PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – November 2019
Potomac Beads Best Bead Box is a new subscription box from the folks at PotomacBeads. They offer two versions, the Best Bead Box for $25.99 and the Best Bead Box XL for $39.99. (The XL version has two paper patterns and a PDF pattern and about twice the materials. Both boxes have links to video tutorials for additional projects using the included beads.) There is also a pattern subscription where you get 5 PDF patterns for $5 per month.
This is a review of the “Best Bead Box” version for $25.99/month.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About PotomacBeads Best Bead Box
The Subscription Box: PotomacBeads Best Bead Box
The Cost: $25.99 per month on a month-to-month basis; save with longer subscriptions
The Products: Materials and instructions to complete one beading/jewelry project, plus a lot of other fun beads and links to video tutorials with ideas on how to use them.
Ships to: The US (free) and international ($4.99)
PotomacBeads Best Bead Box November 2019 Review
This is still a new box so I really didn’t know what to expect:
There was also an information booklet that included a list of the items and a link to some video tutorials to give you more ideas. I’ve hidden the link since it’s a benefit of the subscription. This month’s theme is “November Sky.”
There was also some advertising material. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a half dozen of these at home since I do order from PotomacBeads fairly often. Anyway, now on to the items:
I admit that after I finished making this month’s bracelet, where this was used as part of a clasp, I ordered a whole bunch more of these in all sorts of colors. It is just such a pretty button in person, and I realized I didn’t have any of these (I’m keeping a spreadsheet at this point, my stash is big enough to run a store for a few weeks I think).
2 Potomac Crystal Rivolis (14mm)
Potomac rivolis are a more affordable alternative to Swarovski and they are coming in an increasing variety of finishes. There are tons of patterns out there for rivolis, including some for earrings, which these would be perfect for.
50 Potomac Crystal Rondelles (2 x 3 mm)
These were useful in this month’s bracelet pattern and jet is always a good color because it goes with almost anything. I still have a few left over, probably enough to use in a pendant or something similar.
40 EVA Beads (2 colors, 20 each)
This month’s bracelet pattern needed more than 20 EVA beads so I was a little worried when I saw this color combination, but I figurhttps://www.potomacbeads.com/Best-Bead-Box-Subscriptions-s/4595.htmed out a way to make it work and I actually kind of like how it turned out. EVA beads were the first chevron-shaped beads (but now there are also arrow beads and chevron duos, and all are a little different). One nice thing about EVA beads is Potomac is really committed to supporting their exclusive shapes and offering patterns you can use them in.
I’ve come to expect Miyuki 11s and 15s in every box and that is fine. These can be used in the included pattern or in any other pattern or stitch you’d like, in bead embroidery, etc. I haven’t included a price estimate because Miyuki beads can have widely different costs based on the colors and coatings (they even make some plated with 24K gold).
We also got some 15/0 seed beads. I like this color. Getting these prompted me to go to the Potomac Miyuki 15/0 page where I see they now have the Miyuki-Czech unions in size 15 (those are precision Japanese seed beads with Czech color coatings so you can choose seed beads that match your shaped beads).
6″ Crystal Silver Cup Chain (SS12)
I am accumulating some cup chain and need some ideas for it. This is long enough to just put a clasp on and call it a tennis bracelet, but I’ve also seen some great examples of cup chain used in bead embroidery that I’m kind of itching to try. This is almost $6 worth, too (it sells for $0.95/inch).
30 Melon Beads (4 mm)
I like melons. They are a nice alternative to druks, firepolished rounds, and bicone crystals in patterns, and some of the coated ones have coatings that kind of stick in the grooves, providing some interesting contrast to the beads. These have a swirl pattern on the glass, which is a finish I’ve seen at Potomac and not many other places.
1 EVA Chain Bracelet Pattern – Retail Value $5
I was having a bit of trouble locating this on the Potomac site so I’ve linked to their Etsy shop instead, where it was easy to find in a PDF version. (For what it’s worth, if you search “EVA chain bracelet” on the Potomac site, you’ll turn up a page for each bead type in the bracelet so you can buy materials right there, which I think is a neat feature.) This was pretty easy to finish. I’m not showing the inside of the pattern for intellectual property reasons. I used a size 12 needle and 4 lb Fireline since that’s what I had on hand, and it was fine, if a bit smaller/lighter than the recommended product.
30 Czech Faceted Rounds (4 mm)
I really like these. Something about this color combination appeals to me quite a lot. They will be great for use in a pattern with some purples and golds and maybe other jewel tones.
Pego beads are 2-hole pentagons. They’ve been around for awhile but they’ve never really taken off like honeycomb beads (hexagons) and tiles (squares). I got a bunch of them off Etsy awhile back so I am going to definitely check out this month’s videos and see if I can get some ideas.
24 Swarovski Bicones (3 mm)
Potomac pushes their crystal (understandable) but they do offer some Preciosa and Swarovski crystal as well. 3mm bicones are great in a lot of patterns and these are a good holiday color. Plus there are actually a fair number of them, probably enough for earrings or a pendant (if not a full bracelet).
1 Pewter Toggle – Retail Value $1.79
You had the option of using this or the crystal button as a clasp for this month’s bracelet. I felt that the color of the button matched the bracelet better so I set this aside, but then I was working on a bracelet for Vintage Bead Box and needed a clasp (any color would do) and didn’t want to get up and what do you know, this was right there in front of me, so this has already been used.
1 Pewter Leaf Charm
I couldn’t find this one on the Potomac site (probably sold out) although they do have a nice selection of leaf charms in several finishes. I can totally see this on its own in a minimalist design, or included in a charm bracelet with some other botanical charms and beads.
These come in 2-packs but they are too big for earrings. I have to admit, I don’t regularly think of PotomacBeads for items like this so it’s smart of them to include one in the box. It seems very seasonal and wintry and it gives me a chance to get my hands on one and see the quality. (It looks good up close.)
12 Rose Montees (SS20)
SS20 refers to the size of the crystals here. These are set in a backing with two crossing channels/holes, so you can sew through them in two different directions. This makes them great for central elements of patterns. This is a good color for me, too, as it matches a lot in my stash.
2 Snowflake Resin Cabochons (14mm)
These would be cute in a pair of earrings. One thing this box really motivates me to do is go to the Potomac site and shop for variants of the included items (last month I ended up with a bunch of silk tassels and glass cabochons). I ordered a handful of resin cabochons and a whole bunch of crystal buttons after this month. There are quite a few designs including imitation druzy, mermaid scales, etc.
So here is this month’s project:
First I gathered my materials. Tulip size 12 beading needles are my preferred needles for every project. They cost more but they last a lot longer. Also I always use Fireline in size 4 lb test, crystal. I just don’t have any Wildfire and don’t feel like investing in yet another type of thread. But this will work. Also shown are my Xuron shears since cutting Fireline can damage scissors.
The pattern called for a stop bead but I’m not really a stop bead kind of person, so I used one of these spring things instead. Same function.
I laid out some EVA beads in what I thought would be a pleasing pattern, since I knew I had to use both colors. You don’t see 35 here because my wrist is way shorter than the recommended bracelet length.
Here are some in-progress photos. I felt better about the color combination as I continued working.
Adding the button and a seed bead loop for the clasp.
Making sure the loop fits the button.
Here’s the finished product. I will make this again using some different colors, I think, although I like how the copper EVA beads and the button go together. This also might be fun with a bunch of leftover and free sample EVAs (Potomac includes small free samples in each order) for a mixed color look.
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for the PotomacBeads Best Bead Box since, although they do sell all the items in their shop, they are not always in the same quantities (i.e., you can’t buy just 2 matching resin cabochons, they come in assorted packs of 5). However, I thought this box was exceptionally well-done. There was so much stuff in there! And although I’ve collected a lot of EVA beads so far, I’ve never gotten around to using the ones in my collection, and now I have an idea of what I can do with them.
On another note, Facet Jewelry Box ended recently so if you liked the idea of getting patterns along with your beads, this might be a good replacement. It’s at a similar price point and although there is only one pattern in this version of the box, the video tutorials give you plenty of other ideas. You may need to have a small stash or place orders for a few items as needed, but you don’t have to supply a ton of stuff to do these projects.
To Wrap Up:
Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.30 per item (I counted the pattern as an item since they do sell those).
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the November 2019 Potomac Beads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?