Switchplates

on Mar 19, 2008 in Craftiness | 57 comments

Switchplates were the March 2008 theme for my Out of the Box creativity challenge. I took some in progress photos but not a full-blown tutorial. I even forgot to take a stylized photo of the one I traded that night, very unlike me! Fortunately making these are extremely addictive so I had plenty more for that purpose. Guess which is Leil’s and which is Caitlin’s?

Feel free to ask questions about missing steps.

I used a standard white plastic switchplate for the base, Yes! paste and Mod Podge Gloss Lustre. I started off trying to use Mod Podge as both the adhesive to attach the fabric and as the top coat. Everything slipped around so I changed to Yes! paste for attaching the fabric. It provided just the right amount of tack to keep things in place.

The other construction element I experimented with was the center hole. I tried cutting a slot in the fabric and bending back the wings to paste them to the backside, a standard technique when using paper or contact paper. I wasn’t satisfied with this technique for fabric. The fibers tended to fray and it was difficult to get the tiny bits of fabric to hold well. I made a simple facing for the hole and was very pleased with the tidiness of the final result.

To make a facing:

Punch some holes for the screws:

The missing steps:

  • push the facing fabric through the switchplate hole, bring all the seam allowances to the back, use Yes! paste to glue it all down
  • brush the front of the plate with Yes! paste and smooth the fabric down
  • turn back the corners and slather with paste to get them to stay in place (see final photo of switchplate back to get an idea of how I did mine)
  • apply a good thick layer of Mod Podge to the whole thing
  • try to be patient while it dries, start unscrewing every switchplate in the house

Finished switchplate now residing in my friend Margret’s home (I sure like the fabric on this one! the feedsack fibers gave it a fabulous texture):

Back sides of finished plates:

    57 Comments

  1. HAHAHA! I love it!! I have now seen a bound buttonhole on a switch plate. I must show this to all my sewing friends!!!

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    adrienne

    March 19, 2008

  2. My thought too–a bound buttonhole! The switchplates are pretty darn cute. Great idea.

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    KathieB

    March 19, 2008

  3. You’re killing me with the faced switch area. You’re a genius! Love it.

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    Pam

    March 19, 2008

  4. They’re very pretty! When I was a little girl I remember my mother always searching for cute switchplates for our rooms. Too bad she didn’t come across this idea. She would have been hooked!

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    Sarah

    March 19, 2008

  5. OK, that looks like the most fun and addictive project ever. I actually work for a company that makes switch plates, so the temptation will be staring me in the face until I succumb.

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    Darby

    March 19, 2008

  6. Your covers turned out way cute. What a good idea. Thanks for sharing.

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    April

    March 19, 2008

  7. I find covering switch plates with fabric too hard and fussy for me (lazy!) so I photocopy my fabric onto plain printer paper and use that to glue onto the switch plates. I copied my bedsheets to make matching switch plates in the bedroom.

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    Kathi D

    March 19, 2008

  8. what an excellent idea! I will definitely have to try this out around our house to spruce up some boring white light plates. : )

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    Rebekah

    March 19, 2008

  9. Oh. My. I had no idea you could do this. Never thought about it once. I can’t wait until we have a home to redecorate!! 🙂

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    Carrie

    March 19, 2008

  10. So cool!
    Where’d you get the awesome ladybug fabric?

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    Jane

    March 19, 2008

  11. Absolutely darling! I think I’m going to have to make one for my husband using his favorite spongebob fabric— so much cheaper than trying to buy one that actually looks good.

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    Melissa

    March 19, 2008

  12. Wow, just in case I was getting low on the house projects, along comes this!! Too cool, definitely on the list. 🙂

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    susan

    March 20, 2008

  13. I LOVE covered, funky switchplates!! I have as many of them in the house as I can find..but now I can use all that fabric I have to cover some of them. Very nice tute! thank you so much for spelling it out.

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    Christine

    March 20, 2008

  14. Out with generic and in with unique! Major wow factor! You are one creative cookie—thanks so much for sharing. I’m redoing the kids’ BR, and I see a gnome switchplate in the near future. . . 🙂

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    Laurie

    March 20, 2008

  15. wish you had done this months ago! i did the hole for the switch the hard way! pulled it tight though so it would look neat! good job!

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    carmell

    March 20, 2008

  16. those look pretty cool!
    love the one with the bugs ^-^ … though the polka dotted one is also very cute… i couldn’t decide which one i like better.
    too bad we don’t have those switchplates here. the lightswitches over here look completely different, but it might be fun to try to re-do them!

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    katrin

    March 20, 2008

  17. Could you explain how you did the facing part? I don’t understand the pictures and I feel like the biggest dork, but I want to do one of these 🙂 Thanks!

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    Jessica

    March 21, 2008

  18. *headsmack*
    I just figured it out – I didn’t notice which sides were right and which were wrong. I got it now. Just had to look at the photos a few more times 🙂

    Off to the hardware store for switchplates!!!

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    Jessica

    March 21, 2008

  19. Just found you via the Craft: blog. I have to say that the facing idea is *brilliant!* Makes me want to go back and re-do all the ones I’ve done. Well, maybe not.

    But going forward, I am definitely doing this — thanks for sharing!

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    kelly

    March 21, 2008

  20. I love them. I have got to make one for each of my kids. Thaks for the instructions

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    Liz

    March 21, 2008

  21. I love this idea….great tutorial too! My grand kids would like these for their rooms….what am I talking about I want some for my rooms….lol! Thanks for sharing.

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    Noel

    March 21, 2008

  22. What a cool idea. Going to do up a funky design for my daughter’s room.

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    IdaDown

    March 22, 2008

  23. This is pretty but I’m very concerned that this is a fire hazard.

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    Denise

    March 23, 2008

  24. To respond to Denise’s concern (which concerns me too!):

    I did a lot of web surfing to try and research this issue. In general, I did not find anything conclusive on the safety of modifying a switch plate. I read a few threads on electrical forums. Most related to questions of wallpapering a switch plate. There did not seem to be a feeling that this was dangerous. It did seem that many were against it because by modifying a UL rated item (the switch plate) the contractor’s work may not pass inspection.

    I’m going to continue researching the issue. If you have information about this please e-mail me.

    One thing I did find were insulting foam layers for switch plates:
    http://www.amazon.com/Thermwell-OSS6H-White-Plate-Sealer/dp/B000F5IAVG/ref=pd_sim_hi_title_1
    This would provide a layer between the actual switch plate and the electrical box.

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    Administrator

    March 23, 2008

  25. One more bit of info on the safety concerns. Mod Podge is a non-flammable product.

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    Administrator

    March 24, 2008

  26. How fun. I’ve been doing this with wallpaper for years. Will have to try fabric.

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    Sandy

    March 25, 2008

  27. This is wonderful! I love it. Thanks for your sweet reply to my note and for coming by my blog. I would like to feature you sometime in the next week. If you are interested, please send me a couple of photos that you would like to show. I prefer 500 pixels with a 72 dpi if possible. You have so many wonderful goodies here. This is a great place to visit.

    Wishing you a great Thursday.

    Cookie

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    Cookie Sunshine

    March 26, 2008

  28. Lovely idea, is there any product you know off which would make them cleanable? In our house switch plates always seem to get grubby.

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    Sally Bramald

    March 27, 2008

  29. I would like to mention this on my blog. Could I use your top image? Oh, you said you changed the paste under. Did you still Mod Podge over the top?

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    NerdMom

    March 27, 2008

  30. Sally: I did a little research. I didn’t turn up any specific products but I saw a lot of people stating they used a ‘waterproof acrylic sealer’ on their custom switch plates. Hope this helps!

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    Administrator

    March 28, 2008

  31. This is a great idea, Kathy! Thanks for sharing! Happy Days to you & yours :o)

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    Tracy

    March 31, 2008

  32. Kathy Your idea on fabric covered switch plates is a grand idea, I would never have thought of it. Think of all the possibilities that can be done with them. Love and Hugs Dianne

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    Dianne

    March 31, 2008

  33. LOVE this tutorial. I’ve been a lot more interested in the switchplates in my house since seeing this. I’m adding this to my tutorial list for sure!!!

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    Regina

    March 31, 2008

  34. I do love these switchplates. I have to say they are even better in person!

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    Nikki

    April 4, 2008

  35. I really liked this idea, and tried it out on three switchplates today. However, I found that the facing adds bulk to the inside hole where the switch or outlet goes, and I couldn’t fit my switchplate covers back on properly with the facing. I ended up just taking the facing off 🙁

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    Martha

    April 12, 2008

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