Making your own polymer clay switch plates is a unique way to add personality and charm to your home. You can replace your plain switch plate and outlet covers with a custom clay version that matches the color scheme and style of the room.
Polymer clay comes in a wide range of different colors to create countless designs. You can add different textures, paints and other details to achieve your desired look. This guide will explain how to make polymer clay switch plate covers to decorate your home.
Step 1: Choose a Design
Choosing a design might be the hardest part! There are so many beautiful options to choose from. You could use a rubbing plate to press in an intricate design or try a silkscreen method to add an ornate print. You can find a lot of inspiration scrolling the internet. Pick something that speaks to your personal style and compliments the rest of your home.
Step 2: Gather Your Supplies
If you've been making polymer clay crafts for a long time, you probably already have most of the materials for this project. If you're a beginner, these items will make a great addition to your collection. Here's everything you'll need:
- Clay conditioning machine: To roll out your clay into a consistent thickness, you'll need a clay conditioning machine or pasta roller. An acrylic rolling pin could also work. It might just require some additional effort to get an even sheet of clay.
- Switch plate: If there's already a switch plate on your wall, you can take it off and use it as a mold. Metal switch plates are the best option, but plastic will also work. Before making your creation, put your switch plate in the oven at the temperature you'll bake your clay at. Watch it for about five minutes, and If it doesn't melt or bubble, it should be fine to bake with your clay.
- Polymer clay: You'll need one two-ounce block of polymer clay per standard switch plate or outlet cover. You can mix and match several hues for a marbled effect or create a solid colored base with one shade. Sculpey III® comes in dozens of vibrant colors and works perfectly for this project.
- Clay blades: You'll need a clay blade to cut and remove the clay from your work surface.
- Miscellaneous tools: You'll use a clay knife or pointed tool to cut out openings for the switches and nail holes. The Sculpey Tools™ Clay Tool Starter Set includes everything you'll need.
- Decorative extras: If you want to add texture or color to your clay, make sure you gather any paints, glitter, foil, mica powder or stamps that you need.
Step 3: Roll and Shape Your Clay
Now it's time to get started! Use your clay conditioning machine or rolling pin to stretch your dough to the appropriate thickness. It should be about as thin as your existing switch plate. If you want to stamp in a pattern, you should do so before making any cuts.
Once your clay is ready, use your blade to scrape it from your work surface. Flip your clay face down on the table and lay your switch plate cover on top. Gently press the clay against your switch plate and flip it over to make a precise cut with your clay knife. Standing the plate on one edge at a time will help you make a precise cut. Smooth out the edges when you're finished.
Once you have the basic shape cut out, you can use your other tools to carve out the openings for the light switch, screws and outlets, if there are any. The pointed tool is ideal for making screw holes. Push the tip of your tool through the existing hole in the switch plate and swivel it in a circular motion until there is a circular crater in the clay. This will create the perfect groove so your screws will fit flush against your DIY switch plate covers.
Don't peel the clay away from the switch plate. Leave the metal or plastic cover in place until after baking. It will support the clay so it maintains the proper shape while it cures in the oven.
Step 4: Embellish Your Design
Mica powder, inks and chalk pastels can add a beautiful sheen or pop of color to your switch plate covers. If you've pressed a pattern onto your clay, these accents can make your design pop. Put a little on your finger and gently rub it across your polymer clay. You can cover the entire surface or highlight only a few areas — it's completely up to you!
If you'd rather paint your design, it's best to wait until after baking. Painting your switch cover before it's cured can damage any patterns or textures you've added. The heat of the oven can also change the color of your paint. Once your clay has hardened, you can finish off your design with colorful acrylic paints.
Step 5: Bake Your Switch Plate
Once you've completed your design, it's time to cure it in the oven! Baking times will vary based on the clay you used and the thickness of your creation. Sculpey III® hardens in the oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of clay. If you've used another type of clay, make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging.
It's best to wait until your switch plate cover has completely cooled before handling it.
Step 6: Finish Your Design
Now that your clay is cured, you can remove it from the metal or plastic switch cover.
If you like how it looks, you can stop here or finish the design with vibrant acrylic paints. You can add a few details or paint the entire cover. For a wash of color, try putting some paint on the clay and wiping it off with a damp cloth. If you've pressed in a pattern, the paint will settle in the deepest parts and make the design stand out.
To seal in your design, you can cover your project with a gloss or satin glaze. Sculpey® glaze adds a beautiful finish and covers minor imperfections. It also makes your project more durable, which is ideal for a light switch cover you'll touch often.
Once your paint is dry, you can install your finished clay switch plate cover. Gently screw it into the wall, and you're all done! Now you can step back and admire your gorgeous design.
Shop Sculpey® Polymer Clay Products
Polymer clay switch plates will add an artistic touch to every room of your house. You can experiment with different color palettes and techniques to bring your vision to life. Find everything you need to create your switch plate cover by shopping Sculpey® products today!