Aside from spiders and black cats, bats are the defining animal of Halloween. Around this time of year, stores will start selling various representations of the winged mammal in all manner of materials: paper, plastic, rubber and metal. Ever since I started throwing Halloween parties in high school, I’ve hung construction-paper bat silhouettes on my walls for the event. Unfortunately, these charming-yet-creepy decorations don’t store well. Although I try to pack them away with the rest of my Halloween supplies, they inevitably get bent, crinkled and torn over the course of a year. Tracing new ones onto paper and hanging them up, depending how many you have, can also be quite laborious.As a solution to this annual paper-bat dilemma, I crafted a simple bat-patterned curtain. Unlike paper bats, which can be a hassle to deal with, this curtain only needs to be made once. The process of making it is remarkably easy, and the whole thing can be folded up and reused year after year. The way that light shines through the curtain also creates a wonderful effect — during the day, it casts a creepy glow inside, and at night, passersby can see it from outside.
1. Unpack your curtain panel(s). If there are noticeable folds on the curtain, iron or steam them out before proceeding.
2. Lay the curtain panel over a drop cloth or newspapers. This will prevent paint from leaking through onto the floor when you’re stenciling.
3. Print out our handy-dandy bat template onto card stock or draw your own.
4. Cut out a bat image using an X-Acto knife or a similar blade. Keep the page as your stencil.
5. Place your stencil on the curtain, and tape it down with masking tape to hold it in place.
6. With your stencil brush, apply black fabric paint to the interior of the stencil. Use an up-and-down stippling technique rather than stroking back and forth to prevent the fabric from moving beneath the stencil. Start by painting around the border and then move inward.
7. Once your stencil is filled in, lift it up carefully and repeat steps 5 and 6 across the entire curtain. If paint leaks underneath your stencil and begins to create irregularities in your prints, either put it aside until it dries or use a fresh stencil.
8. Once dried, carefully lift the curtain off of your drop cloth and hang up whichever way you please!
9. Impress your Halloween party guests with your snazzy bat-craft skills!