Monday, May 20, 2013

DIY Window Clings

About three weeks ago I came across a book published by FamilyFun called Wintertime Fun: Warm and Cozy Treats and Crafts. It was in the Wal-Mart clearance bin for $1, and I was sure it would contain enough good ideas to be worth that price, so I snagged it. The first thing that Mia honed in was making our own window clings. Being a winter craft book, the idea was to make glittery snowflakes, which is pretty cool, I will admit. However, I didn't really want to add any snowflakes to our windows at the end of April. So, I encouraged her to make other shapes, and she ended up with free-form hearts and butterflies that sort of resemble those things. She seemed a bit disappointed by this.

I then went back to Wal-Mart and purchased a greater variety of puffy paint colors. I ended up selecting a 12-pack of neons/brights for $9.99, which is not all that expensive, if you thing about how many different projects these will be used to make. In the future, I want to try this again using glue and food coloring or glue and paint, but for now, here is how we made these with store-bought paint.

I had the idea window clings might turn out more the way she hoped if we first started with templates. Over this past weekend, I printed off a few templates including a monarch butterfly, a horse, and some ladybugs, and we tried again. One good thing about using templates, besides the obvious one of saving yourself the time needed to hand-draw something, is that you can paste them into Microsoft Word and then re-size them as desired.

Filling in the forms made for larger, more colorful window clings. They don't look perfect, but being home-made, I don't expect them to. There are some areas where the paint didn't cover, so there are little gaps poking through once they are in the window, but I think this is okay. It's surprisingly simple to make your own window clings, and I see this having lots of possibilities for party decorations, party activities, kids' room decor, Mother's Day gifts, rainy day fun, and so on. Plus, they're completely personalized, which is always a bonus! Of course, we can always make those glittery snowflakes, too, just not in the spring...

{My ladybug, Mia's horse, Mia's free-form shapes}
  • puffy paint
  • wax paper (cereal box liners work well)
  • scissors
  • template (optional)
  • Sharpie marker (optional)
  1. If using a template, either print one from the Internet or find a coloring page or clip art to trace. If you want to make free-hand drawings, you can just skip this step.
  2. Trace your template or draw your design onto wax paper using a permanent marker such as a Sharpie. I did this step for Mia since the horse had a lot of details and small areas. Tip: We used cereal box liners, and they worked great. You can't beat free supplies! Tip: You may want to trim your wax paper into smaller sizes to fit more window clings. Tip: Remember that permanent markers will stain clothing, so dress kids accordingly if they will be using Sharpies.
  3. Fill in your outline or the entire shape using puffy paint applied to the wax paper or cereal box liner. You want to make sure all of the lines of paint are connected or the window cling will not stay together. (You can probably still make it work in the end, though, so don't stress over this too much. My ladybug's antenna tore off, but I just stuck it back together on the window, and you would never know the difference.) At the very least, your lines of paint should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Tip: Puffy paint will also stain clothing, so be mindful of this before starting.
    {The final product looks a bit different, but it's all good.}
  4. Allow paint to dry completely. Drying times will vary according to how much paint has been used. The first batch that Mia made by drawing free-hand shapes were left to dry overnight and this was fine. My filled-in ladybug was also dry when left overnight. However, Mia's horse had super-thick globs of paint on it and it needed another day to dry thoroughly. Don't rush this process or you will make a mess.
    {This horse took about a day and a half to dry.}

  5. Carefully, peel paint away from wax paper (or cereal box liner) and adhere to a window. Yes, they really do stick! The original ones have been up for three weeks and have shown no signs of falling down. Cool, huh?

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