Thursday, August 14, 2014

Need A Fun And Useful Group Activity?

     My art group, ArtsEtc, had an excellent activity taught by one of our members, Pat Miles, for our August meeting. She taught us how to decorate switch plates and electric outlets. All the ones in her house are fabulous mini art pieces.

What you need:
Fabric or decorative papers
Bits of jewelry and/or beads
Mat medium

     Here are the basic steps:

1.) Unscrew the switch plate or outlet from the wall.

2.) Cut the fabric about 3/4 inches larger on all sides than the switch plate or outlet. You can also prepare bits of fused fabrics or even papers. But size it here at this step.

3.) Choose how you want to embellish it. You can sew on beads, bits of  jewelry, found items, you can stamp it, paint it, embroider it, etc. Do it at this step.

4.) This is the step where you glue the finished piece to the plate or outlet. I used tacky glue. Other people used a spray glue. Others used mat medium. I spread the glue onto the plate with my gloved finger and used a little water. Then I pressed the fabric on top and slid it into place. I turned it over, cut into the corners with little scissors, folded the corners in and glued them down. Then I glued the sides down onto the back, too.

5.) Then I used the small scissors to slice open the opening for the switches and cut into the corners there, too. I folded those tiny pieces to the back and glued them down, also.

6.) Next, I used a 1-inch flat brush to apply mat medium to the entire surface on the front and let it dry overnight. That way the plate can still be cleaned.

7.) After it was dry, I used the points of my small scissors (since I don't have an awl) to poke the holes where the screws go.

8.) I screwed it back into the wall. Pat told us that if you use thick fabric, you need to buy longer screws, but they are easy to find. Final step is to paint the tops of the screws.

This one is on a tiled kitchen wall
This one is on my family room wall

This one is on my family room wall

 So I've done three so far and I think I want to do maybe twelve more.
A few tips ... Remember that all sewn embellishments need to be added before you glue the fabric to the plate or outlet.  And don't put embellishments too close to the switches because then they will just be in your way. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday  where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let the artists know you stopped by and thanks for visiting my blog. I hope this posting reads ok. I made it using my iPad instead of my usual laptop because my laptop is in the shop.


  1. Thanks for sharing this - what a great idea for making something that is usually quite plain and a bit ugly into something fabulous!

    1. Thanks. I was amazed when I saw my friend's Pat's.

  2. Hi, Regina. These are so beautiful. My practical side speaking: I'm wondering how they will wear in the long run? Mine need constant wiping...
    best, nadia

    1. I think they will wear well and be able to be wiped often since they have a good coating with mat medium.

  3. You have such good ideas! Thank you for sharing this - I would love to try it:-)

    1. Get a few friends together for an afternoon of an art party and try it together. :)


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