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 April 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 "Spring Blooms."
I have a lot of dome beads in my collection and here are some more that will fit right in with my usual color palette. This month's pattern also uses these beads (2 of them, anyway) so now I have an idea of a project I can do with some of my other colors of dome beads. These come in three different sizes and we received the medium size.
You'll typically get two types of seed beads in this box. They vary. This month we received some 11/0 delicas, which is the most common size and which was useful in this month's pattern. There are still some left over and I am sure this color will come in handy at some point in the future.
This is the other seed bead type for the month. This is also an easy color to think of uses for as I do like a metallic touch in many of my projects. There are plenty of these left over as well, even after making this month's pattern.
I used maybe half of these in this month's pattern. It's nice to get extras to do a separate project, or in case you drop one or several (I drop a lot of beads and they fall into my recliner or onto the dining room rug, never to be seen again). This color will match a lot of other colors so it is nice to have.
These were directly used in this month's project. I really like the use of wire guards here, actually. I feel much more secure with the connection using these than I do with just sewing the thread through the earring loop. There were also some silicone backs that you can use or not, as you prefer.
This relates directly to the "spring blooms" theme. I think this would be great as the center part of a necklace with a few pink crystals on either side. Just something delicate and mostly minimalist.
I don't know if different colors were possible but I am always very happy to receive alexandrite glass. I have two pictures here, the first in natural light, and the second in fluorescent light. These are the same beads. They incorporate a little bit of the rare earth element neodymium, which changes color in natural and fluorescent light. I also have some vintage Bohemian alexandrite glass (a liquor decanter and a vase) so this is just something I think is cool, in general. These are a Potomac-exclusive crystal product; you'll usually get a bit of Potomac Crystal in every box.
I have a rather large number of pellet beads in my stash already but not in this color/finish. I like the way pellet beads and tee beads fit together, and these are just generally useful in patterns so I am always happy to have more. (I buy a lot of patterns without much thought as to what beads are required. Because I have a large stash, when I go to make a pattern, I can usually cobble together matching beads and not have to buy anything else.)
Hawaiian flower beads are kind of expensive so I am never sad to receive them in a subscription box. This, of course, also relates to the "spring blooms" theme, and I like the blue color. I have a few blue items in my wardrobe these will go well with once I come up with an idea for them (probably a bracelet).
Have to have some leaves to go with all the flowers. FYI, I am linking to general item categories rather than specific item pages in this review, for the most part, because I can't find every item for sale on the Potomac site. They do carry some leaves, but not this specific color combination. I think these would look nice with some copper findings.
This is a Potomac-exclusive metal shape. They have two holes so they can be incorporated into patterns, and you are supposed to glue oval Potomac crystals on top. As luck would have it, I bought a bunch of the appropriate crystals awhile back, and although I have some Ovalduos in my stash, I did not already have the gunmetal-finish ones, so I was happy to see these.
Here are a few more flowers. These are dainty and might work as earring dangles or near the clasp in a bracelet, where I often like to put a little charm or two, just for fun.
OMG I love this. A kitty. I really, really wish I could find more of these. But I can't. And I looked on Etsy, Ali Express, Amazon, and a few online bead shops. (I found some similar items but not this one.) This is not normally the kind of item I go for but there is something about this image that I just adore.
Geisha Earrings Pattern
I haven't included pictures of the inside part of the pattern for intellectual property reasons. But you do get one pattern that uses some of the items from the box in every package. This one uses a combination of herringbone and peyote stitch that is a variation on a past month's project and I find I really like that particular combination of stitches so I was happy to see it again.
Here are a few in-progress photos. One recent time when I ordered from Potomac's website I bought a couple of different thicknesses of Wildfire beading thread to try. I used the suggested thickness this month. It was a little thicker than I am used to (although it did fit through my size 12 needle OK) and I'm not completely sold on it compared to Fireline but I will give it a few more chances. FYI, when you are stitching the backing that goes behind the dome beads, it will not be flat after you do a few rounds, but it all ends up working out.
Here are the final earrings. I probably should've gone around the outside beads one more time to get better tension so less thread shows. I may go back and fix that.
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for the PotomacBeads Best Bead Box since, although they do sell many of the items in their shop, they are not always in the same quantities (i.e., you can't buy just 1 glass cabochon). I thought the beads did a nice job of sticking to the theme, and were also representative of a number of categories in the PotomacBeads shop (Czech glass, crystals, charms and pendants, etc.). I also feel like the value was there, although it's not always possible to estimate because they don't sell everything in their shop, but the Ovalduos, crystals, and pattern together are probably almost near $20 in value.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you'll receive the May box.
Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.86 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 April 2020 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?