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As art teachers, we have a special blessing (and sometimes a curse) to constantly notice the areas of our schools that “need something.” Though our brains never seem to quite turn off, this artful eye is what makes us special.
Of course, before you start covering every surface of your school in paint, you’ll want to check with the administration to make sure you can move forward with your vision.
Once you’ve gotten approval to move forward with window painting, you’ll need to gather supplies and start planning. If your students are going to paint the windows, make sure you have chosen a big window that is low enough for little artists’ to reach. Remember to think about which side of the windows your students will paint. If possible, have students paint on the side with less foot traffic to avoid paint being scratched off by little fingers.
You will also want to think about a plan; perhaps your window painting design is related to a yearly theme. What is the best set of windows to use? Are there windows in the main office of your school that could help set a welcoming tone for your school? You can also use your window painting project as the perfect extension of what you would like artists to focus on during their school year.
You can even paint in the style of a particular artist, like this window inspired by Lucy Tiffney, known for her beautifully complex floral designs. Check out this timelapse video of Tiffney working on her own amazing mural.
Do you know the magic of “art towels?” Keep old bath towels under the sink in your art room. When an entire cup of paint water spills or a student makes a lake at a table in an attempt to sponge off the tables, whip out your giant “art towels!” These giant messy towels are great for spills and emergencies but also great for cleaning painted windows. After sponging down the tempera paint design, simply wipe clean with a big “art towel.”
Next time you take a stroll around your school, take a closer look at the windows, and think of those spaces that “need something.” Window painting can be the perfect temporary solution to brighten up a space, showcase student work, and welcome new and returning artists. Just remember, there are so many surfaces where you or your students can add color and create meaningful large-scale projects!
What would you have your students paint on windows?
What age group do you think would be best for window painting?
Have you ever painted windows at your school?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.