A couple of weeks ago, I went to a fantastic craft weekend at the Ace Hotel presented by Karen Kimmel of Kimmel Kids and several other Los Angeles area artists. One of the workshops I most looked forward to was this one on paperclip necklaces. These are incredibly easy, and I think they look super cool. To make them, you need a whole bunch of paperclips, a pair of scissors and vinyl masking tape, which you can buy online here. Each roll is about $2.50 and they have a great assortment of colors. If you intend to make shorter choker-length necklace or bracelets, you will also need a set of jewelry pliers, some large jump rings and clasps.
To make the necklaces, start by cutting approximately 2 inch pieces of tape, and sticking them around the edge of a bowl, tray or plate. (I actually decided after a while that it worked better to stick a long piece to my lap, and cut pieces as I went, so you can do that too!) Wrap your first paperclip by placing the paperclip off-centered on the tape. Roll the short end around, line up the edges and make contact - sticky side to sticky side. Then roll the longer end around the paperclip. Hook your next paperclip onto the first one and wrap the same way. It doesn't work very well to make your design and then wrap it - the paperclips flop around a bit too much, but of course you could play with designs and then take them apart and wrap them. You can do some pretty elaborate things by interlocking them - check out a couple of really cool examples here.
To attach the jump rings and clasps - just bend the rings open side to side like a door, and slide the paperclip ends onto them, then close. This helps keep them from opening up and letting the clips slide off. If you purchase these things at a bead shop you can have the staff show you how to use them. I predict you'll be bitten by the jewelry bug in no time. :)
The paperclip wrapping can get a little tedious after a while, but it's very medatitive, and something you could easily do sitting around with a group of girlfriends. In fact - I think a paperclip necklace party sounds like a fine idea!