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 March 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 "Painted Desert."
If you are thinking: this review is really late, you’d be right, but I promise it’s not my fault, nor the fault of PotomacBeads. In this instance, blame rests squarely with the US Postal Service. PotomacBeads shipped this on time (so, early March). The box made it to the correct sorting center (North Metro Atlanta) on time. Then it got put on a truck to the wrong town on the other side of metro Atlanta. Then it got sent back to the correct sorting center. The next time I checked tracking, it was in MIAMI. Then it went to Opa Locka, FL, and then West Palm Beach, so I guess it was taking a leisurely trip back up the Eastern coast of Florida. Then it made it back to the correct sorting center again, eventually to my post office, and then finally out with my mail carrier and to me. The whole process took more than three weeks!
On to the items!
1 Painted Desert Necklace Pattern
With this version of the subscription, you’ll always get one printed pattern (I don’t show the inside for intellectual property reasons). This month’s pattern was super easy for me, it was basically just embellished right angle weave. After I figured out what they wanted, I didn’t need to look at the instructions any further, which really sped things up. I’m always happy with patterns that are really intuitive for me like that.
4g Toho Seed Beads, 15/0
You’ll always receive the items you need to complete the pattern. This month’s project required two sizes of seed beads. There’s not a lot to be said about seed beads. You’ll usually get Miyuki but here we got Toho, which are also fine. (Miyuki and Toho are slightly different widths and aren’t always interchangeable for patterns. But both are high quality, precision made Japanese seed bead brands.
7g Toho Seed Beads, 11/0
Here are the other seed beads, also Toho. I was a bit worried that the pattern would take me all day when I saw two sizes of seed beads, but it worked up pretty quickly. It undoubtedly helped that I could understand from about one picture what was required to complete this necklace- that doesn’t always happen. This color will be useful for some other projects as well.
5g Czech Glass Faceted Rounds, 4mm
To complete the pattern, you also need a lot of different 4mm rounds. The first set includes faceted rounds. There were several options for actually using the 4mm rounds, but I went with something symmetrical and non-random, so a lot of these fire-polished rounds ended up getting used, and I don’t have too many left.
4g Czech Glass Smooth Rounds, 4mm
You also needed two different colors of smooth rounds. Here’s the first one. This gold color is sort of sandy and works nicely in the overall “painted desert” theme.
4g Czech Glass Smooth Rounds, 4mm
Here’s the other color of smooth round (or druk). This turquoise glass color goes really well with the orange of the firepolished rounds and the gold, as well.
6g Gemstone Round Beads, 4mm
Here’s our last type of 4mm rounds. These are mixed gemstones. There was an option to use these in the beadweaving part (see the diamond shapes in the necklace below), but I opted to just use them for the stringing part of the necklace. The nice thing is, even provided with the same set of beads, because of the options for completing the diamonds and the inclusion of these gemstones, you can endup with some very different necklaces using the same materials, if you so choose.
1 Gold Plated Lobster Claw Clasp
Here’s the clasp for our necklace. You only get the lobster claw side because you make a seed beaded loop to hook it to.
1 Antique Brass Oval Clasp
Now we are into the materials that don’t go with the project (i.e., “for your stash”). I like that this subscription includes both types of items. I have not used a clasp like this before, but I like it and have plenty of matching findings. I feel like this is big enough and heavy enough to do something really bold with it, I just have to think of what.
1 Silk Tassel, 7cm
Here is a tassel in a color that works nicely with the theme and colors this month. I’ve received a few tassels in this box before and they are always great quality. This one is no exception.
50 Potomac Crystal Rounds, 4mm
We also received some crystal rounds this month, in two different colors. PotomacBeads has had their own line of crystals for awhile, made in either China or the Czech Republic (that is, some items are made in one country and some in the other, and I don’t know which is the case for these, in particular). Anyway, as you have already seen with this month’s pattern, 4mm rounds are useful, and it’s nice to get these in a subscription box because rounds cost a lot more than bicones for every brand you come across.
Quadbows are 4-holed beads and are a Potomac exclusive shape. These are a relatively recent introduction but if you sign up for the PotomacBeads email list, you’ll get regular suggestions on what to do with them (they post a lot of videos and tutorials). I don’t know if I have this color in my stash already or not (if you could see my stash, you would understand why), but it should match quite a bit of other beads for earrings or a pendant.
2 Potomax AVA Beads
Potomax beads are metal versions of popular Potomac exclusive shapes (AVA, EVA, discduo, stormduo, etc.). It is fun to substitute a few beads in a pattern with these for a different look. This is another one where it’s entirely possible I already have some of these in my stash but I’m not sure (I mean I know I have some metal AVAs, I just don’t know if they’re this color). If I don’t have more of these in this color I may place an order for a few more.
36 Potomac Crystal Ingots, 4x8mm
Here is another Potomac crystal. I like these ingots for ladder-type stitches and right angle weave – just use some heavy-duty Fireline or Wildfire beading thread as I find the edges of the holes to be a little abrasive. Or you could always add them to wire, headpins, or eyepins, instead of doing beadweaving.
50 Potomac Crystal Rounds, 4mm
Here’s a second shade of PotomacBeads Crystal rounds. Yes, there were a lot of 4mm beads this time. But. That is honestly one of, if not *the* most useful size to have if you do a lot of beadweaving from patterns.
1 Glass Cabochon, 20mm
You’ll often get a glass cabochon in this box. I happen to love the color scheme in this one. (Sometimes you’ll get a setting, too, or you can always form a beaded bezel around it – there are enough seed beads in this month’s package to do that. I often go buy more of the same style after opening this box, so I guess it’s a good marketing tool.
7g Rounduo Beads
Here’s another Potomac exclusive shape; these are two-hole beads. Love the purple color. There were maybe a few more “shaped” beads this month (metal AVA, rounduo, quadbow) than we usually receive but I have an obsession with shaped beads since I discovered them and I’m always up for more.
3g Superduo Beads
This is the most popular shape for 2-hole beads. Pretty sure I do already have this color in my stash but this is some version of a red Picasso finish and I have always liked that finish, so I’ve bought a lot of it in nearly every style of bead in which it is offered. Always remember to check both holes of a 2-hole bead before using it in a pattern as the holes can sometimes be blocked as a result of application of the coatings and finishes.
Here is this month’s necklace. I opted for symmetry in the beadweaving part but I did not try to match up gemstones in the strung part. I like the way this looks and it was easy to complete, especially since I was already familiar with right angle weave:
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.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you'll most likely receive the April or May box.
Value Breakdown: At $25.99 per box, you are paying about $1.44 per item (I counted the pattern as an item since they do sell those). I really enjoyed this month’s Potomac Beads Best Bead Box. I had fun putting the necklace together from the pattern, I was happy with all the crystals and shaped beads, and some of the other supplies, like the tassel and the glass cabochon, had colors and color schemes that appealed to me a great deal.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of the March 2021 PotomacBeads Best Bead Box? Do you subscribe to any beading or craft boxes?