Sunday, October 3, 2010



This looks amazing and difficult, but it is really quite easy. The idea was created one year when I watched Martha Stewart use construction paper with pumpkin cutouts to black out a porch light. As always, I took this idea to a new and unreasonable level. If you can black out a porch light, why not a giant picture window? My first attempt looked much like this:
That is not lint on my photo, it is snow. Welcome to Utah. As I write this on October 2nd, the expected high temp for today is 90 degrees. It will be snowing by the end of the month. Don't try to understand. I have lived here for 22 years and I still don't get it.

So here's your tutorial:

1. Get black butcher paper from wherever you can get it. I got mine at Xpedex. DO THIS BEFORE OCTOBER 10th, because they will run out. I've done it with orange paper when I was too slow getting started, but the effect isn't as dramatic. Plan ahead. Don't be a slacker like me. Rather than getting one extremely long piece, measure your windows before you go and cut to fit the length of your windows. It's much easier this way.

2. Tape it up in the window with masking tape. It's coming down in a few weeks,  masking tape will do just fine. Trim to fit, and piece together where you cut the paper too short for your window like me. Only you will know that it's not perfect.

3. Find your pattern. My favorite site for pumpkin patterns is Zombie Pumpkins. Load your favorite pattern on the page, and drag the laptop with you to the window you're cuttin'. The cutouts you can print are too small for a window, and they ain't free. So wing it. I gots confidence in your skillz. If this idiot (me) can do it, so can you.

4. Using CHALK, sketch your pattern on the paper. Why chalk? Because it's very forgiving. If you mess up, you can just erase it using that sock someone left on the floor there. And then re-draw. As many times as you need to until it looks right. In the photo below, Thing One demonstrates how to make a semi-perfect circle using a piece of string and the lovely sidewalk chalk scrap that Eclair generously let us use.

Here it is after we finished drawing. Note where we have "erased" and redrawn: I have been doing this for 11 years and I still mess up. Nice messy pile of sheet music there on the left. You gonna put that away?

5. With a SHARP utility blade, cut out your negative spaces. Do not cut your fingers. Please. Apparently I can't cut things out without making this face. Karen took three pictures, and I was making that face in every one. Well aren't I attractive.

6. Using clear tape, tape down the little loose pieces that try to curl up.

7. Make your kids clean up your mess and admire your finished product.

8. If you don't have sheers, tape some white tissue paper over the image -- it looks tons better, and I only started doing that a few years ago. I like the finished product better. Less distraction from items in the room, and a little more privacy. Unfortunately, you can see the floral pattern on these sheers, maybe I should tissue paper on this one too. What do you think?

VERY IMPORTANT: If you are using text in your window, remember to draw it backwards -- so it can be read from outside. Unless you really just want to mess with people.

I still have two windows to finish, I'll post those as soon as I get them done. If I ever get them done. The way things have been going around here lately, I'm lucky to get a shower.

So what are you still doing here? Go do your windows!


Heather said...

No way! I love these - and NEED monster ideas! Thanks for linking up!

Kristi Flanagan said...

Very Cool! Thanks so much for planting your creative seeds at Plant a Punkin Seed Party!

Punkin Seed Productions

The Starr Family said...

Goodnight nurse... that is fantastic and fun!

Sawdust and Paperscraps said...

This is THE COOLEST thing!!! I'm so doing this but my window is really high so I'll probably measure the window and pre-cut a simple shape. I hope it works for me. I'll be on a ladder when I'm taping it up. Better have Wes put some more pillows on the floor just in case. {referencing my balancing act for chandelier light bulb changing post in case you don't get that comment.}

btw, the way you wrote this post was hilarious and engaging. I was chuckling the whole time while oohing and aahing at your awesomeness!

Ashlee @ I'm Topsy Turvy said...

LOVE it, like a jack o lantern window! I'll be featuring this on Monday! Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesday's.

Maria@BubblegumandDuctTape said...

that looks absolutely awesome! I'd love to do something like that for my windows. Pretty clever!

lovecrafts said...

Great ideas for Halloween! love it, thanks for sharing