You know those gel window cling sets you see in the Target Dollar Spot or the dollar bins at craft stores? They’re not just cute for windows – they’re also fantastic for window cling printmaking art!
Window cling printmaking is cheap, easy, and endlessly fun!
We love an art project that doesn’t cost much, especially one that only costs $1.
We also love an art project that is easy enough for kids to do independently.
We also love an open-ended art project that can turn out differently each time.
So, we LOVE window cling printmaking because it checks off all of the above!
Related: looking for more wintery art projects? Our Winter-theme giant coloring banner is everything amazing.
You can try window cling printmaking all year long
Because places like the Target Dollar Spot, Dollar Tree, and craft stores carry window clings all year ’round, making this type of art during any month of the year is easy.
We especially love this type of art for seasonal and holiday art because it’s not just another cookie-cutter-every-piece-looks-identical-and-there’s-no-creative-freedom craft.
Instead, window cling printmaking is open-ended. Each time a child creates a print, it can be completely different than the last time! For example, the bear might have a pink sweater the first time, but the second time it might have a green one, and the third time it might have a yellow one, and…
Here are some other printmaking projects that we love:
- Baking Sheet Printmaking – Friends Art Lab
- Citrus Printing – Rhythms of Play
- Printmaking with Recycled Materials – Projects with Kids
This is the best part: there are so few materials (and the ones that you do need aren’t expensive)
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- Window clings
- Kids’ paint (acrylic dries too fast and won’t allow you to reuse the clings over and over)
- White paper
- Wet paper towels or baby wipes
Let’s get started
- Open your window clings and remove the top plastic sheet covering (if there is one).
- Invite your child to paint on the window clings! The paint will likely “resist” the window clings a little bit, meaning it might look a little something like this where the paint looks like it’s separating:
This is totally fine and totally normal. If you want to avoid this, you can paint quickly or touch up the shapes that pool before lifting your print. You can also leave it be as it should smoosh out on the print and look normal.
- Once the window clings are all painted, lay a white piece of paper on top of the clings, gently rub (try not to let the paper move), then lift the paper to reveal your print.
- Ta-da! Admire your gorgeous print and notice how the designs on your paper are backward from those on the gel clings.
- To continue making more and more prints, use wet paper towels or wet wipes to wipe off the surface and then continue printing.
Why do window cling printmaking with kids?
Not only is this activity fun, but there are many learning opportunities in this type of project, too.
Math: Oh, the math! When I painted my bear on my window clings, he was facing to the right. On my print, he’s facing to the left. While this is expected to me now, this is ABSOLUTE MAGIC to kids. How did this happen? How did it change? So many fantastic conversation starters arise from window cling printmaking.
Creativity: Each time a child makes a print, it can look different from the last time. There’s something super special about using the same materials and the same window clings but getting different finished pieces of art each time.
Language: When kids are creating, you’ll hear phrases like, “I am using yellow on the flower,” “I have two more parts left to paint,” and “The trees are next to the bear.” Prepositions. Vocabulary. Colors. Numbers. Naming objects. Often when kids are creating, they’re simultaneously narrating and the language opportunities are rich and endless.
Can I do this without window clings?
Absolutely! The reason why this project works is because we’re painting on raised shapes.
If you have foam shapes, you could glue some designs onto a piece of plastic or cardboard to make your own template.
If you have foam stickers, you could create a sticker scene and also use that as your template.
You could also try a different variation of printmaking like these bubble wrap rollers from supplies you likely have on hand.
What age can I do window cling printmaking with?
Any age that enjoys painting! We have done this with our 2.5-year-old preschoolers up through their grandparents.
You could offer some assistance with the steps for younger kids, but this can quickly become an independent activity/station for many preschool-aged kids.
In our preschool classroom (kids aged 2.5-6), we would model how to use the materials and the steps needed to make a print, and then we would leave this station alone for the kids to create freely. Kids LOVE having opportunities to feel independent and this is a fun, engaging activity for them to create with each other.
Window cling printmaking is a 10/10
Don’t pass them up the next time you’re in a store with window clings! A simple $1 purchase can lead to hours and hours of fun.
Have you tried these before?! We’d love to hear what you thought!