Overall, my pandemic experience has been a privileged one. Until I got the second dose of the vaccine a few weeks ago, I basically didn’t leave my house. While I know is not a choice everyone has the luxury to make, and I am very grateful that I can, it also has been hard to deal with the isolation and sameness of every day at times. One consistent source of happiness and excitement has been getting packages in the mail. So, over this last year I subscribed to a few different subscription boxes. One of my favorites has been the subscription craft box from The Crafter’s Box.
Each month the box contains a kit with the materials for a different type of craft or art project. Each box also comes with access to an online video workshop. In this review I’ll share my experience with The Crafter’s Box in detail. This includes my opinions on the kits I’ve received so far, what I’ve learned about the company, and my experiences with their customer service. I hope that this review will help you figure out if The Crafter’s Box is the best subscription craft box for you!
This post was updated December 2021 to reflect changes in the subscription model and add new kit reviews.
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Finding The Crafter’s Box
I first learned about monthly craft subscription box from The Crafter’s Box when the companies adds started showing up in my Instagram feed. As a serial hobbiest, I loved the concept of getting to work with a new artist in a new medium each month. And I’ve tried a lot of different online craft classes. I’ve also seen a lot of subscription boxes for crafters advertised, but was hesitant to try them out. It was the brand aesthetic that made The Crafter’s Box impossible to resist. The colors in the kits were sophisticated and muted while the website was minimalist in black and white. Simple, natural materials were used in the supplies and tools. And the highlighted artists seemed cool and diverse in more ways than one.
About the Company
The Crafter’s Box was started in 2015 by Morgan Spenla while on maternity leave after having her third child. She had been working in enterprise software and marketing and wanted to take a new path.
There aren’t any official statement on their website about diversity, ethics, and sustainability. This is disappointing, but I don’t consider it to be a dealbreaker. Especially because their business practices do seem to be headed in the right direction. Women of color have been the featured artists about 50% of the time since I started subscribing. Given how white a lot of the crafting world can seem at times, this is a great start. The subscription box model allows The Crafter’s Box to source some of its supplies from small, local companies. Since most subscription boxes for crafters have little information on where and how they source their supplies, this stood out to me. And according to an interview with the founder, this is intentional.
What remains to be seen is if the company stays true to its roots going forward. Based on a 2020 demo video the founder of The Crafter’s Box has big plans for the company. These plans, require taking on investors, which honestly makes me a little nervous after watching the Craftsy/BluPrint debacle that has been unfolding the last few years. However, if Spenla can make her larger vision come true the results could be great for the crafting world.
The Subscription Box
The Crafter’s Box is currently online only, and there are two options for shopping: the subscription craft box and an a la carte marketplace. New subscribers can choose between six different box options. As of now, each subscription craft box costs between 54$ and 65$ depending on how far in advance you pay. The best deal per-box requires you to buy 12 boxes at once. They’ve also recently added new options for how frequently you get a box. Now you can choose monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. So, if you’ve been worried that a monthly box is too much of a time commitment, the bi-monthly or quarterly options might be best for you. I’ve been signed up at the monthly level and pay 65$ per box.
Each of these subscription boxes for crafters includes the supplies and tools need to make the monthly craft as well as access to a video tutorial. Each month there’s also a podcast with a Q and A with the artist who designed the craft, which is available to anyone, though only subscribers are able to ask questions. For an extra fee, a range of add on items are available too. These aren’t essential to completing the monthly project but are a complement or extension to the monthly box. Some are additional materials and others are supporting items or tools. They vary in price, but ship for free with that month’s kit. One month there was an option to change the color and upgrade the quality of one item in the box, though materials swaps like that are unusual.
As a subscriber, you have until the 8th of the month to either skip that month’s box or swap it out for another. Skipping a box is easy and can be done from the member’s portal. If you want to switch to a different box, you’re given the option of four past boxes to choose from. It’s unclear how they determine which boxes to offer, but I’m assuming it has some relation to their supply levels.
Options in the marketplace include past subscription boxes, additional materials and supplies, and premium kits. The price of past kits varies, but is usually between 75$ and 85$. Marketplace orders are shipped immediately, providing the item is in stock. The biggest downside of shopping the marketplace is that the kits frequently sell out. However, you can sign up to be notified of restocking.
Martials kits and additional supplies are available for many of the kits. These all come with a warning that they’re intended to supplement specific workshops, meaning that no additional instructions or tools are included. If you’re already familiar with a craft these might be appealing, otherwise they’re best thought of as extensions to the workshops. These also frequently sell out.
Premium kits are full video workshops with materials kits that are at a higher price point than the subscription box kits. This ranges from 125$ for a paper flower kit to a rigid heddle weaving class that can be over 500$ if you select the biggest size loom (note: I have been stalking this course for a year now but haven’t made the investment yet). The video workshops alone are also available, usually for 45$. These courses include subjects like stained glass, that just require too many tools and supplies to fit within the constraints of the normal kits.
In the months I’ve been a member of The Crafter’s Box I’ve only had to contact customer service once. Usually, boxes are shipped in the 3rd week of the month. So, when I realized we were well into February and my January box still hadn’t shipped I tracked down the customer service form and sent an email.
Someone got back to me the next day and said my kit would be sent out that day. True to their word, my box was scanned into the shipping companies’ system within 24 hours. Then, a few hours later I got another shipping notification. Apparently, an accessory I had added on wasn’t put into the box and it was shipped separately. Both packages arrived a few days later.
So, I can say with confidence that if you do have any issues, that customer service will fix things in a timely manner and without a lot of fuss.
Using the Subscription Craft Kits
One of the primary things at attracted me to The Crafter’s Box was the aesthetics of the kits. The colors are sophisticated and well chosen. And recently, they’ve started allowing for more color options each month. There’s a natural, almost minimalist vibe to the photography that gave off a vibe I was very much into. Bright colors were used sparingly, and nothing was too cutesy. Nothing looked plastic and there wasn’t a glue gun in sight. The finished projects looked like things I’d like to have in my home.
Watching the Craft Box Instruction Videos
One of the most important parts of any The Crafter’s Box kits is the instructional experience. While I’ve never found it hard to follow the instructions for any of the courses, I’m not totally happy with the way they’re presented. The videos are uploaded onto the site as one single video. Most are about one hour, but more complicated workshops are over 2 hours.
This means that you’ll need to make note of the timestamp for any part of the video you want to come back to. Additionally, the platform does not remember where you were in the video, so if you do part of the project and come back a few days later you’ll lose your spot. It would be great if the videos could be broken up into 5-20 minute segments to make them easier to navigate. At the very least, I’d at least like list that has the time stamps of important parts.
Time to Complete Each Box
The amount of time it takes to complete each subscription craft box varies widely. It has taken me anywhere from 4hours to six months to complete a single monthly craft kit. Personally, the kits I’ve enjoyed most are those that take longer, primarily because I find they teach more skills. However, this does mean that I frequently don’t finish that months kit before the next one is released.
Honestly though, I don’t mind this. I currently have two unstarted kits and one that is half finished. So, I’ve gotten pickier about which kits I accept and which I skip. The Crafter’s Box makes it really easy to skip a month. So, as long as I decide before the 8th of each month I only get charged for things I want.
Subscription Box Reviews
My opinion of the various subscription craft boxes I’ve gotten from The Crafter’s Box over the last several months has been mostly good, though I liked some more than others. Some I thought were great values, like the Cozy Cable Knit Socks. Others, I didn’t connect with as much, but I think would be great for someone else. I’ve got reviews of the specific kits below, but my general advice would be to try out a few and judges for yourself.
Tiled Block Print with Gradation Kit with Mindy Schumacher
I started my subscription with the September 2020 box: The Tiled Block Print with Gradation lead by Mindy Schumacher. This was a great kit! I was able to learn a new skill I hadn’t been exposed to before and ended up with a cute accessory. You can read my full review here.
Macrame Landscape Kit with Rachel Breuklander
I had mixed feelings about the Macrame Landscape Kit. One of the reasons I do kits, as opposed to self-planned projects, is that I like to learn a lot of new techniques. Kits help me focus on the learning aspect rather than the design aspect of a given project. This macrame project primarily involved repeating the same knot over and over again. So, I don’t feel like I learned a lot.
However, while I received this kit in October, I didn’t get around to making it until November. The repetitive knotting was exactly what I needed when I was waiting to hear the 2020 election results. I honestly don’t know how I would’ve gotten through those days without it.
The end result was pretty cute, but since I didn’t have a great place for it I ended up giving it to my sister.
Cozy Cable Knit Socks Kit with Ksenia Naidyon
The Cozy Cable Knit Sock Kit is probably my favorite kit. It took me months to finish, but in that time I was able to go from a beginner knitter (I’d done about three projects) to a solid intermediate. I made a lot of mistakes and had to redo sections more than once, but between the video and the written instructions I never felt overwhelmed.
In the time since I’ve finished this box, I’ve found myself frequently using the tools that came with it. The double ended stitch saver and the cable hooks have helped me on many projects.
I was so glad that I upgraded this kit to get the hand-dyed merino wool (bronze color-way) because I did end up spending so much time on this project. Also, the two pairs of socks I finished before the weather got warm have held up pretty well to use! If you’re looking for a project that will teach you a lot and give you a lot of crafting-hours for you money, I cannot recommend this kit enough.
Inked Forest Illustration Workshop With Peggy Dean
The Inked Forest Illustration Kit is the exact opposite of the sock kit reviewed above in a number of ways. Where the sock kit took me months, this was finished in a few hours. And while I felt like I learned a ton from the sock kit, this one was a bit light on technique. If you’ve never worked with watercolors at all, this is a good introduction and
The other issue I had with this kit was the supplies. I loved the brushes that were chosen, the color of the paint, and the white ink. But the washi tape did a terrible job keeping my paper in place. Also, I felt like this kit was rather skimpy on the paper. At this price point, I expect a small watercolor paper journal or at least a few extra sheets for playing around with.
Botanical Woodland Embroidery Kit With Katie Martin
I loved the Botanical Woodland Embroidery kit a lot more than I though I would. I’ve been getting more and more into embroidery lately, and I didn’t think this kit would have a lot to teach me. However, I was pushed to try techniques and embroider in ways I wouldn’t have on my own and it was great. I also loved seeing the colors Katie picked and how they all worked together.
I also really liked the supplies chosen for this kit. Embroidery projects usually don’t need 65$ worth of materials, but this kit had extra fabric, a nice pair of snips, and a frame from Modern Hoopla.
Basket Weaving Workshop With Anne Weil
I wasn’t feeling the official February box, so I decided to try out the replacement option here. I’d had my eyes on this basket making kit from Anne Weil because I loved the mini-loom and coster kit I bought from her a while back.
This kit makes two baskets: a braided coil basket and a crochet coil basket. So far I’ve only finished the first. That part of the project was fun and easy to do. It took me the better part of a weekend and I ended up with a basic understanding of braided basket construction and a useful object! I’m very much looking forward to finishing the project when I have a chance
Drop-spindle Kit with Lauren McElroy
I finally got around to starting my drop spindle kit a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it! The craft is easy to pick up and relaxing. It helps that McElroy is a great teacher. And the video workshop includes some bonus content on how to blend fibers using a blending board if you want to splurge on the upgrade.
The kit has plenty of wool. So far I’ve used about 3/4 of what was provided and filled four spindles worth of singles. This kit definitely provides a lot of crafting time, which is always a positive in my book. It also allows for your skills to improve. My third and fourth spindles are significantly finer and more consistent then my first two.
The one issue I did have is that one of my drop spindles arrived damaged (the top was loose) and I didn’t realized it wasn’t suppose to be that way until I had almost filled the spindle. The resulting single was uneven (you can see it on the right) but still totally usable. After I took the spun wool off I was able to repair the damaged spindle with a drop of super glue, so all is right in my spinning world again.
Overall, this is one of my favorite kits. And if you’re at all interested in spinning, it’s a nice way to get started.
Handmade Paper Kit with Ray Samuels
Yet another kit I haven’t made yet, but handmade paper was definitely on my crafting bucket list. I am super excited about it though! The rose petals they included to mix in are very much my style. I’m also considering adding in some bits of linen and cotton yarn I have leftover from other projects…
Broom Making with Alyssa Blackwell
I have to admit that I actually skipped a few boxes because of my backlog, but I couldn’t resist this broom making kit. I’d never seen a kit for this particular craft before and my desire to know how to do all the things took full control. This particular kit, however, is going to be sitting around until the weather warms up bit. The broom corn is a bit too messy to do in my carpeted craft room. But the video tutorial makes it looks super approachable and there appears to be enough materials to make more than one broom, so I may invite a friend or two to join me!
Frame Weaving with Lindsey Campbell
This frame weaving kit was honestly a delight to make. It took me a few tries to really get the hang of it, but once I found my rhythm it was fun and relaxing to work on. Campbell is a great teacher and the video workshop guides you through step-by-step.
The whole thing took me about six hours to do, so it makes great weekend project. This would make a great project for someone who’s trying to understand the basics of following a weaving pattern because the thick yarn lets you create a pattern quickly. And I like that the technique can have practical applications, like repairing the seat of a chair.
Locker Hooking with Lindsey Campbell
This locker hooking kit is another kit that I took as a replacement for the monthly box. I always skip or subsititue when the craft is an ornament, but I don’t mind doing it. It a great chance to catch up on boxes that I’ve missed!
I started watching the workshop video this week and this looks like another relatively quick project. I really like that the craft is something I can easily put down and pick up later. And I also think I’ll get a lot of use out of the finished project. I mean, who doesn’t need some trivets in their life!
Hand-Stitched Applique with Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin and The School of Making
I’m very excited about the upcoming kit for December. I’ve come across Chanin before in my crafting journey, but I’ve always wanted to get my hands on the actual materials that she uses in the school of making. So this was definitely a kit I don’t want to miss. I’ll let you know how it goes once it arrives. If you’re interested the only way to get it right now is to join.
So, would I recommend The Crafter’s Box? Yes, definitely. Overall, I’ve enjoyed each of the subscription craft kits I’ve received and learned a lot. While I haven’t completely loved every single kit I’ve gotten, they all delivered what was promised: a completely self-contained crafting experience with high quality materials and instruction. I also find myself actually using a lot of the things I’ve made in my daily life. And some of the tools have come in handy fo other projects. Most important, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about what sort of crafts I enjoy by having a subscription.
Ps. New members can get 25% off their first box with code GETCREATIVE (through 12/31/21). Click to join!
Have you tried The Crafter’s Box or another subscription craft kit? Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram!