Monday, September 30, 2013

Easy Breezy Beautiful Shutters

I knew the workshop needed shutters.  There was too much siding and the windows weren't "substantial" enough...shutters would balance everything out.  So this is a story about the shutters that Heidi built.  Not jack.  Oh yeah, did I mention they cost me less than $5 per shutter to build?!  You should need only one 8' or 10' (depending on your shutter size) pine 1x4 per shutter.  That's cheaper than a large pumpkin spice latte with an extra shot of espresso!  

I was determined to build these shutters 100% by myself, no help from Brent.  Seriously, how hard can shutters be?!  Building them wasn't tricky, but the process of assembling was a little harder than I thought. 

To begin, I took some measurements next to a window to determine how tall and wide the shutters needed to be.  I decided to make them the same height as the top of the window trim and then stop them just above the window sill at the bottom.  Here's my reasoning for that...if we pretended these shutters were able to close over the window, like their original intention, the shutter would almost rest on top of the sill, not cover the sill.

Since I knew I was going to use 1x4's to build the shutters, I just needed to determine if I wanted the shutters to be 3 boards wide or 4, to minimize the amount of cutting needed.  3 boards wide looked like it would be perfect.  

I wanted to begin by cutting my 1x4's to the correct height first.  These happen to be 31.5 inches.  I began by trimming a half inch off of the end of my 1x4 to square it up. 

Now here is a tiny tip.  Since I needed to make 8 shutters and each shutter would be three 1x4's wide...I was going to need to cut this same length 24 times.  Brent said instead of measuring and then cutting each piece, we needed to set up a "stop".   See that short piece of wood clamped to the table on the left side of the picture?  That's the stop.  Instead of measuring each piece, you just slide it to that piece of wood and make your cut.  

After cutting all 24 of my pices, I needed to figure out how wide to cut the piece that would go across the top and bottom of the shutter to hold the whole thing together.  I just laid my 3 pieces out and left a small gap between each one.  When I had the spacing that I liked, we measured across the middle to get a length.  Using the same process as before, I set up a stop and cut 2 pieces for each shutter, so 16 total.

Brent isn't actually doing anything, just posing for a photo.

Owen is learning the ropes.

Here are all of my pieces, ready for assembly.

I laid one out to make sure everything was going to fit together.

At this point I was singing, "perrrrrfeeeecccct!"

Brent gave me another tip here, but did not, for the record, touch my wood (he he he).  He said to get the two outside pieces screwed together first, and then slip the middle piece in last and just eyeball it to make sure you have the same gap on each side.  Then you aren't trying to hold three pieces steady at once.  After I measured and marked 4 inches from each bottom to determine where the cross bar would go, I flushed up the edges and clamped it together.

Then I held a piece at the ends to make sure they were flush there as well.  This took a little adjusting to get them perfect.

Here's what it looked like all clamped together.

Here's the important part...flip it over!!  That way the screws will go in from the back of the shutter and you will not see any screws from the front!!  My mind wandered off on a few of my shutters during this step and I forgot to those shutters ended up on the backside of the shed where we can't see them.  Oops.

I used 1.25 inch exterior screws, two in each board.  12 total in each shutter. 

In this next photo, you can see how I have screwed the outside pieces together and am lining up the center piece.  I just did the best I could to eyeball it and then sent a few screws through to finish her off.

And this is what they look like assembled.  Adorbs.  

Time to really finish them now.  Owen's job was to give them a light sanding to remove any rough spots.

Here is my primer of choice.  I use it for interior and exterior projects-but not for cabinetry.  I like to use an oil based primer for that.

After I had applied the first coat of color, you could see white lines in the vertical spaces between the boards where my brush couldn't reach.  I found some light blue spray paint left over from a previous project and used it to hit the vertical lines.  My top coat of paint covered the spray paint color.  A person could have prepainted all of the boards before assembly to avoid this problem, but I think that would taken longer.

I did allow Brent to hang them.  Since cement board is so hard he has to pre-drill holes.  He just held the shutter up to the position we wanted and drilled through the shutter and the siding.  Then just sunk a screw in.  One on top and one on the bottom.

These are the 3 inch screws he used.

And done!


I will probably dab a bit of paint on the screws so they aren't as noticeable.

UPDATE**  The workshop is done - see the final pics here!


  1. Really cute! Great job. =)

  2. Wow!!! I love this! Clicked over from your comment on YHL today. What fabulous work!

  3. I'm also over from YHL. What a difference. Love the color and that the whole family had a hand in the project. Good job!!

    1. Thanks Sherri! It usually is a family affair around here with our projects.

  4. Hi! Came over from YHL wondering if this would solve my need to replace my hideous vinyl shutters. Sadly, I don't think this style would work on my house, but they look fantastic on your shed! Also, I'm super jealous of that shed in general. Very spiffy.

    1. Thank you! And I totally understand that you have to have the right style of shutter depending on your house!

  5. I clicked over from YHL and I love your shutters! The color is perfect too =)

    1. Thanks Kristin! I got that paint FREE from Ace Hardware on one of there free paint give-away days - it's amazing how far one little quart of paint can stretch.

  6. These are beautiful! Way to go building them yourself :). I'd love to feature them in my weekly "Lovely Links" post if that's ok with you!