Frankenstein Light Switch





Introduction: Frankenstein Light Switch

I saw one of these Frankenstein throw switches online but I could only see ones available in the U.S. - and these didn't seem suitable for the Gang 1 light switches that I have in my house. Then I thought I could easily design and make one to fit, and for little material cost.

What's good about this is that it just fits over the light switch, so no tampering with the electrics.

Disclaimer: I'm no electrician and am not sure about regulations regarding household fittings - I've done this just for fun based on what I've seen commercially available, and to see if I could. As far as I can see it's just a cover over a cover - the mechanism just replicates what your finger does when you turn on a switch. If you attempt this you do so at your own risk.

Here's what I used.

  • 12mm MDF
  • 10mm Diameter dowel
  • Old chisel handle
  • Photo frame pendants (for the on/off)
  • Black spray paint
  • Silver Rub 'n Buff

Additionally, access to a computer with printer and laminator.

Step 1:

I cut a piece of MDF to dimensions 19.5cm x 12cm, this will form the base plate. Additionally, as I had access to a circular saw, I cut a long strip with a width of 2cm - this would later form the switch mechanism.

I then marked a section in the middle of the base plate (area: 9cm x 9cm approx.) for the light switch to fit through. Using a spade-type drill bit (or a forstner bit) I drilled through roughly 3/4 of the 12mm MDF thickness (making sure not to go all the way through). This is just to take some of the hard work out of the chiselling. Then I proceeded to chisel what remained checking against the light switch regularly so as not to overdo it.

Step 2:

From the strip of MDF I had cut in Step 1, I cut this further into 10.5cm (x2 for the arms of the switch); 7cm (x1 for the head); and 2 semi-circles with a base measuring 4cm. I cut this slowly with a hacksaw (a coping saw would have been better but I didn't have one to hand).

I measured the centre-point on the base plate and cut out the slot for the actual light switch to fit through. I also used the centre-point to mark where to glue the semi-circles. I fixed everything together roughly to test it all lined up. Again, measuring centre-points in the semi-circles and in the ends of the arms to mark where to drill in preparation for the dowel piece.

Step 3:

I cut a 10mm diameter hole through all the necessary pieces then gently tapped in the dowel and sanded as required for a smoother action. I then offered the whole lot to the light switch and, using a piece of Blu-Tack, molded how the rocker mechanism would need to be cut. I then proceeded to cut this out from a piece of wood then fixed it in place in the centre of the dowel.

Step 4:

I sourced these photo pendants from ebay because I thought they would make excellent vintage-looking on/off labels. I made up some on/off graphics using Illustrator and printed them on photo paper then laminated and stuck them in to the pendants. I then marked on the switch where they should be fixed, then chiselled it out so they would fit flush.

Then I spray painted the whole thing matt black, sanded, sprayed again, then sanded again. Then, using silver Rub 'n Buff, I scarcely applied a thin layer over the entire surface, using wire-wool to add a brushed steel-type effect.

Step 5:


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    96 Discussions


    How is it attached to the light switch/wall. I didn't see you screw it in or anything. I'd really like to make one of these, but I'm thinking you have to screw it in.



    Dřevovláknitá deska. Similar to dřevotříska. :D

    (Thanks! Thought I was the only one with that question!)

    MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard. It is a panelboard made out of
    small particles ( think of a waste wood material from different
    processes) glued and pressed into a panel. Usually in the 4'x8' format.
    It is often used in cabinet making or for shelving units (I build
    shelves in my closet from MDF as well as I used it for small projects
    around the house). It is very prone to bulging and deformation when it
    gets wet, so unless very well protected it is for the interior use only.

    MDF is available in most of the Box Stores (Home Depot or Lowe's)

    I know the stuff now that you described it. I call it particleboard.

    Actually particleboard and MDF refer to two similar but very different product. They typically do not substitute well for each other.

    The particles in particle board are typically no smaller than the sawdust that you might find on a construction site. The particles are large, coarse and held together with a binding agent under pressure. Particle board is almost always made from softwoods and is therefore lighter. Particleboard when cut will will typically flake at the corners and the edges will usually have a rough surface.

    MDF is a fiberboard, it is made from cellulose wood fibers tightly compacted and again held together with a binder. The wood fibers used in mdf are very small. Because of this MDF is stronger, denser and smoother than particle board. MDF is made with a mix of both hardwood and softwood fibers. This and the higher density makes fiberboard much more difficult to cut with a saw and it will often dull a blade. However when cut the edges are typically smooth.

    You can also sometimes find LDF or HDF (low density fiberboard / high density fiberboard) These are much like MDF but use different mixtures of hardwood and softwood fibers, with LDF using more softwood fiber and HDF using more hardwood fiber. Mostly these attributes affect the cut characteristic, strength and price.

    In the video I just attached it using 2 small strips of double-sided tape (the foam type - not sure whether it has a proper name?), attached just to the top and bottom parts of the plastic cover underneath - it stuck very well, so well that I struggled to pull it off.

    Wouldn`t decent magnets iblaid in both the handle and the frame be more suitable?

    wouldn't it be possible to take the cover of the light switch and using a marker, mark on the back of the MDF where the screw holes are to make it more secure that way?

    Hi, I'm looking to hire one of these for a TV commercial we're shooting in Newcastle. Do you have one we could hire or would you sell one?



    1 year ago

    lol this is awesome

    Colour me impressed :)

    Simple, elegant, functional.

    What more can one ask for :)

    Voted for you.

    Thanks for this :)

    Really cool. Thanks for sharing.

    Awesome project but I have one question. Isn't it upside down? Normally up is on and down is off...or is that not necessarily correct with Frankenstein switches. To correct that could you flip the light switch upside down before installing the Frankenstein switch so that it would turn the light on when you push up the handle and off when you push the handle down? Either way, really cool effect!!