Bead Trove Subscription Box Review – May 2017
Bead Trove is a beading subscription that delivers you a new artisan beading project every month.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Bead Trove
The Cost: $29.95/month (save with longer subscriptions)
The Products: A pattern for a piece of beaded jewelry each month, as well as all the beads, thread, and findings you need to complete it.
Ships to: US (free), Canada ($3.30), International ($5.30)
Check out the Craft Subscription Box Directory for more great beading, craft supply, and DIY project boxes.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
The shipment included this card with a photo of the completed piece and a link to go to, for more information about the design. Subscribers receive an email with a download link for the pattern a few days before the package arrives. This month’s pattern is the Katarina Necklace by Penny Dixon.
Because of intellectual property issues, I am not posting scans of the pattern.
During your first month, you’ll get a few extras:
The first extra is a size 12 beading needle.
The second extra is a beading mat. (My camera would not recognize that there was anything to take a photo of when I had this on the white background…)
A note on prices: Items like this can come from a variety of different suppliers at many price points depending on how much you buy, etc. I don’t know the manufacturers or official color names for the beads included, so I can’t estimate prices – Japanese, Czech, and Chinese seed beads, for example, differ in both price and quality.
3 g 15/0 Seed Beads
These were nice and shiny. If you haven’t worked with 15/0 seed beads before, though, just know that these are very small.
2 g 15/0 Seed Beads
This was another pretty color with a metallic finish.
2 g 11/0 Seed Beads
All right, so I have an issue with these seed beads. I like the color, but the size and shape of these were super irregular. Like worse than craft store quality. It really affected how the beads sat when strong, to the point where I thought I had made a mistake when putting the pattern elements together.
5 g 11/0 Cylinder Seed Beads
These were regularly shaped (as they should be). I’m not so big into mattes but I was willing to see how the whole thing came together.
5 g 11/0 Cylinder Seed Beads
These were a drab matte gray. The pattern designer envisioned something with a shiny nickel finish here and the switch really did affect the overall look of the pattern elements, not in a good way (in my opinion). I also don’t like how this color looked with the brown seed beads.
1 g 8/0 Seed Beads
These were regularly shaped and a decent color with a nice finish.
21 4 mm Bicones
I don’t know if these are real Swarovski but I kind of doubt it. I’ve been working with some Swarovski bicones in another project lately and they have sharper edges. But, these look nice enough.
21 6 mm Fire-Polished Rounds
I do like the way these look on their own. I think the metallic coating on part of them looks good with the bluish color of the beads. However, I don’t really think these shades look good with the dark browns and grays and silvers provided.
6 lb Test Fireline
Bead Mat Labels
Clasp and Two Jump Rings
You also get a few items to help you complete the piece, including some thread, some labels for your bead mat (I can’t leave stuff on a bead mat because of cats so I put the labels on my temporary bead containers), and a clasp and a couple of jump rings for finishing the necklace.
Here is a couple of the elements of the necklace. You are supposed to make 21 of these and then stitch them into an 18-inch necklace. Well. I made one and it looked really bad, so I referred to the pattern’s supply list, decided the C and D bead labels had been switched and took the first one apart. Then I made these two. Then, after some emailing with customer service I found out these two are wrong, and I was right the first time. At that point, I was about ready to throw this whole project across the room. I wasted like 7 feet of thread and over an hour of my time and was right back where I began.
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for Bead Trove, as explained above. In terms of materials, I think the price is reasonable. I recently bought a pattern for a much simpler piece on Etsy for more than $6, for example, and that didn’t even come with any beads. If you buy beads for a project like this, you may not be able to get them all in one place, you may get more than you need, and you run into shipping charges if you don’t hit a minimum order amount, so the subscription should save you some hassle in that regard.
I really like the *idea* of a box like this, because not everyone is confident enough or has the time to play around with the beads from other boxes and come up with a new design, and some people just like seed beads a lot (and there aren’t many subscriptions that provide a lot of seed beads). However, this pattern and the beads provided were an exercise in frustration. I have been beading and following patterns for 20 years and I actually quit this subscription after only one month.
First off was the pattern download. The PDF was only three pages but it was so massive I couldn’t even get it to display properly on my screen after waiting a whole minute for elements to load. (By contrast, my doctoral dissertation was a 200+ page PDF with loads of chemical structures and other images, and it opens just fine…) I did eventually get it to print, and Bead Trove later sent an updated file that loaded faster. But the initial experience was not good for someone who wanted to jump right in and get started!
Second, you see a poor reproduction of the necklace you’re supposed to make (that’s the quality of printing on the information card, not the photo). And although there was a warning from the Bead Trove site that you might not get the same colors of beads used by the designer, all the sample photos of elements we received as corrections used different colors of beads than what we were sent in the package, to the point that I was thoroughly confused about which beads were the C, D, and E beads. It didn’t help that there was apparently an error in the pattern’s supply list with respect to the types of beads for C and D, and that the designer used symbols for C, D, and E that made them appear to be different types of beads than they actually were.
Third, I’m just not that excited about the colors. In the pattern, the A and E beads were both listed as being a nickel finish. And indeed, the A beads were bright and shiny. But the E beads were a drab, matte gray. This really changed the look of the piece quite a lot. I found it hard to get excited, in May, with dark browns and grays, and I really didn’t think some of the colors provided looked good together at all (with other bead subscriptions, if there is something that I think doesn’t work with the overall group, I just don’t use it in my project for the month, but save it for later – you can’t do that here). I may try to recreate this necklace from beads in my stash in fun spring or summer colors, as a matter of fact.
I will say, customer service responded to my issues with less than a day’s turnaround time, but I had to email three or four separate times with issues, which is too many for me, especially since I am not new to beading. This may have just been an off month for this subscription, but I just don’t see myself dedicating 10+ more hours to finish a project I’m so unenthusiastic about.
What did you think of the May 2017 Bead Trove? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?