How to paint a Christmas tree on a window

How to paint a Christmas tree on a window

Christmas window painting is a fun and festive hobby that adds a personal touch to your Christmas decorations. Nothing beats a beautiful painting of a Christmas tree on your window panes, but before you grab the acrylic paint, reading a tutorial helps!

Whether you want to create snow trees or come up with ideas a bit more advanced than your usual stick figures, this tutorial will take you through the creative process. At Christmas Trees Direct, we are always blown away by the beauty of Christmas trees. From the soft blue hue of the Blue Spruce to the verdant green shade and bright pine scent of the Norway Spruce - it's what Christmas is all about. So, let's decorate your windows with expertly painted Christmas trees inspired by our lovely range of fresh-grown Christmas trees this year.

Reindeer glass art in window

Window painting tools you need

Before we get started painting a Christmas tree, here are some of the tools you will need to create your art:

  • Different brushes - a standard round brush will suffice but you can add a fan brush to your collection if you want to paint like an expert.

  • Paint or marker set - always purchase art supplies that are designed for use on glass. You need dark green paint plus a range of different colours for the Christmas decorations.

  • Template or stencil - these are a great way to get uniform trees if you are painting multiple across your windows.

  • Paper - good for practising on before moving to the window, and placing between your hand and the window to rest on if the frame isn't near enough.

  • Cloth and cleaning supplies - you need to clean the window before starting, and you can use it later to mop up any mistakes!

  • Newspaper and aprons - lay newspaper beneath your window to catch any paint drips and prevent staining the carpet. Aprons or just old clothes are also advisable, especially if you are trusting kids with acrylic paints.

Remember that painted colours often look brighter on the glass when the light shines through them, so don't panic if the Christmas tree drawing doesn't burst with bright brush strokes when you practice on solid materials.

You can also station-style decorations to your windows, such as paper snowflakes. You can find many video tutorials online to help you come up with unique ideas. Another option is to hang garlands along the window frame or drape them over windowsills.

Handmade glass Christmas baubles

Draw Christmas trees tutorial

With your window painting art supplies and brushes ready, here are a few different ways to create a Christmas tree. You can find painting video tutorials online for extra help.

  1. If painting doesn't come naturally, forget about brush stroke techniques and just draw a simple triangle shape to represent the tree. Then dab on tiny dots of colour (saving yellow for the star at the top) to resemble baubles. This is a simple minimalist-style scene.

  2. If you want distinct branches, use your fan brush to create a textured tree. Starting at the bottom, use long strokes in a downward curving motion, filling in a shape that's like triangles stacked atop one another. You can use one colour or switch between shades of green for added dimensions.

  3. The final and easiest way is to use a stencil image. If you don't have one, simply find some tree clip art online, print it off, and cut out the shape. Alternatively, you can tape a picture of a tree on the other side of the glass and just trace it through!

The trick with a glass-painted design is to work from the background forward. This means starting with the solid green of the tree, adding the colour for the décor, and finally adding a thin black or white outline can make the design pop.

If you want to expand your painted scene or have decided not to paint trees, then you have a plethora of choices since snowflakes square-wrapped gifts are very easy designs that are ideal for kids. Santa with his iconic hat and coat, holly sprigs, and angels are a little more advanced but a great challenge.

Christmas window painting in three steps

Once you have practised drawing a Christmas tree and have settled on a theme for your window painting, it is time to decorate. If the fan brush is a bit intimidating, we highly recommend using simple markers instead of paint. You can find these from art supply stores as well as online retailers.

1. Clean the window

If you want your Christmas window painting to stick, start by cleaning the glass and window frame. Use a glass cleaner and wipe thoroughly to ensure any residue is removed. Any cleaner or grime that is left will quickly ruin the fun - it may prevent the paint from adhering and drying fully.

Even if you are only decorating a small area, we recommend you cover the entire window with cleaner for a good, clean surface. As you will be leaning on the window, dirt and dust can get dragged around as you fill in your design. Just like with canvas or parchment, always start painting on a blank and clean surface!

Some glass paints will allow you to paint on the exterior side, rather than from just inside your home. Even on the outside, you should still clean the window thoroughly. We recommend choosing a day when there are no snowflakes forecast (or drizzle) to allow the paint time to dry effectively.

2. Drawing your design

Now let's paint your Christmas window! Give yourself plenty of time - put some Christmas music on and cancel any prior commitments for the afternoon. Art is best when it isn't rushed, so make sure your ideas work before you move to the window. Practice using the round brush or pen tip by taping paper to a wall - this will help you get a feel for the angle you will be painting at.

Begin with the background of your Christmas tree, painting on the dark green with simple brush strokes. If your paint is quite watery and leaves obvious brush strokes, you can use multiple coats. Simply wait between each coat for the paint to finish drying before adding the next.

If you make a mistake, wipe it away quickly with some canvas material or dishcloth while the paint is still wet. Once the paint has dried, you may need to peel off the entire design or risk distorting the drawing to remove a mistake. For pens, check the instructions for removing the ink from the glass.

Now it is time to decorate the tree. It wouldn't be complete without some decorative strings of lights, baubles and perhaps a few snowflakes or angels nearby! If you are painting with kids, it can be easiest to draw the base of the tree yourself, so it becomes a plain frame for the kids to decorate with bright hues.

Once your tree is decorated, use a thin black pen or fine brush to add an outline if desired. You could also add some gifts around the base of the tree or have fun with painting your family into the scene.

3. Remove after Christmas

Once the scene is complete, you can enjoy the lovely colours over the festive season. We recommend removing your Christmas window painting along with your other decorations 12 days after Christmas day, to follow the tradition.

While a pot-grown Christmas tree can be left in the garden to be planted and reused next year, your painted glass designs often cannot be reused. Some paints need to be cleaned off with a cleaning solution and rag, while others will have solidified and can be peeled off.

Now, the final step. Pop your art supplies in the box with your Christmas fairy lights and tree decorations ready to create a new festive image next year.


What kind of paint do you use on windows for Christmas?

There are many different kinds of paint, including those that work best paperers, canvas or glass. Solvent or water-based paint is best for decorating windows, as it will adhere to the glass. However, it is always best to check that your paint is suitable for glass before you begin painting, especially if you need to wipe off the design after the season. It is wise to purchase brushes and paint specifically designed for use on glass - you can find markers for this purpose too. Many glass paints have peeling properties, meaning they can be peeled off the glass surface cleanly once they have dried.

How to draw on windows for Christmas?

Depending on whether you have paint or marker art supplies, you will either be painting or drawing on your windows! We recommend practising simple decorative designs on paper before moving to the window. Once you know what you want to create, clean the window thoroughly and make sure there's no cleaning residue on the surface. Draw, paint or stencil on your design, starting with bright brush strokes for the filler colours and finishing with black or white outlines.

How do you paint a simple Christmas tree?

A stencil is the easiest way to draw a Christmas tree. However, if you want to draw Christmas trees from scratch, the simplest way is to forget about using a fan brush or complex techniques - just draw a tall green triangle and fill it in with a lush dark green colour. Once you add a brown trunk at the base and a blob of yellow at the top to resemble a star, you will have created a minimalist yet unmistakable Christmas tree drawing.

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