Having seen several images on line of paper clips floating on the surface of water, I wanted to have a go at recreating and photographing that myself.
For my first attempt I used:
Fish tank om its side
2 flash guns, one with a small soft box aimed at the paper clip, and one without soft box pointing to the stripes
A clear dish on top of the fish tank
Water and glycerine
Blue stripy paper (created in Photoshop)
Getting the paper clip to float takes a little bit of effort and patience. Articles on line suggested placing it on a small piece of tissue paper and gently lowering it into the water, before carefully pushing it off with a pencil. I found using a piece of normal paper worked better for me. The paper clip has to be completely horizontal on the surface, otherwise it will just sink.
With one flash gun pointing at the stripy paper and one at the paperclip, I was getting some results, but not as defined as I wanted.
My next idea was to stick some masking tape to the top 'shelf' of the fish tank, and fire the flash through that onto the paperclip dish which was sitting on the bottom 'shelf'. I used a blue gel on the flash gun in order to give the impression of blue water, and placed the paperclip in a white dish rather than the previous transparent one.
I still wasn't entirely satisfied with the results, this time I felt that the stripes were too large.
Plan C. This time I placed the black tape across the front of my light box! I had to experiment with various angles of the light box in order to get the stripes to look how I wanted. I also had to (carefully) push the paperclip around the dish, as I felt it looked best when at an angle to the stripes.
I finally got a result that I felt was half-decent and more like I was hoping to get!