How to Paint Holiday Windows

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Decorate the windows for any holiday with acrylic or tempera craft paints that wash off easily after the holiday season. Allow the kids to come up with their own spooky scenes for Halloween or fireworks for the Fourth of July, or stick with Christmas and winter themes for a window display that can stay up for an entire holiday season.


Preparing the Windows

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Wash the windows thoroughly before painting them with a holiday theme, otherwise the paint may not adhere properly. Wash the inside of the window if you wish to paint on the inside -- this comes in handy for cool months when it may be too chilly to paint or wash the outside of the window. Creating your work on the inside also protects the paint from the elements a bit. Spray the glass with equal parts water and white vinegar and use a lint-free cloth to wipe the liquid away. The vinegar helps cut grease and remove fingerprints. Wipe away any liquid that gets on the windowsill or frame as well.

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Choosing The Ideal Paints

Washable water-based paints are the best for holiday window decorating -- they dry quickly, are easy to clean up if any spill or drip, and they can be easily removed after wetting them again to make them soft. Inexpensive acrylic craft paints are widely sold, even in some large department stores. Children's tempera paints that are designed to be washable offer another option for children; these are easier to wash out of clothing once dry. Tempera paints may not leave as rich a color on the glass. Spray-on snow may also be used to paint snowy scenes or snowflakes on the window; follow the directions on the can as the specifics vary from brand to brand.


Making a Holiday Scene

Things You'll Need

  • Paper

  • Pencil

  • Newspaper or tarp

  • Painter's tape

  • Acrylic paint

  • Foam plates

  • Paint brushes

  • Paper towels

Step 1: Draw a Few Ideas on Paper

Sketch a few basic ideas for your design on paper if creating a full scene instead of random holiday elements, such as eggs for Easter or snowmen for Christmas. Plan your design based on whether you want the image to be viewed from indoors or outside; items will be reversed if viewed from the opposite side of the glass.


Step 2: Protect the Area

Move furniture and curtains out of the area, or fold the curtains temporarily up over the curtain rod, out of the way. Cover the floor in front of the window with newspaper or a plastic tarp. Cover the windowsill and frame area with painter's tape to protect those areas from paint as well.


Step 3: Paint the Designs

Squirt pools of paint in the chosen colors atop a foam plate. Dip a brush into one color at a time and recreate your sketch on the window. If layering colors, allow one color to dry before applying the other, otherwise the paints will mix. Wipe up any drips as they happen with a dry or damp paper towel. Allow the paint to dry completely before touching the designs.



Stencil some areas, if you like, by taping a stencil onto the glass with painter's tape. Dab the paint through the cutout areas with a stencil-pouncing brush or a regular brush. Remove the stencil as the paint starts to dry.

Design Ideas

Your designs can be as simple, random or complex as you'd like -- put your own sense of humor or style into your work for a display that reflects your personality a bit.

  • Create an outdoor springtime scene with Easter eggs hiding behind trees or in the grass.
  • Cover the window in shamrocks for a St. Patrick's Day decoration.
  • Paint a giant turkey running away, or dressed as another animal, for a humorous Thanksgiving scene.
  • Paint a snowy scene, with children decorating outdoor trees with popcorn and dried fruit to feed wildlife, for a Christmas or winter holiday display.


Removing the Paint

Squirt the paint with water out of a spray bottle, allowing the water to soften the paint. Scrape the paint away with a paint scraper or plastic gift card, then wash the windows with white vinegar and water. Use a lint-free cloth to keep the window free from paper towel lint.