This is not your traditional paper chain made from strips of coloured paper. This kind of paper chain uses no glue or tape or staples, and can come in a variety of shapes.
Even as a child I felt that the paper chains made from strips somehow never looked as good as I wanted them to. If you have managed to avoid this kind of paper chain until now, but would like to see how they are made, there are instructions on wikiHow.
My alternate version of a paper chain is self-locking: each newly added link locks the previous one. (Leather belts are sometimes made this way.) The image below shows the white link with one half placed through the opening in the previous closed link. The white link will be folded closed before half of the next link is placed through its centre opening.
Your links can be a variety of shapes. The only requirements are that the shape be doubled with an attachment at some point between the two halves, and that there is a hole in the middle after the two halves are folded together. For the circles above, I drew a rough pattern, cut it out, then traced it onto folded calendar pages. The circle pattern slightly overlapped the fold so that the two resulting circles stay connected.
You can fold your link in half again to cut out the centre, but this will leave fold marks across it when you open it out again.
I cut the centres out of my circles using the ‘stab first, then cut in increasing spiral” method, eliminating the extra fold and resulting creases on the finished links. You can see two of the cut out centres below.
The triangular links were made by folding a square in half, the rectangular ones by cutting a rectangle twice as wide as it is tall, then folding to a square. The cut out areas in both were drawn using a guide so that they were a uniform width. I cut out the centres using a knife and ruler.
To make each triangle and square into a double unit connected by only a small area, I slit them apart along the middle fold, stopping at the points indicated by the pink pointy fingers in the image below.
I thought my triangles were the most successful of the shapes I tried.
They can be put together a couple of different ways.
Don’t be afraid of combining shapes to create more visual interest.
You could make these locking paper chains from red and green and white copier paper for Christmas decorations. I think I will save my chains made from calendar pages for New Year’s Eve.