Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mini Makeover: Oil Rubbed Bronze

Does anyone have an outlet or light switch cover that looks something like this?

Or how about this?

Or like these?? (*shudder*)

Well let me introduce you to the solution: 
That's right, spray paint. For under $10 you can give you house a mini makeover. Seriously, think of how many times a day you flip a switch or plug something in. This is a little home improvement that you'll appreciate every single day.

Here's what you'll need:
- Light switch covers [That seems obvious, right?! You can either refinish the ones that are already in place, or, if you're renting and don't feel right about making the decision for your landlord or simply don't like the shape or style of the ones you've got, you can buy cheap plastic covers at your local hardware store, often for under a dollar a piece! While you're at it, compare the prices of the plastic ones (under $1) with the bronze ones (around $10!)]
- Fine sand paper [I bought an abrasive sponge from the paint section of the hardware store]
- Spray paint [Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze was my finish of choice! The can I bought was around $7, and was a paint and primer in one. If you're going to be painting a large surface area or a TON of items, you may want to purchase a separate primer so you don't have to use as much of the good stuff. But I knew one can would be enough to cover what I needed it to.]

To get started, unscrew all of the light switch / outlet covers that you plan to paint. Trust me, you'll probably find other things around the house that you realize need facelift. This stuff is addicting.
Then you'll want to clean them up. Get all of the dust and grime off with a paper towel or rag. Use your sandpaper lightly sand it down. (On mine there were remnants of paint jobs from years gone by... sanding it cleaned them up nicely.) Mainly it helps to rough up the surface just a bit so the paint will adhere better.

Using a piece of styrofoam is the easiest way to paint the screws - it keeps them all upright so you can evenly paint them.
(You'll want to do a better job than I did keeping the screws with the cover they go with. How hard can it be to match up these screws with the right outlets? It's just a matter of elimination. Ha. It cost me more time than it was worth.)
Make sure you're in a well ventilated environment, with your surroundings protected. (I laid a sheet of plastic on our driveway and did my spray painting outside.)
Here's how they looked after the first coat.

It took two full coats to cover well, and on some pieces I even went back and resprayed the corners and edges a third time. It helped to let the first coat dry completely so I could see what still needed to be covered. Plus it keeps the paint from getting gummy.

Now, I know you'll be super excited to put these back up (and the cover the gaping holes around the outlets in your home), but be sure to allow enough time for the paint to dry and harden. I'd recommend 24hrs. (It'll be dry to the touch before that, but the paint will chip and scratch much more easily.)

Now for some "after" pics!

Now my light switch matches my soap dispenser and other bronze bathroom fixtures!

1 comment:

  1. I saw these finished cover plates firsthand and can say, they look amazing! Great job!! (helpful tip about sticking the screws in styrofoam to keep them upright for painting).


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