Every year in late April the enormous Japan Hobby Show takes over a huge exhibition hall in Odaiba for 3 days straight. Buyers and avid crafters from all over Japan flock to Tokyo to visit the Hobby Show, see the latest techniques, pick up the newest products, engage in workshops and demonstrations, and celebrate all there is to love about crafting. I’ve never been before but luckily my last-minute trip to Tokyo happened to coincide with the 36th annual Show, so I was able to spend a day last week visiting the show and ogling everything.
The place was packed and even though I arrived at 10 AM on the dot, I had to wait in a huge line for 40 minutes until I could get in the doors. That line of people above? It’s all one line that snakes around at the back to return on the left side of the photo. Yikes!
Seriously, pretty much every craft I could think of that is popular in Japan was represented at booths and tables throughout.
Sewing! Metal embossing! Crochet! Knit! Flower Terrariums! Deko Sweets! Leathercraft! Beadwork! Scrapbooking! (Which has gained a lot of popularity in the last 2 or so years, surprisingly) Resin! Doll-making! Tatting!
Having just finished my tutorial for Mother’s Day Stenciled Tote using Martha Stewart crafting supplies, I was amused to see the Martha Stewart Crafts booth.
Blinged-out Swarovski creations. Whoops, I just noticed the “No photos” sign right now. Ohwell.
This car had been decked out with crystals on the inside, but sparingly on the outside. I’m not sure why they didn’t go out and just cover the whole darn thing with crystals. It looked a little half-finished.
Ideas for adding bows to cardigans! How pretty!!
Airbrush stenciling. The technique was amazing.
Tiny cakes made with beading.
Giant towers completely covered in clay macarons.
A workshop for adding little clay doggy-heads to your donut-shaped tape dispensers. Utterly necessary!
The place was huge and I wandered all over the place taking as many photos as I could. TV was there. Other professional photogs were there.
Kei Yamada (left, with the strawberry shortcake on her head), a.k.a. Milky Ribbon. I actually own about 3 of her clay sweets-making books. She’s considered one of the most famous among deko sweets-crafters.
If you’re into deko sweets how-to books, you’ll probably recognize the above clock from the Dolce Deco Sweets Kobutsu & Accessory book.
Foaming urethane resin – essential for making puffy donuts, cakes, and sponge. It came out last year for consumers, and the brand above is called Fuwa Fuwa Puffy. I wanted to get a kit for it last year I was here in Japan, but there’s no way I could take two-part active resins back in my suitcase. (I envisioned the pressurized cans exploding in the baggage compartment, mixing, and forming a fixed, solid resin-coated mess…)
Crafters doing a workshop for a rolled cake and melon-pan set, made in the foaming resin.
I participated in a couple workshops too. This was one making a decorated eclair keychain using Fuwa Fuwa Puffy.
First I chose my parts for decoration – made of a variety of clays and silicone. (The eclair on the left is the example piece.)
It begins to foam and puff up almost immediately. You let it sit for about 3-5 minutes.
This is the girl who conducted the workshop. Her eyelashes and nails were supremely long.
After 5 minutes the Fuwa Fuwa Puffy has solidified, though it’s still sticky to the touch.
After dabbing paint onto the finished eclair to make it the right “cake” color, I added ridges of fake whipped cream (in this case, Hearty Clay Whip), and positioned my toppings.
Done! It still has to dry, and you can see I got a bit of whipped cream on the carrying case.
Pretty bags made entirely of a single piece of leather cut artfully, that expanded into a mesh.
Felt animals made by grade-school kids. These ones won a prize.
Mini leather purses as bag charms. I am so gonna make these!
Lovely little mini-books covered in pretty papers, cloth, and leather. I bought a kit to make one of these.
There was a huge line at the UV resin craft booth, and I waited an hour to take a workshop to make a pendant with this brand-new craft item.
Up until now, resin has always been manufactured in 2 parts, that you have to mix in an exact ratio to get it to catalyze and harden. Depending on how fast or slow the “work-time” is for your resin it can take a couple hours to harden…or a couple days. Resin though is a great crafting substance and creates, beautiful, glass-like surfaces when used correctly. But sometimes it doesn’t work…your ratios might be slightly off…your stirring stick or mixing cups might be dirty…the air has too much moisture so it won’t harden completely…it yellows…contains bubbles…produces toxic fumes…produces trash from all the stirring sticks and mixing cups you go through…it’s a pain in the neck.
Enter UV Resin!
I’m really excited about this. Likely stemming from the recent popularity of gel nails, this resin works exactly the same way. It’s contained in a single bottle, so no mixing required…
And hardens under a UV lamp (like the ones they have at nail salons)…or, get this…OUTSIDE. Literally you place your resin-filled creation outside in direct sunlight and it hardens within 5-10 minutes [the UV lamp is faster]. I bought a bunch of supplies for this and can’t wait to get back to (un)sunny Portland so I can try this out there!!
This workshop I had really wanted to do – “Make a Colored Leather Mini-Case” with Tiara, Inc. - was already sold out by the time I walked in the door at the craft show. I was really bummed out, since doing this workshop was the main reason I went to the Hobby Show in the first place.
Due to the crush of people and the closed space, I began to feel light-headed after about 3 hours, and had to sit down and drink and eat something. Then I was off again to snap more photos and poke around. Eventually I left about 4 PM, having run out of steam completely. When I finally got home, I could barely walk and had to lie down a bit.
But it was a great experience. I don’t know if I’ll have the stamina to go again, but I’m glad I went! *whew!*
Have you ever been to a craft show? What was it like?
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