DIY Rustic Wood Shutters

7 Materials
3 Weeks

Rustic wood shutters add amazing curb appeal to your home. Make your own with this step-by-step post!

Step 1 - Measure and cut the battens

In order to find out what sizes to make your rustic  wooden shutters, you need to measure the height and width of the windows. The width of the shutters should be about half the the full length of the window. Use the height to calculate the total number of board feet. To save money, my husband purchased 2×12′ lumber boards and we ripped them in half with the table saw.

For this project we used untreated SPF lumber boards. My husband created a cutting jig to attach to the miter saw and marked the various lengths needed on the jig. Our windows turned out to be three different lengths, so this came in handy. Creating the cutting jig meant he had to only measure each length once and that all the battens would be the same lengths as needed.

The 2×4 lumber board was used to create 4 spacers by ripping the board very thin. The spacers create a uniform space between each of the batten boards to allow for expansion and contraction of the wood after they are installed. You can see the spacers in the picture above to get a better understanding.

Step 2 - Cutting the boards

After laying all the battens out onto another assembly jig made on top of makeshift sawhorses, my husband laid out the shutters and and spaced them as to how he wanted them to be. He then measured the the width of the horizontal boards, which was the same for all the rustic wood shutters. Using the cutting jig on his miter saw, my husband cut all of the boards to their proper lengths. Now all of the individual battens and boards are cut and ready to go!

Step 3 - Staining

After all of the boards were cut and ready to go we stained and sealed all 6 sides of every board with Valspar Pre-Tinted Cedar Naturaltone Semi-Transparent Exterior Stain and Sealer. We used rags that we created by cutting up old  t-shirts to apply the stain.

We allowed the boards to dry for a few hours before moving on to more. After they were all stained and sealed we set them all up on their sides to make sure they were completely dry before putting them together.

Step 4 - Putting the wood shutters together

Now comes the tricky part – putting the wood shutters together. Since all the boards were stained on all sides, my husband went back over the parts of the boards that had to be glued together and sanded the stain off. (Wood glue does not hold against stain and sealer.) After all the parts were sanded, he glued and clamped the top and bottom boards to the battens on each wood shutter. Screws were added to the back of the shutters to hold everything together and they sat overnight to dry.

A little tip: When gluing wood faces together, when clamping them, they almost always slide and move out of position. The solution? Salt! Put the glue on the boards and spread it all out, then sprinkle salt over the glue. When you clamp the boards down, the salt bites into the wood and stops any sliding so they will hold in perfect position.

Step 5 - Hanging the shutters

To hang the shutters, we used ceramic coated structural screws. (The coating on the screws prevents corrosion.) To allow for expansion, a 1/4 inch hole was drilled into each wood shutter where the screws were going to be placed to allow for air space surrounding each screw. I held the shutter up against the window while my husband made sure they were all level and then screwed them into the side of the house.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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4 of 40 comments
  • Carol
    on Aug 12, 2020

    Absolutely looks stunning. Adds a lot of character to your house. A lot of work but rewards you reap from this project are many. Enjoy !!!

    • Michelle
      on Aug 12, 2020

      Thank you so much! And after almost a year they still look new. 🙂

  • Igor
    on Aug 12, 2020

    Thanks for the tip about salt when gluing!

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