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PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – August 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 August 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 “Poolside Glam.”

On to the items:

 

1 Poolside Glam Necklace Pattern

You’ll always get one printed pattern as well as all the materials (except needle and beading thread) to complete it. You can see a demonstration below. (I have not provided images of the inside for intellectual property reasons.) I found this one pretty easy to follow although I do sometimes wish Potomac didn’t limit their patterns to 1 page as a few extra images would not hurt.

1 Potomac Crystal Cushion 12mm

This was used in this month’s pattern. You’ll usually get some Potomac Crystal with this subscription. One thing I like about Potomac Crystal is that they are constantly coming out with new shapes — sign up for their email list and you’ll be notified when new shapes come out.

2g Potomac Crystal Rondelles 1.5 x 2mm

These were also used in this month’s pattern. It took me a minute to realize they weren’t seed beads — they’re pretty tiny. (I didn’t take them out of the baggie for the picture because the baggies are not resealable and I didn’t have an alternative storage location available at the time.) I have a few left over if I want to make some matching earrings or something.

3g Miyuki Seed Beads, 15/0

You’ll generally get seed beads, usually (always?) Miyuki, and typically in the size(s) required to complete the pattern, with plenty left over. I was a bit worried when I saw size 15/0, as patterns made with them can take a long time to complete, but it worked up quickly and this is a useful color to have on hand for other projects as well.

1 Pewter Toggle

This is the clasp for the pattern. It was used in an unusual way but I kind of like the idea. You can see what I mean below. “Pewter” these days refers to one of a number of lead-free alloys and is pretty common for jewelry findings.

1 Tropical Leaf Resin Pendant

Resin pendants are apparently trendy right now, or at least that’s what all the promotional emails from bead stores are trying to tell me. This is a style I haven’t seen from other shops and serves as a good reminder that I can get this type of item from Potomac as well as my other usual sources. This will work in a lightweight summer necklace.

1 Pair Gold Monstera Leaf Earrings

This is a bit of an unusual inclusion but these could definitely be embellished with beads or crystals (or worn as-is). These do not come with backs but that is typical for a lot of earrings. You can get earring backs in your choice of materials for pretty cheap from a variety of sources.

1 Glass Cabochon, 20mm

You get a lot of glass cabochons in this subscription but the styles/images never repeat. This one is summery and fun. I think I will try to bead around this (not sure if by embroidery or bezeling with seed beads) and make it the centerpiece of a bracelet.

3g O Beads

You’ll usually get some shaped beads in this subscription. O beads are useful in a lot of patterns. These have the “halo” finish, which I think is pretty, and there are quite a lot of them in 3g.

4g Faceted Pony Beads

I don’t have a lot of large-hole beads in my stash so these are welcome; they will be good on leather or other thicker cords, or possibly in macrame. I can probably scrounge up some complementary metal beads to go with them.

4g 2-Hole Bars

Here are more shaped beads. This is a good color for my collection as it matches my “things that will look nice with copper” color palette and these show up in a lot of patterns.

4g Tubelet Beads

I have only ever seen tubelet beads on the Potomac site. They are a similar length as bugle beads but don’t have sharp edges that can cut your thread. They are not totally interchangeable, however, as they are a bit thicker. Anyway, this is another good color that will go with quite a lot of other beads.

10g Lava Round Beads, 8mm

These are called “lava” but lava doesn’t come in white, so I am honestly not too sure what they are, chemically. I have learned from another site that some of these white “lava” beads can burn, so do stay away from them with a torch or kiln. However, they should be safe in strung designs and should still work for aromatherapy designs as well, since they are porous.

3g Super8 Beads

Here is another type of shaped bead and it is one you don’t see too often. Super8 beads have hole spacing about the same as a superduo but the ends are tapered a lot more. They are really quite delicate.

2 Antique Silver Square Frames, 15mm

I have seen these promoted a lot of places lately and Potomac’s email newsletter has a lot of fun designs with them. I think I am going to try brick stitching around them because most of my experience with that technique is circles and I want to see how I do when there are corners to contend with. I bought a bunch of these awhile back so I probably have some matching ones if I want to make a bracelet or necklace.

2 Pewter Rings

I’m not sure how I’ll use these yet but I could also brick stitch around them if I want some more texture to my central ring. I think I would use the “smoke” Fireline to go around these as it would show up less than the crystal. I think these could be a fun element of some dangle earrings.

1 Cosmic Ring

I am going to assume this is also Potomac Crystal but the information booklet didn’t say (PotomacBeads also sells a lot of Swarovski crystal shapes). This would work well with a pendant bail in a simple necklace, I think.

Here is this month’s pattern:

 

This was pretty straightforward. I like the square made from seed beads, I think I’m just a big fan of the peyote-herringbone combination. I am envisioning some other things made with squares like this (even without the embellishments). Anyway, you make a square, then trap your cushion crystal with some embellishments. Note that you bead around the large part of the toggle and the clasp is in front of the finished piece, rather than back. Also, don’t run out of thread while making the long strand for the part that goes around your neck, like I did. I managed to salvage it, though. Also I used 4 lb test thread because there were a lot of 15/0 seed beads and I wasn’t sure how many times I would need to go through some of them.

Here is the finished necklace.

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 thought this month’s package had a nice mix of on-trend items (resin, beading frames), Potomac exclusives (crystal, tubelets), and shaped beads (O beads, bars, super8s) as well as a few fun extras. The pattern was pretty easy to follow for an intermediate/advanced beader (maybe a beginner but I’ve been beading since the 1990s so don’t quote me on that) and I liked the colors this month.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll most likely receive the September 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 August 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 | 6 comments

Comments (6)

  1. As a bead-weaving beginner, it took me two tries to get the pendant correct but it wasn’t bad (the step up part got me the first time and my base wasn’t square shaped in the end.) This was my second peyote project, but my first was just a flat bracelet.

    I finished the beaded chain but didn’t like the length so I’m starting over to make it longer.

    • Thanks for your comment, it’s good to hear a beginner’s experiences. I’ve been doing this for awhile so I can figure a lot of things out without reading the patterns too closely.

      One thing that would be nice is if the patterns were more than one page. I think if some more steps were shown that might make things easier for newbies and I’ve always preferred having a lot of pictures, just in general.

  2. I always love to read your beading reviews and see what you’ve been making. I enjoy looking at most of your pieces but this is truly beautiful. I already have too many beads and findings but I may have to sign up for this. Thank you for the great reviews.

  3. Ragan, yours came out lovely! I haven’t started mine. There is a project tutorial on the site for the monstera earrings.

  4. Wow that’s beautiful😊

    • That is exactly what I was going to say!

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