Sunday, January 10, 2010

Do It Yourself: Decoupage Light Switch Plates

A squirrel toting ham in a shopping basket! Even the Anchorman approves (and yes he is an original Janet Stewart...)

Remembering the Ephemera of Your Life

Before we moved back to Iowa from Los Angeles, I purchased a set of Pop Ink cocktail napkins featuring adorable little animals with knives and meat. This package of napkins has remained safely preserved in an unexplored kitchen drawer since our move in 2007. Imagine my horror when I realized that my children had discovered my booty and had been using them to wipe their faces - GASP!

This left me with the dilemma of whether to continue hoarding this little package of divinity or figure out a way to preserve it's glory for future generations of animal and meat loving folk.

The obvious answer was decoupage. For my napkins, I used a water proof decoupage medium that I got on sale at Joanns. You definitely want something waterproof so you can give it a wipe down when cleaning. I first removed and cleaned the switchplates. I like to rough them up a bit with some fine sandpaper to give the medium something to grab onto. Cut your image to fit the switchplate. In the case of the napkins, I made sure that I cut them big enough to wrap around the edges slightly. Brush a thin layer of medium onto the switchplate. Carefully place your image and brush on a thin layer of medium. If your image extends to the edge, wrap the image around the edges. Gently tamp down on the image with the brush to ensure good contact and to lessen wrinkles. Allow to dry completely. At this point, using an exacto knife, cut a diagonal slit from one corner of the switch opening (or outlet opening) and repeat for the other corners. Brush on another thin coat and wrap the switch edges to the inside of the cover. Allow to dry completely.

Once your plate is dry, use an awl or a pen to open the screw holes and replace the cover on the wall. Be very careful as the screwhead comes in contact with the cover so that you do not twist and tear the image.

Had to cut off the meat cleaver, but it's sweet just the same.

Another method I have used that has been surprisingly durable is to affix a postcard to the face of the switch plate using double sided tape.

I first selected a card that allowed about 1/4 of an inch to wrap around the edge of the plate. I coated the back with tape being sure to go all the way to the edges. I like the tape that is all stick and no plastic backer (be sure to use PERMANENT tape!) Center the plate and press down carefully wrap the edges around and stick to the inside back of the plate. Use and exacto knife to cut diagonally corner to corner for the switch opening. Wrap these edges around to the back. Use an awl or pen to open the holes and replace on the wall! This method does not have a waterproof coating so it may not be the best for high traffic switchplates, however, I did this almost three years ago (on a high traffic switch) and have had no problems at all! Most cards have a glossly coating which helps to repel dirt and grime.

Happy crafting!

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