For months, we had been contemplating a Christmas Window
Decoration craft. Everything we tried looked like those color-by-number
designs you see with the glass paint
at craft stores. What, we wondered, could make our version really stand
Then we received a call from Art
the nationally respected manufacturer of premium glitter and other
innovative craft products. Would
we consider designing a craft around
their vintage glass glitter? You bet we would - and our
window decoration took on a whole new light. So to speak.
wanted a decoration that could be displayed inside a
Christmas, and then simply stored away. Dramatic but subtle. Beautiful
by day or night. Easy to make. Cheap.
We began with an old
six-paned double-hung window from our local Habitat for Humanity
recycling center. $5.00 and the window was ours. You may even have one
in your garage.
The rest of the story on this Christmas Window
Decoration is below. We've provided eight FREE templates and vintage
images, ready to print on your home inkjet printer. Of course, we
recommend authentic Art Glitter brand Vintage Glass Glitter
because the glitter is far coarser than regular glitter and
which is what you need for the beautifully textured stained
Grease pencil or dry-erase marker for
drawing on glass.
Masking tape or transparent tape.
Scissors or craft knife.
Cotton swabs or small paint brush.
Materials for crackle painting the window frame
(water-base) paint in two contrasting colors. We used Rustoleum
Painter's Touch, gloss, in Hunter Green (base coat) and Almond (top
Hide glue. We used Titebond Liquid Hide Glue.
Fine sand paper.
Matte varnish (optional).
Instructions for crackle painting the window frame
(These instructions can also be found on our Craft Recipes
page. If your window frame is already peeling and battered;
wonderful! You can skip this step of the Christmas window decoration).
Prepare your window frame by cleaning, sanding,
and masking (see Tips). Paint
your wood frame with the base color and let it
dry. We used dark green latex gloss paint for our base color, and
almond latex gloss paint for the top coat.
When your base coat of paint is dry, brush
on a coat of hide glue with a
wide foam or bristle brush (you may dilute the glue slightly with
water to make it easier to brush,
which will also make
the cracks smaller). Let it dry thoroughly - like a full day.
brush on the
topcoat of paint, using a wide brush to cover as much area as
possible with one coat, avoiding overlapping strokes. The paint will
begin to separate immediately, forming the
cracks. A light coat of paint will form thin cracks, and a
heavy coat will form larger cracks.
it has dried, you can antique the finish with light sanding
and rubbing in a dark
acrylic or oil paint wash, to accentuate the aged appearance. It is
wise to protect the finish with matte varnish. Now you are ready to create your Christmas window decoration!
Instructions for applying the decorations to the
Print two sets of the vintage images,
one set on vellum paper (to be applied to the glass) and one
set on plain
paper (as leading templates). Print two sets of the ribbon templates on
the window face down on a flat surface. Find
the center point at the top of each pane
and draw a vertical line down the center of each pane with
the dry-erase marker. This will be the template for the
Roughly trim the printed ribbon templates.
Center each template,
face down, at the top of each pane. Tape them in place with masking
the ornament leading templates face down
and centered (on the "hanging cord" line) on each pane and tape in
place. Turn the window face up. You should see a ribbon, a cord, and an
ornament centered behind each pane of glass.
the vintage images printed on the vellum.
Leave a bit of the printed black leading border around each image.
Spray the back of each image with spray glue,
and apply it to the glass pane, aligned with the matching image printed
template. Press and allow to dry. (When the glue is
dry, excess moisture in the air may cause the vellum
to buckle slightly and separate from the glass. This is
minor and the liquid leading applied around the edge will keep it in
place. One problem though is having the liquid leading seep under the
edges of the vellum, causing black stains. This can be reduced by
pressing the glued vellum to the glass under a piece of wax
and a book until it dries).
apply liquid leading over all leading lines on the ribbon template, the
hanging cord, and the ornament. Be sure to cover the edges of the
vellum image. Allow to dry for a full day (see Tips).
glitter time! Remove the templates from the back of the glass, wipe off
the dry-erase cord line, and clean the glass. Work with a
color of glitter at a time. We aren't specifying which colors to use
where, because the possibilities are endless. You may want to make all
of the ornament tops silver or gold. You can fill the ribbons with two
colors, or just one.
a single glitter color and where
you want to apply it. Fill the leaded area with glue,
starting in the center of the glass and pushing the glue up to the
leading with a detail paint brush, a toothpick or a cotton swab. If you
get glue on the leading, wipe if off with a moist cotton swab.
quickly, sprinkle the glitter liberally over the glue with a teaspoon (see Tips). Let it dry for
about an hour. This project makes it hard to
save excess glitter, so bid the stray glitter a
fond farewell as you brush (or vacuum) off the
excess. Reglitter any thin spots. Repeat the process with each
Vacuum up the remaining stray glitter, clean
again, and you are ready to display your Christmas window decoration.
Just place or hang it inside a window. The incoming light will make the
images glow and the glitter sparkle, just like vintage hand-painted
Tips (with some
close-up images of the Christmas Window Decoration panes).
Liquid leading is a thick, dimensional paint
that comes in a squirt-top plastic bottle. Gallery Glass by
probably the most popular brand. Honestly, liquid leading is a
bear to use. It is sticky, thick and hard
to apply evenly. Practice a while before you start your
instructions on the bottle don't give you much guidance, but you can
find some help at Plaid.
Remember: you can always wait until it dries and then slice your
mistakes away with a razor blade. If you can't find liquid leading
(click on the
link in the materials list for an online source), you can also use
black puffy paint or dimensional paint for fabric.
Vellum is a translucent paper, which means
light will pass through your printed image. Vellum is also a
smooth-surfaced paper, and many inkjet printers do not like it
and the ink will smear. Be sure you buy vellum produced for
printing. Configure your printer for printing on "transparency" for the
Another way to get a similar effect to vellum
is with water-slide decals, such as
Lazertran Waterslide Decal Paper for Inkjet.
You will print the vintage images onto the decal paper, then apply the
decals to the glass. Once positioned and the bubbles are all smoothed
out, lay a piece of white paper over the decal and press it under a
smooth book. This will keep the edges of the decal from curling up off
the glass when it dries. You'll get the same translucent quality as
vellum, but less vivid colors.
Since this Christmas Window Decoration craft
was created especially to
Glitter, we should tell you why we are in love with it.
Frankly, we've never seen such beautiful, high-quality glitter. We used
their Vintage Glass Shards, which is a coarse glitter that looks like
someone lovingly ground up Grandma's Tiffany lamp in rainbow order. The
glitter is especially rich because each color is a mixture of
translucent and opaque glass, and the shards are large enough to really
reflect light. This isn't your grade-school glitter - it is the real
Be very aware that this glitter is real glass,
and it can cut skin and damage eyes. Sprinkle it with a teaspoon, and not your fingers
(as we foolishly did in our photo in the instructions). This is not
glitter that children should use.
You've probably heard our warnings about spray
glue before. It is nasty stuff and will stick on everything, but it is
necessary for this project for two reasons. First, it sticks paper to
glass like no other glue. Second, it will not cause the inkjet inks to
on the vellum, which a water-based glue like white glue will do. Just
use the spray glue far away from your glass project, cover all
and be careful.
Wondering about the best way to mask a pane of
glass before you paint the frame? Let us tell you about the miracle of Jasco
Mask & Seal. It is a milky liquid that you brush on
where the glass meets the wood. It dries into a clear plastic film. Now
you paint the wood right over the film on the glass. When you are all
done, just run
a razor blade around the edge of the glass and scrape off the Mask
& Seal. It takes just a few seconds, and you
have a clean pane of glass with a perfect painted edge. We
used it for painting all 500 windows on our house and
we wouldn't do it any
can adapt this Christmas Window Decoration craft to any number of
variations. Add some brackets to the bottom for a stand, and place it
in front of your candle-filled fireplace for a stained-glass
fire screen. Create a single
ornament on a pane of glass, then frame it with wood or edge it with
copper stained glass tape. Set it on a plate stand in front of a
candle, or prop it on a window sill. You can fill the leading with
glass paint instead of glitter for a more traditional painted glass
look. And of course - add a holly garland or string of lights!
you, Barbara Trombley and Emily Miller at Art Glitter, for your support and your Christmas spirit!