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My parents are very frugal. We are a large family and so we have to be money smart. The way the story was told to me, one year for whatever reason we didn't have our Halloween decorations available and it would be a waste to buy new ones. We did have a good supply of tempera (poster) paint and some creative and resourceful parents! The rest is now tradition! As all great family tales go, there is likely some truth in it and some not so much.

In any case, the tradition continued. When we were old enough, we were each allowed to contribute and, over time, the kids were doing the painting.

Well, this year we decided to bring back the tradition and paint my dad’s windows. His house has two great big picture windows in the front and so we got a chance to paint two big scenes and a few smaller windows.

Now, when compared to a 50-foot tall zombie pile shooting flames and lightning to the sky this is not something that will blow the minds of your neighbors. If, like me, that isn’t in your budget, this is a really fun alternative that you can do with the kids!

Now, I normally ask my readers to vote. While this will be in a contest there are a lot of great entries so instead of voting, please post your window paintings in the comments!

Step 1: Preparation

Materials you will need:
  • One or more windows.
  • Permission to paint on said window(s)
  • Tempera paint
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Cups
  • Brushes
  • A bold  sense of adventure
  • Willingness to show the world your art

It’s always a good idea to clean the window before you start. Besides a good clean window, it makes your painting easier to see.

I like to use cups to hold the paint. Since they are nonporous, the paint won’t stick to them. A good scrub and your paint cups are set to serve tea!

Now, I haven’t tried the new “easy wash” poster paints. We have been using the same large bottles of paint since I was in high school. I do want to make cleanup easier, so I add a small amount of dish detergent to each cup. It’s not an exact mix, but a few drops should do for a quarter cup. When the paint dries the soap dries too, but as soon as your water gets to the paint, it will remember that, “Oh yeah, I’m soap!”

Step 2: Techniques

I’m not intending to teach everyone to paint. In fact, part of the pleasure of this is that it is something where you can have fun and experiment. If you happen to be in Pleasantville, you may even discover technicolor! However, I do have a few tips that may help.

  • Glass is nonporous, so a quick wipe of the rag will eliminate many mistakes.
  • At worst, you can let the paint dry and scratch off a new spot with your fingernails.
  • Some watercolor techniques, such as washes, don’t work here. They just drip down the glass.
  • Tempera paint doesn’t layer well like oil based paints, but remember that your audience is on the other side of the glass from you, so the first layer is the one the audience will see in any case.
  • If you want to paint over a spot you will have to scratch away the existing paint to make a new patch.
  • With Halloween at night, your painting will be backlit, but your paint isn’t transparent.
  • Expect all of your colors to be a bit darker. Whites especially will become gray.
  • If you want white, it’s better to leave it unpainted for a white backlight.
  • Small, minute details will keep you happy, but the guy on the street will never see them.
  • The bourgeoisie will never understand the true power of your masterpiece and that girl you are crushing on will not appreciate being put in a Halloween painting

So, how did it come out?

Step 3: Gallery 1: the West Window

For whatever reason, my mom always liked making a haunted house. I guess she was on to something, because it is always something I can come back to. I like to sketch out the shape first, then fill in the details. I looked at some old Victorian houses for inspiration.

Step 4: Gallery 2: the East Window

My dad is going on a neat trip, crossing the ocean by sail on a large cruise ship. So, we decided to do a nautical theme with a ghost ship!
My beau painted our front window with "window paint", soap, and shoe polish, and homemade paste.
Those look great! I think the soap has a phosphorous compound that glows in the black light, very clever!
Here are some i painted
The skeletons in particular have a nice style to them.
Fantastic! Those are all very well done. Thank you very much for sharing them.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm a Mechancial/Aerospace Engineer that likes to tinker in my spare time. I make my own Christmas Cards.
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