Paper Covered Switch Plates

Switch plates covered in paper. They were so much fun to make!

Switch plates covered in paper. They were so much fun to make!

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.

This is the paper I liked best to go with my "Sweet Cream" walls, my furniture and my art.
This is the paper for the switch plates that I  liked best to go with my “Sweet Cream” walls, my furniture and my art.

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.

Enjoy, Candy

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