Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tips for Painting Windows

In the last post, I talked about the Winter Windows.  Over the years, I have come up with a few tricks to make painting the windows faster, I think.  I will share them with you here, in case you want to take up window painting or just decorate your own for the holidays.

Painter's Tape:

Blue painter's tape is handy to use when doing house projects and it is also handy to use for painting windows.  I have used it a few times to mark off areas and then paint.  When you pull off the tape you have a nice edge.  I used a lot of tape for this window to create the trees.  I used the regular size for outlining the trees and then a quarter inch (quilters tape) for little lines inside the trunks to make it look like birch trees.

This year I used painter's tape again, but in a new way.  On the reindeers' "blanket" that is on their backs, I had drawn a heart. I didn't want to have to hand paint around that heart for every reindeer. I came up with a way to create a mask with the painter's tape.

I laid down overlapping strips of the tape onto the shiny side of freezer paper.  I drew my heart and cut it out.  Now, I could just peel off the freezer paper,  stick the heart on the window and paint on top of it.  I made six hearts and also did the same thing for the eyes.

Here is one of the eyes I cut from a corner leftover from cutting out the hearts. You can see the freezer paper here.

Helpful hint: It is best to pull off the freezer paper in a direction that is perpendicular to the lines of the tape.  When I was getting ready to place the first heart, I started to peel it off from the point and realized that wouldn't work as I also pulled off the first layer of tape.  It was easy enough to put back on, but the rest were pulled from the side and I had no problems.

Here is the tape on the windows with the two eyes, the heart and the curved lines of the blanket are the quarter inch tape.

Paper Template:

To paint the outline of the reindeer, I created a paper template.  Basically, I drew the design on a piece of paper, really several pieces of paper taped together.  Then I could tape the paper to the outside of the window and paint the lines from the inside.  I used this technique before when I painted the Fortune Cats. (If you are painting on the outside of the windows, tape the template to the inside of the window.)

Using a template makes the design more uniform.  If you trace the drawing on both sides of the paper, then you can just flip it to have a reverse image.

Here is a pix of the outlining in progress.   

This is a pretty big template.  When I was taping it on one of the windows, a guy outside jokingly said, "What? No free-hand?"  I said I free-hand drew the template and I wanted all of the reindeer to be the same.  What I really wanted to say was,  "I don't want to be here for three weeks and they aren't paying me enough to have six original free-hand painted reindeer."  Or how about, "Why don't you try doing this?" (I know, bad attitude.  But I didn't say it out loud.)

After I outlined all the reindeer, I rolled on the paint to fill the body with a small paint roller (it's only about 3-4" wide) that you can get at the home improvement stores.  You can also get the roller tray the same size, which is just perfect for holding in your hand.

Above is one reindeer all rolled up right over the tape.  (It looks better from the outside.)  Then, I just pulled off the tape and here's the result.


In the picture above, the stars were made using home-made stamps.  Last year, I figured out this idea when I did snowflakes.  I also wrote a tutorial about how to do it here.

This year I made a star stamp and a heart stamp.  I learned something more this year.  You don't want to make the stamps too big or they get hard to work with.  Also, it is easier to do if the stamp is more "lacy," having less surface area for the paint to be on and to make it less likely to slip on the window.  My first star was bigger than the one above.


My last tip is about brushes.  I used a large foam brush and a small foam brush to paint these windows (in addition to the roller).  I brought a small bristle brush just for touch up.  The foam brushes are nice because they can hold a lot of paint and can cover a large area.  I also just used the edge of the large foam brush to make the snowflakes you see on the window (using an "x" on top of a "t" shape).  This made them go very quickly.

There might be some better ways to do these things, but this is what I have come up with over these past five years.  Now, you are all set to go paint some windows!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Very clever, I like the rollering over tape idea.