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Switch Plates - A Great Family Project

Dec 16, 2007
When decorating a room for the young kids in the family, you have no doubt used a lot of fun and bright colors. But there are likely a few pieces of the room that still are a little drab, such as the switch plates. You need them to cover the wiring where the light switch is, but wouldn't it be great if they were more fun? Now they can be, and it's a project you and your child can do together.

You need to start with a switch plate cover made of ceramic, some polymer clay, from the craft store, parchment paper, and small tools like knives to cut the clay. When you are selecting the clay to use, you need to decide how creative you want to be. While you can purchase specific colors of clay and create your own designs, there are also ready made sticks of clay with designs in them that you can cut into ready to use decorative pieces.

On the parchment paper you need to draw the shape of the switch plates, including the hole. This will be your reference for laying out the clay.

If you are starting with colors of clay to make your own design, you need to knead the clay with your hands until it is workable. Then create the design you like. You can use various household tools such as toothpicks, knives, Exacto knives, etc to create the designs you want to see on the switch plates. You want to keep the clay thin, 1/8 - 1/16 of an inch.

If you are using the ready-made clay designs, you will still need to hold the clay in your hands for a few minutes to get your body heat to warm it. Then cut the clay into small similarly-sized blocks with an Exacto or other blade. Again, remember to keep the clay thin, at 1/8 - 1/16 of an inch.

Start placing your clay designs on the drawing of the switch plates. You may notice that the pieces look a little ragged on edges and are not completely together, this is where your delicate touch comes in. you will use your fingers to smooth the pieces together and make them into one solid piece. When you have created the complete shape of the switch plates design, you need to transfer the clay to the switch plates.

This is done by flipping the parchment paper over, on top of the switch plates, and peeling it off. Pull out those finger tools and again make sure to smooth design to the switch plates. If there are extra edges, cut them away.

Now cook the clay, following the directions on the packaging. Don't poke at it until it has cooled, you can muddle the design. After it cools, try to pick up the switch plates and see if the clay pieces have adhered to them. If not, you can use an adhesive to hold the two together.

Now it's ready to put up. If you want you can coat with a lacquer to protect the clay and make it easier to clean down the road.
About the Author
Jesse Akre, owner of many niche sites, offers insight on purchasing stylish switchplate covers, switch plates.
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