BlogHow To

How To/Find: Material Wonderlands no.1

Saira Niazi

Insights Editor

Looking to experiment with new materials or find inspiration in undiscovered places?

Look no further than Saira’s Material Wonderlands series for some top tips from across the capital.


London is a city filled with material wonderlands; vibrant technicolour spaces where you can browse, buy, or simply be inspired by a diverse range of materials on offer. From bustling market stalls piled high with fabrics, to makeshift underground scrapstores filled with miscellaneous plastics, there’s a place to suit anyone. Below are three gems you can seek out and buy materials on the cheap.


Work and Play Scrapstore

Credit: Photograph, © Saira Niazi. Tucked away in the Hazelhurst Estate, lies the Work and Play Scrapstore, an Aladdin’s cave filled with all sorts of materials, from cans of paint, and vintage postcards, to balls of yarn. The saved materials are available for members to take away. Membership to the scrapstore is £30 a year for students, and you can make as many trips as you like, making it the most affordable place in London to stock up on materials.

Work and Play Scrapstore
Open Tuesdays and Thursdays
13 Blackshaw Rd
London SW17 0DA

Nearest station: Tooting Broadway tube


Atlantis Arts Materials

Credit: Photograph, © Saira Niazi. Atlantis is unrivalled when it comes to sheer variety, quality and quantity of materials. In fact it’s the UK’s largest art materials store. Prices are competitive, and you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to picking out the right materials. Atlantis Arts also has a community feel to it, with a table by the entrance filled with information on artist events, exhibitions and opportunities.

Atlantis Arts Materials
Open 7 days a week
Unit 1/Unit 7
Bayford Street Industrial Centre
London E8 3SE

Nearest station: Old St tube


Dalston Mill Fabrics

Credit: Photograph, © Saira Niazi. The shabby but oddly picturesque shop front of Dalston Mill Fabrics found at the backend of Ridley Road market is very inviting. Established in 1982, the shop itself is much bigger than one would imagine from the outside, with both an upstairs section and basement. It stocks all kinds of low cost, quality fabrics, from silk and velvet to denim. There’s also a wide selection of quirky buttons, zips, threads and other trimmings.

Dalston Mill Fabrics

Open Monday- Saturday
69-73 Ridley Rd
Dalston, London E8 3NP

Nearest station: Dalston Kingsland tube

Saira Niazi is a writer, photographer and tour guide.
Head over to Living London to discover other hidden places and experiences.

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