Shopping for Art and Craft Supplies at Namdaemun – Alpha Store

 

Namdaemun Alpha alley view
Alpha store in Namdaemun, alley entrance

Since deciding not to send my 5 year old boys to preschool this past year, I’ve become a Pinterest addict, searching for preschool crafts and activities to do with my kids. I try to stick to activities that I have supplies for already, or I give myself time to order online (Amazon.com and Hobby Lobby ship to APO rather quickly) because taking to preschoolers and a toddler shopping isn’t exactly my idea of fun! However, there are times when I really need to get out for some art and craft supplies, both for my kids and for myself. Plus, there are quite a few art supplies that are significantly less expensive here in Korea!

You’ve probably seen the yellow and blue Alpha sign in various neighborhoods around Seoul, but the shops tend to be relatively small and limited in what they carry. The smaller Alpha stores (Korean website only) tend to have basic stationary, office supplies, art supplies and a limited amount of children’s items (crayons, pastels, stickers, etc.). However, the large 5-story Alpha in Namdaemun has it all. If you’re an artist, a crafter, a parent–well, basically, if you’re human, there’s something for you at Alpha.

How to get there:

The 5 story Alpha is visible and accessible from both the main road (Namdaemun-ro) that runs east/west along the northern edge of Namdaemun Market as well one of the alleys of the market.

The address for driving is: Seoul-si, Jung-gu, Namdaemunno 4(sa)-ga, 20-42. I’m not sure what the parking situation is there, although I would imagine that it’s not simple.

View of entrance from Namdaemunno 4(sa)-ga
View of entrance from Namdaemunno 4(sa)-ga

I usually take the subway to Hoehyeon station, Exit 6. From exit 6, walk straight until you reach the “gate” into Namdaemun Market on your right. Turn right into the market and continue walking straight (past all the children’s apparel shops) until you reach a T-intersection. Turn left, then continue walking straight and Alpha will be on the right.

Namdaemun:Alpha Map

What you’ll find at Alpha:

The 5-story Alpha carries just about everything from nail stickers and beauty products to children’s toys and puzzles, felt by the yard, paper plates, light bulbs and aluminum foil (there’s a whole section of housewares!), canvases, paint, sketchbooks, paper…

Alpha Namdaemun children's crafts Alpha Namdaemun art supplies Alpha Namdaemun ready to hang artworkAlpha Namdaemun canvases

 

Worried about how to get your purchases home? One of the best things about Korea is the delivery system. I purchased several very large canvases (which, by the way, are significantly cheaper than U.S. prices) and had them delivered to my home the next day for 4,000W!

This Alpha store is NOT stroller friendly. There are lots of stairs, and it’s built like a maze, so if you take your children with you, keep them close! I lost my husband in there once. 😉

Happy shopping and crafting!

jkwdesigns

18 comments

    1. From my experience, art supplies such as canvases, paintbrushes, easels, etc. are cheaper here than in the States. Also, I’ve found that things like exacto knives, rulers, self-healing cutting mats are cheaper. I haven’t had to purchase many kids’ crafting items yet since I have a massive horde of craft supplies that I’m trying to use up! Felt is cheaper here… And I’ve found an AMAZING double sided “tape” here in Korea that is far better than anything I’ve used in the States!

  1. It seems like Korean products are always very nice! WOW what an amazing store and they have beauty products it’s like a dream for me! Oh and Korean beauty products are awesome too! 😀 Yeah that would be touch toting little ones about a store like that! Hehe

    1. Korean beauty products are A-MAZ-ING and cheap too! I try not to go into cosmetics stores though… It’s impossible not to buy all the things! As for crafting supplies–as much as I love shopping here in Seoul, I still miss AC Moore and Michaels! 😉

  2. I went there today, exit 5 is actually closer and its right at the entrance of nandaemon, then u can go all the way to the end of that street and turn left where u can see all the camera stores , I actually got lost, good thing this alpha store has two entrance front and back..

    1. Yes, there’s definitely more than one way to get to Alpha. I’m just really used to getting out at Exit 6 since it’s closest to Sammick Fashion Town, a place I go to pretty much every single time I visit Namdaemun. 😉

  3. Hi there,
    I arrived to Seoul a week ago and your posts has been very helpful.
    If it’s ok I would love to your advice about where can I find stamps.
    The supply in the big Alpha store was pretty lame.
    So maybe you have another secret place? 🙂

    1. I do recall seeing some somewhere else… But I can’t remember! Stamps aren’t something that I use very often, so I’m never really on the look-out for them… Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  4. Julia, thank you for posting this. My mother and I are very crafty people and I’ve been stationed in Korea for 2 years and the crafting has been lacking because we don’t know where to get supplies. The project that I’m currently trying to start requires a high gloss epoxy. Is this something that I could possibly get here at Alpha?

    1. Hi Nic! So sorry for the slow response! My husband’s been out of town for work, and it’s been complete insanity at the jkwdesigns house. 😉 You should definitely be able to find what you’re looking for at Alpha.

  5. Hi

    This is great – thanks for sharing.

    I am on the hunt for mini-clay flower pots in Seoul.

    I Need about 36 for a baking project. Any suggestions where I might find them?
    I have only been in Seoul a couple of months so not super familiar with where to find all the goodies.
    Any advice appreciated

    Nadine

    1. Hi Nadine! I’m so sorry for my slow response. I’ve been in the States for my college reunion and just got back yesterday! I’m pretty sure you can find what you’re looking for at the Express Bus Terminal! 🙂 Happy shopping!

  6. This is very useful information. I plan to start a kids craft weekend school in Ghana and hoping to make some art purchases. I wonder if they have embosing folders n handy embosing machines? It will be good to get everything i need at a one stop shop.

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t know! I’ve never shopped for embossing tools. However, there’s a crafting group on Facebook (Yongsan Craftaholics), and someone in the group may be able to answer your question. Hope this helps!

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