DIY Decorative Switch Plates

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No matter what the style of your home, it probably has light switch plate covers in just about every room. Chances are the light switch covers that came with your home are unexciting, and don’t add anything to your decorating style. Decorative switch plate crafts give you a chance to transform those dull necessities into coordinated design accessories that express your personality and style.

Mosaic Light Switch Plates

Mosaic patterns add an original creative flair to any switch plate cover, and depending on the materials you choose, might lend an earthy, classic, quirky or modern feel to your room. These materials are excellent for designing your own switch plate mosaics:

  • Very small river rocks
  • Small bits of beach glass
  • Tiny ceramic tiles
  • Small seashells
  • Glass fired beads or chips
  • Shattered glass (be careful!)
  • Tiny glass balls.

Here’s how to put together your mosaic switch plate:

  1. Push drinking straws or pipe cleaners through the screw holes to protect them from glue.
  2. Coat the outer surface of the switch plate with mosaic glue.
  3. Arrange your mosaic pieces as desired, pressing them down firmly into the glue.
  4. Wait a minimum of 12 hours for the glue to dry.
  5. Prepare grout according to manufacturer’s directions and apply over top of mosaic, making sure to fill in all the spaces between your mosaic pieces.
  6. Wait five to 10 minutes and then wipe excess grout off mosaic pieces with a clean, damp cloth.
  7. Dry overnight and then clean any remaining grout on your mosaic pieces away with a damp cloth.

Glamour & Glitter Decorative Switch Plates

If you love everything that sparkles (or have a teen that does), bring that spirit to your switch plate cover by giving it some bling. Rough up the surface of your switch plate with fine sandpaper, clean away the dust and coat with decoupage glue. Then cover with one or a combination of these fun materials:

  • Colorful glitter
  • Faux jewels
  • Sequins
  • Bits of costume jewelry

Let your switch plate cover dry for about an hour and then add another coat of decoupage glue. This time let it dry overnight before putting it up on your wall.

Decoupage Switch Plate Covers

When it comes to creating a custom light switch plate, paper is one of the most flexible mediums you could work with. Paper is a good choice for covering wooden or plastic switch plates and comes in a huge variety of colors, weights, finishes and textures to suit almost any décor. You might want to cover your switch plate in a collage or single sheet of one of these paper types:

  • Tissue paper
  • Wrapping paper
  • Scrapbooking paper

To cover your switch plate in paper:

  1. Cut out a rectangle of paper slightly larger than your switch plate cover, or if you’re planning on a collage, cut out lots of small shapes from a variety of paper sheets.
  2. Using fine sandpaper, rough up the front of your switch plate cover and remove any dust.
  3. Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue or craft glue to the switch plate.
  4. Press paper onto switch plate, folding any excess over the edges of the plate.
  5. After the glue dries, trim off any excess hanging paper.
  6. Cut out holes for the switch and the screws with a craft knife.
  7. Add a final coat of decoupage glue and wait until your project is completely dry before putting it back on your wall.

Fabric Switch Plates

Using fabric to cover a switch plate is another great way to pull a room together. You might want to match the fabric of your curtains, linens, or if possible, even your upholstery. Use the same technique for fabric projects as you would to cover a switch plate in paper. Decoupage glue is an excellent choice for this type of craft since it soaks into the fabric and dries to a clear finish.

Clay Plate Switch Covers

Did you know you could use polymer clay for light switch cover crafts? Clay is easy to work with and adds both color and texture to your wall designs. Here’s what to do:

  1. Roll the clay out flat over the switch plate cover and then cut or poke out the holes for the switch and screws.
  2. If you’d like the clay to have a texture, gently press items such as wire mesh, lace, stamp pads or shaped costume jewelry onto the surface to create a pattern.
  3. Enhance your design by sculpting some additional clay shapes or figures and pressing them onto the clay covered switch plate.
  4. Bake according to clay manufacturer’s directions and let cover cool before using.

Painted & Stained Decorative Switch Plates

Paint and stain offer the opportunity for switch plate crafts that fit right in with a number of different decorating styles. Remember to rough up your surface before adding paint or stain, and top with a coat of clear sealant to protect your work. Here are a few ideas that might work in your home:

  • Stain wooden switch plate covers to match your wooden furniture, paneling or floors.
  • Paint wood or plastic switch plate covers in solid colors to match walls or room décor. Paint a wooden plate white, then rough it up with sandpaper to create a weathered look perfect for cape cod, cottage, country or shabby chic design themes.
  • Paint wood or plastic switch plate covers with original designs for unique works of art.

No matter which medium you decide to work with, switch plate cover projects add lots of individual style and personality to any home. Don’t be surprised if your friends and family start asking you to make them some too!

Last Updated: August 16, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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