Vintage Bead Box DIY Subscription Review – August 2018
Vintage Bead Box is a monthly subscription box providing you with beads and findings manufactured between about 1930 and 1970. Vintage Bead Box formerly offered a themed box and a surprise mix box. They are transitioning away from the surprise mix box (current subscribers can continue to receive it for the duration of their subscriptions and/or until they switch to the themed boxes) so I am now reviewing the themed box.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Vintage Bead Box
The Subscription Box: Vintage Bead Box
The Cost: $25 a month. Save with 3 and 6-month subscriptions.
The Products: Beads and findings made from a variety of materials (glass, wood, semi-precious stones, metal, acrylic, etc.). Most were manufactured between 1930 and 1970.
Ships to: US (free), Worldwide (additional shipping charges will apply)
Vintage Bead Box August 2018 Review
This is my second month receiving a themed box. This month’s theme was “Mid-Summer Night”:
There isn’t a traditional information card with this box because, owing to the nature of the contents (i.e., limited supply), every box could be a little different. This time there was a second card (both cards were one-sided) with more information about the theme.
A note on prices: Because these beads are vintage, they can’t be purchased separately from any sources. Further, materials, country of manufacture, and more can be a little difficult to determine precisely. Thus, I have opted not to provide prices in this review.
Please note that no directions are given and you have to supply your own needles, stringing materials, tools, and findings.
You’ll often receive a few semiprecious beads or chips with Vintage Bead Box and these star-shaped beads are totally in keeping with the theme for the month. I haven’t used them yet because I opted for a more botanically-inclined project, as you will see below, but I think these might be good on short eyepins with lengths of delicate chain between them.
You’ll also receive beads made from natural materials relatively frequently with this box, and these are not the first beads made from a coconut shell that I have gotten. These are very lightweight and the discs are ever so slightly irregular in thickness, which I think makes them fun and perfect for more organic designs. I used a few of these this month, as you can see below.
There are quite a lot of these. They have a much bigger hole size than I was able to work with for the project I had in mind, but there are enough to do, for example, some complicated macramé. So I think that’s where these will end up. These are also lightweight.
Most months, you’ll get some seed beads or bugle beads. These are somewhat irregular in shape/size but I’d put them in the 9/0-11/0 range, in general. They are silver-lined transparent and I used quite a few of them this month in my project.
I hoard fancy clasps like this. This is a two-strand tab-style clasp and all the stones are still securely in place. I haven’t used this yet because I was only making a one-strand necklace, and also because I sort of feel like this is fancy enough to deserve a place of honor, where it can be seen rather than hiding behind my hair.
Hand Carved Wood
These are pretty big and ordinarily something I’d struggle to come up with a use for, but they actually worked quite well for what I had in mind this month. I added some inexpensive silvertone bails I already had in my stash so I could use them side-to-side instead of front-to-back like they are currently drilled.
If you ever wondered what happens to those lovely abalone beads from catalogs over time, it appears the iridescent finish starts to rub off, but the shell color underneath has a beauty all its own. These are a bit heavier and are irregularly-shaped since they are also a natural material. I used most of these in a necklace this month.
Vintage plastic beads are fun and you’ll usually get a few in this box. I normally steer clear of plastic but make an exception for vintage, since vintage acrylic and Lucite beads come in so many shapes you don’t see anymore. These are big but lightweight and I used all of them this month. (These are kind of dark purple but that is a really difficult color to photograph.)
Finally, we have some crystal beads in a lovely aqua color. I actually used all of these as well. I was really going for a mixed media look and these added a touch of sparkle that was slightly different from the sparkle added by the silver-colored seed bead lining.
Here is a necklace I made this month. I had an idea in my head and, what do you know, but the end product actually sort of looked like what I had in mind. Though it ended up a bit bigger than anticipated. I am about 85% happy with the way it turned out and let me just say, you will probably see designs like this in upcoming bead subscription reviews as I work out how to make the flowers stay a bit flatter and get the necklace to hang just the way I want. The bails on the leaves, the jump rings, the clasp which is not shown, and the chain are all from my stash.
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for Vintage Bead Box, as explained above, but if you divide the total cost by the number of items, you are paying about $2.78 an item. This seems quite reasonable to me. If you browse Etsy or eBay, you can find similar groupings of vintage beads and findings for prices ranging from $2-$7 (and beyond). I used more items from the box than usual in my necklace this month and I had a really good time coming up with the design.
For what it’s worth, everything arrives clean. I suspect at least some of it is from deconstructed vintage jewelry (but honestly, that is OK by me – I get fun beads and things stay out of the landfill). It is all clean and, so far, manufactured pretty well. Some beads show a little wear but that is part of the charm of working with vintage beads. Plus, a lot of the items are unusual and you’d have a hard time finding equivalents made from modern materials.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? This subscription ships very early in the month, so your first shipment if you signed up now would come in September. (Also, your box might not match mine exactly since many vintage beads are in short supply.)
Value Breakdown: At $25 for this box, you are paying about $2.78 per item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the August 2018 Vintage Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?