When it's time to update your décor, easily give your wall switch plates a fresh new look. Quickly create professional-looking painted switch plates using the simple step-by-step instructions below.
Whether you are wanting switch plates to match your wall color, adding bold color accents, or are simply looking for a way to freshen up ugly, dingy switchplates, this fun, quick project is a great way to add style and color to your home. Buying Switch Plates vs. Painting Switch Plates
Should You Buy New Plates or Repaint Current Ones?: Previously painted cover plates may be used as long as they were prepared properly the first time they were painted. Switchplates that have been painted too many times tend to have a thick, lumpy look, so it may be best to buy new ones in this situation. Also, lightswitch plates that were painted while still on the wall (perhaps because a painter didn't bother to remove them) will never have a clean crisp edge again. Best to start fresh.
Choosing Switch Plates: You can use metal, plastic, wood, mirrored glass or ceramic wall plates, however the best adhesion will be to metal. We recommend starting with these paintable Metal White Switch Plates.
Crafts Supplies Required for Painting Light Switch Plate Covers
Primer Coat: Supplies needed - plate, stir stick, paintbrush, primer paint and wall paint in desired color. For best results and no unhappy surprises, we recommend using a primer paint, such as Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultracover Primer, to prep the plates first. If you'll be using a spray-painted color, check the label for directions as a primer may not be necessary on certain plate finishes. If you choose to skip this step, then lightly sand or rough up the surface of your plates to help with the adhesion of the paint. Be sure to clean off all the dust before proceeding.
Paint Color: Select wall paint or spray paint in desired color. If you paint your switch plates the same color as the walls, then you will have to repaint them every time you repaint your room. Paint color may fade over time, so even if you are painting the walls the same color as before, it is quite likely that the plates still won't match.
Finish Coat: For a protective finish, use an acrylic clear coat, spray on Varathane such as Flecto Diamond Finish Varathane, or liquid varnish such as waterbased Delta Ceramacoat Gloss Interior Varnish. These will help maintain the finish and allow for easy cleaning as needed.
Tools: You'll need one or two paint brushes, stir stick, and a clean work surface covered with wax paper or plastic wrap.
Instructions for Painting Light Switch Wall Plate Covers
For an elegant finishing touch, easily change the color of light switch plates without replacing them. So in just a few quick steps you can have beautiful new-looking switch plates coordinated to match your wall treatments. It's as easy as 1-2-3!
Step 1: Apply Primer - Remove switchplates from the wall and lay on a clean surface such as a piece of cardboard, plastic wrap or wax paper. If necessary, tape to the surface to prevent rolling or shifting. (Avoid newsprint and paper towels as they tend to stick to the paint.) Make sure switch plate is clean and free of grease. If using spray primer, spray in well-ventilated area per instructions and allow to dry. Don't forget to paint the screws as well. Push screws into a piece of cardboard to hold them upright and protect the threads from being coated with paint.
Step 2: Apply Paint - When primed plate is dry, brush or spray paint with new color. If a second coat is needed, make sure paint is thoroughly dry. Wall paint may take a day to dry. If undercoat isn't completely dry, paint may peel off in the future.
Finishing Steps for Painting Switchplates or Outlet Covers You'll want to seal your wall plates with a clear, durable protective finish such as Varathane or liquid varnish.
The switches and electrical sockets can also be painted to match the plates.
A good time to do this is when the plates are already off the wall. Be sure the power to the devices has been shut off at the circuit panel before attempting to paint them. If painting receptacles, put a small piece of cardboard or folded up paper in each opening to prevent paint from going inside the device. (See photo.) Lightly brush or spritz the device with paint then seal when completely dry.
Don't Want to Paint Your Outlets or Switches? - Shop for switch plates in 17 different finishes. You're sure to find the color you need to coordinate with your home decor.
Article copyright Kyle Switch Plates 2011. If you enjoyed this article, please do not copy it but instead link to it. Thank you, Kyle