How to Build Decorative Exterior Shutters

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Building your own decorative shutters can be a fun and artistic project. They can also dress up your windows outside and make the house look complete. You can make these wood shutters in a couple of hours and customize them to fit the style of your home, either with a solid wood shutter or an open weave country style shutter.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood
  • 1-by-3 wood planks
  • Tape measure
  • Wood adhesive
  • Saw
  • Sander
  • Medium grit and fine grit sandpaper
  • Router
  • Wood paint primer
  • Exterior paint or stain and sealer
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Wood putty

Solid Wood Shutters

  • Measure the length of the window you want to make shutters for. The width of windows commonly varies between 16 and 20 inches. The wider the window, the wider you want your shutter.

  • Cut two pieces of plywood to the measurements you've decided on. Sand the wood with a medium grit sandpaper and then again with a finer grit sandpaper. This should give you a nice smooth finish.

  • Cut two strips from the 1-by-3 planks for each shutter, making sure they run the length of the plywood. Then cut two strips for each shutter that fit between the outside pieces at the top and bottom. Using a router, round the inside edges of each of the eight pieces of wood. If you want to make it look fancy you can do a special design to the top inside edge with the router. Sand each piece with the medium grit sandpaper until smooth.

  • Glue the four strips of planks to the outside of the plywood. Glue on the two length pieces first and then fit the width pieces in. Let the glue harden according the manufacturers recommendations. Repeat for the other shutter.

  • Prime and paint or stain the shutters. Use a good quality exterior paint or a stain and sealer to protect the shutters from the weather.

Open Weave Country Style Shutters

  • Cut four pieces from the 1-by-3 planks that run the length of the window for each shutter. You can leave them square, cut them to a point or round the tops of each piece. Sand them until smooth.

  • Cut three pieces of the 1-by-3 the width you want each shutter to be. The common width is 16 to 20 inches depending on the window. If you are doing a very small window, make it proportionate to the window. Sand them until smooth.

  • Lay the four length pieces down on a flat, hard surface. Using a measuring tape, space them apart to match the width you want them to be. The easiest way to do this is to put one of the cross pieces on top and pull the outside length pieces out to match, and then set the inside pieces.

  • Lay the cross pieces on. Put the top and bottom pieces on 4 to 6 inches from the edge and the third in the middle. Screw them in and countersink the screws. Fill the screw holes with wood putty and let the putty dry according to the manufacturers suggestions.

  • Prime and paint or stain and seal the wood. Paint on the primer and allow it to dry, then coat with two coats of a good quality exterior paint. Or if you choose stain, use as many coats of stain to get the desired color. Use at least two coats of wood sealer.

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  • Photo Credit Anna Gambardella
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