How to Cover Light Switch Plates with Scrapbook Paper 2021


Light switch plates can stick out distractingly as white rectangles on colorful walls, or just boringly blend in on neutral-colored walls. But it's easy to add some pizzazz to your switch plates! Grab some scrapbook paper with a fun design, a bottle of Mod Podge, and a few crafting tools, then get to work turning your switch plates into DIY creations that complement your room decor perfectly.


Part 1 of 3:Covering the Front of the Switch Plate

1Remove the existing light switch plate or buy a matching plate. Switch plates are held in place by one or more screws, depending on the style. Use a flat-head screwdriver to turn the screw(s) counterclockwise, save the screw(s) for later, and pull the switch plate away from the wall.

If you buy a new switch plate, make sure it's the same size (or larger) and has the same layout as the current plate.

If the plate is stuck in place due to paint on the wall, run the sharp tip of a crafting knife all around the edge of the plate where it meets the wall.

It's not necessary to turn off the power to the switch at your home's main electrical panel, but it does make the job that much safer.

2Trace the switch plate's outline on your chosen scrapbook paper. Lay the scrapbook paper upside-down on your work surface, then lay the switch plate right-side-up on it. Trace the outline of the plate on the back of the paper with a pencil.

To make cleanup easier, place a sheet of wax paper or aluminum foil on your work surface. It isn't absolutely necessary quite yet, but it will come in handy once you start applying the Mod Podge adhesive!

Don't worry about tracing the cutouts for the switches, plugs, or screws at this time.

In addition to scrapbook paper, heavy-duty wrapping paper also works well with this technique.

3Enlarge the tracing by 0.5 in (1.3 cm) and cut it out. Move the switch plate out of the way, then use a ruler to create a new outline that's about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) larger on all 4 sides. Cut out this larger outline with crafting scissors.

Your tracing and cutting don't need to be perfectly neat at this point.

4Brush a full coat of Mod Podge on the front of the switch plate. Dip your small crafting paintbrush into the jar of sticky white Mod Podge and apply it to the entire face of the switch plate. Use steady pressure and long strokes to get complete, even coverage.

Mod Podge is the brand name for a crafting decoupage used to attach and protect paper materials. There are many types of Mod Podge available at crafting stores and online, but Mod Podge Original is the best option for this application.

It's also okay to use an alternate brand of decoupage product, though some crafters swear by Mod Podge!

5Lay the paper cutout upside-down and hold the switch plate over it. Carefully position the switch plate so that it's centered and aligned with the cutout. This is particularly important if the paper has a design on it, such as vertical stripes, that need to be lined up correctly with the switch plate.

Mod Podge doesn't dry immediately, so you will have a bit of time to make some minor adjustments if the design on the paper isn't quite lined up correctly.

6Smooth the paper onto the front of the switch plate. Keep the switch plate lined up as you press it down onto the paper. Flip both items over and use your fingers to smooth the scrapbook paper evenly over the entire face of the switch plate. Work out any wrinkles or air bubbles with your fingertip.

The paper will cover all the cutouts in the switch plate for screws, light switches, and outlets. That's okay at this point—you'll cut away this excess paper later.

Part 2 of 3:Securing the Edges and Cutouts

1Cut slits from each corner of the paper to the matching corner of the plate. Flip the switch plate over again so you're looking at the underside. Using sharp crafting scissors, cut a slit that runs from each corner of the paper cutout to the same-side corner of the switch plate.

These 4 corner slits will allow you to fold the excess paper over the edges of the switch plate.

2Add more Mod Podge to the edges of the switch plate's underside. Brush an even coat around the entire inside perimeter of the plate. This ensures that the excess paper that you're about to fold over will stick securely in place.

Alternatively, brush the Mod Podge onto the edges of the paper before you fold them over the edges of the switch plate. The important things is to make sure there's a layer of Mod Podge between the paper and the switch plate in all spots.

3Smooth the paper all the way over the plate's outer edges. Working one side at a time, fold the excess paper over the edge of the switch plate, then use your fingertips to pinch, press, and smooth it securely into place. Take extra care at the 4 corners where you cut the slits into the paper, so that the paper smooths out evenly at each corner.

No one will see the underside of the wall plate, so the edge of the paper doesn't need to look perfect—it just needs to stick!

4Cut"X"s and slits though the paper covering any small switch cutouts. With the switch plate still upside-down on the work surface, you'll see the underside of the scrapbook paper at each of the plate's light switch, plug, and screw cutouts. For small, traditional light switch cutouts, use your crafting knife to cut an “X” into the paper that runs from corner to corner inside each cutout. Then, cut a small vertical slit in the center of the “X.”

5Make"X"s and smaller cutouts at large switch or plug openings. For bigger cutouts for plugs or larger, modern-style switches, cut a corner-to-corner “X” through the paper in the same fashion. Then, cut away the center of the “X” in the shape of the cutout. Aim to leave about 0.25 in (0.64 cm) of excess paper along the entire interior perimeter of the cutout.

6Smooth the paper over the edges of the switch and plug openings. If needed, brush a bit more Mod Podge around the perimeter of each cutout. Then, fold over the excess paper and smooth it out on the underside of the switch plate. When you're finished, the cutouts should be the same shape and size they were before you added the Mod Podge and paper.

Don't worry about the small cutouts for the mounting screws. Deal with them later.

7Hold the paper on the edges with paper clips while the Mod Podge dries. With the switch plate still face-down, grab a handful of small metal or plastic paper clips. Slide the clips over the lip that runs along the outer perimeter of the plate, as well as around each of the cutouts. Space them about 1 in (2.5 cm) apart.

The clips help to ensure that the edges of the paper don't lift away before the Mod Podge dries.

8Let the Mod Podge dry for 30-60 minutes before proceeding. Simply leave the switch plate face-side down on your workspace. Keep the paper clips in place during this time.

Mod Podge usually dries completely within 30 minutes, but it may take longer in humid conditions.

Part 3 of 3:Finishing and Mounting the Plate

1Brush a light, even finish coat of Mod Podge over the attached paper. Focus more carefully on your technique with this layer than you may have done with the adhesive layer of Mod Podge. Use a light touch and long, steady brush strokes that all go in the same direction. The ensures that you'll get a light, even protective coat that will be barely noticeable once it dries.

While Mod Podge Original—or a competitor's equivalent product—will work fine as a protective coat, you may get better results with Mod Podge Hard Coat.

2Let the finish coat dry for 30-60 minutes before proceeding. The Mod Podge will be clear and glossy once it dries. A single finish coat is sufficient, but you can add a second coat at this point if you wish.

Adding a second finish coat will make it a bit more glossy.

3Poke small holes with a safety pin for the screw openings. Once the protective coat of Mod Podge dries, hold the switch plate face-down in your hand. Poke the tip of a safety pin through all of the screw holes—and the paper that's covering them. Turn the switch plate over and use a ballpoint pen to enlarge the holes slightly.

If you don't have a safety pin, a toothpick will do the job equally well.

Unlike with the cutouts for the switches and plugs, you don't need to be precise here—you just need to make some holes! The screws will conceal your work in this case.

4Secure the switch plate in place with the mounting screws. Slip the switch plate over the plugs and switches at the wall outlet. With the plate flush against the wall, use a screwdriver to secure all the mounting screws in place. Hand-tighten the screws, but don't over-tighten them or you may crack the plastic switch plate.

Congratulations—your first decorative switch plate is all done! Now go tackle a few more!