Creative Things to Do With Old Windows


Old windows in a barn, mansion, farmhouse or historic home are often intriguing. The chipped paint, warped wood and dated finishings induce a nostalgic feeling. When a window owner leaves his window out for the trash collectors to pick up or decides to recycle the window in some way, a bit of creative thinking can change the unusable object into an unusual work of art or home decor.


  • Make a series of small mirrors out of the window. Note how many panes the window has so you can buy, or create, the appropriate number of mirrors. Usually a window has one, three, four or six panes. Measure each of the panes. Then cut or buy mirrors to fit the square or rectangular spaces. The mirror window will look especially neat if the window is an old model, with warped wood and chipping paint. Also check for old details from the early 20th century -- intriguing latches, hooks and hinges. Do not get rid of these to make the window look more like a store-bought mirror; these finishings will give your mirror a rustic, artistic look.

Coat Rack

  • Recycle an old window into a three- or four-hook coat rack. This window idea is ideal for horizontal windows, like those that fit over an air conditioning unit or fit narrowly above a door. Choose to leave the glass in the window or to take out the glass, leaving rectangular or square holes. After fastening a few hooks on the bottom ledge of the window, secure a place for the rack on the wall, preferably near a front or back door. Make sure that the window-coat rack can hold the weight of winter coats by securing the rack to the wall with multiple hooks or screws.


  • Using specific glass paints, which are made for painting on glass, decorate the windows with your own artistic creations. Glass paints are either opaque or transparent. Opaque paints are ideal for recycling an old window if you want to display the window as a work of art. If you want to paint the window and hang it as a mobile or let it act as a piece of stained glass to hang over another window, transparent paints will let light shine through. For an opaque style, use acrylic paints. You can paint a landscape scene, a few fruits and vegetables, trees or write a string of poetry. Resin-based paints will create transparent colors that vary from bright yellows and lime greens to pinks and blues.

Photo Collage

  • Some window panes create the ideal template for a picture-hanging collage. If the panes are small and square, you will likely need to tailor the photos to size. For large panes, they may reach 8 by 10 inches, the size of a full photographic portrait. Choose a selection of photos you want to display. Select photos with an old-fashioned theme, for example, like black-and-white photos you took in college or old family photos. Or opt to use abstract color photographs to create patterns more than object or portrait pictures. Adhere the photographs with glass glue. Make sure to create copies of the photos for yourself, lest anything happen to the window. Decorate any exposed glass in the window photo collage with paints or leave it blank.

Photographic or Art Gallery

  • Show off photographs, sketches, small paintings on glass or other materials in the old window panes. Create a stand or base for the window by using a block of wood and carving a ridge in the middle to fit the size of the window edge. This way, you can fill the widow, on both sides, with photographs. If you leave the glass clear, set the upright window in the middle of a table or desk like you would a photo frame. Or, leave the windows free standing and make them into mobiles. Hang the windows from the ceiling with sturdy wire hangers. You can create a gallery you can walk through with blank old windows and picture-filled old windows to show off your photographic work.

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