Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fabric-covered Switch plates & Outlet plates

When I painted the reading nook the other weekend (pictures to come!), I had to remove three outlet plates and one switch plate. I had planned to paint the outlet covers with the wall paint, and the switch plate with the trim color, but of course I set them aside and forgot about them until after everything was cleaned up. Not that it would have been a huge deal to open the paint and do it, but I decided instead to give them a little face lift with some fabric.

the makings of a craft project:
operation update-the-plates
I wanted to stick with the blue accent I have going in that corner (the drapes are blue, as is a quilted hanging that is on the back of the chair, and a poster hanging on one wall has a bit of blue in it, too). I have a respectable collection of fabric and found a blue piece that has a bit of a celestial pattern, with lighter swirls and little stars. The fabric worked with the drapes, and looked good against the wall color, too.
I broke out the Modge Podge, a foam brush, and an exacto knife, and set up shop on the lid of an empty tub. Given that I have a devoted crafting space, you think I would have used it. Right now, though, there is a ton of stuff still to be organized and put away, and most of it is sitting on the crafting table. So, I made do with a mobile crafting table - not to mention the ease of cleaning up the excess Modge Podge that inevitably made it onto the lid. This was hardly a "clean" project, at least not for me. There is still Modge Podge on my fingernails and on the camera (oops).

I estimated the size of the fabric by placing the plate on the fabric and giving about 3/4 of an inch excess that I would eventually fold over to the back of the plate. I ended up using a minimal amount of the fabric - maybe 1/16th of a yard, total. This could easily work with any decent sized scrap - as long as there is enough fabric to wrap around the edges.
mobile workspace.
the fabric pieces are larger than the switch plate & outlet plates
by about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch

I slathered the Modge Podge on the face of the plate then centered the fabric on the plate, pressed it down, and added another layer to seal it on. I let each dry for a bit before adding a second layer of Modge Podge for good measure.

When the front was dry, I used the exacto knife to carefully cut an X in each of the openings for the switch, and for the plugs. For the plug openings I added an additional cross-cut to accommodate the rounded edges; in retrospect I should have added a couple more cuts, but it seems to have worked out okay. This left small triangles of fabric that I could wrap around to the back. And by small I mean tiny - almost to the point (he he) of being too small to work with. . . but I forged ahead. Note for next time - I could probably just cut the fabric completely away from openings, and the Modge Podge would be enough to keep the fabric from fraying.
scoring the fabric to create openings.
After cutting the openings, I applied copious amounts of the Modge Podge around the openings on the back side in an effort to affix the little points to the plates. There may have been some cursing. At this point I also glued down the edges of the fabric that wrapped around to the back. I cut of the corners of the fabric so there wouldn't be an excess of fabric, but I should have cut away more, as the folds in the fabric required quite a bit of Modge Podge and manipulating to stick. Eventually they got there, and luckily no one will see the back sides!
copious amounts of modge podge used here.
plus a bit extra for good measure.
I let the plates dry completely overnight. The Modge Podge darkened the fabric a bit, but it still looked good against the wall color. This morning I used the exacto knife to poke holes in the fabric where the screws go, and attached them to the fixtures. I did have to work a little to get the outlet covers on, which confirmed the fact that I will cut out the fabric of those spaces completely next time.

I really like the way the plates came out, and how they look in the space. All-told is was not a challenging project, and went fairly quickly. As long as you don't mind a bit of a mess (is it just me?) this is a nice way to give a little but of lively accent to a space. And, if you get tired of them, replacement plates aren't all that expensive.
sneak peak of the almost-finished reading nook.

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