San Francisco is the city that knows how, so it's no surprise that there's a DIY class for every kind of at-home production. Want to grow an edible garden? Garden for the Environment will help you decipher the best formula of soil, water, seeds and sun for your backyard plot. Eager to produce your own sourdough bread? Sour Flour will teach you to care for a wild yeast "mother" and produce bakery-worthy loaves. Stay busy all year with offerings from these local workshops.
At this DIY mecca, students learn everything from mixology to embroidery. The brainchild of co-founders Kelly Malone and David Knight, the adults-only space wrangles local designers and creators to teach a wide variety of classes. Perennial favorites include a sewing bootcamp for beginners (where students create their own tote bag), DIY mounted staghorn ferns (create a living piece of wall art) and macrame projects (you know you need a macrame plant hanger). Plus, their Emeryville location offers some options, like a letterpress class, that the smaller SF studio can’t.
1798 McAllister St (415-874-9186, workshopsf.org).
Classes at this beloved, kinda creepy boutique are dedicated to dead animals, extraordinary plants and unique home deco—learn to make carnivorous bog terrariums, pin Blue Morpho butterflies and all kinds of DIY taxidermy. Down the street at Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids store, the organization offers slightly less terrifying opportunities to engage the dark side of your kiddo’s imagination.
824 Valencia St (415-824-1872, paxtongate.com)
If you have a soft spot for brie, head to the Cheese School of San Francisco to take your passion to the next level. The only independent institution of its kind in the U.S., The Cheese School offers classes to maximize your cheese appreciation and build your cheese mongering skills. Discover artisanal cheeses from around the world and what treats (beer, wine, chocolate or truffles) they go best with or learn to make everything from mozzarella and burrata to camembert and cheddar.
2124 Folsom St (415-346-7530, thecheeseschool.com)
Danny Gabriner started Sour Flour in 2008 with the selfless goal of distributing quality, artisan sourdough to the masses for free. Though he’s had to make some changes to the business model, Garbriner still shares his generous love for making sourdough with the public by teaching wanna-be bakers to create their own. Sour Flour’s starter workshop introduces newbies to using and maintaining wild yeast and baking their first loaf of sourdough. For advanced learners, there's a bread class and a bagel making workshop. If you want a taste of the good stuff before committing to a class, Sour Flour loaves and bagels are for sale at La Victoria.
2937 24th St (415-509-1210, sourflour.org)
No experience is necessary to dive into one of Public Glass’ introductory glassblowing, casting and flame-working classes. Flex your creative muscle in mini-classes (30-minute themed sessions in which you can create glass pumpkins or Christmas ornaments) or opt for a 3-hour class, full day workshop or ongoing series to build serious skills.
1750 Armstrong Ave (415-671-4916, publicglass.org)
Gain access to laser cutters, plastics and electronics labs, a machine shop, wood shop, welding station and more at TechShop. Classes range from software basics and industrial sewing to silkscreen skills and leather making. If the San Francisco space isn’t currently offering a class you’re interested in, check out the calendar at the Peninsula or San Jose locations.
926 Howard St (415-263-9161, techshop.ws)
The Macchiarini family has produced jewelry and metal sculptures at their North Beach studio since 1948. Now in the hands of Emma Macchiarini, the founder’s granddaughter, Metalworks SF is teaching a new generation of jewelry enthusiasts to create their own pieces. In the beginner's jewelry fabrication classes, you’ll learn plate rolling, soldering and how to work a jewelers saw. Metalworks also offers intermediate and advanced jewelry making classes and a special wedding ring class for future newlyweds.
1544 Grant Ave (415-260-0096, metalworkssf.com)
There’s almost no end to what you can create at West Oakland’s industrial arts center, The Crucible. This community space offers a one-of-a-kind environment for children and adults to learn skills such as blacksmithing, jewelry making, glass working and welding. Classes run the gamut from the practical (like the bicycle mechanic workshop or electromechanics workshop) to the fantastic (think fire dancing classes). In addition to offering public classes, The Crucible’s massive warehouse space also has rentable artist studios and space for events like the annual Fire Arts Festivals and Hot Couture fashion show.
1260 7th St, Oakland (510-444-0919, thecrucible.org)
Homebrewing is the backbone of this taproom in Bernal Heights. In addition to holding regular competitions judged by taproom patrons (winner are added to the tap list), Barebottle hosts a 1.5-hour homebrew class the first Wednesday of every month. For just $40, students get an overview and hands-on demonstration of the beer making process, insight into the history of beer, tastings and a tour of the brewery. If you’re looking for something a little more intensive, San Francisco Brewcraft and Ferment Drink Repeat both offer more in-depth learning opportunities.
1525 Cortland Ave (415-926-8617, barebottle.com)
Root Division was initially developed as a way to subsidize studio space for emerging artists and supplement arts education programs in schools. In addition to the more than 4,000 hours of free art classes for neighborhood youth, this visual arts non-profit offers a variety of adult arts classes. You’ll find classics like figure drawing and oil painting in addition to more specialized classes in creating comics and graphic novels, calligraphy and kinetic sculpture building. If you’re looking to build your digital skills, the digital photography and introduction to Adobe Indesign can teach you how.
1131 Mission St (415-863-7668, rootdivision.org)
At this urban garden in the Inner Sunset, seasoned farmers teach San Franciscans how to grow their own food. Garden for the Environment’s weekend workshops cover a variety of soil, water and biodiversity topics that work for both beginner and intermediate gardeners; they also offer specific topics for more advanced backyard cultivators. Learn the ins and outs of healthy food production for any size space with their edible garden and urban composting workshops or their three-part sustainable gardening series.
7th Ave at Lawton St (415-558-8246, gardenfortheenvironment.org)