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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a fake old factory glass window (55" tall x 53" wide) that will add an industrial look to your haunt. You can easily change up the size to fit your needs. I used the basic idea from TDK421 and adapted it for a wall that has no window. Here's TDK421's awesome idea: http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/88923-need-help-making-glass-look-broken.html#post829744

Four 53" 1 x 2's (furring strips)
Four 2 1/2" wood screws
58" x 55" matte black regular or landscape fabric
18 - 22 transparency films (I used inkjet)
Five 53" long, 3/8" wide strips from 3/4" thick sheet of styrofoam (pink or blue)
Twenty-four 7 1/2" long, 3/8" wide strips from 3/4" thick sheet styrofoam (pink or blue)
***(See how to make these thin strips below)
Glue sticks
Drylok paint (can use regular paint)
White, green and black paint
MM colors for 'griming' (see http://www.halloweenforum.com/blogs/terra/696-grime-up-props-tutorial.html
Wine (keeps you motivated)

1/8" drill bit
Staple gun
Glue gun
Band saw, table saw or another type of foam cutter
Paint brushes
Small bowl or jar
Airbrush (optional)
eXacto knife

Make jig: Before we begin, here's a fast way to make those thin strips of foam. DO NOT DRINK WINE YET! :p - obviously....

Clamp a 8' furring strip onto your workbench to make a jig that will direct the foamboard into the band saw to help make those thin strips that are needed. I'm sure a table saw would be muuuuch easier but I only have a band saw. (Hear that Santa?!)

Build Frame: (not pictured) Take two of the 1 x 2's and put vertically on your workbench. Put the other two 1 x 2's at the top and the bottom to make a frame. The frame should measure out to about 53" wide and 55" tall. Using the drill with the 1/8 drill bit, pre-drill holes in the corners and drill in with the 2 1/2" wood screws.​

Stretch fabric: Cover your frame with the fabric. This next step is the same procedure you would do if you were stretching a canvas. When stapling, you will work from the middle outward and in opposites. Staple the fabric to the frame in the center of one side. Go to the opposite side, pull taut and staple there. Repeat with the other sides. Keep doing this working opposite sides and pulling taut until it's stapled tightly all around the frame. See diagram to get a sense of what order you will be stapling. I stopped drawing arrows at step 5 but you will keep going all the way until the fabric is nice and taut on the frame.

Trim the excess fabric so it won't show when it's flipped over.

Prepare the 'glass': The goal here is to have one side of the transparency shiny and reflecting light like glass and the other side opaque so it stands out from the black background. This will make it more obvious that its glass. To do this, the panes must be dirtied up but only on the back side. I'm not a transparency expert but I assume that one side of it has a coating to accept ink. So, you want to find that side and have it face up on your workbench. In a small bowl, mix up a small amount of the white paint with lots of water so you get a watery white paint wash that will make the windows look dirty, opaque... you know - 'soaped'. Not that I ever soaped anyone's windows on Halloween. YOU CAN'T PROVE THAT! ;)

Take your brush and wipe the paint onto the transparency. Decide if its opaque enough or too opaque. Thin or thicken the wash to get the right look for you. I think it's a bit thick in the picture above so I ended up thinning the paint down even more.

Note: I didn't paint the transparencies first (mistake!) so that is why my panes are still clear in the proceeding pictures.

Cut 'glass': Once the transparencies are dry, flip them back over and pile them up. One at a time, cut them so they take on the look of broken glass. Find a picture on the net to use as a model for the broken panes. Make the cracks a bit wide so it's obvious that the glass was broken there. Save the shards that you cut out of the pane. They are used for another pane. I actually only used 18 transparencies for the 30 panes of glass. I used the shards or nothing for the rest.

Grillwork: Put the window frame on the workbench and lay-out the transparencies (painted side down) until they overlap slightly. Try to have some panes unbroken and other panes with no glass at all. Take the 53" long strips of foam and lay them vertically over the seams of the transparencies. You will have the 3/4" width of the foam face down on the seams. The 3/8" will be the depth.

Hot Glue: With your glue gun heated, lift up one of the grills and place a strip of glue on it and place back down. Repeat for the other strips.

Horizontal grills: Glue the smaller, horizontal grill pieces in place. Unlike in this picture, keep the window on your workbench while doing this.

Finish gluing: Check to see if any panes or foam pieces are loose and glue back into place by going along the seam as if it were window caulk. If you want it to be super-detailed you could do this for all the panes but that will use up a lot of your glue (and patience). Trust me, I know.

Painting: Prime the window grills with Drylok. I like Drylok because it has great texture that looks like the window has been painted and repainted a bunch of times over the decades. Notice that I purposely over-painted the edges of the grillwork onto the panes of glass. I was thinking that workers repainting the glass over the years got lazier and lazier trying to stay within the grillwork.

Once the Drylok dries, get the airbrush ready with some green paint. You don't need an airbrush but the over-spray helps add a 'dirty' look to the windows. Quickly airbrush the grills and frame. Load up your airbrush with black and do the same thing.

Griming: Dip a larger brush into some white monster mud. Drag the brush over the outside frame to help it take on the look of years and years of repainting. Do the same on the window grills using a smaller brush.

Put some eye hooks at the top of the frame and hang up in your haunt. You are done and can finish up that wine.

The window can be seen in this video at the 1:28 mark:


Emperor of Candlewood
4,331 Posts
Geeze, I feel a little boneheaded after seeing the amazing things you do... LOL! Outstanding work as always Terra! Krispy Kudos to ya! ;)

450 Posts
Luv the effect! Great as always! I don't see that the vid has an active link to get it to run. Maybe it's just me.
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