With the winter weather looming on my trusty preschooler and I have been making the rounds of the paint your own pottery locations throughout lower Montgomery County. While the stock of pottery is just about the same everywhere, pricing and customer service varied greatly throughout our experiences. Unleash your creative side and head out to one of these locations for some painting fun. This review gives you a sampling of your options, but for a full list of local pottery places visit the Our Kids Guide.
My Pottery Place11325 Seven Locks RoadPotomac, MD 20854301.765.3558
Located inside of the Cabin John mall this pottery place is surrounded by kid friendly shops and eateries making an all morning or afternoon outing possible. My Pottery Place is open daily at 10:30am and has no sitting fees for painters. Prices for kid friendly pieces ranged from $15 for small animals to a whopping $42 for some of the licensed Disney pieces.
Customer service here was great with a smock provided for my preschooler and many refills of paint colors given. Drawbacks to the space were the not so clean bathroom and the open location to the center court of the mall. For kids who are easily distracted you may need to add significant time on to get the painting done here. We visited on a Friday morning not realizing that there would be a Kids Club event going on.
While “Groovy Mr. Nate” was very entertaining, trying to get our painting task finished up while distracted by his music was tough. Kids Club meets at the Cabin John Mall the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month at 10:30am. Additional kid friendly stores here are the Toy Castle, Shoe Train, Tropicuts Salon, Ballet Petite, My Gym and a McDonalds with play area. Free parking is plentiful in the lot out front of the mall.
All Fired Up4923 Elm StreetBethesda, MD 20814302.654.3206
We visited the Bethesda location of this local pottery studio (with another location in Cleveland Park, DC). All Fired Up had a large selection of pottery pieces and the best customer service that we received. A smock was provided for my co-painter, paints were easily accessible and the bathroom was clean. Prices here were mostly in the $18 to $25 range for kid friendly mugs, animals, banks and Disney pieces. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from noon to 3pm is the Lunch Break special with 15% off selected items.
All Fired Up also offers a VIP club membership with a special deal where if you paint $200 in pottery, you’ll receive a gift certificate for $20. A family can all use the same membership. Spring Break and Summer camps are held for 1st graders and up. Half day camps run $235 per week with the full day option $425. Parking is metered both on the street and in the parking garage located just across the street (though the garage is free on weekends). All Fired Up is accessible by the red line of metro located about a 10 minute walk from the station. Hours for the Bethesda location are Monday to Wednesday: 11am to 7pm, Thursday and Friday: 11am to 9pm, Saturday: 10am to 9pm and Sunday: 11am to 6pm.
Color Me Mine823 Ellsworth DriveSilver Spring, MD 20910301.565.5105
The Silver Spring location of this national paint your own pottery chain was our last stop. Clean, convenient to all that downtown Silver Spring has to offer and metro accessible, this was the busiest of the three studios during our weekday morning outings. Color Me Mine was also the only painting locale where we encountered a sitting fee. Adult painters pay $10 and kids $7 on top of the price of the pottery selected. Prices here were lower, but only by a dollar or two, making it the priciest of our three stops.
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This studio had the largest selection of items with many kid friendly animals, banks, mugs, and Disney items available. Customer service was not their strong suit on the day of our visit. We were never offered a smock, had to get our own paint refills and generally felt put off by the staff member. This location however offers the most by way of special events and programs that we came across.
March 26th from 10 to 11:30am is a Princess Painting Party for kids ages 4 to 9 ($30, registration required). Every Tuesday is two for one studio fees and Thursday nights are Friends and Family nights from 5 to 9pm where a table of 4 painters pays a total studio fee of $15. Color Me Mine Silver Spring is also home to the Summer Art Adventures camps for kids ages 6 to 13. Week long half day camps are $225 per session. Metered street parking and an hourly fee parking garage are just outside the door to this location. Doors open daily at 11am.
All pottery studios reviewed have a 7 day turn around time for picking up finished pieces. Each studio offers a variety of other mediums like mosaic and working with clay as well as many stencils, brushes, stamps and other more advanced techniques.
Photos by Kim Engstrom