PotomacBeads Best Bead Box is a 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 February 2020 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 "Bead My Valentine."
You'll get some Potomac crystals every month and this month it is this ring. I like these and went out and ordered a few more (and also some of the circles in different sizes). There are lots of creative ways to use them including this month's pendant pattern or simple addition of a bail, among others.
Seed beads are featured every month in this subscription box but I think this is the first time we've received Delicas, which are very regular cylindrical beads from Miyuki that are excellent for beadweaving because they just fit together so well. These also featured in this month's project.
In addition to the Delicas, we got some rocailles (round seed beads) in size 15/0. These were useful in this month's pattern but there are plenty left for my stash. If you are new to beading, these are about the tiniest beads you'll encounter (unless you run into some antique Venetian seed beads or some size 15/0 Delicas, which are smaller than regular 15/0 beads).
I was just thinking the other day that I don't have enough spiky buttons in my collection. I actually do have several patterns that call for them, and they were useful in this month's project as well. This color will fit into my stash nicely, too.
These would be good in earrings or on either side of a focal bead in a necklace or bracelet. They are nice colors for spring. Lampwork beads are handmade (basically you manipulate glass rods in torch flame but that's a bit of an oversimplification) so there will be a little variation.
These go well with the spiky buttons in terms of color and also tend to feature prominently in other patterns from PotomacBeads as they are a Potomac-exclusive shape. As the name suggests, these are round beads with 2 holes (as opposed to Rountrios, which have three holes).
10 Czech Heart Beads
I couldn't find these on the Potomac site but they may be a one-off item for the Valentine's Day-themed box. These are small and delicate and would work in earrings or even attached to headpins to make a charm bracelet.
I have been seeing about one clasp each month and there have really been a variety, in different metal finishes as well as different types (toggles, magnetic, etc.). This one fits nicely with the theme of the box. FYI "pewter" here is lead-free; most modern alloys called "pewter" contain no lead at all and that is certainly true for jewelry components like this.
PotomacBeads does sell gemstones, too! This month we got some rose quartz which is nice for Valentine's Day or spring. 4mm rounds are useful because they can go in patterns or strung designs. I have been collecting a lot of gemstone rounds lately and might use these in a multi-stone piece.
Firepolished rounds are basic but so useful. These have an interesting color and finish combination that is maybe thinking outside the box a little bit for Valentine's Day, but sometimes it's good to mix things up a bit. At any rate, I like the look of these and have a lot of stuff in my stash that will complement them.
We receive charms nearly every month, just one or two and usually not matching. One thing I like to do with one-off or odd charms is add them to a jump ring near the clasp. I think that would be a good use for these, although they are just shy of being too large for such a purpose.
According to all the promotional emails I get, tassels have been in for awhile in the jewelry-making world and probably still will be for awhile. These would be fun finishing touches for beadwoven earrings; they are a good size for that.
AVA beads are another Potomac-exclusive shape. They have a hole through the narrow (point) end and also holes in each of the "legs." You can find a lot of earring patterns for them that would be good for using this small number, or you could just buy some more! (I most likely already have this color in my stash. For what it's worth, I do not know if everyone receives the same colors in this subscription or if there is some variation.)
Dome beads are good as central elements in patterns. They do only have one hole, which takes some extra consideration when using them, but if you are looking for something a little bigger than the 6mm or 7mm 2-hole cabochons, these could work. (They also come in a few larger sizes.)
2 Glass Pearl Cabochons
These aren't listed on the Potomac site. There's a category page for them but it was blank. At any rate, these would be great to bead around (either by making a seed bead bezel or attaching to some bead embroidery base) for a pair of statement earrings. Alternatively, they could be used in pendants.
These are one-hole triangle-shaped beads. I have often had trouble figuring out what to do with them and then I came across this kit. I bought one but the pattern can be used over again with items from my stash. At any rate it gives me some ideas on how to use tri beads.
25 Czech Bicones
I've seen these in other bead subscription boxes and I have a decent stash of them, myself. I couldn't find them on the Potomac site but they are widely available on Czech-based sites and Etsy. These can be used in patterns in place of 6mm rounds, pearls, or crystals for a little bit of a different look.
4 Flower Beads (11 x 13mm)
I like the pink and purple colors. These make me think of earrings right away, certainly because there are two of each color but also just because they would work well on the ends of headpin dangles. I could only find the smaller size of bellflower beads on the Potomac site, I think they are either trying out some new products for the box this month, or just ordered a few things special to go with the theme. (In case it wasn't obvious, these are Czech glass.)
1 Love Triangle Pendant Pattern
You'll get a pattern every month. Usually these are on the Potomac website (or in their Etsy shop) although I didn't see this one. It may yet show up, sometimes they debut new projects in the subscription box. I also am pretty sure I saw this one in some of their promotional emails so they may have done a video. This uses a combination of herringbone and peyote stitches and I have never tried that before but found it to be quite easy and think I would like to play around with that motif some more. Don't look too closely at the fringe, I had some trouble there (entirely my fault). I added chain and a clasp from my stash to make this a complete necklace.
Here is this month's project:
And here is the finished necklace:
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 6 AVA beads). However, I thought this box was exceptionally well-done but to be honest, after subscribing a few months, I have found pretty much all of the boxes to be excellent.
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 March 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 February 2020 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?