Our in-house creative gurus have compiled this handy guide of all the arts, crafts and textiles shops in Oxford, including many independent outlets. It's pitched at people who already have an idea what they're doing, so absolute beginners might want to start here for simple, creative DIY projects. Genuinely, I struggle with drawing stick men sometimes and I suspect that even I might be able to pull some of them off.To return to Oxford Shopping Guide index, click here.
Broad Canvas, 20 Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3AS. Map.
Tel: 01865 244025
Art and craft supplies: paints, pads, brushes etc. Large craft section, including materials for stool-making, tapestry, screen printing, candlemaking, picture framing. Little gallery as well. Now incorporates what was Brush & Compass from two doors down.
Latest: paint your own Russian Dolls. If only I was young again...
Unique Creations, 263 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7HN (Summertown). Map.
Tel: 01865 553554
This is both a pottery painting cafe and busy shop, giving it a purposeful air. The shop sells gifts (particularly for small children, newborn presents etc) and does a good range of craft supplies too. Includes beads, pliers, wire, ribbons, paper and forms for decollage, fimo, sets of thingss, and they'll even sell you a complete kit for a party.
The pottery painting is great fun. You choose the item you'd like to paint, which has been biscuit-fired, and they have the paints, brushes, sponges etc. When you're finished they fire it and you collect a week later. It's a jolly good way to spend a rainy afternoon, or keep smalls amused, though probably too expensive for every weekend! You can also order drinks in handpainted crockery.
The Cake Shop, Covered Market, Oxford OX1 3DZ. Map.
Tel: 01865 248691
As well as the finished masterpieces they also sell the equipment to decorate cakes yourself, including professional sugar paste and flower cutters.
Orinoco Scrapstore, Peat Moors, The Slade, OX3 9HS (Headington). Map.
Tel: 01865 761113 / 07960 661748
Open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 11am - 4pm
This is for people who like the lucky dip approach to buying craft materials! Orinoco might at any time have scrap paint, gold lamé cloth, beads shaped like licquorice allsorts, gigantic sheets of hardboard, pencils, new books, plastic bottles (clean and unused), spare monopoly counters and the list goes on. Fortunately it's all illustrated on their website, so you can get an idea what's new in! Ethical, helpful, surprising, what more could you want?
Conservation Resources (UK), Unit 2, Ashville Way, off Watlington Road, Cowley, OX4 6TU. Map.
Tel: 01865 747755. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail order firm who sell conservation grade stationery and art materials, but they also sell in person, 8.30am - 5.30pm. Amongst their stock: restoration products, acid-free paper, mount board and cutting tools.
Hobbycraft, Unit A, Meadowside Retail Park, Lamarsh Rd, Oxford OX2 0HF (off Botley Road). Map.
Tel: 0845 051 6588, open 9-8 Mon - Fri, 9-6 Sat and 10.30 - 4.30 Sun.
Yes, it's big and corporate, and it's probably more ethical to support the local shops, but sometimes an emporium is what you want. They stay open late, they open on Sundays, and they will have some supplies for every craft you've ever thought of.
Oxford boasts many of these, including independent treasure-trove Honest Stationery (Cowley Rd) and Pen to Paper (London Rd) which will sell you any colour of writing paper and matching envelopes under the sun. Then there are chains: Ryman's on Queen Street is pretty good with enticing arty materials as well as the more mundane officey things. A little further down Queen Street is the now ubiquitous, but ever lovely, Paperchase. WH Smiths on Cornmarket also sells some craft supplies.
Masons, 20 & 22 Bath St and 39 Stert St, Abingdon. Map.
Tel: 01235 527720 (main), 01235 520165 (22 Bath St), 01235 520107 (Stert St).
Absolute Aladdin's Cave and well worth a trip to Abingdon. Everything's so crammed in that it can be difficult to manoeuvre when it's crowded, but they're very likely to have anything you need. They now offer an online purchasing service as well.
The stores are organised as follows:
- 20 Bath St: HQ and main haberdashery. Fabric, ribbons, dyes, buttons galore, every inch is filled.
- 22 Bath St: Bridal, scrapbooking, beads and sewing machines for sale upstairs
- 39 Stert St: Curtain fabrics and wool/yarn/knitting/crochet supplies. Good range covering 100% acrylic to 100% alpaca, and everything in between.
Oxford Kitchen Yarns, mail order.
Beautiful hand-dyed wool made in a kitchen in Oxford with natural dyes. Make sure if you want your knitting to be exactly the same shade to order enough wool from a single batch. This is proper cottage industry, and small variations in colour may well occur!
Oxford Wednesday Market, Gloucester Green, Oxford OX1 2BU. Map
Weekly. Has a cloth and haberdashery stall. Fabric is increasingly hard to come by in Oxford, but Abingdon, Thame and Kidlington all still have cloth shops.
Fred's Discount Store, 185 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1UT. Map
Another surprise, but if you're looking for sewing / embroidery threads and you don't mind if they're not Anchor or DMC then often Fred's and its neighbouring cousins are your best (and certainly cheapest) bet. They also sell Dylon Dyes.
Boswell's, 1-4 Broad St, OX1 3AG. Map
Small haberdashery. A little meagre in its offering but certainly the most central supplies of the basics. The range they do have they keep consistently which is useful. No fabric, but pins, shears, that kind of thing.
The Fibreworks, 10a Middle Row, Chipping Norton, OX7 5NH. Map
Though, sadly, the Oxford branch has now closed, there remains the original Fibreworks in Chipping Norton, with just the same community feel, classes and groups, and wide range of yarns, books and needles.
For the highest concentration of useful browsing shops, try the Covered Market, Little Clarendon Street, North and South Parades and the beginning (town end) of Cowley Road. Click here to find these on our Oxford Map.
Arcadia, 4 St Michael's Street, Oxford OX1 2DU. Map
Tel: 01865 241757
Gifts, wrapping paper, cards, second hand books, prints.
East Oxford Farmer's Market, East Oxford Primary School, Union St, Oxford OX4 1JP (behind Tesco's). Map
Saturdays, 10am - 1pm
Usually has at least one stall of jewellery, cards, textiles etc. Some of the cakes border on fine art too.
Pylones (formerly Octopus), 30 Cornmarket, OX1 3EY. Map
Tel: 01865 256058
French firm who make an astonishing assortment of domestic items with characters, such as squid egg whisks, salt and pepper people, decorated toasters, watering-can handbags, and all manner of things to make everyday life more fun.
Shop @ The Old Fire Station, Gloucester Green/George Street, OX1 2AQ. Map
Tel: 01865 263990; open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm
Fine 'home grown' creations from Oxfordshire/Southeast-based artists, from original prints and jewellery to cards and zines.
Museum of Oxford Gift Shop, St Aldate’s, OX1 1BX. Map
Tel: 01865 252334; open Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm
Items inspired by collections in the museum, prints, greeting cards, traditional toys, condiments and preserves, local history books, Mini memorabilia, and work by local artists and craft workers. Profits go to museum and community activities.
The Windmill Fair Trade Shop, 104 London Road, Headington, OX3 9AJ. Map
Tel: 01865 236944 Email: email@example.com
Monday - Saturday 9.30am - 5.30pm
Independent shop selling fairtrade, ethically sourced, recycled and environmentally friendly (including Ecover refills) products.
Covered Arts, Covered Market, Market Street, Oxford OX1 3DY. Map
Tel: 01865 249955
Extremely helpful picture framers, who can advise about the best way to mount and frame almost anything, with the possible exception of politicians. They also have ready-framed art on display.