SoCal Families | The Sawdust Factory

By: Jamie Durante

Take a break from screens, and tap into the creativity that lies within minds young and old—welcome to The Sawdust Factory in Upland, California. For over 15 years this unique workshop is a place where kids and adults have come to paint and create various crafts that are made from wood. I decided to visit with my small toddler last week to give this creative playground a try.

Our GPS took us to the end of a small industrial street located right off of Benson Avenue in Upland. At the end of the street, I saw the white and blue building with a sign dictating that I had arrived at my desired location—The Sawdust Factory.


I walked into the lobby with my small daughter in my arms, and the establishment’s friendly owner, Heidi, instantly greeted us. The entrance is filled with lots of seasonal and decorative wooden crafts and fun accessories, like baby dolls that fit into the wooden cradles you can paint and create. Walking further into the studio, there were even more seasonal crafts, as well as other projects that could be enjoyed throughout the year.


One unique quality that caught my eye is that many of the crafts are made using a child’s handprint on a piece of wood. I thought how this would be a fun way to remember my daughter’s small, chubby hand. The only dilemma I then faced, was which adorable animal or Thanksgiving craft I should choose.

Heidi offered her assistance in helping us decide on a craft, which was quite a task considering the great selection of colorful and practical projects on display. With Heidi’s help, we chose a Thanksgiving Turkey that was made using my daughter’s handprint.


We walked over to the hands-on crafting area, which consisted of a giant workshop area that was clearly spacious enough to accommodate even the biggest parties or school field trips. Heidi gave us her undivided attention, providing us with aprons, measuring my daughter’s hand, and setting us up paints, sponges and basic instructions. Heidi helped us pick colors that would coordinate and match the holiday theme, although she also said we had the freedom to choose whatever we liked.


We started painting some wooden pieces, while Heidi brought my daughter’s handprint to the workshop, where her husband cut it out. My not even two-year-old daughter was magically entranced by the painting project. Sitting on my lap, and with her clothing covered with an apron, she painted using the sponge brushes provided, and I helped by painting the sides and random spots my daughter missed.


After we painted the handprint that Heidi hand-delivered, we went over the next station, which was led by Heidi. At this station, Heidi used simple techniques to decorate our painted pieces with speckles, and she added an adorable little face to our turkey. She involved my toddler in everything, showing her how to paint speckles with a sponge and talking to her throughout the process.


We finished the project by drying each piece at the Drying Station, followed by Heidi’s assistance again in putting the turkey together. Instead of using the typical straw bow for the turkey, she let us pick out a hot pink bowtie for our turkey, and we customized it further with the salutation, “Happy Thanksgiving.”


Our time at The Sawdust Factory was so easy, creative and fun. We happened to go on a quiet day, which made the whole experience really personal. We also attended on a No-Workshop-Fee day, which meant we only paid for our project.


The Sawdust Factory is located at 1525 Howard Access Road # F in Upland, California. For more information, give them a call at (909) 946-0866 or visit their website.


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