Getting Creative: Paint -n- Create opens in downtown DeKalb

DeKALB – Would-be artists have a new space to get creative.

Paint -n- Create, 132 N. Third St. in DeKalb, opened last week.

The business offers more than 100 items to decorate, 46 colors of paint and a constant stream of Bob Ross videos playing for inspiration.

The business is owned by Tim and Katrina Luetkebuenger. The idea for Paint -n- Create came from the couple’s two daughters, 17-year-old Kaylee and 15-year-old Jenna.

Tim Luetkebuenger’s collection agency business was located in the building, but since the pandemic began, his employees have been working from home.

“We had the space available, and the girls thought about using it as a craft room,” he said. “Then we thought about having friends and people visit and it turned into an idea for a business.”

The space had a soft opening at the end of August during Corn Fest, and more than 300 people stopped by to paint rocks for free.

Tim Luetkebuenger said one of his business goals is “to make painting an affordable activity for everybody.”

To paint, there is a $5 studio fee, which includes use of paint, brushes and a smock. Each item to be painted has a set price from $1 to $15, but most cost between $2 and $6. All painting projects are air-dry, with no kiln needed. There is no wait time needed to take items home.

“The average cost per child is $10, which is very affordable,” Tim Luetkebuenger said. “My dream is for parents and kids to come in at the same time, pick a project to work on and get creative together.”

Paint -n- Create also offers party packages and a private party room for birthdays and other celebrations.

“As a dad, there’s not much to do around here for kids, and I’d much rather rent out a place and they do all the set up and cleaning for a party,” Tim Luetkebuenger said.

Stacey Kubitz of DeKalb said she is excited to have somewhere in town to take her three sons.

“I think we’ll definitely have a birthday party here or a gathering with friends,” she said. “It’s also something we can do together as a family after school. It’s nice to just come, grab a paint brush, and express yourself and your individuality through art. It’s something anyone, any age can do.”

Morgan McGraw of DeKalb, 17, doesn’t consider herself an artist, but in less than 30 minutes, she painted a hanging jack-o’-lantern sign for her bedroom.

“It was actually really easy to do and a lot of fun,” she said. “I’m usually not very good at painting at all, but this was relaxing. It turned out really great.”

Kaylee Luetkebuenger said she enjoys meeting new people and seeing their creative talents.

“Painting is really relaxing and can help you de-stress,” she said. “Everyone can do art. There’s no wrong way. All you have to do is choose the item you want to paint off the shelf, choose your paint colors and pick up a brush.”

Paint -n- Create is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, visit or call 815-596-0250.

Katrina Milton

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.