Monday, June 30, 2014

Alcohol Ink Switch Plates

I recently painted our guestroom a lovely shade of lavender. No really, the paint color is lovely lavender. The room used to be chocolate brown. The previous homeowners, in their infinite wisdom, thought it would be a great idea to paint the tiny extra bedroom all dark chocolate brown. In some lights it looked almost eggplant in color. It was really dark. It wasn't offensive so much as it was oppressive. However, since it's in our guestroom, it isn't something we look at everyday, so it took me 4 years to get up the gumption to paint the darn thing. It took 4 coats (2 of primer, 2 of top coat) of paint to cover that brown, but it's finally a lovely shade of lavender.

While we were putting the switch plates and outlet plates back on, I noticed one was cracked and the switch plate had a couple of stains on it. Now was as good of time as any to replace them. We picked up a stack of replacements at the local Home Depot for about 20 cents a piece. Since they were so cheap, I knew I had to try out alcohol ink on them. A nonporous glossy surface, check! So I grabbed my paint chip (the shade in the middle is the one we chose--light and airy for a tiny room).

I grabbed my alcohol inks and picked out my purple selection, an applicator, rolled out my craft mat, and I was ready to go. You may also want some extra felts and some rubbing alcohol to clean up any mistakes.

I decided to try my eggplant and purple twilight. I had to stamp quite a bit to get good coverage and a stippled look, but I was happy with the color  Most of the alcohol inks will look a bit brighter when you're applying them than when they dry, so don't panic.

Then I grabbed my stained switch plate that used to be on the wall and grabbed some aqua ink (sailboat blue and stream) to cover up that scuff mark and match the colors in our master bedroom. This one turned out very bright and I knew I had to tone it down, so I added denim and gold over top to make it a bit darker.

It still came out pretty bright, but nice and saturated.

Then I wanted to try out a dark red one to match the decor in our family room. I used terra cotta, cranberry, and watermelon. I went over it with just the cranberry when I was done to darken it up a bit. Of all of the switch plates, this one darkened the most as it dried.

I also had an extra plug cover because I bought it in cream and we have all white covers, so why not try something fun.  I went multicolored and used sailboat blue, purple twilight, citrus, and watermelon.  I think it turned out really fun, but be careful when using this many colors because they start to mix and you'll either have to be okay with the colors getting muddy or you'll need to quit while you're ahead. I love the color combo on this one, it's so much fun, but I'm not sure what room it would look the best in in our house.  It would be great in a kid's room.

To finish off the plates, they needed to be sealed so they wouldn't scratch or smear if you had anything alcohol based on your hands.

I used my Matte Mod Podge Acrylic Spray to seal them up.  I did two coats with a good hour between for them to dry.

I hung up my purple one in the guestroom right away, and I think it looks fantastic.  I couldn't get a photo where the paint color looks true though, it always looks white or pink or off white like in the photo below.  I promise it's a pretty shade of light purple.

You can really see how much darker the red plate turned out after it dried in the photo below.  It was a lot of fun to decorate these plates, and they are so inexpensive that I'm thinking of making custom ones for the whole house, but that may be a little overkill.


  1. Look great!
    Thanks for sharing your technique

  2. Great job! Aren't alcohol inks fun? The best part is that if you don't like them, just swipe the switchplates (or tile, or whatever) with some alcohol and start over!