So there you are at work wearing business attire and conservative jewelry. Suddenly, everyone decides to go out for drinks after work. Maybe your SO calls and wants to meet at that hip new place, but you won't have time to go home and change. You suddenly feel under-dressed and square, but not in a normcore way. What to do? Hit the supply closet, sweet talk the guy in shipping and steal your coworkers new Vanity Fair- it's time to get crafty- office style!
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Step 1: Simple Bracelet and Accent Beads
The key here is to flip through a magazine and find something that matches or accents your outfit. Don't look at the pictures- look for interesting patterns, organic forms, shades and textures. These things, taken out of context, lose their reference point and become 'static'. This gives you a lot of leeway- go nuts with something bright and bold or find a subtle hue to blend into your color scheme.
For this instructable, I grabbed a few things at random from my wife's closet. The first item was a red, black and tan patterned silk blouse. I flipped through an old Vanity Fair and considered several pages. I finally settled on a page with skin tones, black shadows and red lips. Perfect!
We'll need a few common supplies for this. Wide, clear packing tape, regular office tape, a ruler, a razor blade, a pencil and a magazine or two will make all kinds of jewelry. I cut a 1 inch wide strip from the magazine page. I chose a diagonal strip that had the man's mouth and the woman's lips and eye. I stretched out a piece of 2 inch wide clear packing tape sticky-side-up on my desk top. I carefully laid the strip of paper image side down, starting at one end and smoothing it as it went. I laid it down the center of the tape, with about 1/2 inch hanging over each side. I carefully folded the excess tape over each side, wrapping the paper strip in tape. I used a strip of transparent office tape to cover the slight gap where the two sides of the packing tape meet on the inside of the bracelet. I overlapped the two ends of the bracelet slightly to create a loop and taped it closed with the office tape. You should use a gloss finish tape if possible, but all I had for this example was a satin finish. Gloss would blend in to the packing tape much better.
I made two tube beads with the male models eyes. I cut two strips about 1 inch by 2 inches. I cut the strips with the man's eyes at the bottom of the strip, so they would show when the strip was rolled from the other direction. I laid the strips face down on the tape, just like the bracelet. This time I trimmed the excess tape from each side with a hobby knife and ruler. I left some tape at the end with the eyes. I rolled the strip around a pencil tightly and used the tape at the end to seal the tube. I slid it off the pencil and carefully shaped the tube into an egg shape so that the eyes would face forward when it was hung on a necklace. Use these beads to dress up a plain chain and tell the world 'Hey! I'm not in the board room anymore!'.
Practice this a few times and you can go from consultations to cosmos in five minutes.
Step 2: A Quick Bracelet and Earrings
For this one, I matched a bold pink and black striped jumper with another VF ad. This time, I was focusing on the pink fingernails, lips and eye make-up to make another bracelet and some earings.
The fingers were cut in a strip about 1 1/4 inches wide. I wrapped it in tape and closed the loop, just like the last step. Simple.
For the earrings I used a bit of wire. You could also use paper clips, staples or even string in a pinch. These can hang from a pair of plain posts or dig a spare pair of hook style earrings from your purse or desk and reuse them. I cut two squares of paper centered around the eye and the lips. I folded each piece in half diagonally and trimmed a slight flat edge on one end. I bent a piece of wire to create a hanger shape. See the above image. I taped the hanger into the paper sticking out at the flat end and refolded it. I wrapped the whole thing in packing tape, trimmed the excess and opened up the bottom of the triangle, opposite the hanger loop. I shaped the earring into an oblong bell shape. This one should take about 5 minutes, also.
Step 3: Bangles
OK, I know, who wants just one bracelet, right? An armful of these bangles takes longer to make, but they can be done individually and stealthily. With a little practice, you can make one of these bracelets very quickly.
These bangles are the epitome of pattern and texture out of context. It's really hard to tell what these images are, which makes them really cool and appealing. Our brains are just big spongy identifying machines. Look around- what do you see? Your brain has a name for everything and provides it instantly. When it comes across something it can't identify, it sets off internal alarms and starts to pay more attention to it. Decontextualized textures, patterns and color pallets are real attention-getters.
These bracelets are made just like the previous bracelets, but they are really thin. I cut strips from the edges of magazine pages. You could use the waste from a paper shredder, just don't try to shred the whole magazine at once!
I laid out the packing tape and laid two strips of paper down. I separated the two strips evenly with a razor, and folded over the excess tape, just like before. I made a dozen strips and then trimmed them to 9 inches long. I used a small piece of tape to close the bracelet.
These can be made with regular office tape, too. Lay the strip of paper on the tape, wrap the sides and tape it closed. With a little practice it should take less than a minute per bangle. Make yourself a whole pallet of colors to match any outfit. Be prepared! Bangles for every occasion!
Now go watch 'Walk Like an Egyptian' on Youtube... we'll wait.
Step 4: A Beaded Necklace and Bracelet Set
This one takes a little longer, so wait till the boss is at lunch or in a meeting. This time I had a green dress with a crocheted lace neckline. I decided to go with darker colors for this design. I found a nice two-page spread with lots of green trees and foliage. I also found a couple of highly contrasting urban images in grey and gold. The implied geometry of the urban environment was a nice counterpoint to the organic patterning of the foliage.
I cut 1 inch strips out of the images. I laid the strips against the edge of the packing tape. I trimmed the excess tape from the ends and wrapped the strip length-wise around a pencil, sealing the tube with the excess tape along the length of the strip. I rolled all the strips like this.
After the strips were all rolled into tubes, I used a ruler and a razor to cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. I strung them on some black contractor's line, but any string will do in a jewelry emergency- yarn, thread, dental floss- get creative! I alternated the colors to create a pattern- green-grey-green-gold-green grey-green-gold-etc. I strung a matching bracelet. This one took about 25 minutes, so you may have to break it up between doing actual work.
Go get some tape and magazines to butcher and get creative!