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The Crafter’s Box ‘Himmeli’ Subscription Review – December 2020

The Crafter’s Box is a monthly maker subscription box:

As a member of The Crafter’s Box, we’ll send a lovingly kitted box of tools and materials to your doorstep on a monthly basis. Each month we feature a new expert maker and that maker has built for us a unique, grown-up, on-trend project that reflects their artistic style. In addition to the monthly box, our featured maker has created an educational, digital workshop to teach their crafting medium and to offer their tips and tricks.

The best part of this model is the ability to revisit workshops in the future to create again and again. Happy making!

This review is of the Crafter’s Box subscription at $65 for a month to month subscription with free shipping.

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About The Crafter’s Box

The Subscription Box: The Crafter’s Box 

The Cost: $65 per month + free U.S. shipping (save with longer subscriptions)

The Products: A shipped kit of curated tools and materials + a new digital workshop by the featured maker of the month

Ships to: The U.S. for free and internationally for varying rates

Good to Know: The featured project for the month is announced on the 1st and subscribers have until the 8th to pause, skip, or swap that month. Projects are designed to be for ages 18+.

The Crafter’s Box December 2020 Review

The Crafter’s Box is an artisan craft subscription box that features a different, unique craft each month that is designed with the crafty adult in mind. The boxes are thoughtfully curated with high-end materials so that your finished products are modern and luxe. There’s also an accompanying video workshop led by the featured artist that introduces you to the craft and provides you with detailed instructions to complete the project.

Let’s take a look inside December’s box – the craft this month is the Finnish ornamental art of Himmeli!

 

We received two info cards this month detailing information on what’s included in the box, as well as a short bio on the featured maker this month, Samantha Leung of HEMLEVA. Himmel is the Swedish word for sky or heaven and Himmeli is a traditional ornament or mobile decoration traditionally made out of wheat, rye, or reeds in Finland following the harvest. So, it’s the perfect, cozy winter activity. In this workshop, we’re working with brass instead and we can choose to make a complex mobile or 5 decorative ornaments.

Now, onto the items!

 

Brass Tubes

We’re crafting Himmeli with these shiny brass tubes. There are just enough tubes to make either Project 1: Complex Mobile or Project 2: Five Ornaments. Samantha has worked out exactly how to cut the tubes for each of the projects, so you have to decide what you’re making before getting started.

 

K&S Tubing Cutter 

This is the tool we’re supposed to use to cut our brass tubes. After marking up the tubes to the appropriate cut lengths, you place one tube in the white groove and secure it by turning the knob. Then you spin the entire tool around and around until you cut through the tube.

 

22 Gauge Gold Wire

We’re threading our tube pieces with this bendy gold-colored wire.

 

Wire Cutters & Round Nose Jewelry Pliers

The wire cutters are for cutting the gold wire and we will use the pliers to twist the wires and thread the ends in when we finish a shape.

 

Sharpie Fine Point Pen & 10/2 Mercerized Perle Cotton Yarn in White

I like that the Crafter’s Box includes basically all the items you would need for a project, even something like a Sharpie. This pen was perfect for marking up the brass with its super fine point. The yarn is used for stringing up the mobile. You could attach it to the ornaments too if you wanted to hang them or any of the shapes you make.

 

Precious Metal Polishing Cloth

We received this little piece of cloth to polish the brass if we wanted to but the brass tubes we received were shiny enough already.

 

Wheat Straws & 6″ Upholstery Needle

These fragile wheat straws were included for a bonus project if we wanted to try making Himmeli with traditional materials. You would need the upholstery needle to thread the wheat straws but the brass tubes are threaded by hand on the wire.

Pattern Booklet

We also received a booklet with instructions for the two projects for this month but I relied more on the video tutorial. The first project is the “Complex Mobile” but it’s actually the easier, beginner level project and not difficult at all. The second project is to make five ornaments, which is the intermediate level project. You’re only given enough brass to create one of the two projects, so you have to choose which one you want to do before you begin cutting the brass. You could also create your own design or customize the projects a bit to your liking but you’ll have to work out for yourself how you should cut the brass so you’ll have enough to work with. If you just follow the projects exactly, Samantha has already done all the math for you.

Now, let’s get crafting!

 

The first step was to mark up our lengths of brass tubes. It was a little annoying that each tube was 11.75″ long, so that meant when we were cutting 2″ lengths, we’d have an off-cut of 1.75″. Samantha tells us to keep the off-cuts for future projects of our own design. Even more annoying was the K&S tubing cutter. I was able to cut one 2″ piece with the cutter but it took a really long time, probably 15 minutes to cut a single piece. You have to keep twisting the cutter around and around before it cuts through. Samantha did say that marking and cutting the tubes would be tedious but I found the tubing cutter to be impossible to work with.

Maybe the tubing cutter would work better for others and Samantha was able to demonstrate the tool working in the video but it would have taken me days or even weeks to cut all the tubes this way, so I actually ended up using the wire cutter and pliers to prepare my pieces. Be warned: cutting the tubes with the wire cutters will press the ends shut, so you have to pry them back open with the pliers but this method seemed infinitely faster than using the tubing cutter.

 

After you’ve cut your pieces, you’re ready to make your first shape. Start with cutting an arm’s length of gold wire. You want the length of the wire to be manageable and you can keep adding more wire as needed. For the first cube using 2″ pieces, you thread four pieces onto the wire then twist them into a diamond shape. Then you thread two more pieces, making sure you’re tucking the tail end of the short wire into the first tube.

 

You twist the two tubes around the opposite corner then thread two more pieces and twist them around the diagonal corner. Then you start adding just one piece at a time until you complete your cube. This part is quite intuitive, so try not to overthink it. To finish the shape, you trim and tuck the wire end into one of the tubes with the pliers.

 

Ta-da! My first cube was completed and I immediately tried placing an air plant into my finished cube. You can place these cubes on a surface and use them as air plant holders or string them up to make a hanging ornament or hanging air plant holder. Once I finished one cube, it was easy to make more! Samantha also suggested that you could string these cubes up in a garland for your window.

 

To continue with the Complex Mobile design, we need to make a bigger cube with 3″ pieces. You follow the exact same process but before finishing the cube, you place the smaller cube inside before sealing it up.

 

Repeat with 4″ pieces, 5″  then 6″ until you have four cubes inside your largest cube made of 6″ pieces. To create a hanging mobile, use the yarn to connect the cubes at the top, and create a hanging loop for your mobile. The Complex Mobile design consisted of the main shape with a constellation of 2″ and 3″ cubes hanging from each corner of the main shape. But Samantha mentioned that the main shape by itself works just as well as a hanging ornament and I actually prefer the cleaner design, so I stopped here. Plus I wanted to keep the 2″ cubes as air plant holders.

So, this is my finished project. I made three air plant holders, a large hanging ornament, and a table ornament featuring a 2″ cube inside of a 3″ cube. I have enough brass tubes leftover to make one of the project 2 ornaments and more air plant holders to gift to friends.

Verdict: I was really excited about this The Crafter’s Box because I’ve been looking for an air plant holder for some time now and couldn’t find any that I absolutely loved online. These air plant holders turned out beautifully and they let the air plant breathe. I also like the mobile a lot and the table ornament makes me smile when I look at it. These ornaments were fun and easy to put together and look like something I would buy in a store.

For $65, we received the materials and tools to create some beautiful brass ornaments. I’m really impressed with the quality of the materials provided and that resulted in a professional-looking finished product. I love that I was introduced to a new craft and I can see how addicting creating more Himmeli could become. I think with a box like this, you’re paying for the experience of learning a new craft and a fun night of crafting but in this case, I think the finished products would add up to the value of the box as well.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll receive the upcoming Woodland Botanical Embroidery workshop but you can purchase the Himmeli and other past workshops as a single box for $75.

Check out our other reviews of The Crafter’s Box and the top-rated craft subscription boxes!

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

What did you think of The Crafter’s Box for December 2020? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by Sanna Chu

Sanna Chu

Sanna has been obsessed with subscription boxes since signing up for Birchbox in 2010. She loves fashion, beauty, food, and lifestyle boxes for the curated experience, deals, and convenience. When she’s not trying to sign up for yet another subscription, she enjoys hosting dinner parties with friends, discovering new bands, and reading in the park.

Posted in Craft Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews, The Crafter's Box Reviews| Tags: the crafter's box | 19 comments

Comments (19)

  1. I was also frustrated by the SLOWNESS of cutting those tubes. I have cut about 6 of them. Then my fingers went numb. I was cutting them faster, maybe 2-3 minutes per cut? But I can only do one tube a day before my fingers hurt. I see on Etsy you can buy them precut. That seems absolutely worth it. If I find a pattern I want to do, I will buy the tubes that way.

    • Check out my comment below, Jme. If you cut the wire with the wire cutters they provided (instead of the stupid little circle cutter thingy), it will go through nice and easy. The ends of the tubes will be flattened out, but all you have to do is use the needle-nose pliers they provided to gently squeeze the flattened end back open. Was a much more enjoyable project when I figured that out. Hope that helps!

  2. I really enjoyed this project as well! I’m so happy that we both figured out to just use the wire cutters instead to cut the brass rods and just gently squeeze them back open. The accessibility of this project was the only thing I had an huge issue with. It truly would have taken us hours and hours of repetitive stress motion and don’t get me started on how that would have affected my arthritis! Finished project was so pretty though 🙂

    • Yay, glad to hear that! I do wonder if anyone was able to successfully use the tubing cutter but that was definitely the most frustrating part.

      • I will be honest, I usually wait to do my project until I read the review here because it is full of nice tips. Guess what I will be doing this weekend! Thank you for the detailed reviews!

  3. I’m not sure how wide those brass tubes are, but I just checked on a few tool sites like MSC and it looks like it would easily run around $80-$100 to buy 50 12″ long 3/16″ wide brass tubes. I’m sure the wholesale would be cheaper, of course, and there might be better options out there – but it looks like the materials here are well over box cost. That’s great in the world of craft-boxes which tend to be more about curation than value.

    • Oh that’s good to know! The tubes are 3mm wide.

  4. I love this subscription and I love what you made. How easy are your air plants to take care of?

    • Thank you! I soak the air plant in a bowl of water once a week for 15 minutes and that seems to be working for it.

  5. That looks really neat!
    It’s nice they show past boxes, and sell them when available. A lot of great stuff. The monthly subscription is a bit too risky, but only $10 more to choose a past project isn’t bad.

    • I do subscribe to this box and the thing that is nice is that if you do not like this month’s craft, they give you three options of past boxes so swap with. As someone relatively new to the subscription, this has worked out well for me as there was one project I really wasn’t feeling and one of the three swaps was on my crafting bucket list. There was another craft that I was on the fence about and I didn’t love any of the swap options, so, I got the monthly craft and LOVED it!!! If you are a long time subscriber, people may already have done the swap options, in that case, you can skip for the month. The other option they offer is a 3 month subscription for $180, paid all at once. With that, you cannot skip a month but you can swap. That is what I have…so works out to just $60 per month. I have priced out many of these boxes, trying to find the materials on Blick, Jerry’s, or Amazon and except for one very early box, I have found the value in the box vs. trying to source everything myself. The videos are also really, really good. FYI – They have a few past boxes on sale right now for $50.

      • Good to know, thanks!
        I’m an art teacher, and they look like great starter boxes to try out new ideas. I’ve already tried about half the activities, so would probably skip sometimes.

      • This is great to know. Thank you.

      • Thank you! I had no idea that was an option, after subscribing for years!

    • You can skip any box you want, they show them before they ship them. If you skip you will get 3 other choices to pick from. If you do not like them you can skip altogether. I found their customer service very good too.

  6. This looks so beautiful! I feel like a real dummy here but can you please clarify something for me? I thought that you only received enough brass to make 1 of the 2 projects? It looks to me like you made them both? What am I missing? Thanks!

    • Hi Joy, No worries, I probably didn’t explain it very well. I choose to make just the first part of the mobile, so that’s why I had some brass leftover for some air plant holders and simple ornament. To make the complete mobile, you would attach the smaller cubes to each corner of the main shape, as seen on the front of the pattern booklet. For the other project, the ornament was a more intricate star-like design. Hope that clears it up!

  7. This really looks fun! I’m a huge fan of the clean aesthetic and love what you did with the air plants. The price point has always made me hesitate on this box, but this one might convince me to give it a go. Thanks for the review!

    • Thanks, LJ! Yes, I love the aesthetic of this box too 🙂

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