2017 Hands-on Handmade

Handmade Arcade’s thoughtfully curated Hands-on Handmade (HOHA) activity area underscores the event’s dedication to cutting-edge crafts, Pittsburgh’s independent art and craft communities, and the global DIY maker movement. Free to all ages, HOHA invites attendees to participate in inclusive, engaging, and innovative art, craft, tech and learning activities led by Pittsburgh-based artists, art collectives, and nonprofit arts organizations.

Situated adjacent to our vendor marketplace, HOHA features short and daylong drop-in projects, demonstrations, mini-tutorials, make-and-take activities, games, performances, and large-scale art installations. Designed to bridge the gap between consumers and producers, HOHA engages attendees and vendors alike in a shared creative process, while encouraging the public to consider the role of art, craft and tech in their own lives and increasing awareness about handmade, locally produced goods.

The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh proudly presents Handmade Arcade’s Hands-on Handmade Activity Area. 

The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh, located at 1635 McFarland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15216, is a 10,000 square foot arts and cultural center featuring local art, music, and food.  

ALL DAY (11 A.M. — 7 P.M.)

Screen-printing custom-designed t-shirts with Artists Image Resource (AIR) and Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA)
Choose from one of three designs to make your own Handmade Arcade t-shirt! For the first time ever, HA will be selling blank t-shirts at the Welcome Tent for $10. Purchase a t-shirt, then head over to HOHA! Attendees will join artist-educators from AIR to choose a design and screen-print their t-shirt. Participants will learn all about the process of screen-printing. Students from CAPA High School will partner with AIR to guide participants through the screen-printing process. Paper will also be available to make posters free of charge. Proceeds from t-shirts sales will support Handmade Arcade’s free Hands-on Handmade Activity Area.

Small Precious Objects with City of Play (activity ends at 5 PM)
City of Play brings its ongoing game of secret gift exchange, Small Precious Objects, to life like never before! Premiered in 2015, Small Precious Objects invites players to fill an empty envelope with a small precious object of their making or choosing. Once filled, it is  wax-sealed and balanced delicately above an old birdcage. The participant will then choose a sealed envelope from the birdcage containing a precious object left by a previous player. The game has continued for three years with a constantly changing selection of objects, given by young and old alike. Some are heavy, some are shiny, some are cool, and some are rotten. All are precious. It is a simple challenge to trust in the generosity of strangers. Try your luck at Handmade Arcade, where the game will have opportunities like never before!

Leatherworking, Pyrography (Wood Burning) and Macramé with Workshop PGH
Join Workshop PGH for an amazing day of lo-fi crafting that you can replicate at home! Starting at 11 A.M., the Workshop PGH team will teach the art of leatherworking. Learn to take small remnants of leather and turn them into beautiful pieces of jewelry, keychains and more. Then at 1:30 P.M., the fun switches to pyrography. Learn the basics of wood-burning beautiful designs onto spoons — making a unique memory for you or a gift for a loved one. Finally at 4 P.M., the Workshop PGH team will teach attendees the art of macramé. Take a trip back to the 1970s and learn how to transform rope and twine into wall art goodness.

Community Blooms with Union Project
Union Project brings together community members to celebrate the beauty of the Earth through the public art garden project, Community Blooms. Participants are invited to use hand-building techniques to make a unique blossom out of clay.  Union Project then takes each blossom and fires it in its kilns, adds a stem, and “plants” it in an outdoor community art garden for all to enjoy. These flowers will bloom all year long!

Pin-Making Extravaganza with BatCat Press
Join BatCat Press and the students of Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School for a pin-making extravaganza! Design your own one-of-a-kind pinback button, perfect for sticking on a backpack, jacket or wherever you need a little pop of art! Choose from two different pin sizes, and take advantage of a vast assortment of papers and art supplies to create your own tiny wearable masterpiece.


Holiday Patches and Ornaments with Hatch Art Studio
Grab your needles and thread and join Hatch Art Studio to create patches and holiday ornaments! Learn embroidery basics using hoops and fabric. Paint will also be available for participants to create colorful ornaments on canvas or embellish their embroidered creations.

Frankentoys with Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Upcycle stuffed toys into your own new creation! Deconstruct gently used stuffed animals, and sew the separate parts together to create a brand new stuffed creature. While this is an all-ages activity, participants will use scissors and needles, so young children will need assistance from a caregiver.

LED Flowers with Assemble
Assemble returns to Hands-on Handmade with a NEW way to learn about simple circuits with LEDs. Use repurposed materials, neon paper and LEDs to create a unique light-up wearable flower pin. Learn about simple circuits while expressing your creativity.

The Exquisite Corpse with The Ellis School
The Ellis School will facilitate an activity inspired by the legendary Surrealist game, “The Exquisite Corpse.” Make, cut, and assemble mashed-up figurative images like you’ve never seen before! Also known as exquisite cadaver (from the French term, cadavre exquis) or rotating corpse, The Exquisite Corpse is created when a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in a sequence, either by following a specific rule or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed.

Block Printed Holiday Cards with Pop Craft
Join Pop Craft to print holiday cards using a hand-carved linoleum printing technique! Participants will choose from several holiday-themed printing blocks that can be mixed and matched to create a unique greeting card. After assembling the block combination in a wooden form, attendees will roll on ink colors with a brayer. Next, participants will align a card on top of the blocks and use a barren to press the ink onto the card. The final result will be a beautiful printed, one-of-a-kind card that expresses each participant’s creative flair!

Reuse-a-Palooza with Pittsburgh Public Schools, Gifted Center
The Pittsburgh Gifted Center is proud to showcase the upcycling skills of their 1st & 2nd grade Reuse-a-Palooza students! The students learned all about upcycling and then used the Design Process to design, create, and evaluate projects crafted with re-purposed materials! Check out their samples of upcycled t-shirt wearables and try your hand at designing and creating your own uniquely re-purposed items.


Engineer a Holiday Decoration with Sarah Heinz House
Anyone can engineer! Make a holiday ornament with the Sarah Heinz House Robotics team. Use wire, tools and LEDs to create something spectacular to display this holiday season. Discover your love for engineering with Sarah Heinz House.

Make a Mask with The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
Let your creativity go wild with The Westmoreland Museum of American Art mask-making activity! Using a mask template taken from an art image from the museum’s collection, participants’ imaginations will run wild as they decorate and embellish their masks. This hands-on activity will provide a fun and creative opportunity to create a mask that celebrates the inner artist in all of us.

Copper Pendant Necklaces with Contemporary Craft (activity ends at 6 PM)
Make a copper pendant necklace with Contemporary Craft! Using stamping tools, participants will hammer names, messages or textures onto copper pendants. Make one for yourself, or create a personalized gift for a loved one that can be worn year-round.

Plastic Water Bottle Flowers with Earth Girl
Recycle and reuse! Learn how to cut down on waste and discover how to create original art with plastic water bottles. Earth Girl teaches participants the art of reuse — taking plastic water bottles and creating fun, decorative flowers and vines. Use this new skill to add fabricated beauty to your own garden when flowers aren’t in bloom.

Virtual Reality and Origami with Ryan Arts Center
Experience virtual reality in a simple and fun way! Using Google Cardboard, participants will build their own bite-sized VR experiences. After a to-go container is created, participants will take a photo using a Ricoh camera, and then have a chance to look at their virtual reality environment. Participants will also learn the historic art of origami. Traditional paper folding techniques will be taught that can then be used at home to transform newspapers, junk mail and more into beautiful works of art!

Custom Vinyl Stickers with Prototype PGH
Join Prototype PGH, a feminist makerspace in North Oakland, to make stickers with their computer numerical control (CNC) vinyl cutter! Learn how to design in Adobe Illustrator and then send designs to be cut on the CNC machine so that you can take your stickers home!