Olde Pine Sign Workshop for Holiday and All-Year Fun

Dec 20, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson Tonya Allen owns  Olde Pine Sign Workshops in Tuckerton.

Tonya Allen said she is a stay-at-home mom who didn’t want to go back to work after her first child was born, so she looked for another way to make some income. “That was 13 years ago, and I’ve been painting ever since.”

She started by giving house parties (Tupperware-type parties) and also wholesaled her signs to a few local stores. “I used to have an open house and all my friends would come, and it just got around by word of mouth that I would do these sign-making parties. So I got busier and busier, but after my third child I took a two-year break as I had three children under the age of 4. Then when I came back, the styles had all changed. I used to do painted signs, but now everyone wants the pallet-stained rustic look – like those on ‘Fixer Upper.’”

“Fixer Upper” is the popular HGTV channel show starring Joanna and Chip Gaines from Waco, Texas.

“I just love her, and I keep the show on while I’m here working,” said Allen.

Before starting her store, Olde Pine Workshops, located at 114 East Main St. in Tuckerton, she took a look around the craft party scene. “I saw how popular painting parties are on canvas, so I thought, ‘Why not sign painting parties?’ I told my husband, and four days later we signed the lease on this place.” That was back before Halloween. Now the shop is all dressed up for Christmas.

Each workshop is a three-hour event where you can book a party with six or more friends; the shop can accommodate up to 17 folks. Or come during a group-paint, or even by yourself when the shop is open.

“You should BYOB because we have breaks when paint has to dry. So then you can snack and have a beverage,” said Allen.

Her husband, Dave, built the shelves and tables, using pipes for an industrial look.

Allen said she was not in art programs as a child, but her mother, Alberta Parker, was always doing craft shows, and Tonya helped. “It’s in the blood,” said Allen. “But you don’t have to be ‘artsy crafty’ to make a sign. I brought it all down to a few simple steps so it’s easy for everybody.”

The first step is to choose your wood from among knotty pine, eastern white pine or radiate, a type of pine from New Zealand; then you sand the wood, stain it and put it together. Next is placing the stencil that you already chose from the website OPSWorkshops.com.

Then come painting the saying and removing the stencil. Allen is there the whole time to make sure the results are exactly as you had hoped for, and her daughter Emily is a big helper, said Allen.

While tending her other two children, Ryan and Jason, at home, she makes the plastic stencils with her specialized computer program.

Each workshop participant pays $50 and goes home that day with a large sign of their making.

Popular signs include the dates of marriage, especially for newlyweds, uplifting sayings and even a personalized Christmas stocking holder plaque for the whole family.

“Everyone seems to have fun,” said Allen. “We also do fundraisers and birthday parties for kids.”

Her upstairs kids room is equipped with aprons, and she can accommodate up to 10 children plus the birthday child.

Allen also retails some of her signs.

For more information or to book a party, go to the website above or stop by when the store is open. The retail hours are Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 3 p.m., with workshops starting at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.; one Friday workshop at 6 p.m. and workshops on Saturday and Sunday at 10  a.m. and 6 p.m. The shop is closed Mondays and Wednesdays. 

— Pat Johnson


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