How to Make Wooden Barn Shutters


If you are considering building shutters for your barn windows, you might want to construct the wooden coverings in a board and batten style. This idea will definitely work for a building where the siding is also made from the same material, but it may also look good on other buildings where different styles of exterior sheathing or siding are present.

Things You'll Need

  • Sawhorses
  • Circular saw
  • Table saw
  • Tape measure
  • Speed square
  • Electric drill
  • Drill bits
  • Two pipe clamps
  • Electric screw gun
  • Galvanized builder's screws
  • Wood stock (3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in actual thickness)
  • Wooden brace (each pair of shutters will need two braces made from 1 by 6 stock)

Sizing the Wood

  • Count the number of openings on the building and also figure out the width and height of each opening. Add 20% to your total area for a rough idea of how much wood material you will need to make a pair of shutters for each opening.

  • Choose your wood. The best woods to use are rough cut boards that are naturally water- and insect- repellent, such as cedar or cypress. Pressure-treated yellow pine will also make a good weather-resistant shutter. Most likely the pine will be kiln-dried, but almost any well-seasoned wood can be used as long as the dimensions are consistent in width and thickness. You might check with a local sawmill to see what is available.
    More common softwoods such as fir or fir can also be used. These kiln-dried woods will need a good coat of exterior stain after you complete the shutters.

  • Determine the height and width of the shutters by measuring the opening. The total length of each shutter should be 4 inches greater than the height of the opening. To get the width of each shutter, divide the width of the opening by 2 and then add 2 inches.

Building the Shutter

  • Check each board for quality, straightness and consistent dimensions. Use the best boards to build the main part of the shutter.

  • Place each board on the sawhorses and cut to the correct length using the speed square and circular saw.

  • Place all the boards on the sawhorses and measure the width of the boards when they are laid tightly next to each other. You can even use two pipe clamps to pull all the boards together so that there are no gaps between any of the boards. Figure what the difference is between the actual width and the calculated width. (This is the same as the width you established in step 3 of Sizing the Wood).

  • Rip the center board so that the overall width is the same as the calculated width. This means that if the difference between the two measurements is 2 and a 1/4 inches, then you will have to make a rip cut that is 2 and a 1/4 inches in from one side of the board. You can use a table saw or a circular saw to make the rip cut.

  • Put the shutter back together using the pipe clamps. Check the two diagonal measurements to make sure the shutter is square. If the measurements are equal you can go ahead and apply two temporary horizontal braces. Cut the braces an inch shorter than the width of the shutter, then install one brace near the top and bottom of the shutter. Use 1 1/2-inch wood screws and a screw gun to attach the braces to the door. Put at least two screws through each brace into each vertical piece. Now you can remove the pipe clamps and flip the door over.

  • Chalk a line that is 3 inches in from the top and bottom of the door and then choose one of the long sides and chalk a line that is also three inches in from the outside edge. Within this box, you will place two horizontal braces that will form the back side of your shutter and stabilize the wooden window covering.

  • Measure the length across the shutter from the outside edge to the 3-inch chalk line. Cut two pieces to this length and attach these two cross pieces to the shutter with 1 1/4-inch galvanized builder's screws. Make sure each vertical board receives at least two screws that penetrate each cross piece.

  • Flip the board over and measure the height of the board from top to bottom.

  • Rip some of your wood stock on the table saw to the width of three inches. A good alternative to this step is to have your lumber yard or sawmill make the three-inch-wide pieces for you.

  • Cut the 3-inch-wide wood stock to length and attach each piece to the place where you have a joint. Use 1 1/4-inch galvanized flathead screws to attach the batten boards to the main surface of the shutter. Place each batten board so that it falls directly on the center of the vertical seams. Your wooden shutter is complete and ready for hanging.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wood that is not kiln-dried should be almost completely cured or dried.
  • Do not attempt to make shutters for a very large opening in the barn building. Most barns have at least one sliding door that is large enough for a tractor to enter. There is no need to cover this entryway with wooden shutters. They will be too large to be functional

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