Buying art supplies in Ho Chi Minh City can be a little daunting, especially if you don’t speak Vietnamese. If you’re new to the city, or just getting into creating analogue art, then this post is for you. We’ve found the best locations for buying large format canvases, pens, paint, and brushes; everything a painter or illustrator might need to get going!
Every district has local markets and small stationery stores where you’ll be able to find basic pens and paper, but if you need a more specialty item you are going to want to head to The Photocopy Stores in District 3, The Stationary Stores in District 1, or The Fine Art Supply Stores in District Binh Thanh.
The Photocopy Stores on Nguyễn Đình Chiểu Street in District 3
Best for: Illustration, Painting
For many, the row of “Photocopy” shops along Nguyễn Đình Chiểu is going to be the place to go. It’s centrally located, there’s a lot to choose from, and if you don’t speak Vietnamese there’s a strong chance of meeting some students who will be willing to help you out.
These shops have so many markers, pens, and pencils, but most of them have very little in the way of large painting canvases. The only one of these shops that I found to have 60x80cm or larger was Tý Phước located at 138 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu.
Their cost for 60x80cm canvases is 60,000 VND ($3). They can make larger if you are willing to wait a week and they can do delivery for a big enough order. I purchased two 80x100cm canvases from them for 140,000 VND ($7) a piece and was able to transport them home myself by sitting on top of them on my motorbike. Phone: 08 3822 5998.
The Stationary Stores on Lê Lợi Street in District 1
Best for: Illustration, Calligraphy
If you’re an illustrator than nothing can beat the convenience of the stationary shops in D1. The two main ones to look out for are Vũ at 47 Lê Lợi and an unnamed shop at 54 Lê Lợi. They have a selection of photocopy and inkjet paper, pens, rice paper, and affordable calligraphy brushes.
The Paper Craft Store on Pasteur Street in District 1
Best for: Scrapbooking, Gift Wrapping, Crafts
As you can see in these photos it filled with colorful felt, ornate paper, ribbons, and various nicknacks. I bought some foam paper here to use in my son’s Ultraman costume, so it’s not like these stores are limited to gift wrapping — there are some great materials that you could use for all kinds of projects. Phone: 08 3821 4575.
The Fine Art Supply Stores on Nguyễn Duy Street in District Bình Thạnh
Best for: Painting, Fine Art
You may think that there is nothing down this street, but this is one of my favourite areas to buy canvas and paint. It’s located just before the Polygon art school (05 Phan Đăng Lưu, Bình Thạnh). There are two shops on this street. Both shops also offer private and small class training in still life and figure drawing and painting.
The larger of the two shops is called Họa Phẩm 62. It used to be really hard to find — you had to follow a series of hand painted signs through the maze-like hems to find it. It’s now more centrally located at 12 Nguyễn Duy Street. The shop is well-appointed. They have plenty of 60x80cm canvases available for as low as 60,000 VND ($3). More expensive canvas from Taiwan and Korea is also available and they can create custom sizes for you as well. Delivery service is available. Phone: 08.38416668, 08.3519918, Web, Facebook.