Do you ever get tired of the same old boring paper clips? Do you have rubber bands coming out the ears but will never use them all in a million years? Have you got a container full of straight pins but you don’t even sew? Most of us can identify with at least one of the above scenarios, and if that’s true for you as well, you should know that there are many crafts you can make using these simple office supplies and notions.
Take paper clips, for example. For many of us life would be impossible without them. They’re so boring, though. Ordinary silver wire formed into the bended shape we all recognize. But wouldn’t it be much more exciting to use paper clips that have little monograms, pet shapes, glittery metal or similar embellishments? Well, if you’ve got buttons, beads and other craft items you can have a unique set of paper clips for your desk in no time.
Use bread ties, or other pieces of pliable wire, to create the cutest paper clips ever. It only takes a minute for each clip and there are a zillion different styles and designs you can create. Take a tiny metal button, thread the wire through, then wrap the wire around the rounded end of the paper clip. Instead of buttons you can use beads, charms or even tiny metal letters and numbers, meant for jewelry-making. Make sure the wire you wrap around the paper clip is pressed flat so that there’s no chance of the wire tearing papers or scraping fingers.
Little girls can make cute necklaces by using paper clips in silver or gold. Connect the paper clips together to form a long chain. Connect the final two clips to make a necklace that will easily fit over the girl’s head. Now cut strips of paper, slightly narrower than the length of the paper clip, from colored paper or even scrapbook paper. The strips should all be the same length and should be long enough to wrap around the paper clip three or four times. Spread glue on the back of each strip, then wrap one around each paper clip, centering it so that it’s evenly spaced on the clip. After the glue dries the little girl can wear the unique necklace for any occasion.
Got rubber bands? The colored ones are fabulous for covering ordinary items and making them look much different. Cover a bathroom tissue roll with colored bands and you’ve got a cute pencil holder for your desk. Cover a small cardboard box and you’ll have a matching organizer for markers, scissors, rulers and more. Use rubber bands on empty jars, cans, tins and more. Take a small Christmas tin, cover it with colored bands, and the tin is then an “anytime” tin.
Do something completely different with rubber bands by using them as markers for drinks. Whether you’re having a few friends over to watch the game and drink beer, or you’re having a kids’ party with canned sodas, the rubber bands will prevent drink mixups. Use colored or ordinary rubber bands, in a wide version, to make drink markers. An ordinary ink pen makes it easy to write messages, names or even jokes on the bands. If it’s an alcohol party the bands can say “still sober”, “social drinker”, “I’m plastered” or other quips. Make the say-so rubber bands and guests can wrap one around their drinks. Each person will then recognize his or her drink in the crowd.
There’s still another way that rubber bands can be helpful when it comes to cold drinks. When using glass or plastic glasses, wrap three or four wide rubber bands around each glass, and guests won’t get their hands wet every time they take a drink. Wherever the rubber bands are on the glass it will be dry. The bands prevent the glass from sweating in that area.
You can make beautiful and unique pictures for your walls by using straight pins to create the image. Start with a small slab of Styrofoam in the shape of a square, rectangle or other shape. Paint the Styrofoam the color you wish but make sure the paint you use is suitable. Some paints will melt the Styrofoam. Take a picture from a coloring book or other source and lay it on the Styrofoam. You can tape it in place to secure temporarily.
Pins with different colored heads are perfect for creating beautiful wall pictures. Push the pins in, through the picture, and through the Styrofoam. Use black ones to create the outline of the image. After you have everything outlined you can then remove the coloring book page. Rip it out then use tweezers to remove any pieces stuck between the pins. You can butt the pins together, side-by-side, or leave a small space between them. You can fill in all the areas with different colors of pins or you can leave the image as a mere outline. These pictures, whether colored in or just outlines, are great for baby’s rooms, kitchen, bedrooms and more. Put the finished wall hanging in a frame or just wrap the sides of the Styrofoam with wide ribbon. There are many different techniques to create your one-of-a-kind pin art.
Clip the ball itself off, from the ends of the straight pins, and you’ll have an assortment of tiny colored balls that allow you to make all sorts of unique designs on many different surfaces. Glue them around the edges of lampshades, picture frames, doll clothing, mirrors and more. Use all the same color or combine many different colors. It’s easy to clip the pin part off of the ball by using ordinary tin snips.
You can even make earrings from straight pins that have balls on the ends. Snip most of the pin away and leave just enough to go about halfway in the hole of the ear. Now use a tiny button magnet on the back of the ear to hold it in place. The piece of straight pin left in the ball is just enough metal for the magnet to grab.
After you create a couple of the above crafts you’ll never look at desk supplies and common notions in the same manner. When you see paper clips you’ll think jewelry; when you see stick pins you’ll think home decor…