Paintable wall plate covers

Paintable wall plate covers DEFAULT

'Paintable' outlet covers?

Hey all. Have an update.

Exactly what I was looking for. And thank you for the reminder to hit the local electrical contractor. They had them, and they cost 1/2 of the 'contractors 10 pack' of stock big box nylon. Bonus points since they're half mile from my house - the local big boxes are @ 7 in either direction. You saved me more on gas than the outlet covers were worth.

You're not losing your mind. They definitely used to stock them. The clerk is assuming you want to custom decorative paint the darn thing. Yikes, I'm not that old, but when the 20 year old clerk doesn't "get" it, it's easy understand why big box shopping has become so frustrating.

I was in Lowes today re: some basic window treatments I need. I wanted to drop kick the salesperson since she couldn't answer a simple question regarding two mounting options in their stock collections. Yet she had oodles of time and experience to spend on 5 customer who were looking at $500 per window custom options. *rolls eyes*

SW is a mile and 1/2 in the other direction. I'll keep them in mid when I start painting upstairs since they're right on the way home from my Ben Moore dealer. ;-)

Masque is still be the better (theoretical) option for about 3 outlets in my living room that will be very visible all the time - but I'm going to work with my more cost effective solution for now. BTW, I love the Montana Creations link - some nice wood options there - but they need fish! Our guest room has a fishing thing going on and I'd love something fishing related like that for that room.

I like the enamel on copper designs. It's a different direction that what DH and I have discussed, but for 'man land' it may be a really fun and different choice.

Thank you again, everyone.


Steps for Painting Electrical Plates

Construction How-To, Electrical, Painting, RemodelingOctober 17, 2012Sonia

By Rob Robillard

Paint your electrical plates to match your wall color.





Nothing creates more immediate impact than a fresh coat of wall paint, especially when it’s a color that pops. The problem arises when you choose a great wall color and then you’re stuck looking at those white or beige outlet and light switch covers. Not only can this be unattractive but it distracts from the newly painted wall color. After all: Who wants a glaring white plastic switch plate as the focal point of a beautifully bright or deeply colored wall décor?

Almost any wall plate can be painted, even your thermostat. Paint them—but do it right! I have detailed below a step-by-step guide showing tips and techniques necessary to paint your outlet and switch plates and have a quality end result.


Common Errors

Sometimes it’s easier to start with what to avoid—thus, this list of common mistakes:

1. Failing to sand prior to priming

2. Skipping the priming step

3. Not cleaning the dust off the covers prior to priming or painting

4. Painting the electrical switch or outlet

5. Not allowing your primer or paint to properly dry

6. Sanding or painting the wall plate while attached to the wall

Remember that improper techniques can lead your paint finish to bubble, peel or chip and look awful!



Henry Ford once said, “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” Taking a few steps to get ready will ensure a successful project. Most paint jobs fail because an important step in the preparation phase was skipped or done poorly.

A poor paint job often manifests itself in paint failure such as flaking, chipping, mildew, bleed spots, or paint peeling in sheets. Following basic paint preparation steps is easy and will ensure a job that will withstand the wear and tear of our busy lives.

Consider your location to paint these wall covers. Outside may not be the best location if it’s windy or too hot. Sometimes a workshop or even the room you’re working on is the best location in which to paint.  You may even consider laying Kraft paper or a tarp on a work table or the floor.

Begin by removing all of your wall plates, including telephone and cable plates. Thermostats can be painted as well. Use a screwdriver to do this. Not removing the plate from the wall is a rookie move and will not result in a professional, quality job—and you risk getting paint into the switch or outlet mechanism.

Sanding de-glosses and etches the surface so the primer adheres better.

Sand the switch plates with 220-grit sand paper.

Tip: If you’re not painting the screws then put them back into the outlet or keep them safe in a plastic bag for retrieval later.Lightly sand the surfaces of the wall plates with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand the entire surface that is seen when the plate is on the wall, including the edges. Sanding is important to de-gloss the plastic and create etching so the primer adheres well. Skipping this step may cause your paint to prematurely fail.

Wipe with a tack cloth or damp rag after sanding to remove dust. A friend of mine often says on the jobsite: “Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance.” Don’t skimp on the prep!



Using oil-based spray primer (I use Cover Stain), spray all of the plates until completely coated.

Apply the primer in very thin coats.

Coat with an oil-based primer.

Tip: Cut open a large cardboard box on one side, leaving three sides up. Use the three sides as a shield to catch and control overspray from your spray can. Test your spray can pattern on some cardboard to learn how the primer comes out. Some-times new nozzles sputter at first and need a few seconds of test spraying prior to going to work. When using spray products, always work in a ventilated area. Shake the can well before using, and shake it throughout the operation to keep the mixture consistent. Hold the can 8 to 10 inches away from the wall plates. Move the spray can back and forth to apply the primer smoothly and evenly.

Avoid over-spraying, which causes drips or runs in the primer. Don’t spray too close or too much. Try to prime in several thin coats as opposed to a thick coat. Thinner coats are always better than a thick coat. Allow the primer to dry according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Failure to wait for the primer to properly dry may cause your paint to fail. After the primer has dried, apply a second coat if you did not achieve complete coverage.

Allow the primer to dry, then lightly sand to remove bumps or bubbles using 220-grit sandpaper.

Sanding Between Coats

If you’re looking for perfection, I recommend sanding between your primer and first finish coat. Use 220-grit paper to lightly sand the wall plates. Focus on removing any bumps or bubbles. Sand in only one direction. If you sand too aggressively, scratches will be visible through the top paint coat.

Wipe off the sanding dust with a tack cloth or damp rag.



I recommend using two coats on light switch covers because they see so much abuse. Electrical plug covers can probably get by with one coat.

Apply only as much paint as is needed to cover the plate completely and evenly. Finish off with long, smooth brush strokes in one direction.

Apply the top coat of colored paint with a paint brush starting at the edges.

Using a quality paint brush, apply wall color paint to the electrical plate. If holding the plate—paint the edges first. Apply only as much paint as is needed to cover completely and evenly. Apply paint to the entire wall plate. When you have the plate completely covered in paint, finish off with long, smooth brush strokes, all in the same direction. Brush from one end of the cover to the other side.

Tip: Do not paint the actual switch or outlet. Getting paint into an electrical mechanism can be dangerous and may interfere with the proper function of the electrical component.

Wipe up any drips with your brush or a rag. Carefully place the wall plate cover down to dry.

Tip: If you leave fingerprints while placing the cover down, simply use your paint brush and lightly brush from one end to the other to eliminate the print.

Allow the paint to completely dry for 24 hours before mounting to a wall. If additional color coverage is needed you can lightly sand the first coat, remove dust and apply a second in the same fashion.


Painting the Screws

Painting the screws is easy. To do this you will need a section of cardboard box, insulation board or Styrofoam to act as a pin cushion to hold the screws in place.

Painting the screws is an easy extra step that adds a professional touch.

Place all of the screws, threads first, into the cardboard or Styrofoam, leaving the screw heads exposed. Space the screws approximately 1 inch apart. Lightly sand the screw head with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove dust from the screws and the “pin cushion.” Apply primer with a spray can and allow to dry.

Apply colored paint with a paint brush. Let dry.

If you’re a perfectionist or just like to “do things right,” these steps will help you avoid the common errors and allow you to match your electrical plates to your wall paint like a professional.


Editor’s Note: Robert Robillard is a remodeling contractor based out of Concord, MA. Visit his site at


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Sawmill Creek Woodworking Community - Powered by vBulletin

  1. 11-03-2017, 11:01 PM#1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Monroe, MI

    Paintable Wall Plate Source?

    When we moved into our current house there was a bunch of poorly wired telephone jacks and cable outlets scattered though the house. My contractor friend purchased a bunch of wall plates that were paintable and painted them to match the walls and they are almost invisible. I just re-purposed the 220 circuit for the dryer for another use and removed the old dryer outlet which unfortunately is about 4' up the wall and very visible over the dryer. in our first-floor laundry room. I'd like to get a paintable, blank, 2-gang cover plate for that location as well. I found a company named Mulberry makes them but the only source I've found will run in the $12 range delivered. They aren't even orderable from Lowes. Surely there's something less expensive. Anyone know of something?

    My wife says white to match the 110v outlet a few feet away is fine too but painted would be her first choice.

  2. 11-04-2017, 6:15 AM#2
    Hi Matt.
    I didn't know there was such a thing, but I'll be watching the responses with interest.

    Myself, I used regular plastic wall plates from a BORG. Put on a good primer and oil based paint that matches the wall. They've held up well.


  3. 11-04-2017, 7:43 AM#3
    You're a woodworker, make them. People make personalized light switch plates all the time.

  4. 11-04-2017, 8:33 AM#4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    Been priming and painting them for decades without knowing you had to buy something special for the purpose. There are primers especially for plastic if you'd like to be more organized about it. Scuff the surface with fine sandpaper or a scotchbrite to give a little mechanical bond.

  5. 11-04-2017, 9:48 AM#5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Medina Ohio

  6. 11-04-2017, 10:36 AM#6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    SE Michigan
    Our painter just used the BORG metal or plastic ones. He did as suggested above; scuff a bit with sand paper and paint. He stippled the paint on. It gave it some texture and matches the rollered wall better. I’ve done that on other plates since, and they turn out great.

  7. 11-04-2017, 4:55 PM#7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Monroe, MI
    I did find a metal one with the the outdoor stuff. Oddly they don't even carry any other 2-gang blanks. Except the screws are too short and I don't have any others so another trip to Lowes...

  8. 11-04-2017, 7:52 PM#8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Kansas City
    There are some plates that have a clear plastic cover over another inner layer, that are designed for inserting a piece of wallpaper under the clear cover, thus matching the wall plate to your wallpaper. You could paint the clear plastic cover on the inside which would provide a durable outer surface, with the color underneath.

  9. 11-04-2017, 8:16 PM#9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Monroe, MI
    All set. My Lowes has an extensive selection of Mulberry brand plates for various devices in 1 and 2 gang and 1 gang blank plates. But no 2-gang blanks. But over in the outdoor boxes they had this one 2-gang blank plate which painted up fine. It does have text stamped on it but 2 coats of paint hid it. I painted the screws in place so they didn't get messed up while being installed. Of course they are painted in place now but this is a dead box.

  10. 11-04-2017, 8:27 PM#10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    The non-nylon covers at HD are paintable...I have several of them in our home that are painted to match the wall. These are also generally the least expensive covers at the 'borg!

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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Step Up to the Plate with InvisiPlate. InvisiPlate designer and decorative switch plates covers and outlet covers create a finishing touch for complete perfection. See how InvisiPlate can upgrade your home decor with the stroke of a brush. Primed. Textured. Ready-to-Paint. Our patented wall plate and switch covers make it easy for homeowners and paint professionals to enhance the look of any room.

Enhance your room decor with just the stroke of a brush and bid adieu to the same old wall plates and outlet covers. Switch to InvisiPlate to get the color you really want on your plates – your wall color. InvisiPlate offers decorative wall switches and plates cover that will create a finishing touch for complete perfection. Choose from an assortment of primed, textured and ready-to-paint wall switch plates and outlet covers. With our collection of patented plate and switch covers, it is easy for homeowners, designers and paint professionals to complete the look of any room.

Here you can shop for decorative wall plates, switch plates, switch plate covers, electric outlet covers and painted switch plate. Learn more about us here or…







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