Here's what I came up with:
Snowflakes! In June!
There are lots of fused plastic and bubble wrap tutorials out there you can Google, but fortunately the process is really simple: just sandwich your plastic between two sheets of parchment paper and iron the bejeepers out of 'em. (Do this in a well ventilated area, since the fumes can be toxic.) I did learn the hard way that you really need to pop all the bubbles in your bubble wrap first - otherwise it won't fuse down properly - and you should iron one layer at a time. Other than that, easy-peasy!
The resulting fused plastic is relatively smooth, but has a nifty crackly look to it, almost like frosted ice. The Craft: tutorial said it's often mistaken for mother-of-pearl, but without any iridescence I don't really see it:
Anyway, after brainstorming a while I decided to take advantage of the icy look with snowflake earrings. Well, ok - plus the only punch I own is a snowflake. That helped narrow things down a bit. :D
They're pretty shiny when the light catches them, which adds to the ice illusion.
These were made with four layers of fused bubble wrap, but I'd advise only using three layers if you try this yourself, since my poor punch almost didn't make it through the thick plastic.
You can see the texture a bit better here, plus the slight translucency:
The beads and wire I already had in my cannibalized-jewelry stash, so this was a no-cost craft. (My favorite kind!) I used a fat needle to make the holes in the snowflakes, and some tiny scissors to clean up the edges of the plastic, since you can see my punch left a few nits and jagged edges behind.
You could further jazz them up by gluing on rhinestones or adding glitter, but I like the look as-is.
The great irony, of course, is that I don't have pierced ears and so can't wear these - and because I had to paint my gold hooks silver, no one else can wear them, either. (Painted earrings are a big fat no-no.) Still, I had a lot of fun making them, and I hope they inspire some of you to give this a try!
Now, stay tuned while I figure out what to do with my favorite fused plastic/bubble wrap experiment so far: