DIY Washi Tape Switchplates {tutorial}

pretty washi tape switchplates and outlet covers - an easy washi tape craft

If you've been around the crafty blog world much, you've seen washi tape.

More accurately, you've seen ROLLS of washi tape. Full-on collections of beautiful colors and patterns, carefully curated by an adoring crafter.

Because, even more so than with potato chips, you can't have just one roll of washi tape. It's unnatural.

Debra bought me my first few rolls and I've been obsessing and collecting ever since (with a big thanks to Pick Your Plum for making it even more affordable -- and you can also find it at Michael's and Target. It's also called "decorative paper tape" in some stores.)

UPDATE: It's a great day for washi, apparently -- Pick Your Plum has washi tape again this morning! $1.50 a roll and $2.95 shipping in the US (or just a bit more if you're outside the US). This deal always goes quickly, so if you want some, go fast!
pretty washi tape

Thankfully, washi tape is a totally publicly acceptable, and even budget-friendly, obsession.

I even gave out rolls of washi tape at a favorites party I hosted for my sisters back in February (of which I will post details eventually). As I gushed about how amazing it was, I got one question back from every recipient:
But what do you DO with it?

And my nonchalant answer was: 
You stick it on stuff. 
Anything. 
Just stick it on whatever and it will be cute. 

And that is totally true, but... 
[big confession] 
I had never actually used washi tape on anything! 
{hang head in shame}

So, a few weeks later, when we painted our stairway and upstairs hallway, I took the opportunity to put my washi tape on display by letting it work its magic on the switchplates and plug covers before I put them back on, like these I had seen on Crab & Fish. It started out simple:
easy washi tape craft

and then developed into a bit, er, more...
cute washi tape craft

And now the only bare switchplate in my house is the outlet cover behind my couch. (Okay, the ones in the basement are bare, too, but just until I get down there without forgetting my screwdriver.)

I loved the way the pretty switchplates looked on my neutral tan walls upstairs, but I wasn't sure I would like the patterned covers on my pretty blue walls in my kitchen (Belize by Sherwin-Williams). But I love them even more! Love love LOVE them. I squeeed as I installed each and every one --  my husband can confirm. (And even he admits that he likes them -- and everyone who comes to my house comments on my cute light switches!)
cute washi tape switchplates collection

It's super easy. A craft for non-crafters, with a minimal time and money investment. If you want them all to match, one roll of washi tape ($2-4) will do a bunch. I did the first 5 in around an hour, and the next set of 12 took me about 3 episodes of Burn Notice (or just over 2 hours).


Here's how I did it:
(head over here to see Crab & Fish's tutorial, including a different method for the corners)
washi tape switchplate tutorial
pardon the blurry nighttime cell phone pics :)
  1. Line up your first strip of washi tape with the center cutout so that everything else is straight. You can start out vertical or horizontal, depending on how you want your pattern to go. 
  2. Place the next strip of washi tape right next to the first, lining up the pattern so that it appears seamless. (Some patterns, such as these polka dots, had a tiny bit of overlap to match the pattern, and others didn't need to overlap at all.) Continue sticking on strips of tape until you have covered the entire switchplate, including the center opening. 
  3. For each corner*, make a small diagonal cut lining up with the tip of the corner.
  4. Smooth the smaller end around the edge, and then 
  5. Fold the bigger part around the back and smooth it out.
  6. Trim the little overhanging part with scissors. 

*Depending on the width of your washi tape and where you start, every corner will be a little bit different. I used this basic idea on every corner, but whatever looks good will work.

In her tutorial (which I didn't actually read before starting mine), Crab & Fish cuts the washi tape from thw switch opening and folds it around to the back of the switchplate. I did that for the first set, but for the second set, I used a craft knife to trim around the openings. I preferred that, because it meant I had fewer snags to mess up my perfectly aligned pattern when I reinstalled the covers.

As I reinstalled the first set of switchplates, I wished I had touched up the screws with a fresh coat of paint. So for the second set, outside we went. Thanks to a tip I had seen on Pinterest (that I didn't save -- boo! -- so if it was yours THANK YOU and let me know and I'll credit you!), I fished out a chunk of styrofoam from our recycling bin, stuck the screws in, and let the spray paint roll... er, spray.
tip for spray painting screws

And the styrofoam melted. Oops. It still worked, but it will probably cause me cancer or something like that.

My switchplates have been up for two weeks now, and I love them as much as ever. On a few of them (probably 3 of the 17), a small edge piece of washi tape has pulled up a bit, but I smoothed it down with my finger and none of them have come loose again.
washi tape switchplate


So, {phew} if you made it all the way through this post, I'd love to know your feelings on washi tape. Have you given in to the obsession? Or are you holding out for some crazy reason? ;)

-Lorene

PS - You can see more washi tape ideas here on my washi tape Pinterest board or over at the awesome new site, Washi Tape Crafts

3 comments:

Summer Rumsey said...

Oh these are fun! I just love washi tape!

Debra Hawkins said...

I kind of obsessively love these. I love how changeable it can be too. It is totally renter friendly!

mari of {crab+fish} said...

I love how yours turned out -- thanks for linking back to me!

Sincerely,
Mari :)

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