By Danny King
Perusing a good craft and hobby store is like exploring Los Angeles – all the fun is finding the real cool stuff you were never looking for in the first place. Some of the region’s best craft and hobby stores take the kitchen sink approach, housing everything from fabrics to buttons to pins to rubber stamps and everything imaginable in between. Others stick with a single concept, be it all things beads or a specialty in floral and island-themed products, and run with it. Here are a dozen, for starters:
1. Flowery Praise
Any time’s a good time for a good old-fashioned, hangover-inducing Tiki-themed party, and when you need some threads – literally – Islands Fabric in Downtown is there for you. Satin, fleece, polyester and, yes, even Hawaiian Bark Cloth, all with super-groovy patterns that will make the torches burn that much hotter and the Mai Tais that much sweeter.
- 829 S. Wall St., Los Angeles, 213.622.4454, www.islandsfabric.com
2. Beating Strong
Stampin’ From the Heart
This Culver City-adjacent store wants to share the love of craft-making by regularly hosting classes on calligraphy, paperback-book making, holiday book-making and collages. Stampin’ From the Heart, which started out as a rubber stamp collection, has evolved into a local institution dedicated to all things crafts.
- 11720 Washington Pl., Los Angeles, 310.391.0466, www.karen-stampinheart.blogspot.com
3. Feeling Furry
For more than two decades, this Westchester-based Internet-catalogue retailer has been a haven for those in the needlepoint community. You bring the imagination, and Hedgehog Handworks will provide all of the threads, ribbons, fibers and fasteners you’ll ever need.
4. Seeing is Believing
Craft in America
Looking for a little inspiration? Put down the scissors, fabric, glue and any of your other tools of the trade, and head over to Craft in America. This nonprofit’s study center, located near the Beverly Center, boasts thousands of books, videos and other educational components, not to mention regularly changing exhibits and its award-winning documentaries.
- 8415 W. Third St., Los Angeles, 323.951.0610, www.craftinamerica.org/studycenter
5. Off the Wagon
D’ya have the need for beads? This Silver Lake-area Internet-catalogue retailer’s name says it all. Beadaholique sees your obsession for all things beady and raises it a notch with its exhaustive selection of all things that can be strung and worn with style.
6. Strange Brew
If you’re looking for offbeat, this little Little Tokyo store is for you. Num Num Kawaii has a mix of do-it-yourself crafts items such as ribbons and beads, combined with lingerie and other funkier items. Not for the faint of heart, apparently.
- 238 E. First St., Los Angeles, 213.625.1750
7. Strung Out
Sweets Bead Store
A wide range of crafts goods may be appreciated, but, like In N’ Out Burger, sometimes it’s good to specialize. Sweets Bead Store carries beads of the metal, glass, wood, ceramic and – gulp – bone variety, all within spitting distance of The Grove.
- 7763 ½ Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 323.933.7922, www.sweetsbeads.com
8. Community Fabric
Michael Levine Inc.
“All this chitter-chatter-chitter-chatter-chitter-chatter about schemata, schemata, schemata,” the Stones once famously sang about New York, but they could’ve been singing about the longtime vibrant garment district within Downtown, and that’s what Michael Levine Inc. is all about. This store boasts more than 60,000 square feet of fabrics and has been in business for more than three decades.
- 920 Maple Ave., Los Angeles, 213.622.6259, www.mlfabric.com
9. Look Sharp
Do you think a crafts retailer with more than 100 types of pins and needles assortments is impressive? If so, this Northeast LA Internet-catalog retailer may be for you. Acme Notions also boasts a huge selection of thimbles pincushions, seam zippers and tons of other accessories needed to get creative.
10. Social Hour
Lehr & Black
This West L.A. institution has been putting together custom invitations for stars and regular folks for more than two decades. Lehr & Black counts Eva Longoria, Shaquille O’Neal, Jennifer Lopez and Adam Sandler among its past customers. No guarantee that the wedding will outlast the invitation, of course.
- 8921 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 310.278.8182, www.lehrandblack.com
11. Back to the Future
Some call it retro, others call it kitsch – Enchanted Lantern just calls it its specialty. This West L.A.-based Internet-catalogue retailer has lamps, switchplates, magnets and moneyclips, and is even kind enough to break it down for you by categories like Hawaiian/Tiki, Surf’s Up and Shabby Chic.
12. Keeper of the Faith
Torah Aura Productions
Craftspeople looking to pay tribute to the Holy Land, look no further. While largely focusing on educational products Torah Aura Productions, which is based southeast of Downtown, also has dozens of art-kit project goods, including wood-bead sets, candles, rubber stamps and chenille stems. Shalom!
- 4423 Fruitland Ave., Los Angeles, 800.238.6724, www.torahaura.com
Danny King is a freelance reporter whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Daily Variety. King, who has been a staff reporter for Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Business Journal, currently writes about subjects ranging from the travel industry to alternative-fueled vehicles. A native Angeleno, King lives with his family in either Los Feliz or Silver Lake – he’s still not sure which.