With maker culture booming in the 6, there has never been more workrooms around the city for crafts and creative hobbies. Thanks to resources like Youtube and the growing sharing economy, you can learn everything from making your own clothes to re-decorating your home using recycled materials. These craft supply stores in Toronto will guide you on your creative pursuits! [Image credit: iStock.com/azgek]
Owned and operated by jewellery expert Claude Abittan, The Beadery is the mother of all shops if your craft is jewellery. Possibly the most expansive collection of stones, minerals and beading supplies in the city, this spacious showroom in the Textile District features cut stones, real emeralds, freshwater pearls, silver and gold. If you’re in need of a bit more instruction, you can attend one of the workshops to sharpen your skills or fix up old pieces that are bent out of shape.
Also in the heart of the textile district, Affordable Textiles is a one-stop shop for fabrics of all kinds. Shelves are packed neatly and tightly from floor to ceiling with multicoloured cottons, linens, silks, faux fur and pleather. Pro tip: regulars know that near the back of the store, you can find various smaller scraps of different materials for just a few dollars. Affordable Textiles also carries zippers, buttons, embroidery string, and as the name promises, some refreshingly affordable price tags.
Gwartzman’s Art Supplies is a beloved resource for affordable art supplies and some good advice in Chinatown. An old stomping ground for art students past and present, Gwartzman’s specializes in painting supplies (particularly oil and acrylics) and canvasses. Professional artists are usually on hand to lead you to the right gloss or brush for your newest masterpiece. It’s easy to keep your creative juices flowing with the selection of pastels, paintbrushes, sketchbooks and other supplies you may not have known you needed. If you’re into painting or drawing, Gwartzman’s is sure to become a regular stop in your shopping routine.
In Korean town, Hanji Handmade Paper and Gifts is the place for all things paper. Two whole walls are lined with sheets hanging in every colour imaginable. This mom-and-pop shop carries specialty patterned tape, wooden letter stamps, calligraphy pens, handmade cards, drawing books, and origami kits. All Hanji paper is, as the name says in Korean, handmade with mulberry branches, so you can feel good about the fact that no trees were cut down for your craft shopping experience.
This spacious warehouse-like shop in the heart of Chinatown offers a mix of basic art supplies like sketchbooks with unique imported craft items, many of which are under $10. B & J is the place for larger, home decor craft projects or creative gifts. In the many nooks of this shop, you’ll find unexpected gems like intricate origami cards and handmade patterned papers from Japan – great for wall art and gifts. Bamboo, paper lanterns and a stock of boxes in all shapes and sizes are useful for home decor projects.
In the Junction, artsy types turn to Articulations, an art supplies store with much more going on. In addition to selling painting and drawing supplies (which are mostly Canadian manufactured), stretched canvas, silk screening materials and Speedball paints, Articulations has its own gallery space, and a studio where staff host workshops and drop-in classes for kids and adults. After picking up your fabrics and paints, Articulations is a great place to hang out for a screen-printing class. You can even stop in to use their open studio space on select nights and meet other like-minded crafty people in your neighbourhood.
You may not have noticed this sewing supply store tucked under an office building in Chinatown. One look inside and you’ll be hooked to its unique selection of real leathers and metal fixtures. The Leather and Sewing Supply Depot commits one whole wall to metal buckles and closures, as well as a whole section of leathers and suede. In the back of the shop, a seamstress is on staff to help you select your colour and finish, cut and size your leather for you. It’s also stocked with needles, threads and leather strings for creating your own personal swag.