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Papered Switch Plates

A standout switch plate can give a whole room a lift.




  • Heavy paper or card stock
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Bone folder
  • Utility knife
  • Decorative covering (extra-wide ribbon, wallpaper, sheet music, map of a favorite place, etc.)
  • Water-based urethane or Scotchgard


  1. Step 1

    Trace switch plate onto back of paper. Cut paper about 1/4 inch wider than outline; brush craft glue onto back; place switch plate face-down.

  2. Step 2

    Cover with ribbon, wallpaper, sheet music, map of a favorite place, or other decorations of your choice.

  3. Step 3

    Cut each corner at an angle slightly beyond corner of plate.

  4. Step 4

    Fold sides onto back of plate, using bone folder to smooth. With utility knife, cut X into paper covering switch cutout; brush glue onto flaps; smooth to plate's back side.

  5. Step 5

    Make tiny X in paper covering screw holes. Turn over. Dab glue into holes.

  6. Step 6

    Seal paper with water-based urethane, fabric with Scotchgard.

  7. Step 7

    Mount on wall.

Martha Stewart Living, May 1998



Reviews (11)

  • klcook 30 Jul, 2009

    My niece loved van gogh paintings so many a post card made it onto her light switches. We even did some individualized ones depicting Paris, a library, whatever. So much fun.

  • craftycat1951 19 Jun, 2009

    I did this years ago when I learned to rubberstamp...not much escaped me and my ink! I love to make kitchen themed ones, stars and moons for bedrooms and garden themed plates for a guestroom....

  • betterthanMS 18 Jun, 2009

    I've been doing this for years. I think the best way to get the clear coat on it would be a light Varnish. If you go to your local Michael's, near the Mod Podge, you can find it there. Also, I use Magazine clippings, newspaper, old comics, stock photos etc to make mine really interesting and unique. Its a great gift idea as well. It really personalizes it.

  • bjhinokcok 16 Jun, 2009

    Hey Ravenavery, I think a good clear glaze would be Elmers Glue! It dries clear and glossy, so not to worry when you paint it on white.

  • ravenavery 16 Jun, 2009

    I'd like to do this, and paint the finished cover with a clear glaze/paint to protect it from becoming dirty or fingerprint-smudged. What would Martha suggest I use as a glaze? :)

  • LindenBlossom 16 Jun, 2009

    What a brilliant idea! Wish I'd known about it before we replaced all ours with expensive bushed steel ones ;-)

  • reereesul 16 Jun, 2009

    I don't think there is anything that cheapens a room like PLASTIC switch plate covers! This solves the problem nicely!

  • NancyMcManus 16 Jun, 2009

    Would be cute to do this in an entrance way with holiday/seasonal paper.

  • dancingchica 3 Jun, 2008

    Yup, super easy and super cute idea!


    I love this because I have been doing it since the 1970's and am amazed at how many people don't! I also love that Martha has suggested painting out light switches to match the wall colour... because I still see so many designer rooms on television shows that have stark white switchcovers, and it's a huge pet peeve of mine. WHY????

  • SamGammy 22 Apr, 2008

    Whenever I change the wallpaper in a room, I cover the switchplates with wallpaper too. I try to make the cover match the exact spot in the paper so that the switchplate almost disappears into the design.