Making Light Switch Covers from Polymer Clay

When making light switch covers from polymer clay, the most important thing to remember is that you must add the holes for the screws. It's amazing how many crafters cover the screw holes without realizing it until it's too late!

Polymer clay is an excellent choice for a light switch cover plate. It's a great medium for adding designs and color to an otherwise dull room. For a simple but elegant switch plate cover, use clay in a color that matches the room, and then add a design that will draw from the fabric in the room as well. Pressed lace designs work well when adding texture.

Because electrical switch plate covers come in several sizes, it's best to tackle a single switch plate as your first project. Once you get the hang of it, you can try creating double light switch cover plates, which will require more clay and a little more imagination.

Creating Electric Switch Plate Covers
Decide whether you want to make a scene on your switch plate cover, would prefer a plain colored cover with an imprinted or embedded design or want a plain color with no texture or add-ons.

First, condition the clay by squishing it in your hands or rolling it into a cane. Roll the cane back and forth to soften it. Fold it against itself several times and continue squishing it until it's pliable. When the clay has been conditioned, flatten the clay. Remove all bubbles that might have gotten incorporated into the clay as you worked with it.

Press the clay on a flat surface with your hand. Use a rolling pin to flatten it even more. You could also try flattening the clay with a pasta machine. Pasta machines will remove the majority of the air bubbles and create a thin and even layer of clay. Use a rolling pin to make the layer large enough to cover the front of the switch plate cover, with a little extra to tuck beneath the edges.

Make sure you cut out the holes-remember you need holes for the switch and screws. Be as neat as possible when cutting edges that will be seen by the naked eye. You can choose vibrant colors but if your cuts and lines are not straight and neat, your work will look unkempt.

Adding Texture
To make a textured switch plate cover that will also match the room, look at the fabrics in the room. Can you use a swatch of lace to created embedded designs in the clay? If it's a toy room, are there toys that could be pressed into the plate to create a new look? What about game pieces such as checkers?

Burlap is a great fabric for creating embedded designs as well. Even pressing sandpaper against the clay will form a neat pattern.

Creating Scenery On Your Light Switch
If you decide you want to make a scene, first determine the design you want to create. For a two-toned scene, use two colors of clay. For a single colored background, use one color, but add three-dimensional items. Use polymer clay molds or make the items by hand.

For holiday scenes or an ocean scene, you could use molds to create a few snowflakes and a Christmas tree or perhaps a couple of orange fish and a few bubbles. Lay out your design, create the images and attach them to the switch plate cover by crosshatching the back of the fish as well as the spot on the switch plate cover where you want to place the fish. Add a little liquid polymer and press the fish into place, taking care not to ruin the design.

Press or wipe out any fingerprints and preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Do not allow the heat to reach temperatures higher than the 265 to 275 range, as toxic fumes will be released at higher temperatures. It is best to use a stove that is not also used for food preparation. While polymer clay is labeled non-toxic, it is toxic when ingested. Wash your hands and all surfaces after working with this clay.

Baking Your Polymer Clay
Make sure all of the clay is attached to the switch plate cover before you place it into the oven. The cover should be placed on a clean piece of paper or index card, which is then placed on top of a ceramic tile. Bake the switch plate for 30 minutes.

When the switch plate cover has completely dried, brush with one coat of Future Floor Polish. When the item has thoroughly dried, you can apply it to the wall. Be careful not to crack the plate cover when you tighten the screws.

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