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At AR Workshop Mill Creek, folks swap the bustle of their busy days for aprons and the chance to get creative-- and make signs and more. Owner Ronda Lone and her staff guide people through the process of making their own signs, pillows, trays and many more projects. Photo Credit Seattle Refined.
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Sign of the Times: The Local Place You Can Make Your Own Decor

Some celebrate the Pacific Northwest. Others are holiday-themed. And there's even a design for unicorn lovers. These pieces of art look like a professional created them... but even a beginner can make them!

At AR Workshop Mill Creek, folks swap the bustle of their busy days for aprons and the chance to get creative - and make signs and more.

Ronda Lone is the owner. "Welcome to AR Workshop Mill Creek are you ready to make something beautiful today?" she asks the group.

Today's crew are moms and their tween daughters. They choose they're projects online (on this day they're making signs) and the supplies are waiting them when they arrive. It starts with a blank board.

"So we will take you step by step through the process - from sanding to painting to framing. You'll be using some power tools at the end It's a lot of fun," explains Lone.

First some simple sanding followed by staining the soon to be frame.

Then the tough decision. "So truly the hardest part is picking your color {for the main board}. That's what takes everybody the longest is deciding."

Motifs cut out in vinyl stick to the boards, creating a stencil. Lone leads everyone through their projects. "So now that you're painted your boards, we're going to work on your vinyl so what we're gonna do is pick out the part you're gonna be painting. So we use these dental picks and what you do is just find a little corner to start we'll start down here and you're just gonna start peeling it up."

Next up-- transfer tape is used to keep the project together as the stencil is added to the wood.

AR Workshop was started in North Carolina by Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff - hence the "AR." After Ronda visited - she knew she wanted to open one here. For Lone, the process of creating a sign is a little big magical.

"Well partly I don't have to mess up my own home I get to come here," she laughs. "I get to make a mess and it's not in my own house. Which is how I think everybody feels."

For many people - 'doing it yourself' can feel like a lot to take on. "It is overwhelming you have to go buy all the things for it all the paint all the paintbrushes all the tools, you come here everything's ready to go," Lone explains.

Besides the supplies, it's the expect instruction that makes this place special. Ronda and her staff are there to help every step of the way.

After removing the tape, it's time to paint the design and then remove the vinyl. Then the final step - adding the frame.

When it comes time for the big reveal - everyone is overjoyed with the results! For Lone, it's rewarding to see people who may not think they're good at making stuff... create amazing projects.

"We get that all the time," says Lone. "Oh I'm not creative. I can't do that.... and we're like we promise this is foolproof you will leave with a project that you love."

From the AR Workshop Mill Creek Website: AR Workshop Mill Creek is excited to bring a hands-on DIY Workshop experience to the area. Come alone or bring a group of friends to create custom wood signs, wall hangings, framed signs, wood boxes, pillows and more! This boutique DIY shop is located just north of the Mill Creek Town Center.

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