My new (to me) house is wonderful, but the walls were completely the wrong color for me. I like to have colorful art on the walls, and I like the walls to harmonize, not be a focal point themselves. I own a lot of wood furniture, oak of various shades, birch, maple, walnut, bamboo and myrtle wood. So I was looking for a paint that would harmonize with my various shades of wood (mostly light), and be calming and peaceful. After getting some samples and painting some swatches, I decided on a color called Sweet Cream. I’m almost done, but I still have the garage and kitchen to finish painting. Whew.
After I painted the first room and was putting the switch plates back, I thought they could use some updating, too. White switch plates on a Sweet Cream wall felt a bit boring, even for a ‘calm and peaceful’ look. So, I decided I would try covering switch plates with various papers in the hope that I would like it enough to put on my walls.
After doing a web search for ideas and seeing what other people were doing with switch plates and paper, I began forming my own ideas.
Most people I found used wallpaper or made collages their switch plates. Most were sealed with a shiny varnish of some sort.
I didn’t want shiny, I wanted something more subdued, a matte finish. I wanted simple, not the complex arrangement of a collage. And I wanted to use thin, plyable paper. I thought it would bend around the corners of the switch plates without causing a lot of bulk there.
For the adhesive and sealing, I used acrylic matte medium. I cut the paper a little more than an inch longer and wider than the switch plate, then covered both the switch plate and the back of the paper with acrylic matte medium. I then smoothed the paper carefully on the switch plate. I had to be careful not to rip the paper, but still pull the paper tight enough to eliminate any bubbles or wrinkles. While still wet, I used a needle to poke holes in the paper where the screws go. Once dry, I sliced an “x” in the center of the paper (where the switch goes), folded the resulting flaps around the back of the switch plate, and glued them down. Finally, I painted the paper-covered switch plates with two or three applications of acrylic matte medium to seal the paper.
I picked my favorite paper from the test batch and with it I made enough switch plates for my living room, dining room and studio. I think they add a casual elegance to my home. I love it!
I hope this inspires you to try something with switch plates for yourself.