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Image 121620 Illuminations Craft Winter Break

In December of 1781, Charles Willson Peale made headlines in Philadelphia when he filled his windows with transparent images of George Washington and his recent triumph at the Battle of Yorktown. Lit from behind by candlelight, the illuminations were an early edition of the lit window displays so many of us enjoy this time of year.

Using outlines from objects in the Museum’s galleries and tracing paper, you can create your own illuminations to hang in your window this holiday season. Download our instructions and templates to get started!

Materials Needed:


  1. Using the tracing paper, trace one of the shapes.
  2. Decorate it as much or as little as you would like.
  3. Cut out the shape along the border.
  4. Sandwich your design between two pieces of clear contact paper.
  5. Cut out your illumination, leaving enough room around the edge to keep your illumination sealed and punch a hole in the top.
  6. Use a piece of ribbon or string to create a hanger for your illumination
  7. Hang your design in a window or anywhere else light will shine through and illuminate through the night!

Be sure to share your creations with us on social media (@amrevmuseum) on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The illuminations craft was originally released as part of A Revolutionary Virtual Winter Break sponsored by NJM Insurance Group. The holiday week included make-at-home crafts, a Hessians and 10 Crucial Days discovery cart, a wintery virtual storytime, a cooking demonstration, and more.

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