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 March 2020 Review
This is still a fairly new box but I am getting to know what to expect by now:
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 "Natural Beauty."
75 Gemstones (2mm)
These are so tiny. I am guessing because it just says "gemstones" that there were different possibilities. I got amazonite (I think, I don't have the little baggie they came in anymore), which goes nicely with the other colors in my stash. These could be fun in place of some seed beads in a pattern, or you could just do some beadweaving and incorporate them, since there are a lot.
10 Czech Petals (8 x 7 mm)
There are two sizes of these and these are the smaller ones. (I also got more than 10 for what it's worth.) These were used in this month's pattern, which you can see below. I'm glad to get this pattern, actually, because I have a ton of these in my collection and now I have an idea of what to do with them.
2 Resin Bicones (20 x 14 mm)
I couldn't find these exact beads on the PotomacBeads website so I linked to a page with all their resin beads. These are a pretty good fit with the bead caps (see below) and could be used with the bead caps on either side of a necklace focal. Alternatively, you could use them as bases for seed beading.
Miyuki Seed Beads, 15/0 (4 g)
You'll usually get a couple of different seed beads in this box, typically ones needed to complete the month's pattern. That was true for these as well. But these are a good color that will be useful whenever you need a non-shiny yellow or gold tone.
Miyuki Seed Beads, 11/0 (4 g)
Here is the second type of seed beads for the month. These were also useful in the pattern but are a good, standard color as well, that should be useful for a lot of purposes.
I didn't see this exact style on the PotomacBeads website so I've linked to a page with some pewter beads and end cones, which is the best I could do. These are a good size for the resin beads or would also work as tassel caps if you like to make your own tassels.
I also didn't see these available for sale but they are a pretty popular style so you can probably find more somewhere else if you want (seems strange to link to other sites in this review, though, so I won't here). I've linked to a page where there are some other pressed glass leaves if you have an interest in leaf designs. I have so many leaf beads, myself, I really need to come up with some ideas for these (and all the others!).
DiscDuos are a Potomac Exclusive shape and they will work in a lot of patterns that call for other 6 mm beads like 2-hole cabochons (see below), sometimes honeycombs, and others. They have two holes but are flatter than the 2-hole cabochons. The PotomacBeads Etsy store is a good place to look for patterns for these.
You'll usually get one clasp in this subscription. They have been a variety of finishes, usually a pewter base (a lead-free alloy containing usually a lot of tin). Sometimes they can be used in the patterns provided, although not this particular month. I like getting these because then I have a variety of clasps on hand and I will usually find just the right one if I go rooting through my stash.
This exact style wasn't available but there are some other ladybug beads at the link in the item name. I think I like this nontraditional color a little better than the black and red ones, possibly because my living room is infested with real-life ladybugs right now. But I digress. These are a good size and a good shape to go in a pair of earrings with some copper accents and match several things in my wardrobe.
Long magatamas are drop beads with an angle to them, as you can see. They are good as fringe elements (be careful which direction they face when you string them, though) and are sometimes found in patterns as well.
Czech Cali Beads (20)
Cali beads are shaped beads with three holes. If you are looking for something to do with them, you can try this free pattern. Just be sure to check all the holes to see that none are blocked before you get started -- you don't want to have to unravel your work later on.
I believe several different colors were possible here, as well, although this color fits well in the color palette I have been collecting lately. So many beading projects call for 4 mm rounds that these will be gone before I know it.
15 2-Hole Cabochons (6 mm)
These are 2-hole beads with a flat bottom and a rounded top. Their cross-sectional area is similar to that of the DiscDuos up above, but they have a rounded top. This is another good color for me. Please note that both 6 mm and 7 mm 2-hole cabochons exist and they are not interchangeable -- if a pattern was written with one type in mind, it won't work with the other size in most cases.
2 Flat Pad Posts (6 mm)
These were useful in this month's pattern but I'm thinking of getting more because I liked how quickly the pattern worked up and it was also kind of fun and different to make earrings with these instead of dangles on hooks. However, they are currently sold out. I've linked to their listing on the Potomac website so if they come back in stock, you know where to find them.
1 Glass Feather Cabochon (10 mm)
You will receive a lot of glass cabochons in this subscription. I find that I like them more than I expected to, and I have been back to buy more several times. The 10 mm size has a slightly smaller selection than the 14 mm size and a nice flat surface for gluing if you so desire.
Another thing you find out with this subscription is that PotomacBeads has a large number of products above and beyond what they're famous for. I really didn't know they had any pewter beads on the site. These have a fun geometric thing going on and the brass oxide finish fits well with the overall color theme.
Cherry Blossom Earrings Pattern - Retail Value $5
You can buy this pattern digitally in the PotomacBeads Etsy shop (link in the product name). These were super easy to make and now that I've tried the pattern I can see all sorts of ways to extend this technique to other projects. The only thing I would change is that PotomacBeads limits their patterns to one side of an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper and sometimes I think a few more instructions would be useful since I tend to pick things up from illustrations and don't have the patience to read a lot of text in a pattern. However, this was pretty easy to learn after doing the first one.
Here are a few photos of my work in progress. In case you were wondering, I also have shown pictures of the front and back of the petals because it does make a difference in the finished product. Please note: things are kind of loose until you finish up, hence some of the pictures with the earring post not securely in place.
Here are the final earrings.
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). 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. The pattern worked up quickly and I have SO MANY rose petal beads I am probably going to make a few more of the earrings or maybe adapt the pattern to use the flowers in a necklace or something.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you'll receive the April 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 March 2020 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?