This is how to make a custom laser cut and engraved light switch plate. I used Boba Fett clip art from Star Wars, but you could use any clip art to make a custom plate that is a fun addition to a child's room or a game room!
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
Access to a Laser Cutter
Design software like Adobe Illustrator
Acrylic sheet, 1/8" works well
Solvent cement (I use Weld-on)
Acrylic paints (I use Citadel paints for miniature models)
Step 2: Design the Switch Plate in Adobe Illustrator
Using an actual switch plate as a reference, I created an extra large switch plate that is 1" larger than a jumbo sized plate from the hardware store. I added a second layer ring to the back to give the plate some volume and guarantee a tight fit to the wall.
Step 3: Add the Engraving Graphic
I found a piece of clip art I liked and sized it to fit the switch plate.
Step 4: Cut and Engrave the Switch Plate
I adjusted the manual settings for rastering on my laser cutter to 50% power and 50% speed. This cuts a much deeper pocket than the normal raster settings. I left the paper on both the front and back of the acrylic, to make it easier to paint in the next step.
Step 5: Paint the Switch Plate
I painted my plate with the same Citadel paints I use to paint my miniature models. I am careful but I don't have to be finicky because the paper protects the plate and will be peeled off in the next step.
Step 6: Peel Off the Paper and Fuse on the Back Ring
When the paper is peeled off, the paint job looks perfect! I sealed this with a coat of matte varnish, to hold up under normal wear and tear.
As a final step, I use solvent cement to fuse the back layer on. This gives the switch plate enough depth to fit over the switch box and fit tightly to the wall.
Step 7: You Can See the Whole Process in This Video Tutorial
Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017