DIY Shutter Arbor

3 Materials
3 Hours

Back in September of last year I got a message from a neighbor of mine telling me about the local salvage yard giving away a bunch of their mismatched shutters. I was sure that by the time I would be able to get there that there would be none left, but I was pleasantly surprised and managed to load up about 15 shutters.
I’ve been working on shutter projects ever since and I still have a few left.

All the supplies needed are based on shutters 18″ in width.  You may have to adjust your lengths if you have wider or narrower shutters.
  • 2 matching shutters  (18″ wide)
  • 3 2×4’s  or pallet side pieces, cut 2, 48″, and  2, 18″ (the width of the shutter)
  • 4, 8 ft  2×3’s or 2×4’s
  • top arbor pieces, you can use 1×6’s,  1×4’s or pallet wood pieces  … cut 6 pieces about 38″
deck screws
I’m using regular lumber because that’s what I had on hand, but you may want to consider using treated wood to last longer.

Lay out the 4, 8 ft 2×3’s next to the shutter.    Leave about a foot of the 2×3 above the shutter.

Start screwing in the deck screws especially where there are crossbars on the shutter.

Stand the shutter up and finish screwing.
In the area where you left the extra foot, add the 18″ piece of pallet wood or 2×4.  Use more deck screws to attach.
It was at this point when I realized that this thing was getting kind of heavy.  It was much easier to drag the arbor outside now and assemble it  in place rather than trying to move it once it was constructed.

I chopped the bottom corners off of the 48″ pallet wood sides and screwed it to the 2×3’s.
For the top of the arbor I’m using a few pieces of old decking.  Cut 6 pieces 38″ in length.

You could cut the ends with just a straight angled cut, but if you like a fancier edge, cut a pattern from  stiff paper and transfer it to the 1×6 ends.  Cut with a jigsaw or scroll saw.
Mark where those top arbor pieces hit the 2×4’s.

Cut out a notch about an inch in depth.  

If your first board fits, you can use that as a pattern to mark the remaining boards.
Use even more deck screws to attach these final arbor pieces.
Sink the posts in dirt or cement for added stability.

Because I had almost all of the supplies already on hand, this project only cost me about $5. Not bad for a dramatic change to my garden.

Visit me over at ScavengerChic for 19 more shutter projects and more pics of this project.
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Sharon Strong
    on Nov 29, 2017

    Great idea! One suggestion would be to show the finished product in the beginning, as I had no idea what you were doing until I scrolled all the way down. Then the instructions made more sense! I also agree about keeping the design more shutter-like on the top as well. Do you suppose one could remove a few slats to allow more space for the plants to weave in and out of? It would be awesome to see a picture of it in the spring or summer when it is covered so we can see how it functions!
    • Melinda Brown Inglesby
      on Jun 4, 2020

      She was asking if OP thought it could be done that way, not telling her how she should have done hers...

  • Cocoa
    on Nov 29, 2017

    Great idea - What kind of paint could I use to weatherproof? Here in my area of FL it would not last long if not protected - nothing left outside seems to hold up long
  • Love this idea! Question-how did you secure it to the ground so it wouldn't tip over? I've been looking for something like this to do to a patio project I'm going to start this fall and would love to incorporate this idea, but it does get windy in downstate IL!

    • Robyn Garner
      on Mar 25, 2019

      I did a trellis, sealed it with stain & oil sealer and suspended it from the eave. To keep it from swinging in the strong winds we get here I pounded in 2 lengths of rebar at the closest distance I could get to the outer uprights. I then wired the uprights to the rebar.

Join the conversation

2 of 101 comments
  • Joanie
    on May 28, 2020

    Finally!! Someone come up with an idea how to use a shutter...........I love it......and great job!!! "Whose gettin' married?" A perfect place.........oh yeah!!

  • Debbie
    on Jun 11, 2020

    love it

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