BELTON — With two children ages 12 and 2, it is often hard for my husband and I to find any time to ourselves, much less to go on an actual date. The pandemic put even more of a restriction on that, so we had resigned ourselves to sharing the occasional movie in the loft whilst our little one ran around screaming, and our pre-teen griped about whatever woes teenagers complain about these days. But when my good friend invited us to a Board & Brush class, I knew we had to take the opportunity.

My husband and I, along with my friend and her husband, decided to pick a Saturday day class and go on a double-day-date. As soon as I entered the Board & Brush facility, located in the heart of Belton, my heart sang. The smell of fresh wood and stain, the array of colors spread on the walls, and the camaraderie already being experienced by friends when we entered instantly made me realize this was exactly what we needed.

Miriah Knapp, manager of the studio, immediately put us to work banging objects, like chicken wire and screws, onto our wood pallets to give them a distressed look. The first thing I appreciated with this class was that everything was prepared ahead of time. I went onto the website, looked through the plethora of offered projects, and selected the one I wanted as I signed up for the class. For all projects, the stenciling is cut and prepped before the class begins, including names if the project is personalized. Upon arriving at the studio, your wood is already laid out (along with an apron and tools), and with Knapp’s instructions, we just dived right in. My husband and I had a lot of fun with the distressing process as we joked that it was better to be hammering the wood instead of each other’s heads!

After aging and sanding our wood, we got to select the stains and paints. That is another aspect of the process that I loved: even though the project I selected was already colored on the website, I got to choose the colors I wanted in the studio. Being able to see the stains and paint up close was helpful and allowed for a more customized experience.

“Seeing the exact same design made millions of different ways is incredible,” Knapp said.

Throughout the class, Knapp, who has a degree in fine arts with an emphasis in sculpting, and who has worked at the B&B for over two years, was constantly on hand to assist in choosing colors, laying down the stencils, and providing an assortment of anecdotes and advice. Her banter with my husband, who thinks he is a comedian, was very amusing and fun to watch.

The hardest part was laying down the pre-cut stencil and ensuring it was exactly right in order to start painting our project. Knapp helped me pick out a nice color scheme that went well with the beach décor at our house, as well as with the beach-scene project my husband had chosen.

Once the painting commenced, my friends brought out some amazing chips and salsa, and along with drinks (B&B is a bring-your-own-beverage facility), we were able to spend some time catching up, joking with one another, and just relaxing and spending time with each other. The studio follows all CDC guidelines currently in affect, with required masks, social distancing and sanitizing, but the studio is large enough to be able to have fun and socialize while still being safe.  

After the painting process was drying, more sanding, and touch-ups as needed, my piece was ready to go home. I was at first unhappy with my artwork, but once the project was completed and Knapp helped me do some additional distressing on it, I was amazed that I had actually made it myself.

Overall, having an experience that included spending adult-time with my husband and our friends, and making a project from scratch, was amazing and an experience I did not even know I really needed until it was over. We didn’t have to travel far at all in order to get away, and the pictures and projects we brought home will be a reminder of the fun we had. As for my husband and I, we certainly enjoyed our day-date.

To attend a Board & Brush class at the Belton studio, go online to https://boardandbrush.com/belton and select “Book a Workshop” at the top. You can also browse the upcoming workshops, as well as the types of projects they offer. With new designs presented every month, specialty classes open throughout the year, and even kid-friendly events on Sundays, there is definitely something fun for everyone.