Home Decorating Craft: Unique Lightswitch Plates

Home decorating craft that will brighten your home. How to fix up dull lightswitch plates and add pizzaz to your home!

First you'll need the plates. You can use the ones that are already installed, or hit the hardware store and pick up a few. Plastic ones are good for starters, but if you prefer, you can pay more for the wooden ones. Decide what style you want and take it from there. You can use stencils taped over the plate or work freehand. Use regular acrylic craft paints for the best results.

You might want to use a theme throughout your house or maybe you would prefer different plates in each room. Veggies and fruit make great kitchen motifs and a bunch of brightly colored balloons are simple and fun for a child's room. You can stick with a solid color or go with stripes and polka dots or a specific design like flowers or a face. Whimsical designs might include faces using the lightswitch as a nose or tongue, or an elephant with a lightswitch trunk.

If you have no artistic ability at all, you can simply paint the whole thing a solid color that goes with the room and use stamps and an ink pad to decorate. Those fancy markers with shapes are also great for this sort of thing. For a nursery, have tiny footprints wandering across the plate.

Another method of decorating your own lightswitch plates is to use decorative napkins. Tear them into 1" squares and use white glue to paste them over the plate. Apply the glue with a paintbrush (you may need to thin it slightly with some water).Overlap the squares and don't worry about uniformity at all. Brush more glue in a thin layer over the napkins. Tissue paper can also be used. It's best to choose a smaller pattern for the plates, but any design you like can be used.

The same method is perfect for creating stamp plates. Steam cancelled stamps off your envelopes and glue them to the lightswitch plate, overlapping them haphazardly. Or you could use magazine photos, or words clipped from a newspaper. Try recycling torn wrapping paper and tissue paper. Let your imagination go wild!

Once you have the plate painted or covered, it's time for a protective layer. Your lightswitch gets hit several times a day, depending on it's location and this can result in the paint being chipped or scraped or the paper peeling away from your creation. The best way I've found to combat the process is to cover the plate with a layer of clear varnish once you've let the paint or glue dry. Hold the plate up to the light to ensure all areas are covered and go over it with a second layer once the first one dries.

Now for the screws. They will be visible in the middle of your masterpiece and gleaming silver. Drop the screws into their holes to see what color they should be. Using paint, match the color as best you can to the color of the plate. Let the screws dry and apply a layer of varnish. Once that's dry you can install your new lightswitch covers. Beautiful.

Don't stop with lightswitches. All your electrical outlets have covers, too, and look great when decorated. They have even less space to work on, so they go super fast and add a lot to a room. Have fun!

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