Kaleidoscope light switch covers
For some reason, light switch covers fascinate me. Each one winds up being its own entity, with its own personality, at least with the way I do them, one at a time. I look forward to sharing my technique, for I know that in this wonderful world of polymer clay, you will come up with many more ways to do the same basic thing but with a different and special spin.

  Supplies

    - 1 rigid plastic light switch cover or nylon cover
    - wax paper
    - X-acto blade #11
    - dull needle
    - straight edge or ruler
    - roller
    - knitting needle, size 13 or larger
    - Future floor polish
    - E6000 glue
    - 15-25 various canes of various sizes (round, square, wedge shapes do best)
      -- approximately 4-8 slices from the larger canes
      -- 8-12 slices from the smaller canes
    - filler canes (approx. 100 gms)
      -- e.g. translucent with the teeniest bit of color; like or mint or light blue
  Steps  
 
1. Place the light switch cover, face-up, smack dab in the middle of a sheet of wax paper. The sheet needs to be large enough to allow a 2-3 inch margin around each side of the switch plate.
  2. With the dull needle, press hard enough and trace a outline around the edges of the switch cover, then trace the switch and screw hole openings without significantly tearing the paper. Set the switch cover aside. needs to be large enough to allow a 2-3 inch margin around each side of the switch cover.
  3. Use the straight edge or ruler to make a vertical line (from the middle of the top to bottom) that equally bisects the left and right halves of the outline on the wax paper sheet. Make a horizontal line that equally bisects the lower and upper halves of the outline. You should now have four rectangular quadrants; upper left and right, lower left and right.
  4a. Begin by placing the larger slices, arranging them on evenly the sheet of wax paper to that cane placement is mirrored in upper and lower and/or left and right.
  4b. Continue placing more slices, generally working from largest to smallest slices. You may need more of certain sized slices, to fill in gaps. Be not afraid to generously sprawl beyond the outline edges.
  5a. After filling all possible openings with cane slices, there will still be many small gaps between slices.
  5b. Pinch off a tiny piece of the filler cane. Roll the piece into a tiny ball. Then roll, putting pressure on one side until you've formed a kind of tear drop shape with a fine point at one end. With the pointy end pointing down, push the teardrop into a gap to plug up the gap. Continue pushing until the gap is filled. Use another teardrop if necessary.   
  5c. Continue forming these "plugs" and pushing them into gaps until all the gaps are filled. You now clearly have a "wrong" side and a "right" side. You've been, correctly, working on the wrong side.
  6. Once all the gaps are filled, completely cover the polymer clay sheet (cover) with another sheet of waxpaper, sandwiching the polymer clay cover between the two sheets. Use your roller to even the varying thicknesses as much as possible without causing too much distortion. If you have drastic thickness differences, use a tissue blade to shave. Just be careful. Pick up the polymer clay sheet, hold it upright in front of a strong light to reveal any tiny gaps. Press gently to force the filler clay and the slices to fuse together.
  7. Place the polymer clay sheet, wrong side up, back onto your work surface. Remove the wax paper sheet covering the "wrong" side and place the switch plate, wrong (or back side) up, centering the switch plate on the cover. With even pressure, press firmly.
  8. Carefully pick up your workpiece (clay sheet and switch cover), flip it over, so you can see the rightside (still covered with the other sheet of wax paper). Remove the final wax paper sheet. While holding your workpiece flat with one hand (right side up), grab the roller with your other hand and roll over the polymer clay sheet until it fully contacts the top surface of the switch plate. The cover should be large enough to drape and extend well beyond the edges of the switch cover.
 

  Note: Whenever you put the workpiece down, make sure to place it on a sheet of wax paper. This will allow you to pick it up or move it easily.

 
 

9. Put down the roller and pick up the X-acto blade. While still holding your workpiece, from the backside, use the X-acto blade to poke through the screw holes to mark their placement on the right side. Also mark some point inside the rectangular switch opening so you can see the mark on the right side.

 

10. Now, working from the right side, carefully bevel cut out the screw openings with the X-acto. Cut out the switch opening. Smooth over the surface to remove fingerprints, etc.

 

11. Bake the entire workpiece at 250 - 265 degrees for an hour or so. Let cool inside oven. When cool. paint the surface with a sealer (Future or Flecto Varathane). Reheat at 150 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool.

 
 

12. If using the rigid plastic cover, gently pry the clay cover from the switch cover, dot the cover with some little blobs of the E6000 glue. Replace the polymer clay cover. Press firmly. If you're using the more flexible nylon covers, the clay should adhere to the cover quite nicely; you don't need any glue. You be done.

Congratulations! Now make some more. ;-) To see some of my kaleidoscope switch covers, click here.

Have a great polymer clay day. ;-)

Desiree

Last update to this page: 16 Dec 01. Send comments, questions or suggestions to Desiree McCrorey.