Arboretum in Lisle. In the six-day Introduction to Nature Photography course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of field notes, composition and exposure, then watch your skills grow through hands-on demonstrations, constructive critiques and practice in the (literal) field…and gardens and woodlands. While previous experience isn’t required, those with little to no photography know-how are encouraged to take Digital Photography Fundamentals Nature first. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle (630-968-0074). Next class starts October 16, 7–9:30pm. $178 members, $209 nonmembers.

Hone your sewing skills
Between all the rising-fashion-star reality TV shows, it seems everyone else knows how to sew their own clothing. You can, too, with a little help from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Adult Continuing Education program. The ten-week Sewing Techniques course covers the basic seams and finishes for garment construction, the characteristics of different fabrics, and how to cut and copy patterns. After practicing various seams on professional sewing machines, you’ll apply your techniques in two start-to-finish projects. Continuing Studies, School of the Art Institute, 36 S Wabash Ave (312-629-6170). Next class starts October 3, time TBA. $425, AIC members $382, SAIC alumni $318.

Create custom jewelry
Go way beyond stringing beads and making friendship bracelets by learning metalsmithing fundamentals at Benches on Division. In the one-day Beginning Metalsmithing workshop, you’ll learn how to design, saw, drill, file, sand and polish your own metal objects and pendants. Benches provides you with all the necessary supplies, including one piece per person of jeweler’s brass and copper. Benches on Division, 2017 W Division St (312-929-0422). Next class Aug 18, 1–4pm. $70, members $60.

Throw some clay
If you’ve ever wanted to learn the fundamentals of various clay techniques, such as hand building or wheel throwing, but don’t want to commit to months of classes, try Lillstreet Art Center’s five-week First-Time Potter course. You’ll hand build various items (vases and pinch pots) and have the chance to experiment with basic techniques, such as throwing bowls and mugs on the wheel, trimming and glazing. Lillstreet Art Center, 4401 N Ravenswood Ave (773-769-4226). Next class starts September 11, 10am–1pm. $165 ($20 for beginner’s starter kit).

Make a bench
Skip the trip to IKEA and make your own furniture at the ReBuilding Exchange, a locally based nonprofit organization that salvages building materials for cost-effective, ecofriendly reuse. At this one-day “Make It/Take It” workshop, you’ll construct a rustic bench out of reclaimed pine, first picking out your lumber and learning how to properly use a chop saw and drill, then measuring, cutting and assembling your stylish seat. ReBuilding Exchange, 2160 N Ashland Ave (773-252-2234). $65. Call for next class date.

Screenprint a T-shirt
Rev up your wardrobe by learning how to screenprint onto cotton at community print shop Spudnik Press’s one-day “Jumpstart” workshop. BYOI (bring your own image) of a photo, ink drawing or a one-color design created with Photoshop or Illustrator; then learn how to transform it into a successful screenprint. After transferring the image to a screen, choose between printing onto a T-shirt, tote bag or any other suitable fabric item you’ve brought along. Spudnik Press, 1821 W Hubbard St, suite 302 (312-563-0302). $50.

Make sushi
Think it takes years to master the art of sushi? You’re right. But you can start off learning the basics of a well-balanced maki roll at the Chopping Block’s one-day sushi workshop. Pick up skills in preparing and seasoning sushi rice, purchasing and handling sushi-grade fish, working with a bamboo rolling mat and Japanese ingredients, plus deep-frying. All together now: “Yum!” The Chopping Block, 4747 N Lincoln Ave (773-472-6700); Mart Plaza, suite 107 (312-644-6360). Next class Aug 17, 6–8:30pm (Merchandise Mart) and Aug 19, 5–7:30pm (Lincoln Square). $85 (Optional sushi-making kit for $25.)

Record your own music
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a bedroom recording artist, Transistor—a quirky gallery/bookstore/record store/specialty audio electronics boutique—has the class for you. The one-day Home Digital Recording workshop covers the basics of selecting the right equipment, proper placement of microphones for different instruments and the 101 of working with recording programs like GarageBand, Logic Pro and Pro Tools. Transistor, 3819 N Lincoln Ave (773-880-7420). Next class August 26, 10:30am–1pm. $50.

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