In 2020 we created our very first Christmas Window Transparencies for a neighbourhood Living Advent Calendar. We decided to make some Christmas Silhouettes focusing on the Three Wise Men with a lovely Christmas Star (inspired by Waldorf Window Transparencies. Here is howe we did it!
What is an Advent window? What is a Christmas Window?
A Christmas Window is basically ANY window decorated for Christmas! This can be store windows or a home window. It can be decorated using tissue paper and transparencies (like we are creating here with our Transparent Three Wise Men window display), but can also be created using a range of lights, models (e.g. winter village or snowmen) or decals. If you are purchasing decals or anything for your window decor, please consider purchasing from indepentant small business (e.g. many found on Etsy) instead of the big bad shop, that is Amazon!
Usually you decocrate window form the inside for people to view your holiday decor from the outside!
Popular Christmas Decor and Window Decorations themes include:
- Christmas Tree
- Ornaments and baubles
- Christmas star and snowflakes
- Nativity Scenes/ Christmas story themes
- 12 Day of Christmas
- Santa, Rudolph and snowmen
- Candles, gifts and candy canes
- Christmas Stockings
An Advent Window is considered to be part of the Living Advent Calendar tradition window (see next section!).
What is a Living Advent Calendar?
We have article on How to Organise a Living Advent Calendar here – in the meantime:
A Living Advent Calendar, is basically a set of 24 Christmas windows created by a community. It could be a street, a village, even 24 windows of a school. Each day in the month of December a new window is decorated ready for the community to view! It is a wonderful way to involve people of all ages, kids and adults alike during the holiday season. The only “must” re a Living Advent Calendar, is to remember to add the number of the “day” you represent in the Advent countdown.. This allows the visitors to find all 24 windows, as well as identify the window as being part of the Christmas Advent display. There are no real rules as to how you decorate your window, but many participants like to decorate the window in such a way that it lights up well at night! Christmas window transparencies or Waldorf window transparencies are popuplar (e.g. check out these cute Waldorf Stars over on Rainy Day Mum).
The living advent calendar is a wonderful way to get into that holiday spirit and have some fun with the kids and your community. It makes for a great walking trail during the holilday season!
How do you make a Living advent calendar window?
There are lots of ways to make a Living Advent Calendar window – today we will show you a method using white baking paper – which is fun and simple and looks very effective!
How long do you keep your living advent calendar window decor up?
You need to keep your advent window up at least until the 25th December – so that everyone has time to view and visit the full set of windows. Personally, I encourage everyone to keep the window up until 12th night, which is the 6th January and Epiphany. As we had the three wise men in our window, that especially made sense for us. Most of our community did take their windows down between Boxing Day and the New Year and I think it really is up to you to decide when is best for YOU! But personally, I say: keep them up as long as possible!
When planing your Christmas Window do consider
Things to consider when planning how you would like to decorate your holiday window:
- Take a look at the shape and size of your window first – does it lend itself to a particular theme. Eg we had 4 tall windwos, which were perfect for the magi and we thought a Christmas Star would be a great addition for the fourth window… less useful for a chubby Santa.
- Additional back lights of some sort recommended. They can really make your window decoration stand out, especially in the afternoon and evening, when it gets so very dark in the Winter months. You may wish to use some (rechargable) battery operated fairy lights on a timer!
- Flameless candles – you are encouraged to keep your holiday window lit up throughout December, so be sure to keep things safe!
Supplies needed to make a Christmas Window Transparency
- Three Wise Men Template*
- White Baking Paper**
- PVA Glue (note pritt stick wasn’t strong enough for the baking paper)
- Recycled yellow tissue paper (we also add a little orange to give it that stained glass effect)
- Black paper/ card
- Masking tape (for hanging)
*I found these three kings for free presonal use on Clip Art Library.
** Ours was super non stick ie very waxy.. which I didn’t realise and which proved to be a little difficult for sticking stuff on.. I got there in the end with PVA. If you can find white baking paper that isn’t super non stick, then all the better!
UPDATE: You will make things a LOT easier if you can find non waxy baking type paper (I believe it is sometimes call butter paper)? I am going to look for it for our next Christmas Window, as then you can also draw and paint on it, which I think would be really lovely too!
How to make a Christmas Window with the Three Wise Men
When we made our Three Kings Window display in 2020, it was our very first time creating a community Living Advent Calendar. The kids and I solely focussed on the crafting.. I never really thought about doing step photos. I am so sorry! However, I do remember how we did it all (and how the pritt stick really didn’t work.. hahahaha). So I have written up the process we went through, but don’t have all the step photos! I do hope that that is ok!
So.. here we go.. this how we planned and created our Three Wise Men Christmas Window:
Customise your design to YOUR windows
As mentioned.. we first thought about our windows – where we going to use the ground floor windows or the ones above? What size are the windows and what shape. After some oohing and aahing we decided to go and make the three wise men and the Christnas star, as they fit perfectly into our four upstairs windows!
Making The Three Wise Men out of black paper
- Find a three wise men template that you like (we used this Clip Art which is free for personal use) – basically a did a search for Three Wise Men Silhouettes and then picked one I liked! I thought the one we found had some amazing details that weren’t too hard to cut out!
- I enlarged it in power point and spread it over three sheets per magi (yes it was faffy)
- Print out the template on white paper. I roughly cout out the shapes I needed.
- And stuck the rough cut outs onto the black card. I could often fit two of the cuts on one card, therefore economising how much paper I used. Then I cut out all the shapes in detail. (I confess this took ages)
- Be sure to keep all the corresponding shapes together.
Glue the black silhouettes on to the baking paper
- Glue to baking paper – as mentioned, it turned out that my white baking paper was also very waxy! Not so good (in fact, I was going to paint it blue like the night sky first.. but that proved impossible)… with waxy paper, a glue stick really won’t work very well. You will need PVA glue. Lucky that did work JUST! Ha. I think I may have also patched up some of the shapes with some “rolled up masking tape”
If I had used tissue paper it would have worked better. However tissue paper is very fragile and fiddly. If you are using tissue paper, maybe secure your black silhouettes with masking tape to the windows first and then stick the tissue paper over it. It is a little bit of trial and error!
Making your stained glass Christmas Star transparency
- Make a Star template (using the black off cuts) – i cut strips of black card from the card left overs and assembled them itno a star and glue them in place.
- Nexted, we filled the centre of the Christmas Star with white glue
- The kids helped me cut up the tissue paper into smaller pieces and helped layer the star outline with with coloured tissue paper
- Let dry fully
Final, Living Advent Calendar assmebly
- Hang in your Christmas Window the night before your Living Advent Calendar Due date
- Backlight is very effective and recommended
More Living Advent Calendar Ideas from our Community in 2020
We have article on How to Organise a Living Advent Calendar here – in the meantime:
As mentioned, ours was the first in the Living Advent Calendar 2020 that we did in our community (thanks Covid!! We would never have given this a go if it wasn’t for lockdowns and cheering up gloomy Winters! There reall are silver linings to all situations).
I have posted all 24 photos from our Advent Windows below – they were wide and varied. Loved the ones that the children join in with creating (lots of lovely drawings!), BUT.. of course there is a but.. I do find the light up Advent Windows the most exciting and they photograph so very well! Or at least they do at night! Hard to get night AND day to work really well. So I have highlighted my top 3 of these windows.
The old black paper and tissue paper transparent Christmas Windows do really work so well. Love all the colours you see with these lovely Advent Candles!
We have two nativity scenes. This one is super simple and the blue tissue paper creating the transparent Christmas Window and fairy lights were so effective!
And for the grand finally, a hugely appropriate Nativity Scene CHristmas Window. Isn’t it beautiful? Having cut out my three LARGE Black Paper Magi, I do appreciate quite how much cutting effort went into this one! I love how it is complemented by the light up star and Christmas messages too!
The photos really don’t do our Living Advent Calendar just. It really was quite lovely both during the day and at night! Lots of thought went into each window. Two turtle doves at number 2, a cheeky Legs Elven on the 11th and an ode to the stars and planets aligning on the 21st Dec 2020. Number 16 and 20 had some gorgeous efforts from the children and decals at 22 were most effective too.
So it goes to show.. you can make your Living Advent Calender Window as simple or as complicated as you like!