Fun ideas for a LOKLiK craft workshop

I love planning ideas for new craft workshops I can run, that are fun, accessible and leave participants feeling satisfied with their creation. Last year, I started using a LOKLiK ImPress heat press for my personal fabric craft projects. I was impressed with how quick and easy it is to customise fabrics. I wanted to give other people an opportunity to try this method so I looked at how I could organise a LOKLiK craft workshop.

room set up for craft workshop
Workshop space at Well Bean Co cafe

Their heat presses come in three sizes, a large machine called the LOKLiK Auto Heat Press, the ImPress which is a medium-sized machine, and LOKLiK Mini Heat Press which are small handheld irons. These smaller mini heat presses are lightweight, making them ideal for transporting to craft workshops across London, which I need to do for my sessions.

toe bag which has a rainbow design on
Hand-cut vinyl workshops allow for freedom of expression and playing with colour

Inspired by the mini, I designed a hand-cut vinyl craft workshop that can be adapted for different audiences; whether they are new crafters, experienced crafters, or young people. If you’re looking for a craft activity that will appeal to all, this is an idea that’s interesting, requires minimal steps, but has maximum impact.

What you need to run a LOKLiK craft workshop

These are the materials and equipment I use to run my LOKLiK craft workshops:

girl holding up her customised tote bag it has a football mascot on it

*LOKLiK Heat Press Minis
*Heat press mats (each machine requires one)
*Teflon sheets (each machine requires one)
*Assorted heat transfer vinyl in different colours (HTV)
*Plain paper to plan designs
*You can also take along some pre-cut shapes made using a LOKLiK Crafter
*If you have the ImPress or Auto heat presses, these are useful for larger designs and to speed things up
*A plain cotton item to customise – for example a tote bag or t-shirt

Project ideas for LOKLiK craft workshops

Mindful Crafternoon Tote bag workshop

On the last Sunday of the month I run a mindful craft event for adults. Held at the Well Bean Co vegan cafe in the Royal Docks, East London, these sessions are a chance for anyone to have a go at crafts. The cafe kindly gifts me the space to run the event and I don’t charge a fee and I volunteer my time; but I do ask that people donate-what-they-can to charity CALM.

I hold the event on a Sunday afternoon as it feels like the time of the week and month when our bodies would like us to slow down, unwind and re-set before we start a new week/new month. All the craft workshops have a ‘mindful’ focus to them; it’s about taking a couple of hours out and enjoying being in the present. (Check out this link to book up and coming sessions.)

two tables of people using mini heat presses
Having a separate work station for the mini heat presses makes it safer for everyone

Each month the techniques and materials are different. We have previously done painting, sewing, collage, colouring and nature crafts. The idea for the tote bag workshop was to give participants the freedom to design their own motifs for a cotton tote bag. I showed them how to use the heat press machines, some sample ideas and then participants had two hours to create their own bag.

Setting up a workshop space for a LOKLiK craft workshop

I found it helps to have two different work stations. One where participants can plan their design on paper and make templates. Here, they can also choose their HTV colours and then cut out the shapes, letters and motifs needed for their designs.

hands of three people on table crafting
Inspire participants by having different types of vinyl like glitter, neon and holgographic

It’s useful to have a second station near a mains plug point where the heat presses are located. This way it’s less likely that any accidents can occur – the surface of the mini gets hot so been mindful of them, just as you would a regular iron.

LOKLiK craft workshop structure

Around three hours is ideal for a LOKLiK craft workshop, but a minimum of two should allow everyone to complete a design. I don’t recommend people go straight into cutting the vinyl. The first half should be spent planning a design on paper, which can become templates to draw around on the vinyl.

group of people sat on a table crafting the view from the window behind them looks out onto water
Give participants space to draw and plan our their designs away from the heat presses

Depending on the group size, explain how the heat presses works in small groups so everyone can see and have their questions answered. Then, when everyone has designed their project and understands how to do the heat transfer, they can work at their own pace. I recommend allowing at least one hour for the heat press stage as participants will need time for the vinyl to cool down to peel off the backing before adding any layers on top.

The idea was to give participants freedom to design their own motifs for a cotton tote bag

Mindful Crafternoon for adults

Participants that booked to come to my craft event in February were the first ones to try my LOKLiK craft workshop. They all designed motifs personal to them and it was wonderful to see how different each design was. They included someone’s pet dog and making personalised gifts.
man smiling holding up his bag which has building silhouettes on
This participant was inspired by architecture
handing holding a bag which have lips and hearts on it
If you have a LOKLiK Crafter you can pre-cut shapes and combine them with hand-cut designs
girl holding up her bag which has shapes on it

LOKLiK workshop for Home-Start

My session for charity Home-Start Wandsworth was held specifically for vulnerable mothers who receive support from the organisation, who invites them to participate in activities as part of a support programme. Their children are looked after by child minders while they get a break to enjoy some ‘me time.”

lady holding her tote bag and her baby

At the start of this session, some women felt they weren’t good enough to do art but once they got started the creativity flowed.

lady with child who is holding her bag
lady holding a bag with a name on it
lady and daughter holding up a customised tote bag covered in hearts that says coco

Afterwards, I received this rewarding testimonial from one of the participants: ‘

Coming to the session, made me feel proud, full of energy and proud of myself

Getting feedback like this is one of the main reasons I love running craft workshops. It’s so much more than just the making. Crafts boosts your morale and confidence, there’s a community spirit and something to take home, show off, remember and be proud of.

Learning points for a LOKLiK craft workshop

If the idea of running a LOKLiK craft workshop using their heat presses appeals to you, here are some tips I learnt that will hopefully help you:

girl holding up bag with sausage dog on
This participant made a tote bag inspired by her pet dog
*Take along images, books. magazines to inspire anyone who needs help with ideas.

*Allow enough time for the designing process. It’s worth participants spending time in the planning stages before they begin cutting the vinyl so that they get a design they’re happy with.

two women at table cutting vinyl
Hand-cutting vinyl can be very relaxing!
*Have a larger heat press as a back up. If someone is making a large motif the mini heat presses will take a a few minutes, or it can take a few seconds in the Auto or Impress.
two women using heat press machines
There’s a sense of comradery when you craft together
*Even if you explain to people what to do, they may still make some mistakes. For example, not remembering to place the teflon sheet on the design before using the heat press. If this happens don’t worry. When it’s cold, any vinyl stuck to the teflon will peel off. You can also clean the heat presses after use to remove any vinyl stains, using a regular iron cleaner.
*After the session it will take a little while for the heat presses to cool down so you won’t be able to pack them up immediately.
*Get your appliances PAT-tested if you’re in the UK so they can be safely used in a public setting. I found a PAT-Tester on the website Check-A-Trade. You’ll also need an extension cable.
*Do a risk assessment before the workshop. Things like ensuring the LOKLiK mini heat press is returned to its holder after use, will prevent anyone from burning themselves while they’re on the table cooling down.
momtaz holding up two tote bags she's decorated with heat transfer vinyl
Me with some samples I made as inspiration

If you have any questions about running your own LOKLiK craft workshop you’re welcome to email me and I’ll do my best to help.

All images used in this workshop belong to LOKLiK donated the heat press minis to use as I wish for craft workshops. All views are my own.

Happy crafting!