Improve your home’s curb appeal with the addition of easy-to-make wood shutters.
Unless you live in an Arts & Crafts bungalow, a midcentury modern home, or other building style that excludes them, shutters add character to a house façade and it can be done on a budget.
The narrow shutters on this cross-gabled house were added when the dormer was built back in the 70s. It was time for an update that wouldn’t break the bank. Narvas took up the challenge to construct simple board and batten shutters from salvaged cedar.
For best results, he used weather-resistant cedar boards for shutters. You can salvage boards from large cedar shipping pallets in good condition or use affordable cedar fence pickets available at home improvement stores.
To make shutters, you’ll also need a measuring tape, saw, safety glasses, pencil, driver and bits, wood screws, and a pair of sawhorses. A speed square (aka carpenter’s triangle) and a yardstick are also helpful.
The first step, of course, is to measure the windows. Either measure top of frame to bottom of frame or top of window to bottom of window.
To be authentic, the shutter, if it were closable, would fit within the frame and they would also be exactly one-half the width of each window. Most people these days opt for same-width shutters on all windows, which is great for uniformity. Don’t try that with the length, though!
Wearing safety glasses, use the saw to cut three boards for your shutter to the proper length for your window.
Place spacers between your three boards (we used a yardstick) and measure the width of your finished shutter.
Cut two crosspieces of slightly narrower wood to that measure.
Measure about one quarter the length of your board to find the spot to place the crosspiece. Butt the edge of the board up to the end of the crosspiece and use your speed square to ensure the board is at a 90-degree angle.
Attach the board to the crosspiece with two screws and repeat on the other end of the shutter.
Using a yardstick as a spacer between boards, Narvas gets the placement of the second board just right. Measure and check the angle again—it never hurts to be sure!
Screw the second board to the crosspiece and repeat at the other end.
Place the spacer again to add the third board.
Secure the last board with screws.
Finish the opposite end.
A complete shutter costs less than a dollar when using salvaged wood—less than five dollars when using new wood. And they’re quick and easy on top of that.
The last step before installing the shutters is a couple coats of primer and paint. Use an exterior paint for best results. However, we used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence which doesn’t require a primer and has proven to stand up well to weathering.
Line up painted shutters with frames or windows depending upon how you measured initially and screw into place on the wall.
The shutters give the windows more prominence, while removing them from the dormer gives those windows more visual space. With the addition of a trellis overhang and a painted door, the front of the house presents a happier aspect.
© Caruth Studio