wallplate tutorial: scraps + glue

The new house came w/ a lot of plastic things, including those awful mini-blinds (now hacked in to less awful “roman shades“) and some less-than-clean wall and switch plates. I took the plates off when we painted, but couldn’t bring myself to put them up again. The rooms have been painted for roughly two months, but somehow we were still looking into those gaping maws where the switches and plugs are. Flop house chic! Sadly, I don’t think that’s en vogue just now.

I considered buying new ones, but the cheapy plastic ones are still ugly when they’re new and the “nicer” ones are expensive but somehow still ugly. Now Anthropologie has great ones, but $20/each when you need, oh, 15 plates, just doesn’t fly. Thinking I’ll buy one fancy one for the bedroom tho! ;)

Anyhoo, I fooled around w/ some scrapbooking card stock, but that didn’t work. It was too thick, so looked sloppy. Ultimately, I settled on some leftover fabric from my stash. I think this pattern is a remnant from the dresses I made for Miss Miami and Miss Seattle, but not positive.

This is fairly straightforward to do, but a little messy. It also requires paying some attention to the orientation of your fabric pattern (i.e. line it up if you don’t want it crooked).

– switch or wall plates
– fabric
– Mod Podge
– foam brush (optional, but works well and avoids huge sticky mess on hands)
– scissors (I used a regular pair for fabric and pointy-noised embroidery scissors for cutting openings)
– steel wool – grade #000 (optional)

– Place fabric pattern-side-down on work surface (remember you want the pattern to face outward…seems obvious, but I nearly did it backwards the first time).
– Place plate, front-side-down, on top of fabric. The fabric will cover plate openings.
– Trace around plate, leaving an extra inch on each side. I free-handed it, but in case you want to measure.
– Cut out rectangle.
– Using foam brush, spread a thin-ish (not invisible, but not thick) layer of Mod Podge on front of plate.
– Line up plate in center of fabric and press down. Hold it there for a bit, so it sticks well.
– Spread some Mod Podge on back of plate, being sure to get the edges.
– Fold in corners. I trimmed mine prior to folding, so they weren’t as bulky. Let this dry a few minutes.
– Now the part you have to finesse a bit: the openings. If you follow the below directions, they should look sort of like this from the back. Kind of like weird little sunshines. :)

Untitled by melliroo

– Cut an X into center of one of the wall plate opening, making each arm of the X nearly touch the plastic. This will make four tabs. Then cut each of the four tabs in half, so you end up w/ 8 triangular tabs. Repeat on second opening.
– Spread a little Mod Podge on back of plate, then fold back the tabs you just created. Pull them back firmly, so you get a nice edge.  Note: the back of some plates have ridges, like in the above photo. These are harder to glue to, but it can be done!
– For switch plate openings, cut a line in the center of fabric that covers the light switch opening, then cut into each corner on the diagonal. This will produce four small tabs, which you can then fold back as noted above.
-Seal front of plate with a layer (or several) of Mod Podge.
-When ready to mount, poke hole in fabric over tiny screw hole(s). I used pointy nose scissors for this, then screw in.
-Now enjoy not looking at the wall holes!

I might have been making one of these at 4:50am, b/c, well, I was drinking my coffee and all the materials were out from last night …and maybe I have a problem. BUT my point is that the Mod Podge directions say you can build it up in several layers, then wet sand it, then buff it w/ steel wool. Seems excessive, but may try that out too.

I wet steel wooled the remainder of these. It takes a minute or so each, and really improves the results. Just wet (not soak) some steel wool, then firmly rub along wallplate. Dry w/ a towel. This removes slightly bumpy texture left by the mod podge. I don’t think this is a required step, but I do like the results very much. I only have a super filter instragram photo of the mounted one, but here it is.