Paint and wine studios have popped up all over and are extremely popular in my city. I first splurged on one years ago for a close friend’s birthday gift (Groupon, half price), and it still came to over $50 for the two of us, including a couple glasses of wine. We went to the studio, where the tables were all set up with blank white canvases on easels and aprons were available to protect our clothes. Paint tubes and brushes were laid out and a simple snack buffet sat in the corner. We also got our glasses of wine since they were part of the Groupon deal, otherwise glasses were $7-10 per glass. Then the instructor set up and the class began. We decided we weren’t super interested in painting the picture chosen for the evening, so we chose our own designs and looked them off our or phones. Maybe a little silly since part of the price we paid was for the instruction, but it was nice to have the set up regardless. We ignored everyone else in the studio and just painted and chatted for the rest of the evening. We had a great time, and since Groupon had a good deal on it, the price wasn’t bad for a birthday and night out and it was definitely worth the trip.
Of course, after that evening I put the painting away into a closet and promptly forgot about it. We might live in a smaller house, but there are still places to hide things in storage, as I seem to find out every time I go through our closets. A couple years later as I was setting up my son’s room (and purging our house in preparation of his arrival), I found the painting again and decided to put it up in his room. I figured the artwork was good enough for a baby’s room, and it was free decoration regardless. We’ll see if he still wants it up there when he’s 15 😉
Since I haven’t been to one in person recently, I looked up the cost for the one closest to me, and I was shocked to see the price is $40/person and drinks are not included. While it’s a great time, and they cover the cost of the canvas, paints, and brushes, that is not a cheap evening.
When that same friend’s birthday came up this year, she hosted a paint and sip night at her house for the second year in a row, instead of going out to celebrate. As we get older (almost 30 now, ha), I’m finding that more and more often my friends are interested in smaller, more intimate evenings at people’s houses instead of a loud bar or event, which means we’re able to have better conversation and deeper connections with the few people we do spend our time with. I’m not sure if this is true in general, or if I’ve just gotten lucky with my group of friends. I don’t see them as often now that I have a kid, but when I do, we tend to make the most of that time together. And it’s definitely the time and conversation that we’re looking for over what we do with that time.
Before I headed over, I mixed up some homemade taco and creole seasonings and put together a gift bag along with some of the jam I had canned the previous week. Like me, she prefers homemade presents (she’s previously made me unpaper towels and cloth diaper wet bags – thankful to have a friend who can sew!). And she wasn’t the least bit surprised when I didn’t bring a birthday card because I hate them and never give them to people 😉
For the birthday party paint night, there were 5 of us who got together, so if we had gone out to a studio, that would have been $200 plus drinks (easily another $20/person, so $300+ total). Instead, we brought cheap bottles of wine and snacks from Trader Joe’s and had a better dinner than had we just eaten what was at a studio. My friend has a ton of paints and extra canvases, and she found a YouTube video that we could follow along for instruction.
The best part about using a video instead of following along live is that you can pause and rewind when you get busy chatting and distracted from the actual painting. It took us a good three hours to get through an hour long video, and we had a great laid back time. Nights like these remind me how much I need ladies nights, especially since they happen so rarely now.
The best kind of frugal nights are the ones where you don’t “miss out” by choosing the cheaper option but instead have an even better time and you just happen to spend less (or no) money. A night that cost us each maybe $20 (including dinner, drinks and supplies) was one I enjoyed and will remember way more than a night out to a bar that can cost exponentially more. Quality of the company and the confort of the location well outweighs a more expensive event.