Rachelle Harkenrider always knew she wanted to own her own business, and when her husband bought her a stencil cutter as a gift, an idea was born!

Always someone who enjoyed crafts, Rachelle began making wood decor signs that are popular on home-and-garden shows and social media among other things. Soon what began as a hobby became a business as Rachelle hosted workshops in her garage and doing bachelorette parties. 

Stain and paint selections at Stain & Stencil

In 2017, Rachelle was able to move out of her garage and into a storefront on North Clinton Street, Stain and Stencil, where she hosts several workshops a week for those wanting to create a personalized wood decor piece for their home.

And unlike other DIY-type workshops, Stain & Stencil projects don't require you to have any talent - just a bit of patience and a lot of enthusiasm.

A Night Out at Stain & Stencil

Working on a project at Stain & Stencil

On a recent Friday night, my girlfriends and I headed to the 5925 N. Clinton St. studio, which is the only one of its kind in the Fort Wayne. We each were able to select our own projects when we booked online. One friend chose a "Welcome" sign to put near her front door and another picked "Bless Those Who Gather Here," which has a Ball jar mounted on it.

My project had a coffee theme because everything goes better with coffee - at least in my world.

Our project supplies were waiting at our stations when we arrived, and we were encouraged to enjoy complimentary wine slushies from Country Heritage Winery, other beverages, and snacks, which on this night also included another local favorite - cupcakes from neighboring For Goodness Cakes.

When it was time to begin, Rachelle and her staff explained the process step-by-step and were there along the way to make sure we felt comfortable with what we were doing. 

Even though you select projects from a large gallery, every piece is your own as participants can select the stain, paint colors and whether to try additional techniques from dry brushing to distressing. The staff, which was friendly and attentive, can also mix paint colors to your liking.

If you need help, they can do that, too, but I instantly fell in love with a coral color and selected other hues to complement.

The workshop takes about three hours but the time flies as it's the perfect time to chat with friends and do something productive. And as a busy mom who doesn't always get the opportunity to socialize, Stain & Stencil was perfect for a night out. 

But don't worry - there's also workshops on Saturday afternoons, if that time works better.

Be sure to check out Stain & Stencil on Facebook, where you can see completed projects and maybe find a coupon code to enter at checkout when you book your own workshop.