Introduction: Custom Switch Covers
Spice up those boring old plain white light switch plate covers! Make your own! The beauty of making your own is that you can choose the image, the layout, and the colors as well as totally amaze your kids with your awesomeness.
You will need:
1. Switch covers (I buy over-sized white plastic ones at wal-mart for 57 cent)
2. Transfer paper/ carbon paper (hobby lobby or art supply store, sometimes even wal-mart)
3. Spray paints: a primer, white, and a clear coat (or get the fusion white and you can skip the primer)
4. Piece of cardboard to protect surfaces when spray painting
5. Pencil and eraser (kneadable eraser is best)
6. Black pen/marker ( I found the best one is Faber Castel with painters tip)
7. Markers(Prismacolor is best) or acrylic paint
8. Printed image
If you would prefer to buy one, rather than make your own, you can do so at:
Step 1: Prepare Your Switch Cover
Open your switch cover and make sure you save the screws somewhere. I put them in a ziplock bag.
Take the cover outside.
First give it a coat of primer. Let it dry and give it a second coat.
The primer gives the cover a slightly yellow tinge. Most of my designs have white backgrounds so I gave mine a couple coats of white over the primer.
If you buy the Fusion type of white spray paint, you wont need the primer because it is made to bond to plastic.
Let this dry. While you wait, you can prepare your image
Step 2: Prepare Your Image
First choose the image you want to work with. A simple Google search is all you need to find a good image. Save it to your computer.
I use Photoshop to re-size the image to fit on the cover. I have attached the Photoshop file I created of an over-sized switch cover. Open the file in Photoshop and open the image you chose as well. Re-size the image and arrange it where you like. I have attached a video of how to do this if you are new to Photoshop.
Save the image to print later or just print it now. *note* You may want to turn off the layer with the switch and screw holes so that if you don't align it perfectly later on, you can still see the image in that area.
Step 3: Transfer Your Image
After you print your image,trim it and tape it to a piece of transfer paper.
Trim around the image to remove excess transfer paper. This will cut down on the mess you have to clean up later on the switch cover.
Position your image with transfer paper on the cover and tape in place.
Use a pencil to trace over all the lines in the image. Be sure to use enough pressure to make the transfer.
Remove the paper and check your image.
There will be a little dirty smudges around the image that you can clean up with the eraser.
Step 4: Ink Your Lines
Get out those awesome pens/markers. Again I recommend the Faber Castell. I tried sharpie, prang, and prismacolor, but they don't keep their deep black color and they don't make continuous lines very well. Also the thin point of any brand doesn't work well either. Use the painter tip.
Trace over your image. Be Careful! it smears very easily. Don't drag your hand across the lines while you work.
After tracing over your image and cleaning up the excess smudges, I recommend taking in out side and giving it a coat of clear coat.
Start with a very very light coat. Too much will make the marker bleed and that just sucks. Let the light coat dry and come back with a second light coat. Let it dry and come back with a normal coat. Let it dry.
This will lock the black in place. You cannot smear it now, which makes it much easier to add color in the next step. You can also color right over it without worry, the black still shows through fine.
Step 5: Add Color
If you chose an image with solid colors or minimal shading, you should be able to add color easily with markers. I don't know if regular crayola markers would work, I don't think they would though. Sharpie and Prismacolor will work. Be Careful, it does smear easily.
You may find it easier to complete one color or section and add a layer of clear coat so you don't smudge it while you continue to work
Sometimes, like with skin tones, you will want to have solid color, but the markers leave streaks and are stubborn about smoothing out. It helps to color, then clear coat, then add another layer of color.
If your image has lots of shading and skin tones, markers won't get the job done easily. For these, it is best to paint them with acrylic paint. It takes much longer and more patience to do this way, but looks great. You also don't have to worry about smudges once it has dried and it usually dries fast. You do have to worry about chipping though. Once you clear coat it, it should be safe.
Finally, add clear coat. Again, start with a very very thin layer and add more layers after it dries. Make sure you let each layer dry before adding a new layer and make sure you cover the edges well, because chipping is most likely to occur there.
Show off your work and decorate your house!