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Eco-Art Crafts Made by You

70s Tie-Upholstered Switch Plate

"Where do you find ideas for projects?" a friend asked. My answer was immediate. "These days, when I'm busy and want to make a quick project, I turn to my library of 'how-to' books and magazines for articles that looked interesting and marked with yellow sticky papers with notes on them -- just like my cookbooks." Now, I have another unique reference, a quarterly magazine called Craft, to add to the collection. In addition to the print edition, they have a daily online blog where you can participate in conversations you might not have time to pursue during the rest of the day.

Two issues old, Craft magazine offers ideas for the post-modern craft movement, providing the know-how to make functional and attractive goods rather than buy mass-produced, and often poorly made, products. Craft magazine permitted us to reprint the following quick and easy project from the first issue. In addition to adding charm to your house, these switch plates would make nice housewarming gifts, too.

Quick Craft: 70s Tie-Upholstered Switch Plate
A polyester classic, the ultra-wide, double-thick necktie of the 1970s never came back in style like it should've. Nevertheless, you can still pay homage to one of the Me Decade's most garish moments in men's fashion with this upholstered switch plate.
You will need: Wide 70s necktie, plastic light-switch plate, scissors, pencil, contact cement with brush, X-Acto blade, needlenose pliers or tweezers
1. Cutting: Using scissors, cut the bottom 8in from the necktie. Cut any seam along the back. Remove the lining and superfluous filler. Place the fabric face down, and using the widest part of the tie, center the plate face up and trace its placement. Cutting 3/4in outside your traced lines, create a 6inื4 1/4in rectangle.
2. Gluing: In a well-ventilated area, coat the back- side of the fabric and the front side of the switch plate with contact cement (include the inside edges of the switch opening). Allow both pieces to dry. On the backside of the switch plate, brush a 1/2in trim on the inside edges, and 1/4in around the outside edge of the switch opening with contact cement. Allow to dry. Place the coated necktie fabric face down on a flat surface. Place the switch plate face down, centered, onto the fabric, pressing to make full contact.
Using an X-Acto knife, cut a diagonal 'V' in each corner of the fabric, and an 'X' in the center of the switch opening. Do not cut clear to the edge of the switch plate - allow for a 1in buffer.
Pull each edge of the excess trim over each side of the switch plate, and press into place. Using needlenose pliers or tweezers, pull the small triangular tabs through and over the edges of the switch opening, pressing each one into place.
Using the tip of the X-Acto blade, puncture a slit in the fabric centered directly
over each screw opening. Mount plate to wall as usual.
Matt Maranian is a bestselling writer, designer, and bon vivant whose books include PAD and PAD Parties. He lives in New England.
Project courtesy of Craft Magazine (Volume 01)
Illustrations by Dave McMahon
2007 © O'Reilly Media, Inc.

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