PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – January 2020
PotomacBeads 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” 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 worldwide ($4.99)
PotomacBeads Best Bead Box January Review
This is still a fairly new box so I really didn’t know what to expect:
There was an information booklet that included a list of the items and a link to some video tutorials to give you more ideas. This month’s theme is “Arabian Nights.”
These have been around for awhile but they really do show up quite often in patterns. Some were useful in this month’s project, but I have a few left over. I also have several earring patterns that make use of small numbers of them, so that works out well!
PotomacBeads has their own line of crystal beads and elements and you’ll usually get some Potomac Crystal each month. This month’s pattern required three rivolis and, conveniently, we received three rivolis in the required sizes (not like I don’t have tons of other ones in my stash…).
Here is the second rivoli. The colors this month were supposed to be some dark purples and coppery colors and such to evoke the desert nights of the theme. This one totally fits in if you think of it in terms of sunsets.
Here is our final rivoli (and some cat hair, but I promise the cat hair originated at my house). This color goes with pretty much everything and I do have to admit I’m partial to crystal (in addition to being a material, that’s what they call the clear color; this one has a foil back as do most rivolis) as it is just so sparkly.
These look big in the picture but I promise they are quite tiny. Anyway, you’ll receive some seed beads every month in this subscription. So far they’ve all been Miyuki. These were useful in this month’s pattern. At first I was a bit worried about the color choices, but as it turns out, I think everything went together well.
You’ll get some findings each month. They are a bit random but always useful for me as I have a huge stash and I never know exactly what I will need. This would be useful for holding onto a gemstone donut or perhaps a crystal pendant.
I had not seen these on the PotomacBeads website before so it is nice to know about them. It was not specifically recommended for this month’s project, but since the project was a pendant, this was an easy way to make a complete necklace out of it.
You’ll generally get a few shaped beads to play with. These are 2-hole pyramids in the smaller size (these beads are also available in a 12mm size). These are good as central elements in patterns with repeating units and the color should match a lot in my stash.
I couldn’t find this exact style in the PotomacBeads shop, though I did find some other zodiac-themed cabochons. I don’t know if I know anyone who is a Pisces but these do also work as just goldfish. I’m assuming these were randomly distributed and other people received other signs.
These are super small and could be used in place of seed beads in some patterns (maybe an 8/0?). Minimalist jewelry seems to be a thing these days so they may also work in a simple bracelet or necklace.
Here are a few more metal beads. These are a good size for a bracelet or earrings as they’re not too heavy, and they should be fairly sturdy. I have a random collection of other celestial-themed beads and may try to make a themed piece incorporating some of them along with these.
Firepolished rounds are good standard beads to have around in a variety of colors and sizes. These are unusual in that they have two different bold sorts of colors in them (a lot of times the dual-toned ones are colored on half and clear or white on the other half). These will really stand out on their own and might make good components in earrings with some crystals matching one or the other color.
I am not sure how I will use these yet although I have definitely been hoarding freshwater pearls lately. Whatever I do with them will play off the colors in the iridescence that’s visible in a few of them, for sure.
This is a shape that’s been around for awhile although I don’t see it in use too often. I’m sure I have a pattern for these somewhere, or if not, I can probably dig one up. This is a basic color that will work with a lot of other colors and some silver-tone findings.
I couldn’t find this exact design on the PotomacBeads site so I linked to a page with some similar ones. These seem like they would be good in a pair of dangle earrings.
Somehow I got 11 of these instead of 10. Oh well! Anyway, these fit nicely around superduos (if you don’t know what those are, see below) and can be used in some patterns or just to add a bit of visual interest to a design. These are a Potomac exclusive and come in several different colors. And they are metal, not coated glass.
Superduos are the most popular of all the two-hole beads. These fit in well with my stash and it is easy to find uses for them as there are a ton of patterns for these available (including plenty of free ones). You can see how they would work with the halo beads, too.
We’ve gotten charms fairly regularly with this subscription. This is of a size that I think would work well next to a bracelet clasp or as a dangle from a bracelet.
1 Graduated Crystal Pendant Pattern – Retail Value $5
There’s a printed pattern every month. It uses beads from the box, which are indicated by an asterisk in the information booklet. You can also buy the pattern on the Potomac site, although you’ll get a PDF instead of a color printout. I haven’t shown you the inside for intellectual property reasons. I thought this was easy to follow but it helps if you are one of those people who carefully reads the words of patterns (I tend to work better with pictures).
Here is this month’s project:
The top unit is done a little differently than the others and I felt it was more difficult to secure the rivoli in place for that one. But overall, this color combination turned out better than I expected when I saw the isolated components:
I put this over the cotton cord that was included in the box although you could easily make a beaded strand or use a chain instead.
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 1 glass cabochon, they come in multipacks). However, I thought this box was exceptionally well-done. There was so much stuff in there! And even though I spend a lot of time shopping the PotomacBeads website, I had never seen the necklace cord before, so I still learned about some new items despite being a longtime customer.
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:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll receive the February box.
Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.37 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 January 2020 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?