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PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – January 2021

Ragan Buckley
ByRagan BuckleyJan 31, 2021 | 13 comments

PotomacBeads Best Bead Box
4 overall rating
1 Ratings | 1 Reviews

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.

Cup Button

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).

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 January 2021 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?

The PotomacBeads Best Bead Box subscription includes a curated selection of 1 paper pattern/project that you can create with the supplies included in the box, all of the beads/findings you will need to make the included project, and an additional selection of new/inspiring beads from around the worl... read more.
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).

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).
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13 comments

Sara

Hi Ragan! I always enjoy your reviews and creations. I am just getting started in jewelry making. I noticed in another review that you mentioned that Swarovski is exiting the DIY market. As a new beader, are there any Swarovski beads you would suggest stocking up on (I understand this is subjective, but would like to know the types/colors you chose to stock up on). Thank you!

Ragan Buckley

I am stocking up on lots, mostly things that would be used in beadweaving patterns. 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, and 6mm bicones, rounds, and pearls in whatever colors I happen to like at the time, 12mm, 14mm, 16mm, and 18mm rivolis, and lately some rose montees and cushion fancy stones. Don’t ask me how much I’ve spent because I don’t want to add it up.

If you want the most common items for patterns I’d say 4mm pearls or 4mm bicones or 14mm rivolis.

If you’re not sure what you will use you can probably wait, I expect a lot of smaller sellers (like on Etsy) will have some available for awhile after the big Swarovski exit from the market.

Alternatively, Potomac has a line of crystals, Preciosa is expanding production of their line (lots of fancy finishes but not so many colors as Swarovski), Matubo makes good rivolis in many interesting colors, and other brands are making inroads into the market in anticipation of increased sales later in the year. Fire Mountain has a line of Chinese crystal and they say they’re introducing a line of European crystal as well.

Sara

Thank you, Ragan! That was so kind of you. I will add these to my list!

Nancy Guggemos

I get so excited when I open my new bead box every month. Seeing the new beads, kits, and patterns I get started right away. I have learned new challenges in my beading skills. I use the videos on the patterns if I get stuck. I hope you will enjoy your bead box as much as I do.

Cecilia

Lauren LaPlume
Shame on you for being so rude and incredibly demeaning.
The very point of a subscription box like this, is to help people discover and develop their creativity. You seem very desperate
(Even a non creative, artistic pretender like myself utilizes spell check) to show how common and beneath you this is.
Please share with us the artistic creations of a person with such jewelry experience as yourself, that just couldn’t posssibly come from a box such as this.

Alice

Agree. I was shocked at the crude post. Boorish.

Jennifer

Pretty, I love those deep purple and rust shades some of the beads have. The czech glass beads are also stunning.

I don’t need myself, but my sister used to, and I loved helping her pick out beads and watching her work. Anytime I tried to make a piece with her mine would either tangle up halfway or break within days – fun times, but not my talent.

I love the vintage vibe of your bracelet, it’s lovely.

Lauren LaPlume

This is perfect when you’re not a creative person but are so desprate, you’ll pay an overpirced subscription just to pretend to be artistic.

Seriously the quality just from the pictures looks terrible. Only people with no jewelry experience would ever purchase this!

Shame on you for scamming the gullible.

CubanArch

Holly cow lady! Are you having a bad day?

“Remember to post with kindness and respect. Comments with offensive language, cruelness to others, etc will not be approved.”

Amy in KC

Wow! How rude. If you’ve read any of Ragan’s reviews, no matter what box, you will notice she is very thorough and honest about quality and performance.

Cecilia Zukowski

Shame on you for being so rude and incredibly demeaning.
The very point of a subscription box like this, is to help people discover and develop their creativity. You seem very desperate
(Even a non creative, artistic pretender like myself utilizes spell check) to show how common and beneath you this is.
Please share with us the artistic creations of a person with such jewelry experience as yourself, that just couldn’t posssibly come from a box such as this.

Ragan Buckley

Thanks for reading. I’ve actually been making jewelry since the 1990s and I spend more on beads than I care to admit here, so I am pretty familiar with retail pricing on these items — you are paying quite a bit less than if you purchased them individually. Perhaps beading subscription boxes are not for you, but this one is pretty popular and there are a lot of people who like it.

Alice

Your bracelet looks great! Thank you for the information regarding it running a little on the long side. I have small wrists, too. I’ll adjust my side tubelets.

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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.