This tutorial will help you plan a fun project for kids where they get to paint on the windows. Gasp! At ALEC, we decided to make a "Happy Thanksgiving" window mural for the holiday. It went so well that we are planning on re-creating this project again for a Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa holiday mural.
What you need:
- 10 Plastic Cups
- Acrylic or Tempera Paint (Colors depend on your design)
- Paint Brushes
First, you want to plan your template. So, you need to figure out what you want on your window. Holiday themes work really well. Once you decide your theme, you will put together a draft template, which will be important later. For this, you can search online for coloring pages of objects in your theme. I searched for "turkey coloring page", "pumpkin coloring page", "apple coloring page", and I continued this until I had a good amount of objects to work with. Now rearrange your objects until you have a composition you are happy with.
Next, you will need to print out each object. This can be tricky so be patient and think big. To expand an image, I used Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader. Stretch your image so it fills up one page on Word. If this size is large enough for your window mural, go ahead and print it out just like that. If it needs to be even bigger, like our turkey and pumpkin pictured above, you will want to print it as a "poster". First, click on File->Export and create a .pdf version. Once your document is opened in PDF Reader, click on File->Print and then under Page Size & Handling click on Poster. Here is where it can be a little tricky. Change the Tile Size to a number larger than 100%. Play around with the size percentage until you get the size you want based on your draft template from step 1. When your poster image prints you will need to cut and tape it together. It's not too hard I swear!
After you have printed your template images, now you need to decide what colors you will need. Number each color and then write a number on each corresponding colored section of your template. Make sure to print a color list for your students to refer to.
The next step of preparing your template is hanging it. Since, we are expecting rain and snow this week, I decided to have the students paint on the inside of the window. Because of this we hung the template on the outside of the window with tape. You may need to have your image facing inside. HINT: If you have any words, make sure they are facing outward if you want people passing by to be able to read your greeting.
The final step for preparing the template is painting the outlines. We used black paint and made sure all of the outlines and detail lines were painted on. This is important because it's the first layer and it will help your image pop! Also, I noticed it really helped guide the students.
Now comes the fun part! Number your plastic cups based on your color list and fill each cup with it's corresponding color. Have your kids or students go up in small groups with one cup each. We let them decide the color they wanted and gave them about 5 minutes per group to paint.
Encourage them to paint the whole section they chose, so there are no white or clear areas showing. Also, the younger ones may need reminded to paint in the lines. :) However, we had some paint outside the lines and it still looks wonderful! I went back over some sections to make the black outlines more apparent.
Now, for the reveal! As students were wrapping up the painting, a few students came outside and removed the template from the window. The paint-by-number mural is now complete!
Oh and in case you were wondering, acrylic paint and tempera paint wash off with water! So, clean up will be a breeze. No worries!
The students had such a fun time painting and they were thrilled to go outside and see their finished Happy Thanksgiving mural. A few passerby's and community members told us that it looked great and that they were thinking of doing this project with their kids.
I hope you have fun doing your very own Window Paint-by-Number project!