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The Crafter's Guide to Shopping in Boston

May 24, 2016

After eight wonderful years in Manhattan, many of which I spent working as a Crafts Editor at Martha Stewart Living, I moved to Boston towards the end of last summer. In New York, I'd become an expert at sourcing materials to schlep (gladly… because it was seriously the best. job. ever.) back to the studios at Martha for fellow crafters to put to use: One hundred identical vintage buttons? Head straight to M&J Trim. 2mm end caps? Metalliferous on 34th street. For handmade paper, the best selection is at New York Central (call ahead!), Tinsel Trading stocks tassels and other treasures, and US Evergreen in the flower market is the best place to find a Christmas tree in July. Just talk to Gus.

Photo by James Ransom

But after the bounty that New York offered, I found myself in Boston with no such rolodex of craft supply stores or trusted contacts and several craft projects I itched to tackle (not to mention looming freelance deadlines!). Thus began my journey: I set out to find the best small makers and shops this city had to offer. Down Boston's winding cobblestone streets exist a treasure-trove of supply shops: ribbon, fabric, rare beads and bits.

If you’re lucky enough to live here or just swinging through for the weekend, pop into any of the below establishments—you’re in for a real treat! Bravo to Boson for it’s budding maker scene.

Raw Materials & Crafting Supplies

For Fabric: Mercer’s Fabric

121 Charles Street, Unit 2, Boston, M.A. 02114
(617) 338-4739
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 A.M. to 7 P.M., and Sunday, 12 to 4 P.M.

Tucked away on idyllic Charles Street in Beacon Hill, Mercer’s Fabric is home to hard-to-find buttons, notions, embroidery floss (yes, they carry metallic floss for those hardcore friendship bracelet folks out there!), and of course: tons of fabric. Owner Natalie Mercer just opened a few months ago and the shop is very much a neighborhood fabric store. It has a homey, welcoming feel and is also incredibly well stocked with fabric from manufacturers like Robert Kaufman, cutes-y Cotton & Steel, and silks and linens that are always changing.

For Ribbon: Studio Carta

97 Boylston Street, 
Brookline, M.A. 02445
617) 730-3788 
Hours: By appointment only! Call or email.

In a sunlit shop in Brookline (a few minutes outside of Boston), Angela Liguori sells gorgeous, handmade ribbon that is fawned over by clients and makers around the world—all from her shop called Studio Carta. The 100% cotton ribbons are made in Italy and imported directly to the shop: swoon-worthy shades like “lemon,” “melon,” and “pool” in varying widths and weaves. Angela also collects and sells stunning vintage stamps among an array of other treasures: delicate scissors, gift wrap, and cord. You’ll never want to leave.

For Stationery & Paper Goods: Stripe & Field

46 Waltham St, Boston, M.A. 02118
(617) 922-1051
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 A.M. to 6 P.M

Stripe & Field in the South End is another stunner; a high-ceilinged letterpress studio with a shop attached selling an array of sweet, simple paper goods. Find stationery sets, plus tags and calendars inspired by vintage patterns. Perhaps most delightful are the envelope liners—stripes, poppy polka dots; a surprise under each flap.

Other noteworthy stationers:

For Yarn:

Standout Markets with Maker Vendors

Boston Public Market

100 Hanover Street at Haymarket (North End)
Hours: Open 7 days a week starting July 18, 8 A.M. to 8 P.M.

BPM is a year-round, indoor marketplace that opened in July of 2015 and houses a 39-vendor roster (and growing!) of incredible handmade vendors, farmers, artisans, and makers. Standout mission-driven businesses making everything by hand include American Stonecraft (works with nearly 50 nearby farms to transform freshly tilled fieldstones into one-of-a-kind food slabs, coasters, and bowls); Boston Honey Company (gorgeous beeswax candles with an apiary in the shop!); Peterman’s Boards & Bowls (hand-turned wooden bowls, cheese boards, and other kitchen accessories); and Stow Greenhouses (farmer-florist specializing in hybrid lilies).

SoWA Arts & Crafts Market

The parking lot at 450 Harrison Ave and 365 Albany St. (South End)
Hours: Sundays Only

A subset of the ever-popular SoWA Market in the South End of Boston, the Arts & Crafts market is home to over 75 vendors selling a variety of handmade wares.

Larger Stores for Staples

Back in the shop and have a fresh Batch of Rollbahn Notebooks & @myrthceramics Match strikers.

A photo posted by LOYAL SUPPLY CO. (@loyalsupplyco) on

For those staple craft supplies and materials you always need (glues, paint, tools, etc), there’s a Dick Blick at 401 Park Drive in Back Bay, and one in the South End at 333 Massachusetts Avenue. For a great selection of spray paint, wooden dowels, rope and specialty tools, check out the mom-and-pop hardware shop Charles Street Supply in Beacon Hill (54 Charles Street).

Plus three more standout supply stores selling a range of handmade wares, for good measure:

Do you know any other great small makers or supply shops in the Boston area? Share your recommendations in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Justine Hand
    Justine Hand
  • belfman
  • Kristin
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    Liz Kinnal


Justine H. May 25, 2016
Welcome to Boston, Laura! As a NYC transplant myself, (5 yrs ago!) I feel (felt) your pain. I too eventually discovered many of the same shops and resources. (Angela Liguori is now a good friend.) I hope you have checked out Todd Farm Flea in Rowley, MA. Great source for vintage fabric. Another gem for vintage craft supplies, such as fabric leaves from Germany or vintage buttons, is Thoreauly Antiques in Concord, MA.
belfman May 25, 2016
I would recommend Mind's Eye yarn across from Porter Square in Cambridge for lovely yarns and the owner is very helpful! There is the fabric corner in Arlington which is accessible by public transportation. It is a bit of a messy space, but it does have some great fabrics.
Kristin May 24, 2016
Gather Here in Cambridge is just wonderful. Yarn, fabric, notions, classes and a terrific staff.
Liz K. May 24, 2016
I've been in living Boston for years and have been having the hardest time supplying my crafts without going way to the burbs. Thank you a million times over for this handy guide!