PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – January 2021
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 U.S. for free and worldwide for $4.99
PotomacBeads Best Bead Box January 2021 Review
I am getting to know what to expect with this box 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 “Sunset, Sunrise.”
On to the items:
Polaris Bracelet Pattern
This was a fun bracelet to make because the bezel for the crystal was a little different (no peyote stitch with ever-decreasing bead sizes). Also it was interesting to make one central element and then less intricate side parts. The only issue I had was, because of the design, the length wasn’t super customizable and it ended up a little large. I realize this is mostly a personal problem since I have child-sized wrists. (In retrospect, I think if you left some of the tubelet beads out on the sides, you’d be able to shorten it.)
Potomac Crystal Cushion, 12mm
This was useful for the bracelet pattern. I’m glad Potomac is selling some of these cushions because it is a shape I like and now I need to find some alternatives to Swarovski since they’re soon exiting the DIY market. Anyway, this has plenty of sparkle.
3g Miyuki Seed Beads, 11/0
These were useful in the pattern but I have some left over as well. (I don’t take them out of the packet to photograph because I don’t want to then have to pick up a bunch of seed beads off my beading mat.) You’ll usually get Miyuki seed beads with this subscription although we have received some Toho beads in the past as well. (Miyuki and Toho beads are slightly different thicknesses.)
4g Miyuki Seed Beads, 15/0
Here are some more seed beads for use in the pattern. I need to set up a magnifier or get some new glasses because these are so tiny. Anyway, I have plenty left over for my stash and I am definitely a firm believer in having an enormous stash.
4g Tubelet Beads
This is a Potomac-exclusive shape; they have thicker walls than bugle beads and the ends are not quite as sharp, so you don’t have to worry about your thread getting cut as you wear the jewelry you made. This is a pretty neutral color that I actually already had in my stash (this is a type of color I tend to buy when new shapes come out because it goes with a lot of other colors). But that makes it more useful because I only had a few left after completing this month’s project and now I can use them together with the ones I already had.
This is an item I’ve really only seen from Potomac (and smaller retailers who buy wholesale from Potomac). These are very useful as clasps in bracelets and that’s how this one was used. You can see how, below.
8g Labradorite Round Beads, 4mm
You’ll get some gemstone beads most months with this subscription. What’s neat is that these were used in the pattern; I never think to put gemstone beads in beadweaving and always use 4mm pressed glass rounds instead, but they are the same size and there’s no reason not to use gemstones in a pattern if you want. I have lots of other labradorite that will go with the rest of these.
2g Czech Glass Rounds, 3mm
Here are some 3mm glass rounds that we did use in the pattern. I don’t have so many left but I do have a few. I might be able to find a pendant pattern for the rest of them.
5g Pieduo Beads
This is another Potomac exclcusive shape that was introduced in the last few months. I have these in another purple but not this specific color. You’ll usually get at least a few shaped or multi-hole Czech glass beads each month with this subscription, which is great because I’m a huge fan of multi-hole beeads. (These have two holes.)
7g Czech Faceted Rondelles, 4x7mm
I’ve recently discovered that these make great edge dangles for brick stitching around a circle and these have an interesting color scheme to start with. I’m thinking of using some black finished findings with these and doing a whole pink and black thing.
25 Potomac Crystal Disco Balls, 8mm
Potomac Beads offers a lot of shapes for their line of crystal. I haven’t used a lot of the disco balls before but I think these would provide for some nice textural contrast with gemstone rounds in a strung design.
3 Potomac Crystal Snowflakes, 14mm
I actually got 4 of these although the information sheet only listed 3. Anyway, that means I can make two pairs of earrings with them. Or, they could be used as bracelet charms. I like that they add a wintry touch without screaming that they’re snowflakes (I tend to prefer more geometrical designs and less in the way of representation of actual objects but that’s just me).
1 Resin Cabochon, 18mm
This might work well in a design with the rest of the labradorite. The coloring here captures some of the labradorescence (yes that’s what it’s called) of the gemstones. It’s a good size for the central element of a bracelet or you could make a seed bead bezel and include it as part of a pendant.
9g Silky Beads
Here is another shaped/multi-hole bead. Silky beads have holes running parallel to the diagonal axis of the bead (as opposed to tile beads where the holes are parallel to the sides). These are the standard silky beads so they have a raised element in the middle but you can also find flat ones or ones with a star/cross in the middle. This is a nice copper color that will work well with my stash.
10 Czech Leaf Drops
I really need to start thinking about how to use leaf beads — I have so many. They can be good at the end of seed bead fringe so that is one possibility. I like the purple striping in these.
5g Flower Cups
There really aren’t a lot of patterns calling for these, but I find them to be really good in strung designs. You can make a pretty good flower dangle by just putting one on a headpin, or for a little fun, you can use a ball-tipped headpin or a yellow seed bead for a flower center. These can be a good alternative to a center-drilled teardrop as earring dangles, as well.
Here is this month’s project:
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 loved the warm neutrals and purples this month and I had fun working with the tubelet beads. I’m always happy to get more multi-hole beads for my stash and I’ve got some great ideas for some of the items that weren’t part of the pattern project. This was a pretty good month for me!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll most likely receive the February box.
Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.62 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 January 2021 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?