PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – October 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, 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 five 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 for free and worldwide for $4.99
PotomacBeads Best Bead Box October 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 “Dark and Stormy.”
On to the items:
Tubular Twisted Herringbone Pattern
You’ll get one pattern every month with this version of the Best Bead Box. I have been wanting to learn twisted herringbone so I was happy to see this. I have SO MANY seed beads in my stash, I can make this same project (or a longer necklace) over and over again, too. (I haven’t shown the inside for intellectual property reasons. This one was kind of text heavy and you do need to read carefully.)
7g Toho Seed Beads, 8/0
FYI, I didn’t take these out of the baggie because it isn’t the kind you can re-seal. But anyway, you’ll usually get seed beads with this subscription and they’re typically the ones you need to complete the included pattern. Most of the time we get Miyuki but Toho is another popular Japanese seed bead brand that Potomac Beads carries, and this month we got Toho.
7g Toho Seed Beads, 8/0
Here is our second color of seed beads for the pattern. These have a slightly different finish than the purple ones. I think they are especially pretty but I am partial to reds and oranges.
7g Toho Seed Beads, 8/0
And here is our third color of seed beads. Although I’m not sure I would’ve come up with this particular color combination, I think it works pretty well in the finished piece. This box does often put me a little outside my color comfort zone but it ends up working out well most of the time.
4 Czech Round Beads, 8mm
I used two of these to make the pattern. I have enough seed beads left that I could make a second bracelet and give it to someone, or wear a stack of two, or just use the extra two for something else, like in a pair of earrings.
Gold Plated Magnetic Clasp
This goes with the bracelet. It’s a substantial clasp but a good size for this particular project and the magnet strength seems good for this size and weight of bracelet. I am a fan of magnetic clasps because it is so much easier to put a bracelet on yourself with a clasp like this.
2 Gold Plated Wire Protectors
These were in the package with the materials for the project but they weren’t really needed with the clasp style provided since it has closed loops. They also weren’t mentioned in the directions, unless there is a part I missed (which is possible). But I can just put them in my stash and use them for something else later.
This is the first time I think we’ve received a tool in this box but it is useful for sure. I have a more expensive digital caliper but it is kind of a pain to use and this is so handy for quick measurements, like telling a 3mm firepolished bead from a 4mm firepolished bead (well, OK, I can do that on sight but I’m just trying to give an example where a caliper may be useful).
6g Czech Glass Faceted Rounds, 4mm
These are a very similar color to the purple seed beads (slightly shinier finish) and would probably look nice in a pattern together. (There are plenty of patterns out there for 4mm seed beads, this is one of the most common sizes of firepolished rounds.)
2 Potomac Crystal Sunflowers
I have a few of these that I bought back when they were new. They’re sew-on crystals (you can also put them on wire or embroider with them or use them in beadweaving) surrounded by other crystals. This is a great color (if you’re me, anyway).
6g Quadbow Beads
Potomac Beads introduced two new shapes this month. I was expecting these to be in the box! It’s not 100% accurate that I got these before anyone else because I opened my order for Quadbow beads from Potomac Beads on the same day I opened this subscription box, so they basically came at the same time. Of course, I may have jumped the gun and ordered before Potomac Beads even had all the product pictures up, because I’m like that. Anyway, I’m excited to play around with these and it’s great to get them in a neutral color so lots of other colors will match.
7g Pieduo Beads
Here are the Pieduo beads, the other new shape for this month. I’ve been fitting bead shapes together in my head for a while now, trying to come up with new ways to use these, since there aren’t many patterns available yet (but sign up for the Potomac Beads email list as they are linking to lots of projects — mostly video, but some patterns — for their new shapes). I kind of want to use these in a non-obvious way (so not in a simple circle with four of them).
10g Mookaite Round Beads, 6mm
Mookaite (sometimes moukaite) is a variety of jasper first mined in Australia. You’ll get some semiprecious beads in pretty much every box, usually small(ish) rounds. I like the fall colors here and have lots of other mookaite beads to use with these. It might be fun to alternate these with some yellow mookaite I have (which appears to just be the yellow part of mookaite without the mottled appearance).
5g Gekko Beads
5 grams isn’t much for some kinds of beads, but gekko beads are so tiny that you get a ton here. This is a nice fall gold color. I have a couple of patterns that call for these (or you can use them in kumihimo or as fringe, there are really a lot of possibilities).
20 Plated Twisted Jump Rings
These are not soldered so no brick stitching around them (darn) but I think they would make fun links in a bracelet, perhaps between lampworked or Venetian glass beads. The antiqued copper finish will be easy to coordinate with using items from my stash, as well.
Pewter Dragonfly Pendant
I think I may just turn this into a simple necklace with some beaded chain. I have a lot of gemstone chain from Etsy orders that may work great as I find I have very little patience to actually make beaded chain myself.
36 Potomac Crystal Ingot Beads
Love this purple color. This is an unusual shape for crystal beads, I’ve seen it in some Chinese crystal but never from Swarovski. These have flat sides so they would fit together well if stitched side to side instead of end to end, which might be a fun way to use them.
Table Cut Button, 14mm
These are good to use as clasps with beadwoven and macrame bracelets. Just make a loop of beads or hemp twine to loop around this for a closure and you are good to go. This is a good color for my stash since I have a lot of other purples already.
3g Miyuki Cubes, 4mm
I bought a lot of Miyuki cubes once but I don’t think any of them are gold-lined like this? I have a lot of other clear, color-lined beads (seed beads and Nib-Bits and Superduos and firepolished rounds and twins) that I have been thinking of putting together in one piece just for fun. These would go well with my other beads for that project. I think they also might look interesting in a loomed project.
Here is this month’s project:
This is tubular herringbone with a twisted structure. The third image you see is my first attempt, which did not twist because I misunderstood the directions (I am better following pictures than words with beading patterns and this one had a lot of words and not so many pictures). I figured out what I did wrong and went back and started over again and it twisted properly. I have been wanting to learn how to do this and now I know and will probably make a lot more similar items. I am not sure why we were provided wire guards because they weren’t really needed with this clasp style, but I can just save them for something else.
Here is the finished piece:
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 was a fun month, with a useful supply (the caliper), a pattern that taught me a technique I have been wanting to learn, and some new bead shapes (since I am obsessed with new bead shapes).
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll most likely receive the November box.
Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.37 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 October 2020 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?