Information was last given a general update in August 2012, but individual entries may be more recent if dated.
MOST USEFUL GENERAL
120 Leman St, Whitechapel, London E1 8EU. Tel: 020 7264 1288
4D is an indispensable resource, or ‘one-stop’ source for practically every important model-making material and a lot more besides. But just as importantly, especially for those who need to experiment first .. they specialize in making small amounts available, making the service they provide doubly unique! They recently updated their range of mouldmaking and casting materials, and now the choices they offer rival Tiranti’s .. 4D is the only place to get Mouldlife(Polytek) products such as Platsil silicones from the shelf in London. 4D continues to be important as a source of Kapa-line foamboard, Finnboard, plastics such as styrene, styrofoam etc .. again, their range of styrofoams in sheets from as little as 1mm upwards is quite unique! They now also stock Palight foamed Pvc in small (300x600mm) sheet sizes. Their new online catalogue is one of the easiest to navigate and use, and they have a busy but efficient delivery service (2014)
An online source for the inexpensive materials usually found in college art shops supplied by the firm Seawhite. Prices on website are inclusive VAT. Delivery is free for orders over £40 and set price of £4.95 under that. £10 minimum order.
Artpothecary Studio 1, First Floor, Brighton Open Market, Marshalls Row, BN1 4JU http://www.artpothecary.co.uk Well worth visiting if you’re in the area, if only to meet them while checking out what they’ve got there. The range on their website doesn’t really do their unique service justice and leaves a lot unsaid. Apparently they’re open to bartering, buying back materials, offering others second-hand and generally helping out re small amounts wherever they can. ‘The best service I have received in any art store’ I have been told by a friend! www.hindleys.com A Sheffield-based ‘Design & Technology’ supplier with good prices for styrofoam and many other materials. Website prices exclude VAT.
http://www.specialistcrafts.co.uk Supplier to schools and institutions, extensive range of art and craft materials. Some very good prices though emphasis is on packs rather than singles. Website prices exclude VAT.
Good for model materials and tools, especially woods.
SCULPTURE, MOULDMAKING AND CASTING
Alec Tiranti Ltd, 27 Warren St, London W1T 5NB. Tel: 020 7380 0808
The longest established and most valuable ‘one-stop’ outlet for sculptors’ materials including a wide range of modelling, mouldmaking and casting products, a small book selection and fairly informed advice at the small Warren St shop. Good online order service and reliable delivery.
www.specialplasters.co.uk/index.php Source for a number of materials I use including pottery plaster, Prestia Expression or Crystacal R plasters and especially Lukasil 429 silicone rubber. Established Birmingham firm, nationwide delivery, notable for the widest range of plasters but also stock general mouldmaking and casting materials. Straightforward, uncomplicated website but little extra info except for the ‘Material Safety & Technical Data’ sheets provided. Prices on website are before VAT and c. £10-15 needs to be added for delivery. I’ve been a customer for years and they’ve always been quick and efficient!
Specialist suppliers of SFX mouldmaking/casting materials (e.g. good source for Platsil Gel silicones etc). Distributor of Polytek products in the UK.
Many of the cheapest rates for mouldmaking and casting materials, especially if buying in bulk. Prices on website are before VAT.
MB Fibreglass http://www.mbfg.co.uk I’ve only just discovered them so I can’t vouch for their reliability but their website offers a very thorough range of inexpensive mouldmaking and casting products. Their ‘Casting & moulding kits’ starting at £27.50 may be particularly useful for the beginner, with some of the best savings around! Prices feature inc. VAT
Sylmasta http://www.sylmasta.com Although Sylmasta is officially a manufacturer of adhesives based in West Sussex and one wouldn’t think to look for other things, its online catalogue seems to favour modellers. For example, it’s the best place to look for a range of fine-grade epoxy modelling putties including its own Sylmasta A+B, together with Milliput, Magic Sculp, Green Stuff etc. Prices are clearly displayed inc. VAT with discounts for bulk (10+)
Fibreglass manufacture and supply specialist, stocking all types of polyester resin (at very favourable prices) plus polyurethane and epoxy resins, and some other sculpture/craft materials. A lot of helpful guidance can be found on website under ‘Fibreglass methods’ or ‘Fibreglass forum’ tabs at top
East Coast Fibreglass http://www.ecfibreglasssupplies.co.uk Similar to the above
Specializing in polymer clays, good prices especially in larger amounts. Efficient and caring service, free delivery over £50, 3-5 working days
www.mermibridg.co.uk Mermibridg specializes in importing US products not commonly available here such as Liquache papier mache, neoprene liquid rubber, La Doll clay etc.
www.easycomposites.co.uk Good prices for basic resins, silicone, fillers, reinforcement matting and other agents such as acetone.
Atlantis Art Materials
68-80 Hanbury St, London E1 5JL. Tel: 020 7377 8855
Certainly the biggest art materials shop in London, with very good prices on the whole. They concentrate on painting/graphics (with a very good range of artists’ paints, additives and pigments) but also stock some sculpting materials such as Sculpey.
66-67 Colebrooke Row, Islington, London N1 8AB. Tel: 020 7354 2999
There are other outlets across London but the one above is the biggest. Apart from the usual range of inexpensive art materials they have a good ‘beginner’ selection of modelling materials including Sculpey and Sculptamold.
Canonbury Art Shop
65 Halliford St, Islington, London N1 3HF Tel: 020 7226 4652
Apart from providing a range of standard art materials Shaun Clifford has made a point of promoting safer casting materials such as Bioresin and Jesmonite and this is the best place in London to get these. There is a small stock of silicones, fillers and colourants as well as some modelling materials. It remains the cheapest place to get Sculpey, at £8.95 a pack (August2012).
An online supplier, mainly art&graphics materials. Extensive range. Minimum orders apply on some materials i.e. card, paper.
L.Cornelissen & Sons
105 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3LA. Tel: 020 7636 1045
Properly termed ‘artists colourmen’ and one of the most traditional artists’ suppliers in London. In addition to pigments, they have a range of additives and fillers for painters (such as chalk or marble dust) which are useful in casting work.
London Graphic Centre
16-18 Shelton St, London WC2H 9JL. Tel: 020 7759 4500
Convenient because it’s central. Standard range of art and graphics materials, some modelling materials, some types of Kapa-line foam and styrofoam sheet. 4D have also begun to sell some of their products there.
213-15 Tottenham Court Rd, W1T 7PS. Tel: 020 7467 6200
www.paperchase.co.uk Paperchase still has some commitment to stocking a good range of different paper and card types for creative purposes, including a valuable selection of embossed, marbled or unusual papers. They also still have a small range of art materials upstairs
PLASTICS AND FOAMS
Bay Plastics is one of the best delivery sources for ‘Palight’ foamed Pvc and usually the best online prices (they don’t state it directly on the website but their cheaper white Pvc in the ‘Palight’ section is actually ‘Palfoam’, which is a little softer and therefore even better still for model-making). Fast, efficient service. Online prices are shown before VAT and standard delivery is £15.
33 Abbey Parade, Merton High St, London SW19 1DG. Tel: 020 8540 3105
Previously the only place I knew of to get ‘Palight’ foamed Pvc in London just by popping in (now there are others such as Amari Plastics and 4D selling small amounts). It is best to phone Abplas first to check because they only have certain thicknesses in stock and order others in when needed. Make sure that you get Palight (or Palfoam) because some other brands are tougher to cut.
Most useful for a wide range of pre-formed shapes in plastic i.e. domes, spheres etc. as well as a range of strips, rods and sheet plastics.
www.panelsystems.co.uk A Sheffield firm specializing in building insulation materials, but with a ‘craft’ awareness, and offering some of the best prices for sheets of styrofoam if one is prepared to invest in a box of sheets (c.£50) plus delivery. Go to ‘Buy products online’ then ‘Craftfoam blue’.
SPECIALIST PAINT AND DECORATING
Leyland SDM (Specialist Decorators’ Merchants)
See website for store locations, dotted around London. Good especially for Polyvine products and specialist woodstains & colourants.
Specialist decorator’s paints and finishes, including ‘Dead Flat’ matt varnish and Crackle Glaze. Polyvine colourants (60ml bottles) are also strong general-purpose acrylics tending more towards transparent.
Chrome & Black
49 Bethnal Green Rd E1 6LA 020 7033 4029
www.chromeandblack.com The best and by far the cheapest place to get Montana or Belton spraypaints or other graffiti paints and markers. Currently (June 2013) Montana Gold 400ml cans are £3.80 inc VAT.
A.S.Handover 1 Farleigh Place, London N16 7SX http://www.handover.co.uk 27/10/2014 specialist gilding supplies, brushes, restoration etc. Very good price for oiled manilla stencil card.
Scientific Wire Company
Specializing in wire of all kinds.. a vast choice!
Pentonville Rubber Co
104-106 Pentonville Rd, N1 9JB. Tel: 020 7837 7553/4582
www.pentonvillerubber.co.uk They’re not in the business of providing a ‘welcoming’ service and sometimes one can wait a long time for assistance, but it’s worth it if you want a special foam (such as reticulated foam) or are just desperate for sheet rubber! They also have a variety of rubber tubes and cording.
An online materials resource from Middlesex University stocking a wide range of special materials including many new and innovative ‘smart’ ones such as Polymorph plastic.
30 Gillingham Street, SW1V 1HU 020 7233 9999
www.bookbinding.co.uk It used to be called Falkiners and was famous for it’s range of decorative papers. It still has the best selection to be found.
Wrights of Lymm
Many interesting or unusual materials and tools for restoration work including a good range of special brushes and specialist varnishes. The cheapest source for oiled manila stencil card. Prices on website do not include VAT, delivery charge 1kg or over c£8 per kg.
Queens Row, London SE17 2PX Tel: 020 7703 9786
Theatrical scenics suppliers, especially good for paints and finishes e.g. Rosco scenic paints, Polyvine specialist decorator’s products, a variety of texturing materials etc.
Brodie and Middleton
68 Drury Lane WC2B 5SP 020 7836 7521
www.brodies.net Standard range of artist’s paints etc. but also specializing in theatrical supplies.
Formerly ‘Virtual village’. Mail order for various materials and accessories, amongst other things useful plastic pipettes from China (do site search ‘pipettes’). 29/02/2016 500 3ml pipettes cost £10.99, postage free, payment by PayPal.