The classic paper clip is indispensable, but these handmade clips -- which double as bookmarks -- are much more enchanting. Try clipping one onto a homemade card for a surprising little gift.
You'll need 20-gauge annealed-iron wire, wire cutters, and round-nosed pliers (all available at crafts and jewelry-supply stores). Your design can be as simple or as ornate as you like, as long as it consists of at least two flat loops or shapes that will hold a piece of paper between them. The heart and the monogrammed clip shown at left are good designs to start with.
Heart: Find the midpoint of a 5-inch-long piece of wire, and bend at a right angle. Curl each end around the points of the pliers, curving the sides into smooth arcs.
Monogram Charm: Bend a 5- to 7-inch-long piece of wire into a paper-clip shape, extending one end to form a short stem at the top of the clip. Then, fashion a wire letter (to make the letter J, wrap the stem of the J once around the crossbar, and twist the end slightly with the pliers' points). Attach the letter to the top of the clip by wrapping the clip's stem around the bottom of the letter; twist tightly with pliers to secure.