Posts Tagged "shrinkydinks"

Where I buy art & craft materials in Manila

Years ago National Book Store was the only easily accessible place where you can buy arts and crafts equipment here in Manila. Well there was Joli along Espana and Artek in Delta but they were quite far, and online shopping — let alone the internet — was unheard of at the time. So by default NBS was The Mothership and to be fair, selection wasn’t bad. It’s just that compared to today, we had a very limited range of art materials to choose from.

And now — okay I don’t know when exactly the local arts and crafts movement boomed but it sure happened when I wasn’t looking. Very pleased though that I don’t have to turn to DickBlick or Amazon’s Arts, Crafts & Sewing section for supplies anymore since I can now easily get them locally and from within the comforts of home, no less.

If you check my Instagram feed, you’ll see that I’ve been into honing my analog art skills since late last year and I’ve explored everything from rubber stamp carving and shrink plastic crafting to watercolor painting and even lettering. Here are the stores I’ve been getting all my crafty goodies from. There may be more out there but I find the following shops’ inventories sufficient for my needs.

(Updated on Jan. 6, 2018)

ARTWHALE an online store that carries beautiful not-so-commonly-available paints like Korea-based Nicker fine art gouache (a.k.a. the brand that Ghibli Animation Studio uses), Japan-based Turner Colour Works Acryl Gouache, Peerless Watercolors (a vintage American brand known for highly pigmented watercolors in sheet form), and Shin Han Art Korean Watercolours. The proprietor Kuki is very friendly and knowledgeable about their products and customer service is top notch. (Please refer to this newer post for the full story. :D)

art-whale-philippines

They have pop-up stores every once in a while so I recommend following their Instagram account to see if they’ll be in a bazaar soon.

CRAFT CARROT – an online store based in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. They stock artist paints & paper, calligraphy tools and inks, sketch markers, and rubber stamp carving supplies. I got my two-tone carving blocks — 4″x 6″ and 2″x 2″ round and square blocks — from them (see below). I also purchased a few of the inexpensive “Craft” brand ink pads. I don’t think they’re archival though so I just use them for testing my stamps.

craft carrot ph

I’m not sure if they have a physical shop since their website says you’ll have to set up an appointment before visiting their office but ordering online is quick and painless. I’ve already purchased from them twice and both times I received fast and friendly service – “friendly” meaning there is actual communication from the shopkeepers, not just automated replies. 🙂 Also, they use Xend.com for shipping so you’ll be sure to get your items within 24-48 hours upon receiving confirmation for your order.

HEY KESSY – another online store with an HQ in Loyola Heights which I believe is a physical shop. They sell washi tape, chalk markers, air dry clay and a good variety of fun crafting supplies. They’re the only place I’ve found that carries Tsukineko VersaCraft Fabric Inkpads (pigment-based, archival, and acid-free) and Speedball Speedy-Carve Carving Blocks, currently the biggest (and priciest) ones that are available locally. These blocks carve like butter — no, wait. Like konnyaku jelly! Soft and jiggly! — so I use them for special, intricate designs.

hey kessy

I can also say that they know how to make their customers feel special. Aside from the friendly correspondence, they sent me that adorable postcard on the left. Look at how the items were packaged too. It was like opening a gift. (It’s all in the details. 🙂 ) I’ll definitely buy from them again — but first, I need to use up my blocks. As with Craft Carrot, you can receive your items within 24-48 hours.

CREATE CRAFTS – a.k.a. CreatebyTLF is another online store based Quezon City. There is no physical shop but they have a display at Mrs. Graham’s Store in Scout Rallos which is restocked twice a month. So far I’ve bought 1.75″x 3.5″ eraser blocks (sold by the dozen!) and Japanese keshigomu carving blocks (smaller than the ones from Craft Carrot and Speedycarve but they carve just as smoothly), Kuretake ZIG Clean Color Real Brush markers, and Speedball Lino Cutter spare blades.Create Crafts PH

When you buy from their site, you have the option to create an account which facilitates ordering in the future since you won’t have to input your details all over again. Becoming a site member also entitles you to occasional perks like free shipping — just keep your eyes peeled for promos (I was able to avail of that last December.)  I’m not sure if they really don’t update customers with tracking numbers via e-mail but my purchases appear at my doorstep right on schedule which makes up for the lack of communication.

BEE HAPPY CRAFTS – is a crafting and party supplies store in Caloocan, open to customers on Saturdays but you can also order from them online. They stock a lot of scrapbook and journal-keeping goods like stamps, stickers, scrapbook sheets, punches, cardboard stock, ribbons, etc. They’re also the only place I’ve found that stocks unbranded shrink plastic locally. I’ve ordered a few sheets of the Inkjet shrink plastic and have found that they hold ink well and shrink almost exactly like the Shrinky Dinks-branded ones that I bought from Amazon (please see my Instagram feed or the previous post for examples of what I’ve done with the material).

bee happy

The Inkjet sheets are a little pricey at P90/piece but I’m glad to have an option to ordering them from overseas. I’ve also bought some cardboard stock from them for mounting. The site is easy to use and you will receive email confirmations for your order. You may also follow up with them through sms.

… and finally DEOVIR

I love that they have physical stores in malls which means that I can get my materials on the same day I need them. The selection in their SM North Edsa outlet is impressive and Arnold has been buying his Micron drawing pens, watercolor paper, and comic tools from there for years. You can also buy from them online but I haven’t done so yet since SM is close by. Also, there are items in the physical stores that aren’t on the site so it’s more advisable to swing by the actual shop and see the merchandise first hand.

I’d love to know where you shop for your art materials. And if you know of other stores that I may have missed (or don’t know about yet), do let me know in the comments!

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Keeping Busy + Adventures in Shrinking Plastic

What I’ve been working on:

1. New patterns for my Spoonflower store (these are still being proofed so this is a sneaky peek) —

surface pattern design by cynthia bauzon arre

2. A new wedding invitation set featuring stylish animals —

(You can see all the elements of the entire collection here)

3. More custom couple cartoons. (Nothing to show here yet as they’re still in the drafts stage but I’ll update the other blog once the drawings have been finalized.)

And as you may have seen on my Instagram feed,

4. Shrink plastic jewelry

I’ve been wanting to make accessories for the longest time. In fact I have an unused box full of jewelry findings hoarded from the Kamuning Market when we were planning our wedding… yes, it’s been that long! However, there’s so much competition and I didn’t know what I could do that would showcase what I can do best so i focused on other things. Until I discovered shrinky dinks — thanks to wedding blogging actually. Some of my brides would talk about shrinky-dinking stuff and I was all like “shrinky-WHAT-ing?”1 After much Googling and Youtube-ing I learned that specially made plastic can shrink into a harder & thicker version of itself if you stick it in a regular toaster oven. A little light bulb lit up in my head — what if I shrink my illustrations and make them into few-of-a-kind jewelry charms? Of course I still had no idea then that I was already late to the game and that there’s already a whole movement devoted to shrink plastic jewelry on Etsy. [insert embarrassed emoji here] Still, I ordered a pack of Shrinky Dinks sheets from Amazon. That would take at least a week to arrive and I couldn’t wait anymore so when I learned that I can also shrink #6 plastic (essentially, plastic used for take-out containers) and yay, we had one on hand2, I did this experiment, again documented on Instagram.

My shrinky dink-brand sheets (as well as a few unbranded ones) arrived in late December but I couldn’t play with them until this week. I got several types — white, clear, rough and ready – so I tried different combinations. Frosted sheets with colored pencils, white with sharpies. Here’s what came out of that experiment.

In the photo below you can see how big the original artwork is compared to the miniature version. You’ll notice that this time I printed my vector illustrations directly on the plastic sheet.

shrinkydinks jewelry

Some pieces already look good but I have yet to perfect shrinking the plastic without forming dents in the miniatures. This is all still a work in progress and I will update you once I come up with designs that I am completely happy with.

UPDATE: I made a YouTube video of how I make my shrink art pins!

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  1. Not sure if art schools here are using it now but I’ve never encountered the stuff.[ back]
  2. it had cake on it which I quickly, um, got rid off [ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my talented graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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