A Board & Brush Bloomington workshop. Courtesy photo

When Board & Brush Creative Studio’s Bloomington location opened on January 11, franchisee Nicole DeGain was looking forward to hosting in-person workshops that show participants how to craft their own wooden décor signs.

“There’s such a great feeling in doing a do-it-yourself project and it being completed,” DeGain says. “I love being able to give someone that maybe wouldn’t look into a DIY themselves at home the space to do it.”

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early March and it became clear that in-person gathering would be difficult for quite some time, DeGain and her husband, Pat, were forced to get a little creative.

They started selling @ Home Kits, which allowed customers to enjoy the concept of Board & Brush from the comfort and safety of their own homes until the studio was able to reopen at a limited capacity on June 15.

“We were closed for a month,” DeGain says. “No retail, no workshops, none of that from March 16 through April 17. April 17 was when we started selling some retail stuff. We have the ‘@ Home Kits’ and we started doing backyard games, movie night boxes, and S’mores station boxes.”

Nicole DeGain (center) with her husband, Pat, (right) and their two daughters at the opening of Board & Brush Bloomington. Courtesy photo

Currently, Board & Brush only invites up to 10 guests into the studio at a time. Prior to the pandemic, workshops could host up to 24 people. But DeGain stresses the importance of safety even within the limited-capacity workshops. Board & Brush Bloomington is currently requiring facial coverings and encourages customers to reschedule if necessary.

“We are definitely encouraging people to not hesitate to tell us they don’t feel good,” DeGain says.

The average Board & Brush workshop lasts about 3 hours. Guests select a workshop time online and register a project. People who attend a workshop together can choose different designs, DeGain says, and will get to take their project home that night. “Everyone gets excited for the big reveal,” she says.

There are more than 400 designs to choose from, with up to 10 new designs being launched each month. Each table gets an instructor to help guide participants through the sign-making process, including distressing, sanding, staining, stenciling, and painting.

“It doesn’t matter what your artistic ability is,” DeGain says.

All designs in the standard gallery cost $68, and customers can choose from seven different types of stain and more than 90 colors of paint. “A lot of our signs come personalizable, so it could have your name or your family’s names,” DeGain says. “We have a lot of Indiana signs, which is pretty fun.”

DeGain and her husband run the shop with help from their two daughters, ages 9 and 12. “You’re going to see myself or Pat here if you come for a workshop,” DeGain says. “We are a Bloomington family.”

For more information, visit Board & Brush Bloomington on Facebook or Instagram, or email [email protected].