DIYdiy projects

DIY Wallpapered Light Switch Cover

by Grace Bonney

today’s second diy project is also from the pages of the new reprodepot pattern books: flora and folk. this light-switch cover project, created by mollie green for the book, is my favorite project from the book. light-switches are so often over looked and can be such a fun and easy way to add a surprising bit of color or pattern to a room. all you need is some glue, patterned paper and an x-acto knife. thanks again to djerba and mollie for sharing these projects with us today! click here to read an interview with djerba and mollie from the reprodepot pattern book and here to check out another diy project from the book!

CLICK HERE for the full project instructions after the jump!

Project from the Reprodepot Pattern Book: Flora and Folk


-light-switch cover
-X-Acto knife
-inexpensive small paint brush
-decoupage glue


1. Print your textile pattern on text-weight paper. If you’d prefer not to print a pattern from the book or one you find on the web, you can also use light-weight patterned paper you buy from a store here (gift wrap and wallpaper work well, too!) Then lay the light-switch cover face up on the blank side of the sheet. Trace around the inside and outside edges with the pencil. Cut out, leaving about a 1/2″ border around the outer traced line. Notch the corners (outside the lines) to make folding easier. Use the X-Acto knife to cut out the inner rectangle along the lines.

2. using a paint brush, cover the light-switch cover with glue. Working quickly and carefully, line up the paper and pat it down on the cover. Brush glue on the back sides of the paper flaps and fold them neatly to the back side of the cover, pressing out any wrinkles.

3. Allow your light-switch cover to dry, according to the glue’s directions, and then reinstall on your wall. Don’t worry about the screw holes. Simply feel around and poke through the paper with the screws when you reinstall.

You’re done!

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  • this is great. i’ve actually been lamenting my plain old light switch cover plates, thinking about buying covers, but this would be way cheaper and probably a lot cooler too. thanks for the great idea!

  • So pretty! I’ve been looking for light switch covers to cover my abnormally shaped light switches but have yet to find any. I never thought about just doing it myself! Great inspiration, will definitely give it a try. Thanks!

  • Sorry..first complaint ever from me. I learned years ago from my sister, an interior designer that you should never draw attention to light switches and outlet plugs…disagree with the cuteness of this entry.

    • sunescd

      i have patterned switchplates in a few of my room and i think they’re delightful. it all depends on the pattern and placement of the switches though- obviously a pattern that clashes or makes no sense might be a bad idea, but they’re really lovely to live wit. i know there are all sorts of “rules” interior designers rules but sometimes those rules were made to be broken- especially when you see how cute they can be in person ;)


  • We’ve made paper collage switchplate covers as a craft party project, this looks to be even quicker and easier. If I may make a suggestion… you might want to also add a layer of clear protective coating over the paper, like polyurethane, Mod Podge, Krylon clearcoat, or varnish of some kind, which will make wiping off the inevitable fingerprints a bit easier.

  • It may be a little bit of my inner Jeff Lewis coming through, but it drives me crazy when the slots of the screws that hold the cover on aren’t both completely vertical. It just looks so much cleaner that way. Other than that I love the look :)

  • There will be a few newly-made-over light-switch covers in our apartment by the end of the weekend…this is so happy, I love it!

  • I remember in the 1980’s going to a friends house and noticing how the switch plates had been wrapped in the wall paper to camafloge (sp) them into the patten. I never gave a second thought about switch plates untill someone camafloggged them…then I could not staring at it. Not a fan of this idea. I would not wrap or wall paper this or air vents (which I have seen done) just keep them clean from grubby fingers. Especially in the bathroom.

  • Can’t wait to try this! Having never decoupaged, I’m just wondering whether the glue is permanent? Since I rent my apt, I’m often nervous about doing anything permanent. Thanks : )

  • In response to ‘Grey’….I too do not like the screws to be awry…so I totally understand your ‘Jeff Lewis” comment….plus it was funny!

  • I think this is an especially good idea. I have these hideous early-90s standard light switch covers that I hate and have been foolishly looking for cheap, cute ones to replace them with for a few years now with no luck. I don’t know why I didn’t consider just DIYing.

    Also, in response to the comment about interior design rules, let me pose this question: which is better to draw attention to?…ugly switch plates, or cute ones? I’ll take the cute ones any day.

  • Greg, you’re not alone. When we were doing the wiring for my parents’ house a few years back, our electrician friend that was guiding us demanded that all screw slots be vertical. So I have to do it that way every time now.

  • I already have the tape up for painting some walls in one room a dark blue. I’ve been trying to think of a good way to disguise (or make more attractive) the ugly switch plates that will soon be standing out like big blank “look at me” squares against that darker color. Thanks!

  • i love this idea!! i can’t believe i didn’t think of this! i have an ugly plastic beige switch plate with a light switch and a outlet and i cannot find a stainless steel one that fits anywhere! this is a great alternative..thank you!

  • I’ve done many, many switchplates, and have a few tips. First, plastic or smooth metal covers need to be roughed up a bit with sandpaper so the glue will stick better. Second, don’t cut out the center rectangle first off. Glue (I use Mod Podge) the whole sheet of paper onto the switchplate, leaving some on the margins to overlap to the backside. Then, turn the cover over and cut an X from corner to corner in the center hole. Fold those triangular pieces in, and glue them down. It makes a much neater hole for the switch.

    As for types of paper, I’ve found origami paper is fantastic! Tons of patterns, and it’s thin enough that it’s easy to work with. I made some fabbo sushi-themed switchplates for a friend who has a sushi bathroom. I glued small polymer clay sushi pieces on top of the origami paper!

    Wrapping paper is great, too, but scrapbooking paper is too thick to bend around the edges and inner hole easily. You do need to seal it with a coat of Mod Podge on the front, as well as a shot or two of clear acrylic spray sealant or something like that, especially if you’re putting the switchplate in a moist bathroom; the Mod Podge will get tacky otherwise. A clear sealant makes it easier to clean, too.

  • I’ve been doing these for years – just for fun! A couple of hints:

    1. Spray adhesive is the BEST! Spray the back of the paper, spray the front of the switch plate, let it set for a minute, then put the two together.

    2. As mentioned, don’t cut the hole first – do the x-thing after the paper is attached. Much neater and much easier.

    3. I usually use pictures from magazines. My favorite is “Antiques” magazine. This has also been done with a photograph – you decide what portion of the anatomy the switch should be!

    4. Definitely spray a clear sealant such as spray varnish on top.

    5. Just the other day I covered a plate with a cute print fabric. After spraying with varnish, the texture remained but it is can be cleaned, too.

  • I love this idea… it would work especially well in rooms with otherwise neutral surroundings (like the first photo, against a beige wall). Maybe more subtle, low-contrast prints in busier rooms?

  • If you are renting, just buy your own covers, decorate them and put your landlord’s covers in storage until you move out. The are very inexpensive, and you get to keep your artwork when you go.

  • For those of you who like to take photographs, you can do the same thing with photo prints. I have seen a friend’s home with glossy nature photos on the light switches. Looked gorgeous!