More subscription boxes, more fun

Another round of great gift-giving ideas for the jewelry maker in your life. 
IMG_7482
a sampling of the goodies found in the boxes in this review.

For our second look at bead subscription boxes, we wanted to mention a few things to keep in mind as you try to sort through all these amazing options available. To start with, what does the beader in your life actually like to MAKE? Do they work exclusively with patterns and work with a needle and thread, doing bead embroidery or working in peyote or herringbone or right-angle weave? If so, then seek out the boxes that have a heavier assortment of seed beads. Is your beader a sparkly soul? 'Cause crystals and fire-polished Czech glass will always be welcomed by that lucky gift recipient.

Maybe the person on your list has always wanted to get started in jewelry making but doesn't want to make a huge investment. Then look at the boxes that have a theme, and provide components in good color schemes and include findings so that a finished piece of jewelry is possible with just one box. Does your maker shop at the thrift store and spiff things up with random finds? If so, then your choice is easy!

For me, the thrill came from the unknown: what magical bits and bobs would I find when that box arrived in the mail? What theme would spark my imagination this time around? If anyone would like to add me to their holiday shopping list this year, well, I would like one of each, please!

Be sure to check out Part One of our roundup of Subscription Bead Boxes, too, where we look at boxes from Beads of the Month Club, Bead Trove and Vintage Bead Box.

BEST BOX FOR THE BEADER WHO JUST WANTS TO JUMP RIGHT IN AND MAKE JEWELRY

BARGAIN BEAD BOX  www.BargainBeadBox.com 

Bargain Bead Box was a favorite of many of the staff, because it offered such a wide assortment of items, while still keeping to a general theme. They ship in a teal mailer, and make a note of saying that they’d rather send extra beads than cardboard. We reviewed the September box, the Copper Forest Collection.

Bead Box bargains 2_800

COST:  $15.95 per month

SHIPPING: Free in the US, $7.50 to Canada.

CAN YOU CANCEL? Yes, at any time.

GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE? Yes, several different options.

RETURNS ACCEPTED? No.

PAST KITS AVAILABLE? Yes, while supplies last, and can you usually get more of individual components on their sister website.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Yes, Facebook.

Their site advertises that the box that you will receive “can include glass, gemstone, crystal, and/or metal beads as well as findings and pendants” and we got all that and more! There was everything from seed beads to focal pieces, crystals to gemstones, and TONS of findings. Neatly packaged in three groupings, Bag One contained Harvest Findings: clasps, charms (including some darling owls), bead caps, and more, all in the same color. Bag Two was Pumpkin Patch: handmade lampwork pumpkins were the star here but there were also peach rhinestones and feather charms and round lampwork beads with glow-in-the-dark specks. Bag Three was Autumn Foliage: six types of beads in green and orange palettes, plus five feet of chain in the same color as the findings. Honestly, all that was missing was headpins and a pliers. You could make several pieces of jewelry from all that was included. 

Bead Box Bargains

The Bargain Bead Box has Design Galleries on Facebook featuring user-submitted photos of jewelry designed with the contents of each months’ box. It is super fascinating to see the variety of different styles of jewelry all made from the same basic components. When you post the photos of your creation, you’re entered into a monthly drawing to win a $25 gift card to spend on the company’s sister site, Bead Box Bargains, and you’ll also receive coupons.

 

BEST BOX FOR THE BEADER WHO DREAMS IN COLOR

BEAD CRATE    www.BeadCrate.com

Bead Crate offers three different sizes of boxes: The Hobbyist, The Enthusiast and The Collector. Each offers a different quantity of beads at three different price points. The Box that we reviewed was a Collector (the largest).  This box had a theme, and of all the lovely aspects of this box, the thoughtful color palette is was what all of our reviewers remembered days after opening the box. 

Bead Crate 1_800

This box itself was quite inviting, featuring lovely packaging (in a sturdy cardboard box great for storing little bits and things!) that is clearly made with care. The box included a list of exactly what beads you are receiving, to serve as an aid in sourcing more. The flip side of that list features a lovely story about taking a walk up a secluded Mountain Trail (the theme of the box!) that did it’s job: it sparked my imagination, giving the assortment of components a through-line that I know will make my designing flow nicely. 

bead crate 2_800

COST: On a monthly basis, the boxes are $7.99/$15.99/$35.00. But if you prepay a subscription in 3-month, 6-month or 12-month increments, the per-month cost goes down.

SHIPPING: Yes, cost varies depending on zip code.

CAN YOU CANCEL? Yes, and they also offer a “Skip-A-Month” feature.

ARE GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE? Yes, at several price points.

RETURNS ACCEPTED? No.

PAST KITS AVAILABLE? No.

SOCIAL MEDIA: 

In the nice green satin bag, we found 19 different kinds of beads and findings in various quantities. The tree agate briolettes were my favorite, I would love to fashion a pair of earrings from them ASAP, but equally lovely were the azurite rounded squares, some Luster ½ coat mix Czech glass, five rhyolite rondelles and many other goodies. There was some suede and braided cotton cord in good colors to match some other beads, which was a great touch, and some darling glass ladybugs. The beads were a nice mix of sizes, ranging from a Toho bugle #1 up to a 20mm gemstone. There were even two Tierra Cast Antiques brass buttons in a leaf pattern, to bring the entire Mountain Trail theme together.

Bead Crate has an Etsy shop where they sell their “Destash,” so if you love something you get in a box, you may find more there if available. 

 

 

BEST BOX FOR THE BEADER WHO REALLY, REALLY LOVES A THEME

BLUEBERRY COVE BEADS  www.blueberrycovebeads.com

We reviewed a few boxes that have a new theme each month, but the boxes sent to us from Blueberry Cove really take an inspirational idea and run with it! They graciously sent us two different boxes to check out: their Birds box from August 2016 and their Abstract Colour box from December 2015. Each came with a lovely postcard with a full-color image on the front and an explanation of the theme on the back. In addition, the card outlines that month's Challenge: Use bronze birds to make a necklace, or make a necklace using at least three different beads from the Abstract box. Subscribers are encouraged to share their design on social media by the 15th of the following month for a chance to win their next box free. 

Blueberry Cove 2

The beads arrived in a nice cardboard mailer and included a black silk bag with a lovely wooden laser-cut tag.  Any loose components were neatly packaged in small cellophane bags. The quantities were generous; each box included more than enough to make a necklace and several pair of earrings; perhaps more if you supplement from your own stash. No findings were included so you’d need your own beading wire, ear wires, head pins, etc. 

Blueberry Cove's website, in addition to showing the contents of past boxes (several of which I would like to order!), also has a gallery of tutorials using components from past boxes. The ideas for finished jewelry were very creative and quite lovely. 

Blueberry Cove 1

COST: $22.00 per month (US dollars)

SHIPPING: These boxes originate in Canada. Shipping is $3.50 within Canada, $5.00 to the US or $8.50 internationally (US dollars).

CAN YOU CANCEL? Yes, at any time.

GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE? Yes, in 3-month, 6-month or 12-month increments.

RETURNS ACCEPTED? Only if merchandise is defective.

PAST KITS AVAILABLE? Yes, while supplies last.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Yes, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can tell from the images of past boxes that an inordinate amount of care and creativity goes into the selection of the contents of these boxes.  Some of the beads and charms were fairly common but there were also inclusions that I have never seen before (maybe because they are Canadian?). In the Bird box, there were SO MANY birds: birds took flight in the form of ceramic and plastic beads, six different base metal charms, two larger connector components, a pair of neat Mother-of-Pearl focal pieces with birds in nests printed on them, and even some beads that looked just like eggs. Personally, I loved it, but should you get that box and not be a fan of the theme... well, I'm sure you'll find a friend to trade with who will love taking some of these feathery components off your hands. 

BEST BOX FOR THE BEADER ON A BUDGET

DOLLAR BEAD BOX   www.dollarbeadbox.com

Dollar Bead Box sent us samples of two different types of subscriptions: their Bead “Box” and their Bead “Bag.” The Bead Bag is super straightforward: 8 strands of Czech Fire Polish beads per month, four strands of 3mm and four strands of 4mm. You can order more for $1 per strand. The strands we received were a lovely mix of colors, from Light Aqua AB to Matte Green Marea to Metallic Dark Bronze. We can’t wait to match them to a pattern!

Dollar Bead Box 2

The Bead Box also offers the opportunity to purchase extra materials for $1 each. The assortment of components in the box was somewhat random, so you may need to purchase more to complete a larger project. We received six strands of interesting beads, including two-hole lentils, 2-hole square and some pretty rose gold luster Pips. There were small quantities of several other beads, great for earrings or focal pieces. This box also included some findings, a few toggles, some chandelier earrings and metal spacer beads, which was a nice touch.

Dollar Bead Box 3

COST:  $8.00 per month for the Dollar Bead Bag; $19.95 per month for the Dollar Bead Box.

SHIPPING: $4.50 for one box; shipping free if you sign up for longer subscriptions.

CAN YOU CANCEL? Yes, at any time.

GIFT SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE? Not on the website, but email or call.  

RETURNS ACCEPTED? No.

PAST KITS AVAILABLE? Sort of: each component available separately while supplies last.  

SOCIAL MEDIA: Yes, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. 

The beads were shipped in a nice cardboard box--a great size for repurposing as storage later—and a list that tells you exactly what you’ve received.  The company posts an “unboxing” video on their Facebook page every month, so all subscribers can join in the fun!

If you recommend Dollar Bead Box to your friends, you can receive one free month for every two friends who order a subscription. 

FIND MORE: beads , buttons , findings , crystals , cabochon

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