Are you thinking of making some spooky decor using Halloween silhouettes for windows? I became obsessed with these and thought I'd give them a try.
Halloween has been slow to catch on in my part of the world. It's always been there but when I was a girl, almost nobody went trick or treating. As much as the kids begged their parents (and why not with the promise of all that candy?!) it just wasn't the done thing. I'm happy to report that we're finally breaking away from that here on the west coast of Australia. And I'm ready to embrace it wholeheartedly!
I do feel a little intimidated by all the amazing Halloween decorations I see online. There are some super talented people out there who have been doing this their whole lives. But, I'm a quick learner so I figure it's best just to jump right in!
My main focus is on outdoor decorations to make it fun for the kids in the neighbourhood when they come by trick or treating. My house is set back a fair way from the road, mostly garage and grass. You can't really see the door from the road. But I do have a large window I thought I could use to attract people. So I began my search for a Halloween window display.
Watch the video or read below for how I made these and you too could make your own Halloween silhouettes for windows!
Halloween window silhouette supplies
- 3 rolls of chalk adhesive vinyl (AU: KMart vinyl chalkboard roll)
- Printed image (via Google images)
- Masking tape
- Lead/graphite pencil
- Ruler (optional)
- Eraser (optional)
The amount of vinyl you require will depend on the size of your window, your project and the vinyl you purchased. The rolls I purchased from KMart were 200cm long x 45cm wide.
STEP #1: Download your silhouette
Perform a Google image search of a spooky scene or some Halloween characters. When thinking of your design, try to keep it simple like a cartoon or clipart. Although my design spread across four drops of vinyl, it’s much easier if you can keep your shapes to the width of just one roll or even only 2. That being said, this was my first attempt and I think it didn’t turn out too bad with the additional drops of vinyl.
My tips for finding, downloading and printing a character are:
- When searching, type something like “monster clipart” to keep it simple.
- Ensure your image doesn't have a background. It could be an SVG file, transparent or white. Even if the background is just a solid colour, as long as it's easy to differentiate between the character.
- Click on your image to open it to the right of the screen then right-click > Open Image in New Tab (see the image below). NB: This step may vary slightly between internet browsers, I use Chrome.
- On the new tab you can send the image straight to your printer. You can adjust the size of the image via scale in the printer settings. Keep in mind that rather small images will become very pixelated and hard to interpret when scaled too big.
- I only used an A4 sheet of paper for each character and that still worked quite well. Although I would recommend printing the image as large as you can.
STEP #2: Attach adhesive vinyl to the window
The next step in making your Halloween silhouettes for the window is to roll your vinyl. See the images below for how I did it. Do not worry if there are any kinks after rolling the vinyl out. Keep in mind that we don't want to remove the backing and adhere it just yet. Be sure to keep the backing sheet on for now. Instead, use masking tape to attach it.
Step #3: Setting up for grid drawing
This step is entirely optional. The grid drawing technique is what helped me to scale the image and copy it from my paper. Artists use this precise technique to produce beautiful results. However, for this task, I did it quite quick and loosely.
Firstly, draw a grid across the paper to break the image into easy-to-draw sections. I divided my paper into a 16-square grid. And a smaller grid for the small character. I didn't measure the grids precisely, just by eye.
When it came to the vinyl, I lightly drew the cross points of the grid in some places (you will see a couple of random lines in the images). However, I didn't want to be erasing too many pencil marks from the vinyl as this could lighten the colour slightly if I'm not careful. Much of the grid on the vinyl I just used by eye. If I was having problems seeing it then I would draw a light grid line when I needed to.
Step #4: Drawing your Halloween silhouette scene
Referring to your printouts, draw your silhouettes. I found it best not to stick to the grid too rigidly. The nature of this DIY will have you changing and adapting when things don’t quite line up or aren’t perfect. Once I drew a light basic outline, I then went over and drew a little more detail and refined the shapes. Remember that the more intricate you are, the harder it will be to cut them out and then stick them on.
Step #5: Cut out your vinyl shapes
Once you are happy with your drawn shapes you will need to cut them out. I did this in a combination of ways. Some of it was easy enough to cut whilst being stuck to the window with the masking tape. However most needed to be pulled off, cut and repositioned with masking tape. Don't pull every sheet off all at once though. Remove one sheet/drop at a time. Try not to scrutinise too much over the exact positioning as you will find that this will “magically” change slightly anyway.
Step #6: Adhere Halloween silhouettes on the window
Now that the shapes are cut out, it’s time for the fun! Peel the backing off and stick the vinyl to the window. I decided not to do this step on the afternoon I began this project. It was just too windy. The following day however it was much easier so keep the weather in mind.
Sticking the vinyl to the window was a little fiddly and much like covering books, trying to avoid air bubbles and line things up. However, given the nature of these decorations, the idea is for them to be viewed mostly from a distance and at night so no tears or bubbles were noticeable until you got close up.
Step #7: A Quick Tidy Up
Trim any overlapping areas with scissors.
If you like you can erase the pencil lines, this part is optional. Be careful not to overdo it on the heavier lines though as it may end up fading your vinyl slightly. Unless you're up close you won't actually be able to see those pencil lines. Also, once it's dark and the backing light is on, you won't notice them either.
Tips and things I'd do differently
#1: I would love to fill the window more with this Halloween window display! It was a large space and would have looked amazing to have gone all out with some spooky fun Halloween silhouettes on the window. I did mention above that it would be easier to stick to 1-2 drops of vinyl. Now that I've done it once though, I would absolutely use more! So if you're confident then just do it.
#2: I could have used paper however I think it would have torn easier when cutting. The vinyl was much easier to cut. Having said that, lining and sticking the vinyl to the windows was a little more challenging than just taping black paper to the window. My book-covering skills were really put to the test!
#3: Overlapping the joins. If at all possible, allowing a little more vinyl to extend over the joins would be easier to avoid any disruptions to the silhouettes. Particularly when it's in the middle of the window! It's always easy enough to trim that little bit extra at the end of the day.
One great thing about these DIY Halloween silhouettes for windows is finally being able to use KMart's chalkboard vinyl. I had been itching to use it for a project for some time. The kids drew and coloured the characters with chalk later. Only I forgot to take some pics to show you! I love this outdoor Halloween decor DIY as it required only a few supplies. Aside from the vinyl all of the other items are simple things you can find around the home.
I’ve never installed the vinyl wall decals however I feel if this is something you have done in the past then you might have some tips. Please share in the comments below, we’d love to know!
Other resources you may like:
FREEBIE: Printable Halloween Bingo
FREEBIE: Rose Gold Glitter Halloween Wall Art Set
ARTICLE: Make Your Own Classy Halloween Table Decor
ARTICLE: 25 Halloween Costumes for Kids
SHOP: Halloween Games, Activities + Party Printables