Decorate Your Windows - LIMCC
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Less is More Christmas Club for the day is...

Decorate your windows without leaving your mark.

I live in a rental, so hanging elaborate garlands, lights, or wreaths are out of the question (don't want to put holes in the walls!)

Here are some simple ways to decorate your windows.

Frost the Glass
Dissolve 4 big spoonfuls of Epsom salts in about 1 c. of beer. It will foam and some of the salt will dissolve. Then, using a paintbrush or wadded up paper towel, apply to your windows. Don't worry, the beer smell goes away quickly! Dab with more wadded up paper towels to create a more natural effect. They last a long time, but are completely washable and won't poison the kids (the solution is much too salty for them to actually want to ingest, anyways. One lick is about all they need to know it's yucky).
If you are really creative, put paper snowflakes or doilies on the windows and paint around them, or paint designs with a fine paintbrush.
If you let the kids help with this and your windows are in a carpeted room, drink the rest of the beer - it'll be more pleasant for all involved *wink*

Use inside on mirrors, too. Just put it where you don't usually have to wipe toothpaste gobs off and it will last all season.

A link to snowflake physics and activities for kids involving window frost. This could be a fun, free activity to as a family!

Make Snowflakes
You can make colored ones out of construction paper, but I've found this way is easier and looks nicer.

Take a coffee filter (white/bleached). Fold it into sixths, or twelfths if you've got great handstrength. (8 sided snowflakes are scientifically inaccurate - but it's your window, so knock yourself out.) Cut along the folded edges to make a design. Here's a guide to paper snowflakes.
Make sure you leave it connected in the middle!

Now, get the coffee filter wet, and apply it to your window. It will stick, but you can pull it off easily after the season. The filter is thinner than regular paper, and makes a nice translucent effect, plus it's already circle shaped. You could also do bells, angels, or stars. If you dot the paper with washable Crayola brand marker, the water will make it run a little bit and give you a wash of color that will wash off of windows later, as well. Or, use those pink, yellow, and blue cupcake wrappers for minis. I did mine in blue cupcake wrappers and it looks good. If it won't stick with plain water, add a spoon of sugar to the water, or starch.

Other stuff do with snowflakes
- hope you have a good vacuum! The kids love it but it makes lots of 'paper dandruff'.

Make Stained Glass
Get colored plastic wrap, report covers, or cellophane (lots of packages come wrapped in colored plastic this time of year. Waste not, want not!)
Cut into geometric shapes, and get one side wet. Apply to windows. If you want soldering lines, use a black sharpie and mark them ON THE PLASTIC (not the window). Alcohol will remove permanent marker from glass usually, though.

You can use tissue paper, taping the entire design together, but it might stain the glass if wet, so use tape. WD-40 will get any remaining sticky residue off later; I like the plastic and water because I don't like seeing the tape marks.

You can get very creative with this one! Make a Nativity scene, elaborate Stars of Bethlehem, poinsettias, candles. It is very pretty from the outside at night when lit from inside.
More Patterns:
Virgin Mary Dove of Peace
Gingerbread House Other Christmas Patterns

A word of caution: do not use colored napkins or wrapping paper for this. If you get it wet, the dye will stain.

Use What You've Got
You can, with creativity, use existing curtain rods and hardware to hook lights and garlands. Use thread to tie it up for security - embroidery thread costs less than a quarter per skein, will match any color, and is really, really strong. You can also take the existing curtain rod down, put up a dowel or broomstick using the hardware already in place, and attach nails to it.

Other Miscellaneous Tips
Use ribbon or cord and clothespins to hang stockings or other decorations. You can paint and decorate the clothespins however you like, by painting and gluing pinecones, flowers, whatever to them. I like it because it's so easy to rearrange things to make them perfectly centered - and I won't have to put 8 holes in the fireplace mantel that I'll have to fill later!

Stikki Clips are amazing. I buy them at teacher supply stores, and they really do stick anywhere without leaving a mark (well, I've never used them on wallpaper, so you might test it.) They cost less than $4 for a package of 20, or you can order online. You can use them over and over again, unlike the 3M Command hooks. I use them to put up recipes in my cupboards, on my computer monitor for papers, outlines, and notes, and they are sturdy enough to hold up poster board or cardstock. They will stick to brick, cinderblock, molding, wooden mantles, steel doors, painted walls, kitchen cabinets, computer equipment... and they won't kill your vacuum like a push pin might. (Just in case, you know.)

I also found a poster sized picture of the Nativity for $1.99 at Banks School Supply, a teacher's store in Denver. Check out the bulletin board/wall decorations for cheap and kid friendly decor!

Indoors, use tension rods to hang garlands inside of the doorframe. You can cover the tension rod with the innards of a wrapping paper roll that you've wrapped or painted (for the truly dedicated, decoupage a piece of PVC pipe). Tension rods inside a tube painted to match your decor is also a good everyday window solution!

Buy an over the door wreath hook. They sell plastic ones at the dollar store, but for your front door, you may have to widen it, as it's thicker than inside doors, so get a metal one. You can also wrap a wide ribbon around the door about eyeball heighth, attach a bow instead of a wreath. Wrap the ribbon around the entire door, and secure inside with tape. If you wrap tight enough, the tension will hold it in place and you can tape the ribbon to itself - no marks on the door. Use the ribbon inside to hold Christmas cards or use velcro to attach light weight decorations.

Have a Blessed Advent!

Another tip: If you don't have an Advent wreath, it's not too late! Get a plate and 4 candleholders. Wrap part of an evergreen garland around the wreath. Add whatever decorations you want or leave it plain. This week, the 1st week of Advent, my family uses this prayer:
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins, and be a redeemer an deliver us: Who lives and reigns with God the Father Almighty in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end, Amen.
We light a candle everynight. Traditionally, there are 3 purple and one pink, but use white if that's all you have! This week is purple week.
Here's a link for Advent activities: Domestic

They have lots of great coloring pictures, too. I make coloring books with these and black and white clip art for the littlies during Mass; you can also use them as stained glass templates.

Don't forget today is St. Nicholas' day! My kids won't be getting treats in their shoes, but if they are lucky I just might spray some Odoban in there!

Tags: Works for Me Wednesday, Less is More Christmas Club, Crafts and Cookery
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 12/06/2006 09:34:00 AM | Permalink | |