This is how you paint a socket (or light switch) for the perfect wall

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 11, 2022
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It can be a major annoyance; you have just painted your walls with a beautiful new color but the sockets seem almost uglier than they already were.

Fortunately, in most cases you can also just paint plastic sockets and switches, albeit in a slightly different way.

In this article you can read how you can do this best and what equipment you need exactly.

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A new color for your sockets and switches

You went with the trends and painted your wall in a popping color. Or in nice black. Or you have gone for a beautiful photo wallpaper.

However, sockets and light switches are often white, and yellowed when they are a bit older.

However, wouldn’t a black wall look much better with black outlets? Or green with green? Etc?

Instead of buying new boxes and switches, you can simply give them a new color yourself.

For painting small things such as a socket and light switch, it is best to use a spray can of paint. This prevents paint streaks and you quickly get a nice, even result.

However, you may want to have the switches and sockets the same color as your wall. In that case you can look for the same color in an aerosol, or use the leftover wall paint.

Follow the step-by-step plan below for both methods.

What do you need to paint sockets?

Painting the sockets is not a very complicated job and you do not need a lot of materials for that.

Below is exactly what you need to have at home to get started with the sockets!

  • Screwdriver for removing the sockets
  • Paint cleaner or degreaser
  • Dry cloth
  • Sandpaper P150-180
  • masking tape
  • Base coat or plastic primer
  • Abrasive paper P240
  • Brushes
  • Small paint roller
  • Paint in the right color (spray can or wall paint)
  • High gloss lacquer or wood lacquer
  • Possibly an old sheet or piece of plastic for the surface

Painting the socket: this is how you work

Everything starts with good preparation and that is no different when painting the sockets and light switches.

Remove power

Safety comes first, of course, and you don’t want to make the job more exciting than it is. Therefore, remove the power from the switches and sockets that you are going to work with.

Prepare a paint corner

Then remove the sockets from the wall (you often have to unscrew them) and place all parts on a flat surface.

Make sure you keep the screws in a safe place, or paint them with it.

Since you will be working with paint, it can become a mess. If the surface does not get dirty, put an old sheet or a layer of plastic over it.

Cleaning and degreasing

Start by degreasing the sockets first. This is best done with a paint cleaner, for example from Alabastine.

Then wipe the sockets with a dry and clean cloth.

Lightly sand the surface

After you have degreased and cleaned the sockets, you should sand them with sandpaper P150-180. This ensures that you get a nice and even result.

Are there parts that should not be painted? Then cover it with masking tape.

Start with a primer or base coat

Now we will start with the primer that is suitable for plastic. Aerosol paint also needs a primer. An example of this is the Colormatic primer.

Apply the primer with a brush so that you can also reach the corners well and then let the primer dry sufficiently as indicated in the instructions for use.

Sanding again

Has the paint dried completely? Then you sand the sockets lightly with sandpaper P240. After this, remove all dust with a dry cloth.

Paint the main color

Now you can paint the sockets in the right color.

When painting, make sure to paint both horizontally and vertically for a nice finish.

This is best done with a brush or a small paint roller if you prefer.

Also read: this is how you paint a wall evenly and without stripes

If you are going to work with a spray can of paint, you paint with small, calm movements. Do not spray too much paint at once and let each layer dry for a while before spraying the next.

For a small job like this, you may not want to spend too much money. I can safely recommend the Action spray paint, which works fine in this case.

Topcoat

Do you want your sockets and switches to stay beautiful for an extra long time? Then, after painting, when they are dry, spray them over with a few coats of clear coat.

Again, it is important that you spray a few thin layers calmly.

If you’ve used masking tape, it’s best to remove it right after you’ve finished painting. If you wait for the paint to dry, you run the risk of pulling the paint along.

Reinstall sockets

Let the dry the parts for a whole day before you put them back on the wall. So keep this in mind, you can’t use your switches or sockets for a day!

But the result once they are back on it may also be there.

Additional tips

Not sure whether your sockets can be painted over? Then take it to the hardware store, they will tell you exactly.

Even if you are in doubt whether a certain paint or varnish is suitable for plastic, it is best to ask an employee in the hardware store.

Finally

It’s nice that a small job can give such good results.

So make some time for it, make the right preparations and get started to give your sockets or switches a new color.

Another fun DIY project: this is how you paint wicker chairs for a nice effect

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.

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