10 Weird & Wonderful Stores for DIYers

Shopper's Guide

If you're someone who sees possibility in a dusty shelf of old lab glassware, a bolt of conductive elastic fabric, or a box of expired film, this post is for you. These ten stores might seem like weird out-of-the-way holes or even junk shops to the average shopper, but to the smart DIYer they're hunting grounds for a project waiting to happen.

  1. Studiomama: Designer Nina Tolstrup is the brains behind this London design studio. She works as a hired designer for a number of companies, but experiments and forges her own path under the Studiomama brand, where she posts prototypes and sells DIY plans so that people can construct their own versions of her projects.
  2. Inventables: Based out of Chicago, this website describes itself as "the innovator's hardware store, selling all kinds of materials in small quantities for purchase." They carry hard-to-find materials, from stainless steel yarn, to conductive elastic fabric, to aluminum foam.
  3. Mendel's: Smack in the middle of the Haight in San Francisco, this store sells both psychedelic fabrics and solid colors, and they have a huge selection of brightly colored and patterned oilcloths.
  4. American Science & Surplus: This warehouse (located just north of Chicago in Skokie) is packed to the rafters with lab supplies, motor parts, random hardware and tools, rocks, fossils, stones, and all kinds of wacky stuff.
  5. Reform School: One-third art gallery, one-third office supply shop, and one-third bookstore, Reform School is a reliable resource for hipster craft supplies, like the Yellow Owl Workshop Tic Tac Toe Stamp Set shown above, $21.
  6. The Photojojo Store: If you're a photographer or artist, this store is a fun place to shop for random supplies you won't find other places, like the Rare Film Gift Pack, shown above, $49.
  7. Tap Plastics: With locations throughout California and the Pacific Northwest — as well as an extensive webshop — Tap Plastics is the kind of place where you can find acrylic sheets in nearly any color and have them cut to size.
  8. Film Biz Prop Shop: Located in Brooklyn, Film Biz Prop Shop sells castoffs from the film industry at deep discount: furniture, pillows, lighting, jewelry, electronics, decor, games, artwork, and holiday decorations, just to name a few.
  9. McMaster Carr Supply Company: This thick yellow catalog is a standard fixture in factories and maintenance offices, but it's also an amazing resource for anyone with an ability to creatively repurpose industrial supplies. (The catalog goes mainly to industry folks, but everything's online anyway, so you can easily order via the web.)
  10. Sutherland Felt Company: Based out of Michigan, Sutherland is one of the largest suppliers of industrial felt in North America. For home projects, they can custom-dye wool felt between 1/16" to 1" thick.


Photos: As linked above, except for #10 - Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan | Apartment Therapy

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