Introduction: Steampunk Inspired Light Switch Cover (Wall Plate)

About: My name is Michael Williams and I am a theatrical designer, actor, and a writer who specializes in special effects and props. I have been training for a year and a half at Pennsylvania State University Berks;…

This project is my first attempt at creating a steampunk inspire design.  I wanted to start off with something small and cost effective; so after looking around online at different projects I found what I was looking for.  The assembly is simple and the painting is quick.  The project cost me about $30 since I had to buy the paint, glue, pipe, and wall plate.

What you'll need:

- One Creative Accent Metro Line 1 Toggle Wall Plate Antique Bronze 
- Six Small Gears (Any from a clock will work. I pulled pieces from a Wal-Mart wall clock.)
- Two 3/8" Nuts (I pulled mine from skateboard mounting hardware.)
- One 1/8" x 3 3/4" Metal Pipe (Any pipe will work as long as you can bend it.)
- One bottle of Krazy Glue
- One can of Rust-Oleum Metallic

Tools needed:
Metal pipe cutters

Step 1: Gather the Materials

The great thing about steampunking is that the end result of the project is unique.  These are my suggestions for how to go about gathering your materials.

Since gears are the most varied from clock to clock it is up to you to find which ones work for you.  My gears came from a cheap Wal-mart Mainstays Wall Clock.  Unscrew the housing unit of the clock.  Pop open the housing unit and inside will be all of the gears.  Carefully remove each gear that you want to use.  Keep in mind that the gears I used for this project are plastic, but it doesn't matter since I spray painted mine.  My suggestion is to find various sizes of small gears to create an asymmetrical design. 

It doesn't really matter what type of piping you get as long as it can bend.  For my piping, I chose 1/8" brass metal pipe from Home Depot.  You can get a 36" piece for about $2.50  First, cut the pipe to a 3 3/4" section.  Then, carefully bend the piping into a curved 90 degree bend on both ends.  Make sure each bend is equal to the other side.

The nuts I used for the wall plate are 3/8" nuts I took from the hardware for mounting trucks to a skateboard.  A set of mounting nuts and bolt for a skateboard range from $2.99 to $4.99.  If you already have this size just use those; there is no need to seek out the extra work.

Once you've gathered all of the materials; it's time to paint them.

Step 2: Spray Painting

My favorite part about steampunk is the color and texture.  Since I went with a brass plate, I wanted the gears to be a close color to that so it blends well.  I chose to use Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray Paint with the bronze color (Shown in picture).  Gather the nuts, gears, and pipe (optional depending on the pipe you chose) and head outside to spray paint those pieces.  Do a light coat of paint all over each object and allow at least 30 minutes to dry.  Ensure that you are at least 8" away from the piece you are painting so the paint does not become thick and uneven.  After those parts dry it's on to assembly.

Step 3: Assembly

Now where it all comes together.  I started off with the bottom right section of the wall plate and crazy glued on two gears with equal diameter, but a different design.  All you need is a dab of glue on the gear to get a firm bond.  Carefully place the gear onto the wall plate where you want it.  Be extra cautious in the placement; once it's set you shouldn't move it because the glue could smear and the finished product will look muddled.  After that, I handled the top right side with four different gears of various sizes.  Repeat the same process as the bottom section and feel free to mix it up a bit and at some interesting placements of the gears.  Lastly, collect the piping and nuts and fit the nuts onto each end of the piping.  Set the section where you want it on the left side of the wall plate.  Once you have your location, Crazy glue the nuts to the wall plate the same way you did with the gears.  Once dry, fill the nuts with a touch of glue and fit the piping back into the nuts.  After all is dry, mount the wall plate to your light switch.  

This project only took me two hours to do very carefully.  Do not rush on the project, it's a small piece and every detail is important.  It's better to take your time and you will be happier in the end.  I hope this project is a fun for you as it was for me.  My next project is underway now and I'll post that as soon as possible. Also, like my page on facebook where I have begin my talks of design work at:

P.S. I apologize for the low quality photos; I only have my camera phone right now.

Keep on creating,
Michael Alan Williams