How to Decorate With Vintage Windows

11 Materials
2 Hours
If you know me (Vicki), you are aware that I brake for trash. One Saturday morning as I traveled to yard sales, I spotted an aquarium in a trash pile. I quickly braked to pick it up. I didn't notice at first, but sitting with the aquarium were four large vintage windows with the glass intact. I thought, "what the heck, they might be usable for something", so into the Honda they went.

That was also the yard sale day that I found several pieces of oak tongue and groove flooring, a large mantle size piece of cedar and a live edge piece of cypress (all for the bargain price of $15). My car was quite full by the time I loaded it all up. I wasted no time dropping off the aquarium for my grandkids (I had been tasked with finding one and what's better than finding a free one!?) and then took the rest to Steph's house.

I'm never sure how she will react to my "finds," but she liked the windows and decided they'd make a great decor for a blank wall in her house!

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Cleaning the glass and wood was the first step. A good window cleaner and microfiber cloth got the job done.
The frames were sanded just enough to remove some of the chipped paint.
Hardware was removed prior to sanding and then cleaned. WD-40 does a great job cleaning old hardware and stopping the rust.
We painted the frames with a clear poly to keep the white paint from peeling anymore. To create a subtle design, we used a piece of lace and sprayed it with frosted glass paint. Check out a little more detail in this video on our FB page.
The windows were hung on the wall with French cleats.
The lights were randomly taped into place inside the frames.
Steph made a little cover and painted them the wall cover to hide the battery boxes of the fairy lights. The cover also serve as a light switch- just push to control the lights!
Every once in a while it's fun to do a quick upcycle project. This was one of those. We love the look, as it fills Steph's space but doesn't look heavy or overpowering. Another nice feature is we can clean the lace pattern off the glass if we want to give these a different look in the future.

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Frequently asked questions

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3 of 4 questions
  • Shuganne Shuganne on Aug 26, 2018

    Your project is perfect! How glamorous and yet so refined!

    I'm curious about the narrow windows; I've never seen windows that narrow. Did you ask, or do you know their purpose? Were they used in conjunction with the wider ones? Even those seem an odd size for older windows.

  • Deanna Perata Deanna Perata on Aug 27, 2018

    What is clear poly?

    You did a nice job on the windows...I have 4 really cool art deco windows that have some of the paint pealing I need to sand and paint the parts that need it. Interested in knowing what clear poly is

  • Sherry Bell Sherry Bell on Aug 26, 2019

    Paint sayings or words on the boxes???


Join the conversation

4 of 26 comments
  • Sheryl Sheryl on Aug 22, 2019

    How pretty! I always see these projects with the lights and they look so nice! I do caution everyone if you use these type of lights please be sure you don’t leave them on all the time. My kids had some through an artificial plant and they left them on all the time. While they were gon to work they had a short or got too hot and caught the house on fire. The fire marshall traced it back to the lights. So please remember to unplug them when not in use! Unfortunately we didn’t learn this till too late!

    • Mother Daughter Projects Mother Daughter Projects on Aug 22, 2019

      Great information! These are battery operated and also on a four hour timers, so I don't know if they could cause the same problems. But good to know! ~Vicki

  • Carol Harris Carol Harris on Aug 22, 2019

    looks pretty