Light Switch Covers from Scrapbooking Paper

Scrapbooking sits on my list of evils with soccer moms and SUV drivers, but I love some of the products that have flooded the market because they are so prominent in scrapbooking. One of these are the gorgeous papers. Any large craft store has a full aisle of papers in different patterns and colors. This craft project uses the paper to decoreate a mundane light switch cover. It's a great way to add a little personal flair to a room, without the bother of wallpapering the entire thing, and it's easy to remove later so it's perfect for dorm rooms and apartments.

Shopping List

  • Light switch cover (called a wall plate) - about 1.00$ each at a hardware store
  • Scrapbooking paper - about 50 cents per sheet at a large craft store
  • Modge Podge or similar decoupage glue (white craft glue will work, but not quite as well).
  • Paint brush (the cheap, big, clunky one normally reserved for child's projects)
  • A screwdriver for the cover (usually phillips)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors and (optionally) an X-acto knife

Applying the paper to the cover

Lay a wall switch plate on the back of the paper, and use a pencil to trace the inside of the switch rectangles as well as the outer rim. Try to trace as close to the plate as you can get at this odd angle. Draw a second large rectangle around the outside of the shape, approximately 1/4th of an inch larger on each side (it needs to be big enough to fold over the edges of your particular wall plates). This leaves some room to fold the paper under the switch. Cut the paper to shape (the X-acto knife is the easiest way to cut the inner rectangles).

Lay the paper over the switch. At the corners, where the paper is sticking out off of the plate, cut tiny slits along the corner. The slit shouldn't extend over the plate (it's just to make the paper easy to fold under). Use a cheap throw-away paint brush to coat the plate with Modge Podge, and lay the paper over it again. Position the paper to perfectly line up with the center rectangles. On each side, dab Modge Podge on the foldable flap, then fold it under. Work carefully to try to avoid wrinkles. The fold over should only extend about 1/8 of an inch under the plate. Let the switch plate dry fully before installing it, including the back folds.

Installing the new light switch cover

Grab the screwdriver and remove your current light switch plate. In many homes, the plate is installed before the paint is fully dry, so can stick a bit. If you get the screws out and the plate stays up on its own, start prying it away. Another option is to slide an X-acto knife just under the edges of the plate to loosen the paint that's holding it there. The X-acto knife is less likely to leave big indents in the drywall. If your light switch cover is being really evil, turn off power at the houses circuit breaker or fuse box before attacking it with all you've got.

Use the existing screws to secure the new light switch cover to the wall.