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.
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.
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).
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?