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PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – July 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 July 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 “Old World Charm.”

On to the items:

 

1 Bonnet Bracelet Pattern

Every month in this version of the box, you will get one printed pattern. These are usually new or exclusive to the box (PotomacBeads also sells patterns). I was looking forward to this one because it uses two types of 2-hole beads, both silky beads (squares with diagonally-drilled holes) and quarter tilas (tiny rectangles with parallel holes). I was a bit bummed when I saw it was a two-needle pattern (I strongly dislike two-needle patterns) but I figured out how to make it work with just one needle. (Note: I haven’t shown the inside for intellectual property reasons.)

8g Silky Beads

These are a pretty color. I really like red beads, though. These were required for the bracelet so you can see them in use below, but I still have a fair number of them left over so I can try something else with them as well.

3g Quarter Tila Beads

These were also required for the bracelet. 3g doesn’t sound like much but when the beads are this small, it is actually quite a lot. So I have plenty of these left over as well. Tilas and half tilas and quarter tilas are fun to use on beading looms and that may be what I do with the rest of these.

3g Miyuki 11/0 Seed Beads

You’ll almost always get some seed beads in this subscription, typically ones that go with the pattern of the month. I used a few of these in this month’s bracelet but there are a lot left to play with. I think they go very nicely with some of the other beads in the package.

3g Miyuki 15/0 Seed Beads

This month’s pattern called for two types of seed beads and so we also received some 15/0 beads. These are nearly the same color as the quarter tilas and, as it happens, will go with a lot in my stash, as this is part of the basic color palette I tend to shop for.

1 Lobster Clasp

This clasp was for the bracelet. It also comes with a jump ring and a couple of wire guards. There are several different ways to attach a clasp to a beadwoven bracelet. I was first introduced to the wire guard method in a previous PotomacBeads Best Bead Box and I like it. (I am not a fan of loops of seed beads through a jump ring as I have had too many jump rings just come off when the thread went through the opening in the jump ring, even if it was tight to begin with.)

1 Wood Cabochon Setting ( 30mm)

There are a couple of ways you could go with this. You could glue in a cabochon and one was provided (see below) or do something with resin or inlay chips. I will probably just use the cabochon that was provided and make an interesting cord to hang it from. I’m seeing a lot more wood elements in jewelry supply catalogs lately so this might be trendy?

1 Glass Cabochon (30mm)

This goes with the cabochon setting. Or you could bead around it and use the setting for something else. This will be a little challenging for me to design around as I tend not to wear many yellows (just doesn’t work with my skin tone) but I am sure I will come up with something. I do like the graphic quite a lot.

10g 6mm Czech Melon Beads

Melon beads can be fun to use in place of rounds. The yellowish color in these coordinates well with the cabochon so using them with that is one possibility. They might also be fun in a pattern in place of druks or firepolished rounds.

5g Rizos

There were a ton of shaped beads this month. Rizos are so named because they look a little like grains of rice (with a drill hole in one end). These are good for use as fringe elements. One thing I have also been wanting to try lately is beaded kumihimo braiding and I think these might be nice to use in a section of that.

Czech Glass Vintage Shapes

I like vintage beads. I buy a lot of them because they come in shapes and finishes and colors you don’t always see around anymore. I think I will use these in a pair of earrings although I might consider putting them on either side of a focal bead if I find the right one.

4g Irisduos

Irisduos are a Potomac exclusive bead shape. We had a pattern using irisduos a couple of months ago and these would look good in that, or in another pattern (you can search for patterns by bead type on the Potomac website). I like this blue a lot and believe I have some other beads with the same color (in fact I vaguely remember placing an order somewhere once just to get some mobyduos in this color after I saw them in a promo email).

9g Rhombus Beads

Rhombus beads don’t get enough attention. You can’t even find them too many places (although PotomacBeads is one). This is a lovely dark red color. I think these would look great with some brass findings.

4g Crescent Beads

I have been sorting my stash lately and I have SO MANY crescent beads. So many. Because they are one of the first bead types to show up when new finishes are announced. But, there is a lot you can do with them, and I already have some crescent bead patterns in my collection.

1 Snake Head and Tail Hook Clasp

This is unusual and will be a design challenge for me as I don’t usually work with large cords. But if I get around to doing the kumihimo I was talking about earlier, I will want some clasps, and I also have some leather and faux leather strips that would probably work with this.

2 Pewter Links

I tend to drool over crystal and shaped beads on the Potomac site but their subscription box serves to remind me that they do offer quite a lot of findings, metal accents, links, connectors, and the like. I am going to see if I can find a nice glass disc bead to put between these in a bracelet. (I went on a Venetian glass buying binge awhile back so I should have something suitable.)

6 Pewter Bead Caps

I think I will make a bracelet or necklace using some large gemstone rounds and put these on a few to add some texture variation. I am sure there is something of an appropriate size in my stash!

Here is this month’s project. As mentioned above, I did not use two needles because I really don’t like using two needles, having tried it with a past month’s box. However, this was entirely possible to complete with only one needle. I think it turned out well and I think you could really change the way this looks a lot by varying the bead colors, or using a different kind of silky bead (there are ones with a 4-pointed star on the back, ones that are table cut, ones that do not have any raised elements on top, etc.).

 

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 a huge fan of shaped beads and there were a lot this month and I am still obsessing over the colors of the rhombus beads and irisduos. I also wouldn’t mind seeing additional vintage beads in here every now and then.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll most likely receive the August box.

Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.53 per item (I counted the pattern as an item since they do sell those).

Check out our other PotomacBeads Best Bead Box reviews and the Craft Subscription Box list for more great beading, craft supply, and DIY project boxes.

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What did you think of the July 2020 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?

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Written by Ragan Buckley

Ragan Buckley

Ragan stumbled across My Subscription Addiction in late 2013 and immediately subscribed to way too many beauty boxes. She’s now focused on boxes for her cats and dog, vegan/vegetarian food boxes, and craft subscriptions (and she didn’t give up beauty boxes entirely).

Posted in Craft Subscription Boxes, PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Women| Tags: potomacbeads best bead box | 8 comments

Comments (8)

  1. Do they include wire, crimps, needles, etc? or are you expected to have them or buy them extra?

    • You get exactly the items shown (which does not include thread or needles — you are expected to have those). If there are findings needed to complete the project from the pattern, they will usually include those. That is pretty standard for most beading subscriptions to expect you to have those things on hand (and most don’t provide patterns so you have to come up with your own ideas for the beads).

  2. This was my second Potomac bead box. I got the same colors for the bracelet as you, and they would not have been my choice, but I liked them once the bracelet was complete.

    My jewelry is normally just round-ish beads on a string, with some chain thrown in, so I’m enjoying the new techniques and trying to figure out how to use the rest of the beads.

    Also, the wire guards were a discovery for me! I love the finish they give the final product.

    • I have learned a few new tricks from this box. I have a lot of wire guards but never would have thought to use them this way. But they make so much more sense than a jump ring, where the thread can (and sometimes does) just fall through the opening. I also like that we’ve had a couple of projects that combine peyote and herringbone stitch, as I had never tried that combination before (haven’t done much herringbone in general) but it works well together. (This box is also good at getting me to shop at Potomac, when I discover certain things they sell that I hadn’t previously known about.)

  3. This was my first box with Potomac Beads and I really liked it! I got different colors for the bracelet (chocolate brown Silky beads, AB brown 11/0 seed beads, dark greenish 15/0, and AB dark blue quarter Tilas), and I wasn’t too sure about the blue with the other colors, but I really love it! I actually just made the bracelet today, just switched out the clasp with a gold small magnetic clasp as I don’t like lobster claws for bracelets.

    • I also don’t like lobster claws for bracelets because I have to get my husband to put them on me. I think there is a tool you can get to help put them on one-handed but I usually just don’t use them unless I’m worried that whatever I’m making is too heavy for a magnetic clasp.

  4. I like the red bead shape and color, but with the blue I’m not sure. They also do a lot of cabs in the box, and I don’t make jewelry that uses them so I’ve got a few!

    • I get it — I find that my taste in colors is not always matched by what I get in boxes, and that sometimes for these reviews I have to work with combinations that I would not ordinarily choose. On the other hand, I am pleased with myself for figuring out a single-needle thread path. I don’t often use the image cabs although this one will be easy with the setting. I do like the Lunasoft ones because you can just do beaded bezels around those since there’s no image to cover up.

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