These DIY Shutters are perfect for a rustic farmhouse look. With a few modifications, you can build any style or size wood shutters to add warmth and charm to your home!
We are building a simple DIY wooden shutter that will bring that rustic farmhouse vibe to your home. The wood we are using is Cypress sourced from a local sawmill. With just a few materials and tools you can create wooden shutters that look great. This tutorial will guide you through the process and you will have your new shutters ready to be installed in no time.
Wooden shutters are easy to build and a great way to customize your home with your personal touch. They are a very economical home improvement project that can be finished in a very short time. To make sure all of our shutters are consistent, we’ll build a jig to make each shutter quick, easy, and the same size.
Decisions to make before you build.
What style of shutter do you want? There are several styles to choose from, a few of them are Board and batten, Louvered, and Panel. A quick search on Pinterest or Google will show you how these styles differ so you can decide what’s best for you.
What wood works best for shutters? To achieve the best result when building your shutters you should begin with a wood that is naturally resistant to the weather. The most common choices are cedar, cypress, and redwood. Each variety may not as readily available in all regions.
What size shutters should you build? Grab a measuring tape and measure your windows from the top edge to the bottom edge of the window, excluding the trim. The width of a shutter is usually left to the eye of the beholder if the shutters are stationary. If they are built to open or cover the window, however, you have less leeway for larger windows. Although, bifold shutters are an option.
Materials Needed for DIY Wooden Shutters
- 1 x lumber
- Miter Saw or Circular Saw
- Belt sander
- 1 5/8″ screws
- Optional: stain, wood clamps, wood glue
How to Build DIY Shutters
This project is simple, but it does take careful calculations and patience. I’ll walk you through building and assembling shutters as well as making your own jig to save time and make more uniform shutters!
Measure the windows:
Measure each window only from top to bottom and side to side. This does NOT include the window trim. Your shutters should go from the top of the window pane to the bottom of the window pane.
Calculate the width of the shutters:
The width will determine the number of boards and spacing needed to assemble each shutter. If you are going to have fully functioning shutters then each shutter should be half the width of the window. Stationary shutters don’t have to conform to any specific width, so you can choose a width that will look best to you.
Build a jig to assemble each shutter (optional)
A jig is a tool that allows you to easily create duplicate shutters without having to measure over and over. Building this will allow you to create uniform shutters, and it will hold the horizontal boards where needed. I’ve included instructions for this jig in a paragraph below, just keep scrolling or click here.
Make your cuts:
Making all your cuts before beginning assembly gives you the opportunity to minimize waste and allows the assembly process to move along more quickly.
Lightly sand the lumber:
By sanding each piece of lumber you will get the opportunity to identify which side to show and what to hide against the house. If you are going to apply any stain, paint, or sealant to the shutters sanding makes the process easier.
Apply weather coating, stain, or paint:
If a sealant, stain, or paint is going to be applied now is a great time to coat the edges of each board and batten. Once they are assembled the edges will be more difficult to seal, stain or paint. Keep scrolling for the pros and cons of each option or click here.
Building the Jig for Shutters
A jig is going to ensure that each pair of shutters will be symmetrical. The inner dimensions of the jig will need to be as wide as you want your shutters and it must be square. I used 2×4 scraps to build the jig.
For me, the inner width will be 14 inches with horizontal pieces being placed in accordance with the placement of the battens for each shutter length. I will be building shutters of 4 different lengths so I will leave one end of the jig open to allow me to build all the shutters with this one jig. The trade-off will be that each shutter will have to be flipped and placed back into the jig for the placement of the third batten.
The picture shows that the first horizontal board is marked at zero and the second at 6 inches. This location will be the placement of the top and bottom batten of each shutter. The remaining marks, 20.5, 28, 34, and 37 are all for the middle batten of the different length shutters. The middle batten placement was arrived at by dividing the length by 2 ( 45/2=22.5) then dividing the width of your board by 2 (4/2=2) and subtracting the value 2 from 22.5 giving you 20.5.
How to Assemble Shutters
- If you are using glue, spread glue across the back side of the three battens.
- If your jig is shorter than the shutters, place two of the battens face down into the jig or three battens face down if the jig accommodates the entire shutter.
- Place the three boards face down into the jig evenly spaced, if any of the boards are bowed you can use a wood clamp to pull the board into place as needed.
- Pre-drill each board to prevent splitting as it intersects each of the battens then place screws to hold the shutter pieces together. Two screws per intersection will help keep the shutters square.
- If the shutter is longer than your jig you will need to remove the shutter from the jig and place the unfinished end into the jig along with the batten and repeat step four.
How do you protect your shutters from the elements?
Shutters can be sealed, stained, or painted. Each choice has its trade-offs.
Pros & Cons to Natural Wood Shutters
A natural wood look leaves you with the fewest choices when it comes to protecting your shutters from the elements. A clear water sealant allows the natural wood to be displayed and protected from water but the trade-off is there is no UV protection and you will need to reapply the sealant annually.
Pros & Cons to Stained Shutters
If you are looking to add a little color to the shutters but retain the visibility of the wood a semi-transparent stain will give you the added protection of a sealant along with some UV protection and the color you desire and typically last 3-4 years.
A solid stain gives you UV protection along with the protection provided by a sealant but will cover the wood grain completely only leaving the texture of the wood visible and typically last 4-5 years.
What’s the difference between paint and solid stain?
You might wonder what is the difference between a solid stain and paint, the stain penetrates into the wood whereas the paint only covers the surface and the stain doesn’t reflect light as does so many paints.
We chose to go with the solid stain but any of the choices would have been good, with each requiring a little different maintenance routine.
Other Easy DIY Projects
You do not have to spend a lot of time or money on beautiful décor! I have several step-by-step tutorials for projects that are easy enough for beginners. These DIY Plant Pedestals are an easy woodworking project that also makes a great gift! Some other easy projects include: