With lots of projects in motion and always a tight budget, do you ever feel like you just aren’t accomplishing anything? You work day after day, for months on a DIY home renovation project but you never seem to cross anything off the list. I admit… I love lists and crossing things off. But, just like most of you, with a business to run, daily life to attend to, a running list of home DIY projects, and of course a little fun, something needed to be finished and fast! It’s the perfect scenario to round up all the accessories that can be repurposed and get the makeover started. A spray paint outlet covers project is next up!
Don’t Forget The Small Stuff
Our house was built in the 70’s and has never been updated. When renovating a space, there’s always those little things that go back into the room but don’t necessarily belong anymore. And since we are bringing the space into a new millennium, I put light fixtures and electrical plates in this category. You have to put back your outlet covers after renovating, but what if they clash with your new design?
If you haven’t shopped for new cover plates lately, the cost may surprise you. There will always be the basic, plastic plates for $1 or less, but if you went through the effort to update your space, you probably don’t want these. As you look for a more polished look, you’ll easily enter double digits for a single cover. And if you have multiple wall plates to replace or even an entire house, this can get very expensive quickly!
And what about those light fixtures? While you can always buy new ones, beware of the cost of doing so. New light fixtures are awesome, I can’t say they’re not. But if you’re on a budget and didn’t leave a chunk of money for new ones, you may be stuck with what you have. But that’s not always a bad thing. You’d be amazed what a little paint can do to a once unsightly light. With the upstairs renovation coming to a close, the only thing left is to load back in all the light fixtures and cover plates. And the 70’s style isn’t working, so it’s time to get creative.
Spray Paint Outlet Covers
I know what you’re thinking… “Can you really spray paint or apply paint for that matter to lights and wall plates?” OH YEAH you can! Not everything needs to be revolutionized with fancy paint techniques or cost a small fortune to make it awesome. Simple accessories can receive a quick once-over and look amazing. Not every project needs to take a lot of time to be worthy of your design. Light fixtures and switch plates are the perfect pieces for a little effort and some spray paint or even wall paint.
It All Starts With Prep
I decided to spray paint two light fixtures and all the outlet covers for the upstairs renovation. Even before the project started, there was no continuity between any of them as it is, so not only will we be reusing what we have, we’ll also be unifying them. While I’m not completing a complex treatment on them, I still follow a strict process for prep. Regardless of your final look, NEVER skip the prep!
They are all different surfaces with some metal, others plastic, and even a few wood covers. Don’t think for a second they don’t ALL need prep before spraying. What is most important is to ensure the surfaces will allow maximum adhesion of the spray paint (or wall paint) so you don’t have any chipping later on. The last thing you want is to once again see the ugly under layers you are wanting to hide. These are going to get touched a lot, so the better the prep – the better you’re chances of no nicks! I have more steps for prepping than even the painting part, but they are easy so NO skipping them.
Carefully remove all outlet covers (if not already done) and I recommend that all light fixtures to be painted also NOT be on the wall while doing so. Before painting the room, we turned off the power, removed the light fixtures, and safely capped the wires. Clean all surfaces so there is no grime or grease present. Don’t assume they are clean because they look like they are. Your fingers are constantly touching switches so they are at least coated with oils from your hands. I always try soap and water first, but if that doesn’t work, you can try something stronger like mineral spirits, TSP substitute, or denatured alcohol. Make sure it doesn’t damage the surface. I’ve also had great success with Krud Kutter.
After drying, a little sandpaper can help create some ‘tooth’ on the surface especially if there is some sort of shiny top coat. I scuffed the wood, metal, and plastic pieces all the same.
Since I’m always worried about adhesion (and I don’t want to be ‘so careful’ with these when they’re installed), I like to use an etching agent to create more ‘teeth’ for the paint to stick to. My go to product is PrimeEtch™. One coat applied to everything does the trick. PrimeEtch™ is a great water-based coating designed for hard to paint surfaces like ceramic tile and glass. You can literally paint it on anything you’re unsure about to give that extra grip needed when re-finishing. If you’re part of the nluv Craft Club, you’ll remember we also used this in the deer antler chandelier intervention. Don’t get impatient… always follow dry time recommendations.
Let’s Get Painting
After the etching agent dries, it’s time for primer. Make your life easier and prime with a color that is close to your final finish. Since the spray paint color I chose is a dark-brown speckled stone finish, I painted all the items with a brown primer first so I can better control the consistency of the outcome. With some pieces starting out white, others metal, and some wood, I want everything on the same color spectrum before spraying. One coat of primer will do wonders for that final spray coat. Consider adding this step to your project. You’ll appreciate it.
After the primer is dry, it’s time to spray paint outlet covers! I never spray paint indoors so I picked a nice sunny (not windy) day to set up outside. Since everything is primed a darker color, I only need two spray paint coats for full, even coverage. I like Rust-oleum® Multicolor textured spray as it creates great depth and feel.
Once everything is dry, you’re done! If you want a more shiny look or just an additional protective layer, I’ve used a Minwax Polycrylic Satin finish over spray paint in other projects. I did this for the carpet transitions project, and it really added a nice finished look. It’s up to you!
Install & Enjoy!
There’s only one thing left to do… install and enjoy! What started out as dated, ugly room accessories now compliment the spaces with that finishing touch. I may someday switch them out for something else, but for now, reusing what we already had is just what our design needed for the next step in our renovation progress. We added some cool new lightbulbs and screws and voilà!
We say it all the time – at nluv Studio we love to reuse things we already have, both for crafting and DIY projects. Before you decide to throw something away, give it a chance with a makeover, and see if it can work for you too! Need more ideas? Our blog is full of fun DIY project ideas you can do at home.
Looking instead for crafts? Go shopping in the nluv Studio craft store for DIY craft kits, chalkboards, and card making kits. And if you haven’t signed up yet for our newsletter, join the nluv Craft Club and get 15% off your next order. Happy crafting.