I recently discovered that my car's back passenger window has a bad motor when a passenger rolled the window down and was unable to roll it back up. He spent the next 10 minutes yanking on the glass until it finally went back into position. At the moment, I'm unwilling to pay for a repair, so I had to come up with a solution other than using the child lock on both back windows. I hoped to circumvent this problem in the future by sticking a square of electrical tape with a "no" symbol painted on it, but that proved ineffective. Another unobservant passenger pushed on the power switch without looking at the button, and we were stuck with the same issue.
I didn't want to cover the whole switch well with duct tape for fear of leaving residue, so I decided to sculpt a stopper plug that would prevent the switch from being pressed down. If you also have a bad window motor and want to prevent passengers from operating the windows without the child lock in use, read ahead!
Step 1: Supplies
For this project, I used Sculpey III oven bake clay. Any other line of oven bake clay will work for this Instructable.
Oven bake clay (like Sculpey) - a ball about the size of a quarter (or smaller pieces of different colors, if desired)
Aluminum foil - a piece about 3x3 inches
Sandpaper - fine grain preferable
Step 2: Preparing the Clay
Sculpey tends to be hard when it first comes out of its packaging, so tear off the amount needed and knead until it softens.
I wanted a marbled effect for my stopper, so I mixed 3 colors (dark teal, light teal and pearl), but if you prefer a solid color, please skip to step 3 after rolling your clay into a ball!
For marbled stoppers, select your colors and roll the clay into thin "snakes." Press the snakes together and roll to merge them fully. For further blending, fold the coil over and roll until it fuses again, until desired mixing is reached. Roll the clay into a ball and decide on your favorite section to be displayed.
Step 3: Preparing the Foil
Bring your square of foil to the offending window switch, center the foil over the switch well, and gently press the foil into the well.
Using light pressure, smooth the foil into the curves and crevices of the well so that the foil is flush to the walls. Pay special attention to the underside of the switch, where there is a slight overhang. This is where the clay will prevent the button from being depressed by passengers, so you'll want to make sure to line that area well. Use your fingernail to compress the foil laying on the outside of the well so that the Sculpey doesn't get stuck in the folds during insertion.
Step 4: Forming the Stopper
Now, take your ball of clay (desired side facing up) and press it into the lined switch well. Gently compress the clay with your thumb to spread it to each corner, making sure to press it under the switch's overhang. To test the effectiveness of the switch, try to press down on the window switch; it should be effectively blocked by the clay. (Don't press too hard, however, as this will squish the clay and you'll have to reshape it.)
The clay should be generally flush with the top of the switch well so as not to obstruct a passenger's arm if they rest their arm on the door. If there's an excess of clay mounding over the switch well, gently tear away from the top until you can press the clay flush to the armrest.
Once the clay is completely situated in the well, smooth the top with gentle pressure and then carefully lift the exposed edges of the foil to remove the whole unit from the switch well. Hold only by the foil, as you don't want to accidentally warp the unbaked stopper. Then, head to the kitchen!
(Notice in the last picture that the bulge on the underside that will prevent the button from being pressed is pronounced.)
Step 5: Baking the Clay
Set your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Sculpey's instructions recommend baking the clay for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch, but I set my timer to 20 minutes with successful results.
Place the stopper foil-side down on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Once the stopper has finished baking, let it sit in the foil until it is cool to the touch. Sculpey maintains some pliability while hot, so handling it prematurely could cause it to warp.
Step 6: Finishing and Placing the Stopper
Once the stopper is cool, carefully peel off the foil and lightly sand the top's sides to remove any sharp edges.
Now, install your window switch stopper in the car! Simply slide the stopper into the switch well and press it securely in place. If all went well, you should be unable to depress the power switch! Unwary passengers can no longer roll your window down only to discover it doesn't roll back up. Because it doesn't have any adhesive, it won't leave a residue in your car, and because it's not permanent, you can easily remove it if you get the window motor repaired. Just latch your fingernail under the stopper and pop it out!
Thanks for reading my Instructable!