PotomacBeads Best Bead Box Review – February 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 $5.00 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 February 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. This month’s theme is “Love Affair.”
On to the items:
1 Rendezvous Necklace Pattern
This month’s necklace is a stringing project rather than a beadweaving project. I do tend to think of Potomac Beads as more of a beadweaving company, but they do sell a lot of stringing supplies as well. I like that they are changing up the project types. Anyway, this was pretty easy to complete although I will admit to not doing wrapped loops for every dangle, and just doing simple loops instead (I mean, I needed to finish before June…), but I think that works too.
4 Potomac Crystal Pear Drops, 18x13mm
You use three of these in this month’s project. Not sure what I will do with the fourth, or if I will just order some matching ones to go with it. You could make a minimalist sort of pendant by putting this on one of the headpinsand adding a chain or cord, I suppose, or use it as a drop under a more elaborate beaded pendant.
5g Miyuki Seed Beads, 11/0
These were used in this month’s project. However, metallic seed beads are just generally useful to have on hand, as they go with lots of colors. Also size 11/0 is probably the most commonly-used size.
5g Toho Seed Beads, 8/0
These were also used in this month’s project. It is a little unusual to get both Toho and Miyuki seed beads for the same project, but since this was a stringing project, the differences between brands are not as critical as with bead stitching.
4g Czech Glass Faceted Rounds, 4mm
Firepolished rounds are pretty common in bead subscription boxes, but that’s because they’re one of the most common bead types. They come in a huge array of colors and sizes, although these are a fairly basic pink so once I finished with all the ones I needed for this month’s project, I put the rest in my stash, where I have a lot of matching beads.
4g Czech Glass Faceted Rondelles, 3x5mm
These were also used in this month’s project. I am seeing a lot of these rondelles lately and I do really like them so I happy to find a use for them. Most of these got used up in the project.
10g Rose Quartz Rounds, 6mm
You’ll usually get one or two types of gemstone bead with this subscription. First up are these rose quartz rounds, some of which were used in this month’s project. I’ve always liked rose quartz (it’s one of the more affordable gemstones!) and I’ve been wearing a lot of pink lately (or I was before COVID and all-the-time sweatpants) so I’ll be able to make something that matches my wardrobe with the rest of these.
50 Silver Plated Headpins, 2”
Most of these were used in this month’s project, as well. You may want to keep your extras with an anti-tarnish strip because trying to remove tarnish may get rid of some of the plating as well. But as you can see, when they arrived, they were bright and shiny.
3 Feet Stainless Steel Beading Wire, 49 Strand
This was for the project as well. The higher the strand number, the more natural the draping is when you use it to make a necklace. I think 49 is the highest I’ve seen and it was pretty nice to work with.
Lobster Claw Clasp and Crimp Beads
Once again, these were for the project. You’ll always get all the findings you need to complete the project (you only ever need to supply beading thread and a needle, but this month’s project didn’t require those). Crimping pliers would be helpful, although chain nose or flatnose pliers can also be used to flatten the crimps.
6 Potomac Crystal Hearts, 10mm
Since this was a February box, there were a lot of Valentine’s Day-themed items in here. I’m not sure if I knew Potomac offered crystal hearts, but it’s good to know in case you are looking for a substitute for Swarovski. I like that these are on the smaller side, that makes them useful for earrings and other lightweight projects.
4g Miyuki Seed Beads, 6/0
I don’t know if these were selected with something in mind or not, but I think these and the 15/0 beads go nicely with the Czech glass hearts and amazonite (see below). So you can still make jewelry using heart motifs but without a pink color (if that’s your preference).
3g Miyuki Seed Beads, 15/0
Still more seed beads! I mean, you really can’t have too many seed beads. Plus, these are neutral and thus would be useful in a lot of different patterns and projects.
3g Ilos Par Puca Beads
I think these came out in either 2019 or 2020 (the entire last year has run together for me which doesn’t help me sort things out, timing-wise). You’ll typically get a couple of shaped beads per month and this is the first of those. I have some other Ilos beads but not in this particular color. I think I have some Ilos patterns, as well, somewhere on my hard drive…
1 Glass Cabochon, 20mm
You get a lot of glass cabochons in this subscription. Sometimes you will get a bezel pendant for them, sometimes not. You can also use them in bead embroidery. I think this one is pretty and has enough green in it that you don’t have to do something Valentine’s Day-related with it if you have other ideas in mind.
1g Potomac Crystal Rondelles, 1.5x2mm
These are pretty tiny, I didn’t even know Potomac offered any this small. They are also a good color for the size 6/0 and size 15/0 seed beads and the Czech glass heart beads (see below). They could be used to replace maybe a size 8/0 seed bead in a pattern for a little extra texture and visual interest.
2 Czech Glass Heart Beads
I happen to love red and pink, but I know not everyone does, and so it’s nice to see these in a different color (I actually already had a bunch of them in red in my stash). These are available in quite a lot of colors if you go looking.
2 Devoted Heart Crystal Pendants
Here is another shape of crystal I didn’t know Potomac offered. There is a Swarovski shape that’s basically the same so if you were looking for a substitute for the Swarovski one as they start selling out and you can’t get more, Potomac would be a great place to find them. These are small enough to use in earrings (I realize there isn’t any size context in the image).
4g Stormduo Beads
Here is another shaped bead, this time a Potomac exclusive, the Stormduo. I have bought a lot of patterns lately that make use of these so it will be pretty easy for me to come up with a project to use them in. I think they would look nice with some Aztec gold beads and maybe something cream-colored.
7g Brown Amazonite Round Beads, 4mm
These are called “brown amazonite” on the information sheet but I’d call them flower amazonite or black gold amazonite (I’m not entirely sure those are different things), it just sounds more appealing, you know? These are great for the secondary, teal/aqua/non-red-and-pink color scheme that’s going on with this box.
100 Potomac Crystal Rondelles, 2x3mm
Here are some slightly larger rondelles, and there are enough of them to do some beadweaving, if you are so inclined. I like the amount of sparkle here, as well the level of transparency. Some Potomac crystal is made in China and some in the Czech Republic; I don’t know where this specific item comes from, but if it is Chinese crystal, it is really good quality.
Here is this month’s project:
Really the only change I made was not doing wrapped loops after the first three pear crystals, because wrapped loops take me forever and they get frustrating (for me) fast. Your mileage may vary.
Here is the finished piece:
Verdict: I did not calculate a value for the PotomacBeads Best Bead Box because although they do sell many of the items in their shop, they are not always in the same quantities. This month was a little bit of a departure for Potomac Beads in that the project was a stringing project rather than a beadweaving project, but that’s kind of a nice departure from the norm. In general I think they do a good job of mixing it up with project types. There was an obvious Valentine’s Day theme with the pink and red, but I also noticed a teal and white secondary color theme, if you’re less of a fan of pink and red. There were a lot of items this month with multiple instances of crystal, shaped beads, gemstones, and seed beads, so I’m happy with the value as well.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll most likely receive the March box.
Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.23 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 February 2021 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?