Monday, August 1, 2011

Polymer Clay Lightswitch Covers

The main room of our house is cedar from floor to ceiling and has an old west feel. I was tired of glaring old white light switch plate covers which were extremely noticeable against the wood.  I wanted something that blended better in my room and was more decorative, but when I searched Etsy or other web sites the costs ranged from $8 - $14 for designer covers.  I have 10 switches and outlets in my living room, so as the costs added up I started thinking more creatively.

In high school I did some leather tooling and still had my tools.  I thought about doing leather covers, but to be honest, for me Polymer Clay was quicker and more forgiving.  Cheaper too.

Here's what I did:
- Start with 1 oz (1/2 a package) of Raw Sienna colored Sculpey Premo Polymer clay.
- Condition it until soft on a pasta maker.  Using the widest setting on the pasta maker and roll out a piece big enough to cover the plate.
- Use an Exacto knife to cut the opening for the switch and use a straw to poke holes for the screws.
- Put a piece of parchment paper over the top and roll a brayer over the clay gently.  This should be all it takes to adhere the clay to the switch plate cover.  The parchment paper allowed me to easily smooth the sides.
- Cut off the excess clay around the edges.

I hunted around the Internet for some leather tooling patterns and found several I liked.  I even took bits and pieces from different patterns and made a unique design for my pieces.  I used a pencil to trace the pattern onto the clay.  The leather tools worked great on the clay.  Mine didn't stick, but if they had I would have sprinkled a bit of water on the clay.

There are several good video tutorials on youtube to show you how to use leather carving tools.  Tandy offers a number of them. I found that I could also use normal clay sculpting  tools to smooth out any areas of imperfection.  Bake as instructed on the clay package.  Enjoy! (I stole that from Julia Child since this was beginning to sound like a recipe.)

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing! The guest room in our new home is going to have a western theme, and I've been looking at all sorts of outlet/switchplate covers... with all sorts of prices. But THIS idea is brilliant! Much more creative! Thanks for the great tutorial.