I think the most enthusiastic feedback I got on my recent kitchen remodel was about my snazzy Nikki McClure switch plates. I cranked them out in an evening and they were so quick, so simple, and so darn satisfying. My kind of project, since anything more ambitious than this tends to languish half-done for years in my craft room.
A few of you asked for a proper tutorial on how to make your own, so when I made a second set for a housewarming gift last week I decided to take a some photos and write up a tutorial for you.
Here it is!
How to Decoupage a Switch Plate Cover & be All Sorts of Awesome
1. Choose your artwork.
Old calendars, magazines, kid-art, and medium weight scrapbooking paper all work well. Thin paper can be too fragile for this project and card-stock tends to be too thick, so aim for something sturdy but not too thick. Fabric also works, they say, but I haven't tried it yet.
Note that some papers will wrinkle. If you aren't sure how you feel about that do a test with a scrap of paper you don't love. Stick it to something plasticy (an old milk bottle for example) and see what happens. Wrinkles don't bother me, so I use whatever paper I love.
My paper of choice (thus far) has been Nikki McClure art from calendars going back a few years. I think I have a girl-crush on Nikki's art and can never bring myself to toss old calendars of her work. (One of you sweet people even mailed me one after seeing my decoupaged suitcase a few years back. You're nice.)
2. Using your switch plate as a guide, cut a rough rectangle approximately 1" bigger all around than your plate.
Be sure to center the switch plate over the art you want to appear on the completed project. You'd also be wise to check that the switch itself doesn't become an awkward appendage or something obscene depending on the art you choose. (Unless that's what you're going for, in which case, align that switch carefully with whatever you want it to prove. I won't judge.)
3. Notch your corners.
You can do this by cutting your paper at a 45 degree angle at each switchplate corner (a good idea I came upon after these were already made), or by notching them as shown below.
Note how I angled the flaps slightly to make wrapping the paper around the back easier in the next step. The flap on the right below was notched even deeper so it wrapped nicely to the back.
Do a test wrap and snip more paper away until it's not too bulky at the corners.
4. Coat the back of your notched paper with an even layer of Mod Podge, working the Mod Podge all the way to the edges.
5. Quickly center your switch plate over the paper. Turn over and adjust the paper as needed to center. Smooth front with your fingers to remove bubbles.
6. Now turn the switch plate over in your hand so the back is facing you. Wrap the longer sides of your switch plate firmly around to the back and press flaps into plate with your fingers as shown below.
Repeat with short flaps.
7. After all four flaps are pressed firmly into place, turn the switch plate around in your hand looking for any bubbles or loose spots.
Smooth them out gently with your fingers. Too much pressure and you'll rub the color right off your paper, so be gentle!
8. Lay your switch plate face down on a cutting mat or piece of card-stock. Using an Exact-o knife, carefully cut an X in the switch opening.
9. Fold these flaps toward the back, adding additional Mod Podge if needed to hold into place. These can be buggers so keep at it until they stay put.
10. Poke a small guide hole from the back in each screw opening using the point of your Exact-o knife.
11. Flip the switch plate over and press on these guide holes with your finger to make a small depression in the paper at each screw point as (poorly) shown in the photo below. (It's hard to see. Sorry.)
12. Using your Exact-o knife to cut a tiny X in each of these depressions with the point of the knife. This will ensure that your paper does not tear when you attach your switch plate.
13. Coat the front of your switch plate with a light, even coat of Mod Podge.
14. Allow to dry completely and repeat 1-2 more times.
15. Finish with a clear coat of spray paint if desired. (I skipped this step and they are holding up well just the same.)
You're done! Carefully screw into place and admire the awesomeness you just made, or pack them up in a gift basket or care package for a friend and share the love.
Warning: this project is addictive. You might make dozens. Don't say I didn't warn you.