area, and they all had great displays, ranging from simple and effective to large-scale artworks that must have taken days to create. It was really fun to make our window display, but also to wander around a check out everyone else's.
I wanted to make something that my children could play with afterwards so after a bit of deliberation hit on the idea of a light box castle. Each of the 'rooms' were lit from the inside with a torch or an electric tealight. This way we could decorate lots of little windows rather than one big window, plus I had built up a vast collection of cardboard boxes that I wanted to use up! In fact I didn't have to buy anything specially to make this castle, it was made entirely from stuff we had collected and basic craft materials.
Gold spray paint, optional
Black sugar paper
Scrap cardboard - i.e. cereal box
Double-sided tape, optional
Brushes for glue
Novelty hole punches (butterfly and stars), optional
To make the castle structure I built up a castle shape from boxes and took a photo to remind me how I had arranged it, and then cut the windows out with a stanley knife. I cut some crenulations (the turrety bits) out of a cereal box to add to one of the boxes at the top, and to a thick cardboard roll I had, and cut more crenulations out of kitchen and loo rolls so I could add some towers to the castle. I had half a can of gold spray paint so I used it up to cover any mailing labels and turn white boxes gold, which blended in with the rest of the brown cardboard and made it look a bit neater in daylight. If I'd had more paint I would have covered the whole thing but I didn't want to buy more specially.
To make the windows I cut out greaseproof paper rectangles to cover the window holes, and drew round the window shapes onto the paper. I then got my children to decorate the paper with coloured tissue, using watered down pva glue and brushes, to make 'stained glass' windows. I cut out black shapes - fairies, bunnies (bunnies are important in our house), balloons and I also used our shaped hole punches to make tiny butterflies and star shapes, and stuck them down on top of the tissue. Once it had all dried I glued the greaseproof paper window panes into the inside of the boxes.
For Window Wanderland I stuck the castle using a bit of double sided tape (to hold it together a bit, knowing I'd want to reassemble afterwards for the children to play with) and I lit up the inside of each box with a torch or electric tealight, and switched the lounge lights off so that the windows really glowed. We also made some peg fairies, birds and a moon to decorate the lounge window with. After it was all over took the castle apart and reassembled in my daughters room, by the window because it looks good with the sunlight shining into the castle windows from outside too. I left the boxes and turrets loose so they could arrange it how they wanted each time they play with it. We also added some dolls, furniture and puppies! It's not the sturdiest homemade toy but I think it has quite a bit of mileage in it as a play castle!