Monday, January 9, 2012

Duck Tape Light Switch Plate

When we moved in, I asked Oliver what kind of room he would want and if he wanted me to paint it.  Cars 2 was his favorite thing and the moment, along with Thomas the Train, and he decided he wanted a Thomas and Lightning McQueen room.  That quickly evolved into a race car room.  We went all out and got the Disney paint from Home Depot and I decided, in my infinite wisdom (note the sarcasm), to handpaint a checkerboard race flag border.  Why I decided to hand paint it, I don't know.  I vaguely remember Wes trying to talk me out of it but my mind was made up.

So after painting this checkerboard flag, after about 20 hours of work, I decided the light switch covers were too plain.  There were the cheap plain white ones and I wanted something different.  I toyed with the idea of using fabric or paper and modge podge (I think that's what it's called).  I even scouted Cars themed covers but they were $10 + and I didn't want to spend that much on a stupid light switch cover.

But wait, I have duck tape.  Lots of duck tape.  I went crazy a while back with duck tape roses and bought every single color and pattern of duck tape the Duck Tape brand makes (well, almost every color but not quite).  Digging through the Michaels bag from black friday, there it was, checkerboard duck tape.  Not even 10 minutes later, we have this:

It's pretty simple.


Flathead screwdriver
Duck tape (in your chosen color)
Exacto Knife
Cardboard/cutting mat

1. Unscrew the plate from the wall. Be careful when dealing with anything to do with electricity.  Speaking from experience, you can get shocked from unscrewing a light switch cover.  Hey now, I know what you're thinking but I didn't know any better.  No one has ever explained to me how a light switch works.  Who would of thought those screws on the side of the switch were hot, because I sure didn't.  A slight jolt later and I will never touch them again.  Now I know how they work.  I could even install one for you. With a motion sensor.  On a 3-way switch. (Thank you, Wes)

2. Place the cover on your cutting surface. 

3. Measure out your tape. I used the cover as a reference but you could use a ruler I guess.

4. Proceed to cover the plate in the duck tape.  Be careful to avoid trapping air under the tape.  Also, if you're using a patterned tape like me, match up the pattern.  Depending on the size of the plate, you'll use 2 or more pieces of tape.

5.  When you get to the edges of your plate, make a cut with your exacto knife in the corner of the tape.  I made a cut parallel to the edge of the plate.  Then tuck the sides under and smooth the tape down.

6.  Make sure the plate is face down and on the cutting surface.  Make an "x" shape with your knife.  Fold the sides unders and make sure they stick to the back of the plate.  Turn the plate over and poke a hold for the screw.  It doesn't have to be cut out in a circle, just a hold so the screw can go through.

7. And, voila!  You have a custom light switch plate.
Total time: Less than 10 minutes
Total cost: $0 (I already had all of the materials, but in case you were wondering, a roll of patterned duck tape usually runs less than $4.  They sell it at Michael's and you can use a 40% off coupon.)

Did you know Michaels and Hobby Lobby will use a coupon off of your phone?  They don't need you to print one out anymore.  Neat-o.

And, no. I did not get this idea from (I do get a lot of ideas from them though).  I came up with this all on my own.  I'm sure somebody else out there in cyberspace has posted a blog about it and probably patented it, or sells them on ebay but oh well.  I did this, I claim this idea, it's mine and you're not taking it away from me.


  1. you go girl! you are doing an amazing job. What are you going to do to "my" room?!!

    1. Your room? You mean the toy overflow room that Oliver plays in now?

      Seriously though, for that bedroom, I wanted to turn it into a guest bedroom or a craft room so that Wes can have the study all to himself. I'm thinking DIY custom headboard and this cool paint technique I found on the net. Your cover the wall in the color you want in satin finish and then when it dries, paint a design over it (a la wall paper) in the same color, but in a high gloss looks amazing.

      No more checkerboards....I'm done with that.

  2. Awesome, have seen the differant color duct tape, but didn't know Micheals actually had one that was checkerboard. Neat idea!