PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – May 2020
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 May 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 “Afternoon Tea.”
To go along with the theme, there was a free tea sample from Plum Deluxe. Which reminds me, I need to replenish my home tea stash, as it wasn’t great to begin with and working from home for 2+ months has made it even less great. Perhaps I will take advantage of the Plum Deluxe coupon that was included!
On to the items:
1 Tea Time Bracelet Pattern
Each month, you’ll get a printed pattern. They’ve taken to packaging the materials from the box you can use for the pattern separately for easy identification. I haven’t shown the inside for intellectual property reasons. You can see the bracelet I made from this below. I do want to say, this pattern called for two needles to be used simultaneously. I did that, because I couldn’t see another easy thread path, and I have decided that I absolutely loathe using two needles at the same time and I have been right all along to avoid using two needles (like for right angle weave, I can modify 2-needle weave to use only 1 needle). I had to remove both needles repeatedly to untangle the thread. I do like how the bracelet turned out, though.
4g Irisduo Beads
This is a Potomac exclusive shape and was used in the bracelet this month. I have a few of these left and I may try to make another of the same bracelet but figure out a one needle thread path, just to see if it can be done. Or I’m sure I have some earring patterns I can try them in, too.
4g Miyuki Seed Beads (15/0)
I didn’t take these out of the baggie because I really don’t like picking them up off the beading mat again after the picture. Anyway, you’ll usually get one or two kinds of seed beads in this box, typically Miyuki (although Potomac also sells Toho and some Czech seed beads, a lot of people favor Miyuki for patterns), and they’ll always be something that works with the pattern provided for the month. I like the color scheme developing here!
4g Miyuki Seed Beads (11/0)
Here’s the other type of seed bead. Although these have a different color and finish, they work with the 15s really well and also tie in some of the colors from the Irisduos. Of course I have plenty of these left over for other projects.
2 Potomac Crystal Buttons
You used one button for the clasp in this month’s bracelet. I think the color works well with the other colors of beads provided for the bracelet. I also like having one left over for my stash, because this color goes well with a lot of what I have collected lately and so next time I want a button for a clasp, I can use this!
2 Fancy Earwires
We didn’t make earrings this month, but Potomac usually provides a few findings. It’s a nice way to explore their offerings. As it happens, I have been buying all kinds of interesting tassels lately, and also I have collected some fun Venetian glass beads, and either (or both) of those could go with these earwires to make some fun earrings.
4 Czech Cat Face Beads
You’ll also usually get some Czech glass in various shapes. I’ve seen these cat beads at several (online) shops but hadn’t acquired any before now. Not sure what I’ll do with them yet but this is a good color that will go with just about anything.
5g Nib-Bit Beads
I just love the name of these. NIB-BITS. I am not embarrassed to admit that I once spent over $100 ordering only purple Nib-Bits from a Czech website. (All different colors of purple.) Anyway, these are 2-hole beads that are sort of shaped like corn kernels. They are made by Matubo (a Czech bead company) and there are a lot of patterns available for them. You’ll usually get a couple of shaped and/or multi-hole beads in this box and these are a particularly useful neutral color.
7g Czech Daggers (5 x 16mm)
These are the 1-hole daggers in the large size (there are also 2-hole daggers, and smaller daggers with 1-hole in at least 2 sizes). These are good as fringe or dangles and there are also a lot of patterns incorporating them. I have SO MANY daggers but, oddly, I think not in this particular color.
2-Hole Czech Glass Cabochon (18mm, 2 count)
I have only ever seen these for sale on the Potomac site and I do have some others in my stash. (I sometimes go to the Czech glass section on the Potomac site and just look for new types of beads.) They are kind of big but might work as central elements of earrings. Alternatively, they could be the middle part of a bead-embroidered cuff, or possibly used in a pendant. This is a good color in terms of coordinating with my stash.
6g Dropduo Beads
This is another Potomac exclusive shape and I kind of like that we got so many. I have a pattern that uses them and I think this would be a really nice color for that pattern. (Here is a link to buy the pattern on Etsy. FYI: I have made this using another color and I found it easy to follow.)
2 Pewter Connectors
These can be used in different ways. Of course they will work to make a multistrand necklace or bracelet. Or they could be used as chandelier earring findings.
1 Pewter Charm
This goes great with the afternoon tea theme! I like to make bracelets sometimes using right angle weave and just put one little charm at or near the clasp and this is a great size for that (and also a good use for a single charm).
2 Plated Crystal Links
I have something of an obsession for items like this. I’ve bought a lot of glass ones and a lot of gemstone ones lately, and these have crystal, which I don’t have so much of, but now kind of want to get more. They would work in earrings or on either side of a pendant in a necklace or possibly with chain on either side in a minimalist bracelet.
1 Pewter Toggle
This is an interesting clasp. I think all the little divots are places for putting tiny crystals. I did buy a bunch of tiny Swarovski crystals awhile back and found them recently while looking for something else. I might have some tiny Potomac crystals as well. Now I just have to figure out how to place them in this because they are so tiny.
Here are some shots of me making the bracelet. It took me awhile because of the two needles, but overall was quick because I don’t have to make long bracelets since my wrists are 5.25 inches around. Never fear, though, if you have larger wrists — there were plenty of beads to go even as much as 3-4 inches longer if you’d like.
And here is the finished bracelet.
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 am impressed with the color coordination this month; I think that is better than usual. I liked the theme and thought the inclusion of a tea sample was fun. I liked getting so many shaped beads and appreciated the variety of findings, including some I hadn’t seen on the Potomac site before. I am also a fan of the crystal links. This was another good box for me although I am not eager to do any more 2-needle projects anytime soon.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll most likely receive the June box.
Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.62 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 May 2020 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?