Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spring Cleaning In Full Bloom

It's amazing what one can accomplish in a week off! I've always thought that it would be boring being a housewife, working on the house all day while the husband is at work, but I honestly think now that if I were to not have a full time job I could make one out of housework. I clean regularly, laundry, and so on. But now that I have a full week to work on my projects, I have found that when given the time, I do a really good job, as opposed to my usual quick rush clean the surface job.

Everything I have done this week will come in a later blog post for sure, but I'd like to concentrate this post on one particular project I have done, and I'm actually considering adding it to my Etsy shop as a custom order. Of course I'll need more practice to work out the kinks.

I have an apple theme going on in my kitchen, which stemmed from my grandmother's Franciscan Apple pattern dishes that I inherited. Now that we have a house and the room for a china cabinet to displace the dishes, I have quite an apple collection!

Try to follow the chain of events leading up to this project: I was in the bead shop last week and the owner was working on those Scrabble tile pendants that are all the rave. I had seen the little pouches of letter tiles in craft stores before, but never really knew enough about the craft to try it out. She was kind enough to show me the basic gist. While letter tile pendants are kind of small in my opinion, I was thinking how fun it would be to make pendants on larger pieces of wood. I went to AC Moore to see what I could find, and I saw a rectangular shaped block that reminded me of a coaster, so I was on a mission to find square ones. My search for square coaster size pieces came up empty but then came the thought, "What about wallplates?!"

Here's the basic steps of what I did:

Buy ready-to-paint switch plates or outlet plates, depending on your project - I figure if paint doesn't stick to the basic ones, glue won't either. Unfinished wood plates work as well.

Trace the outline of the plate with an exacto-knife onto decorative paper, I did it at a slant away from the plate to give a little extra room to cover the sides of the plates too. Scrapbook paper works nicely, and comes in a variety of designs. Cut openings for the screw holes, outlet and/or the switch.


Wearing gloves, glue the paper onto the plate with a clear-drying water-base sealer glue. Paint over the paper with the glue as well. I used a toothpick to wipe the glue out of the outlet cracks.


When the glue dries, spray or paint on a glossy acrylic sealer. Be sure to do this step in a well ventilated area. Allow it to dry for several hours before use. The picture looks great, but if you look up close, you can see a few minor imperfections. Things I learned include: you should probably make a cut at the corners to avoid puckering, you should probably start at one end and smooth out in the opposite direction, and maybe a sponge will avoid the streak lines that I got from using a paint brush.


Finding plain, cheap, ready to paint plates was the hardest part of the whole process. The craft stores in my area don't sell them and the wooden ones in the local hardware stores fancy with beveled edges and curves. When you ask for ready-to-paint ones in the hardware stores you get told that the only ones you can paint are wood. And if you try explain why the curvy beveled wooden ones won't work well, they look at you funny and explain that they sell decorative plates - already made... Now what's the fun in that?!


9 comments:

AlasMyDear said...

what fun switchplates! they look GREAT. and splendidly yummy! no-one notices little imperfections, trust me :) not when the end result is this great-looking!

Cozy said...

I love this project. I may have to try it myself. I have a houseful of plain switchplates.

HomeMadeOriginals said...

These are so cute, thanks for posting the steps you used to make them.

Mama Z said...

I love how the switch plates turned out! Those are so cute. Thanks for posting how to do them...I might have to try a few around our house.

Stormy Designs said...

Great switchplates. Try using fine sandpaper or an emory board on plastic switchplates and the glue will stick better. I do this with clay when I cover them. Thanks for participating!

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

Thanks everyone...

Great idea Stormy!

storybeader said...

A little perseverance can really make a project. They look great on the wall!

Doodlesprouts said...

Very cute idea!!! Such a creative lady :D Thanks for the fun read.

Condo Blues said...

The apple photos totally make your switchplates!

I got paint to stick to plastic switchplates by roughing them up with a steel wool scouring pad before I painted them with wall paint.