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Concrete Everything
Photograph: Concrete Everything/Instagram

Crafters and makers in Singapore you need to check out

We suss out eight local artisans who craft their handmade products one item at a time

Cheryl Sekkappan
Written by
Michelle Ng
Cheryl Sekkappan

There's something satisfying about making something from scratch with your own bare hands. Especially so in the age of digital, which demands little from us besides a little finger action (you know, to type and scroll). Engaging in arts and crafts forces us to slow down, engage with our creative side, and get back in touch with the physical world. Don't take our word for it though – these crafters and makers in Singapore have made a living off of their handiwork. Here are ten local artisans you should be checking out. 

RECOMMENDED 10 unique craft workshops in Singapore and The best craft stores in Singapore for all your DIY needs

Sugar and Spice
Photograph: Sugar and Spice/Facebook

Sugar and Spice

Soaped up

Who Terri and team

What Driven by a desire to promote a healthy and natural lifestyle, the team at Sugar and Spice handcraft cold-pressed soaps that use only plant-based ingredients free from toxic chemicals and palm oil. Their webstore stocks antioxidant-rich bars (from $12.50) such as lavender oatmeal, cucumber aloe and pure olive oil, alongside soap dishes and exfoliating soap bags. 

Want to get more hands-on? Learn the basics of making your very own soap at its basic course ($100) – you'll pick up useful tips for handling lye and making lye solution and walk away with 500g of soap. Move on to personalisation methods at the advanced level ($180). 

Where Attend their workshops at Ubi Avenue 4. 

Kin's Miniatures
Photograph: Kin's Miniature

Kin's Miniatures

Snackable art 

Who Kin Quek

What Artist Kin Quek started her hobby of miniature clay making in 2005, churning out tiny and detailed recreations of dishes both local and foreign. Painstakingly handcrafted, Kin has made yu sheng, KFC meals, Japanese sushi and baskets of bread, among others. She once also gifted the late former president S. R. Nathan with a miniature version of laksa. 

You're free to make custom orders from Kin, for your own collection or as a gift. If you'd rather learn how to do it yourself, sign up Kin's workshops to learn from one of the very best in the business. Basic lessons ($80/2 hours) focus on simple local delights like chwee kueh and kaya toast sets, while advanced classes will have you whipping up downsized bento sets, elaborate cakes and more. 

Where Kin holds her workshops at a studio on 261 Waterloo Street.

Concrete Everything

Concrete Everything

Playing with concrete 

Who Alvin Chan

What Chan’s exploration into concrete was completely by chance – he was looking around for a material to experiment with and found some leftover cement from the renovation done at his HDB void deck. He took a bagful of cement home, watched some YouTube tutorials, played around with the material and, as they say, the rest is history.

While you might think concrete is similar to pottery making, Chan says it’s closer to cake making – at least in terms of the steps taken. The materials needed for concrete casting are surprisingly few, namely: cement, water, a mould and a stirrer. Once the cement mixture is created and poured into the mould, it’s left to set overnight and is ready the next day for additional designs.

But it’s not just building bricks that can be created out of cement. “I try to explore new forms and shapes that concrete is capable of creating; a design element comes in to create something that’s visually interesting,” says Chan. On his website, you’ll find aesthetically pleasing homeware items like pen holders, lamps, planters and even side tables for sale.

Where Chan runs concrete play workshops (from $48) at a cosy studio in Jalan Pemimpin, where you'll be guided through the makings of marbled coasters, terrazzo items and more depending on what's offered for the month.

Hush Candle
Photograph: Hush

Hush Candle

Sleep easy

Playing with concrete 

Who Nicole Su and Chelsea Low

What Born out of the desire to close the gap between expensive luxury candles made with essential oils and cheap synthetic-smelling candles, Hush Candle are organic soy and essential oil-based candles that make rooms smell good without breaking the bank. Each batch of candles is still hand-poured to assure quality and are made with at least 5% of pure essential oils. Current best-selling blends include lavender and bergamot as well as rosemary, bergamot and orange. 


Where Hush Candle products are stocked at Paper Market, Forty Two, Therapy Market, The Bloom Room, Watsons @ Ngee Ann City, The Min List, The Summerhouse and The Moon.

Left Hand Design
Photograph: @left_handesign/Instagram

Left Hand Design

The write stuff

Who Radhika Mayani

What A playfully designed local stationery and lifestyle brand that houses everything from greeting cards to pencils. What makes it unique? Its plantable series, called BĪJ, a Sanskrit word that means Seed. That's right, from these seeds grow mighty plants like tomatoes, marigold, Indian basil, morning glory, okra and more. 

It all began in Mayani's studio where the visual arts degree holder made her first greeting cards inspired by travel, art, nature and food. The brand is rooted in the paper goods its sources, making sure only to use the highest quality eco-friendly, organic, recycled materials.

Where Shope for Left Hand Design goods at several stockists including Unpackt, The Social Space, Isetan Scotts Road, Uglyfood and The Moon.

Mud Rock Ceramics
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Ceramicists extraordinaire

Who Ng Seok Har and Michelle Lim

What The duo became friends at Awaken the Dragon, a community art project held in 2013 that raised awareness of the two remaining dragon kilns in Singapore, and put their heads (and savings) together to create Mud Rock in 2013.

From unassuming bowls to a tiffin-inspired tea set that President Tony Tan gifted Queen Elizabeth II on her 90th birthday, Mud Rock’s kitchenware is made of mud and clay that are sculpted, engraved, glazed and fired in-house. And they work as well as they look – Ng and Lim ensure functionality is weaved into the designs.

Their studio is also where the pair conduct workshops. If you haven’t spun clay before, we recommend you sign up for the introduction course. Over five lessons, you’ll learn about the different raw materials, techniques and intricacies of ceramic-making while having a go at shaping your own wabi-sabi masterpiece.

Once you’ve got the basics down pat and are looking for a space to practise your craft, Mud Rock’s clay commune grants you full access to its tools and equipment for a small fee.

Where Weekly pottery classes (from $315/five lessons) are held at the Mud Rock studio – but book in advance. There’s also a limited number of ceramic wares in the studio you can buy (cups start at $20), as well as the occasional large sale.

Poppy Flora Studio
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Flower girl

Who Sarah Lim

What Trading her pen for a pair of gardening scissors, former advertising executive Lim followed her love for all things beautiful when she founded Poppy Flora Studio in 2000. 

Lim and her team handcrafted every bouquet you saw at the old store in Capitol Piazza. The style is loose and organic – each flower is allowed to curve and bend to create an airy, bountiful and vibrant mix that looks as if, as Lim describes, they’re ‘dancing’. Now, the team has moved to a new studio at the classy Dempsey Hill from which workshops are run. Learn how to make beautiful bouquets ($220) or hand press flowers ($220) with seasonal varieties chosen by the team, or else take a watercolour painting workshop ($138) with dreamy cherry blossoms or china blue florals as your muses and inspiration. 

For the ultimate getaway, Poppy Flora Studios even runs longer retreats such as the Flower Escapades (two days) and Weekend Retreat (three days). These retreats will bring you on a journey through all things botanicals, using flowers and herbs to create beautiful flower arranges, calming tea blends and invigorating cocktails. 

Where Lim conducts floral arrangement and watercolour painting workshops (from $138) at a new studio on 9A Dempsey Road.

Je t’aime Perfumery
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  • Marine Parade

Uncommon scents

Who Prachi Saini

What Saini is proof that you can turn your hobby into a full-time career: she started out making perfumes at home for friends back in 2005 and, eight years later, set up Je T’aime Perfumery. 

To create personalised fragrances, Je T’aime Perfumery uses five professional perfume kits, each holding over 150 individual ingredients across five scent categories: citrus, fresh, floral, woody and oriental. Before you start sniffing and dropping oils into your take-home bottle, you’ll have to fill up a personality test to determine your primary and secondary scent categories.

Those who don’t have the nose for scents can try their hands at the simpler gender-specific perfume kit where Saini has prepared seven to eight fragrances per category for you to mix and match – the end result is almost guaranteed to smell good. Regardless of the kit you’re using, a formula card keeps track of your concoctions, so you can replicate the fragrance in the future. 

In the spirit of National Day, Saini has distilled the scents of 50 orchids native to Singapore – and you can make a perfume out of their oils. Her nose has even led to her recreating the smells of Lao Pa Sat, giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia’s enclosure and even opium (without the high, of course) for museum displays. 

Where You can customise perfume-making sessions (from $105) to suit individuals, couples or larger groups. Saini also caters to mobile bridal showers and corporate events.



Design and build 

Who Pan Yi Cheng

What Produce builds furniture and designs interiors, but not in the way you’d expect. Pan, a top honours graduate of the Architectural Association in London, founded the design firm with the idea that model-making should be a major weapon in a designer’s arsenal. In other words, he rapidly prototypes models at every stage of the design process to iron out kinks – and he’ll even fabricate certain final products himself in his workshop.

Designs that come out of Produce are a sight for sore eyes. Not only are they beautiful, they’re also functional – for example, Pan and his team have customised a feature wall that can house a TV, movable storage boxes and, here’s the clincher, two cat climbs. If you’ve ever dined at Wild Rocket, that complex lattice ‘nest’ that clings onto one wall of the restaurant was designed, built and assembled by Produce. 

Produce doesn’t have a retail showroom so much as a workshop, where digital fabrications are conducted in-house under close supervision. On any given day, its Computer Numerical Control machine – think of this as a giant, automated wood-cutter – is hard at work cutting out life-sized models based on digital files fed by the team. 

Where There’s no retail space as most items are built to order, but Produce produces out of a workshop in Sungei Kadut.

Stone for Gold
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For better leather

Who Xie Hui

What Way before the dawn of YouTube tutorials, Xie was already looking up books and magazines to DIY his own leather accessories and eventually opened his own leathercraft studio in 2008.

Xie and his team of five regularly impart leathercraft knowledge to budding makers in their workshops, where you make and bring home products that range from coin pouches to watch straps to cuffs that double up as smartphone stands and cardholders – no prior experience needed as they’ll guide you from cutting to finishing.

That said, leathercraft is not for the time-starved. Depending on the complexity of the item you’re making, a session can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. It's not a piece of cake either, but the effort is well worth it to walk away with a one-of-a-kind piece.

Where Stone for Gold holds leathercraft and stitching workshops (from $79) in its studio at Jalan Besar. And the goods also retail online on their official website.

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