I love Halloween and I decided to do some custom window Silo's. After doing a search for reference I came across some great artwork by the Famous Dave Lowe (Pinterest & davelowe.blogspot.com) as inspiration, at least for this years windows. I'm creating these frames so they can be changed from year to year if I choose. I'm a firm believer in re-purposing materials.
For the front door I didn't want to make a full frame with orange masking paper like the others. I combined Lowe's Cat with a group of pumpkins. I also wanted to keep the background clear so when Trick or Treaters come to the door we can see them. So instead of the orange masking paper I used a sheet of transparent yellow mylar, plus a sheet of clear mylar to seal them together. The only cardboard frame is on the sides and bottom.
Step 1: Supplies
I used some materials that might not be readily available to most people. I work in the printing industry so I have access to these: Rubylith, Orange masking sheets, Yellow mylar. (All previously used in old school plate and film making by printers) If you know some one in printing or works at a newspaper. Most everything now is digital so they may have these materials just laying around collecting dust. I'll write in (parenthesis) what you could possibly substitute with them.
- Large Cardboard sheets
- Rubylith (Large sheet of Black construction paper)
- Orange Masking sheets (Large sheet of Orange construction paper)
- Duct or Gorilla Tape (preferably Black)
- Masking tape
- Packing tape
- Utility Knife
- Exacto Knife
- Tape Measure
- Steel or hard edge ruler
- Velcro (Optional)
Step 2: Make Window Frames
Measure (and I can't stress this enough) All your windows that you plan to make frames for. All windows in your house aren't the same sizes. Plus I decided to start small** I did my shed (aka the time machine) windows first (Pictured). Good practice. So maybe do your kitchen sink window first so you can see what kind of time is involved.
Measure the window well dimensions first. Then measure the physical glass of window so you know what area your design will have to fit.
Once you have all your windows measured, measure and cut your cardboard down to size. Now typically newer windows will be about 2 - 2.5" in from the frame well. But adjust your cut if your glass is smaller than the frames.
Cut the inside of the frame (Glass area) and remove card board but don't discard.
Be sure to leave the cross bar for the center of the window frame. This will help support the frame.
* Additional support maybe need on your cardboard frames once they've been cut down. I'll cover how to adjust for this later.
** Starting small definitely helps for when you go to do larger window frames as you'll likely have to piece together your cardboard to get the full size needed, that is unless you have access to huge sheets of cardboard.
Step 3: Cover Frames (First Stage)
Now you can either do all your window frames all at once or do one window at a time to see how you want to proceed.
My Orange Masking sheets are basically 42" square so I had to trim down to just a bit large than the glass opening in my cardboard frames.
Using the Gorilla Tape I attached to the cardboard covering the openings. (Both top and bottom area)
(Note: The Orange Masking sheets can be a bit too opaque for some people taste for back lighting, so if you can for go using these all together or substitute some other lighter material. For example I have the yellow mylar listed in my supply list, which is more translucent. So again if you have something else you'd prefer go for it.)
Step 4: Design Your Window Images
Like I mentioned earlier I chose to use Dave Lowe's(Pinterest & davelowe.blogspot.com) Zombie and Witch silos. I printed out the images as large as I possibly could. Now I know not everyone has capabilities to do this. Another option is to tile out to a laser printer.
Temporarily tape your design to a back lit window.
Now if your not familiar with Rubylith, its a Clear Mylar sheet with this Ruby colored plastic film like substance that can be cut and pulled away from the clear mylar.
Tape the Rubylith with the cutting side facing out over your design on the window.
Using your exacto knife carefully cut the outline of your image.
Once you have all the outlines cut you have a choice. You can either remove the inner or outer areas of your design. If you remove the outer you'll get the effect as seen in my versions. Leaving mostly Orange showing in the background.
If you remove the inner you'll be leaving the majority of the Red(Rubylith) in place. Giving you a different look entirely. (See my other example from another project I did).
Step 5: Attach the Cut Out Designs to the Frames.
Now you have the option of permanently attach to the designs to your frames with Gorilla tape or use velcro squares cut down to and positioned into corners and centers. This will allow to create new designs and save for next year to be swapped out.
Tip: To protect your design its recommended to turn the cutting side in towards the orange masking sheets. Strictly your choice.
After attaching theses you'll notice your cardboard frames might be getting a bit wobbly.
At this point you may want to re-enforce the frames to make them more sturdy. This is where the left over cardboard comes in. Cut strips counter ribbed lengths to what the cardboard already is.
So if the corrugated rows are running vertically cut your strip horizontally then tape to the back of the frame.
Step 6: Large Frames
Doing the larger frames was a real challenge as the cardboard sheets I had weren't tall enough. So I had to piece them together. Here's where making rib strips as I mentioned before to help add extra support. Since its the back side which will be on the inside it doesn't have to be pretty. Just effective. So minimal tape to keep it supported. Surprisingly it makes a big difference in keeping the frame stable.
Plus my Orange masking sheets were about 1.5" to short so I cut down smaller strips and used packing tape to mesh the seams with just a very small overlap. Hopefully this won't be all that noticeable from outside.
Step 7: Final Results.
I'll been adding one window frame to the house every weekend in October.
The images in this group are all from outside. Now the only down side to these orange masking sheets is they really do their job. They really mask out a lot of light. My original hope was that just the lights in the room would be enough. Which they were ok but I wanted just a bit more punch. So I picked up some really cheap LED shop like lights from Harbor Freight. These give just a bit more boost to the effect. I'm please with the results.
I hope this inspires you to do your own at home window.
I realize that not everyone has access to these material and if you really want to accomplish this you can use black foam core to do the silos, and a simple white (or colored) sheet to back it up to get similar effects.
I'll update this post with each weeks new window.
Step 8: Added Bonus
I've been so focused on how these look outside at night, I just discovered they look pretty cool during the day from inside. LOL