Best of Tokyo Craft Shops

Sometimes finding tools and materials for your crafting project can be difficult when you live in Japan but don’t read or speak much Japanese. For most people finding the local craft store is just a quick google search away, but for us gaikokujin, it’s a bigger challenge than that. After living in the greater Tokyo area for quite a while now I’ve figured out the best places for finding the things I need to make my ornaments. I hope this list might make your search a bit easier. Ganbatte ne!

Many of the links below are in Japanese and might be difficult to navigate if you can’t read Japanese, even with the help of Google translate. I recommend finding someone who reads Japanese to help you.

Yuzawaya


http://www.yuzawaya.co.jp/

The best place to find foam balls, cord trim, colored pearl head straight pins, embroidery thread and quality crafting tools. They also have a nice selection of fabric. There are many locations all over the greater Tokyo area. I recommend signing up for a discount card if you are a frequent shopper here.

Shimojima


https://www.shimojima.co.jp/eng/index.html

I buy all my ribbon at Shimojima. It’s also a great place to find packaging supplies.

Tomato


http://www.nippori-tomato.com/

More fabric than you could ever possibly need or want. I usually spend most of my time on the top floor. It’s worth a stroll up and down the street to visit the other Tomato branches and other fabric shops in the area.
Here is a fabulous guide in English to all of Nippori Fabric Town.
http://www.tokyocraftguide.com/nippori-fabric-town/

Sanki


http://www.fi-sanki.co.jp/shoplist/index.php

Sanki is a super cheap clothing, home textiles, and other various junk shop. Some locations I have been too also have a craft supply and fabric corner. They have fat quarter discount bins that sometimes have awesome finds, but it can be hit or miss.

Craft Town Group Shops


http://www.crafttown.jp/

I don’t go to these shops very often but they are still worth a look if you happen to be in the vicinity of one.

And last but not least

100 Yen Shops!

I get tools like measuring tapes, upholstery needles and slider type cutter knives at the 100 yen shop. Beads and sequin shapes can also be found in the crafting section. Take a look in the gift wrapping section for unique ribbons too.

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This is just my list of the best places to find craft supplies in Tokyo. Surely there are more. If you know of a shop that is not on this list please leave a comment and let us know about it. 🙂

HD Glitter Ornament Video Tutorial

Blue Glitter, October 2015 Pink Glittered

It’s actually been many years since I’ve made a glitter ornament but I still get a lot of questions about making them. My glitter designs are some of my most popular on YouTube. In this new tutorial video I will show you everything you need to know to make your own beautiful glitter ornaments. My techniques haven’t changed much over the years. Watch this first and my old time lapse-videos will make much more sense.

2015 Tools and Material Preferences Survey Results

Tools and Materials
In an effort to get a better idea where my followers are buying their ornament supplies and which tools they prefer I ran a survey from May-August 2015. I received 30 responses in total. Not all answered every question in the survey and some added to there responses in the comments. The majority of my followers are from the United States so the answers reflect that.

Here’s what I learned:

Kimekomi is the most popular type of ornament made and sequined ornaments are the 2nd most popular type.

Most people prefer to shop at a physical store for there materials as opposed to an online shop. Generally, the most popular stores are Michaels, Jo-ann Fabric and Craft and Hobby Lobby.

Foam Balls:
Michaels was the favorite for foam balls, followed by Jo-ann and Hobby Lobby.
Walmart was an unexpected surprise answer.
Craftmill was the answer from a UK based follower.

Sequins:
Michaels, Jo-ann, Walmart and Hobby Lobby were all evenly preferred for sequin purchases.
Cartwright’s Sequins was the clear online winner, and my personal favorite.
Hobbycraft was the answer from a UK based follower.

Sequin Pins:
Michaels and Jo-ann were the clear favorites for sequin pins.
Hobbycraft for the UK.

Pearl Pins:
Jo-ann was the clear favorite for pearl head pins.
Hobbycraft for the UK.

Tucking Tool for Kimekomi:
There were only 10 responses to this question.

6 people use a straight upholstery needle.
2 people use a traditional tucking tool from Japan.
1 person uses an awl or dental tool.
1 person uses a metal fingernail file with a plastic handle.

One added “also use a sculpting tool with a flat side”.

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I would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey and if you didn’t have a chance to participate but would still like to add your recommendations and/or preferences please leave a comment below.

Simple Striped Egg

Simple Striped Egg, March 2013
Simple Striped Egg, March 2013

Previously sold as a DIY kit valued at $15, the instructions and accompanying video are now free for you to enjoy.

Tools Needed:

  • ball point pen or fine tipped sharpie
  • scissors
  • craft knife
  • tucking tool
  • glue stick
  • craft glue
  • cigarette lighter (optional)

Materials Needed:

  • smooth foam egg
  • fabric in 2 colors and/or motifs (20cm x 14cm each)
  • quilt batting (28cm x 12cm)
  • 6mm wide ribbon (50cm)
  • cord trim (80cm)
  • two pearl topped pins
  • two large sequins

Cutting Patterns PDF
Print out the PDF at the link below.
Simple Stripes Egg Pattern
Best printed on A4 size paper.

Instructions:

    Drawing Lines on your foam egg.
    Please be aware that these measurements are for eggs that are about 7cm tall. You will need to adjust your measurements for eggs of a different size.

  1. Your foam egg should have a line that was made during the manufacturing process that runs up each side of the egg from bottom to top. Bottom being the widest part of the egg and top being the narrowest.8 div egg 1
  2. Using your measuring tape as a strait edge, trace the factory marked line with your pen on both sides of the egg.8 div egg 28 div egg 3
  3. Now take your measuring tape and find the place near the top where there is 8cm between each of the lines you just drew.
    8 div egg 4
  4. Draw a dot at 2cm, 4cm and 6cm. I’ll call these dots the mid-points in the next step.8 div egg 5
    8 div egg 6
    8 div egg 7 You can repeat this step from the bottom of your egg if you wish
  5. Next, using your measuring tape as a straight edge, draw a line connecting the top, one of your mid-points and bottom of the egg.8 div egg 8
    8 div egg 9
    Do this for all mid-points marked. When finished your egg should have 8 vertical lines.
    8 div egg 10
    Here’s what it looks like from the top.
    8 div egg 11
    Here’s what it looks like from the bottom.
    8 div egg 12

Video:
Here is the accompanying video. It starts after the lines have already been drawn on the egg.
It’s several years old and so the video quality isn’t that great. But it’s still helpful to watch.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTifSf7tHfw[/youtube]

Instructions Continued…

  1. Cut out batting and fabric panels.
  2. a) Cut out 8 panels of quilt batting using the batting pattern provided.
    b) Cut out fabric panels using the fabric pattern provided. 4 panels of each color.

  3. Cut along all lines on foam egg about 8mm deep.
  4. Glue on batting and tuck in fabric.
  5. a) Glue a panel of batting on the foam in any of the 8 sections. Trim the batting if needed.
    b) Next take a fabric panel and place it over the batting. Tuck the edges of the fabric into the foam. Trim fabric as needed.
    c) Repeat step a and step b above on the next section with the other color fabric.
    d) Alternate panels of the 2 colors of fabric all the way around the egg.

  6. Glue cord onto seams.
  7. a) Start at the top (small end) off the egg. Using your tucking tool or a large needle, scrape off a small bit of glue from your glue stick and apply it to a vertical seam, where you tucked in the fabric.
    b) Next place the cord on top of the glue and pat with your finger to secure. Use your tucking tool or a needle to remove any excess glue.
    It is only necessary to use a very small amount of glue.
    Do not cut the cord at the bottom of the egg. Continue around the entire egg until you reach the top again.
    When finished with a seam, you can either cut the cord and tuck the end into the top of the egg or you can continue on to the next seam without cutting the cord, like I do in the video.

  8. Pin the bow, hanging ribbon, sequin to the top of the egg.
  9. a) Cut 16 cm of ribbon for the hanging ribbon.
    Melt the ends with your lighter to prevent fraying.
    b) Thread a large sequin onto a pearl headed pin first, then the hanging ribbon.
    c) Use the remaining ribbon to make the bow. Make 4 loops.
    Adjust the loop size as you like and trim the extra ribbon.
    When pinning the ribbon for your bow, use a figure 8 motion and be sure that the shiny side of the ribbon is always pointing outward.
    d) Dip the end of the pin in craft glue and pin to the top of the egg.

    If you need more help with the bow please see my All About Bows page.

  10. Pin the remaining pin and sequin to the bottom of the egg. Dip the end of the pin in craft glue for a secure hold.

Finished

Every effort has been made to provide accurate instructions for this ornament. If you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment below.

If you liked this then you will Love my DIY ornament kits. Please visit My Etsy Shop and browse my growing selection of affordable DIY kits.