Introduction: Boarded Up Windows
I live for Halloween, and this year I tried a new DIY decoration that had(in my opinion) comparatively low effort for high effect. I used pallet wood to board up the windows! The great thing about the way I did this is they are easily removable(but holding up to the weather just fine) and shouldn't damage any parts of the window, framing, or siding. I went a little conservative this year just to test the waters, but now that I know how easy it is, I will absolutely be going crazy with it next year! So scroll on through, and see how easy this will make it to zombie proof your haunted house!
- Pallets - for a rough estimate, assume you'll use one pallet per window and maybe two for a full door
- Command picture hanging strips
- Hot glue
- Reciprocating saw (Sawz-all or however you spell it)
- Hot glue gun
- Circular or Chop saw
Step 1: Harvest the Pallet Wood
Harvesting pallet wood can easily be one of the most time consuming aggravations on the planet...if you're trying to pull the boards off. Nails used for pallet building generally have a slight twist to them specifically to make it difficult for the nail to back out. A much, much, much faster method is by using a reciprocating saw. You just slide the blade between the back of the board and the supporting side board. Effectively you're cutting through just the nails. An added bonus here is that the nail heads are still in tact on the face of the board, which will give you the look that the boards are actually nailed onto the house. Gotta love a happy accident!
It takes a little more finesse to maneuver the blade and cut the center support off, but it can be done, and more easily with a helpful friend. The reason the boards I used are so weather worn is because they were older pallets to begin with, but I also laid them out in my back yard way back in April. They got about sixth months of sun and rain before I started to cut them up, but this step is really not necessary.
I got all my pallets for free, and I'm sure you can find some too. It was easy for me, because I work at a warehouse. I do see free pallets on FB marketplace quite often, so they are out there if you're looking.
Some of my boards did not need to be cut down to size, but about half of them did. For that I used a chop saw to cut the lengths I needed.
Step 2: Prepare the Strips
I used Command Picture Hanging strips to attach these to the house, because they should remove easily without damaging anything and they have pretty good adhesion to a variety of surfaces. They also support an impressive amount of weight. I suppose you could use a double sided tape, but I don't know that it would hold the weight or how easy it would be to remove later on. If you've got some sort of magnetic metal around your windows/doors, I guess you could also go with magnets, but that sounds sort of ridiculous.
I decided to cut my strips lengthwise for a couple reasons. One, I was trying to make it a little more cost effective. These aren't terribly expensive, but when you need several dozen it adds up quick. Two, I had a very narrow surface area on my windows that I was trying to utilize so I really didn't need the entire width of the strip. Cutting the strips down halved my consumption, and instead of needing 4 per board I only needed 2.
Once the strips are cut, you just press the hooked halves together and they're ready for application.
Step 3: Attach the Strips
As I mentioned before, these strips are pretty good at adhering to almost any surface. Dirty, very porous wood is not one of them. I could have cleaned the boards off a bit, and maybe sanded them smooth to allow the adhesive to stick better, but I didn't not want to go through all that effort. Hot glue to the rescue! - The Motto of My Life.
Before you get crazy with the glue, now's the time to do your last measuring and marking if it's needed. Some of the windows at my place are original to the 1930's build, while others are a mere 20 years old(read:they're all different sizes). I had to measure each window to know how far apart my strips had to be, and how far was too far. I marked the back of the boards with pencil where the strips needed to be and got down to it.
Remove the waxy paper covering the adhesive on the strip. Run a bead of hot glue down the center; enough to get into the wood a bit, but not so much that it squishes out from under the strip onto your oh-so-tender fingertips. Press firmly onto your board, either right at the edge or wherever you've made your marks. If the tails of the strips hang down past the board, simply snip them off so they won't show. Be sure not to entirely clip the tails off as that's how you will remove the strip from the house when you un-decorate.
Step 4: Peel and Stick
Once you've got all your boards ready to go, just peel off the remaining waxy paper and press onto the window frame. Add as many or as little as you like! Make them straight! Make them crooked! And definitely doll them up a bit. Paint "No Trespassing", "Dead Inside", or splatter them with blood!...You should almost definitely not splatter them while they are on your house. The best thing about hanging the boards with these strips is you can pull them off and one side of the strip should stay on the house with a matching side on the board. So you can take it down, do whatever you want to it, then line up the strips and press back into place.
All in all, this project took about 3 hours for me and another person to tackle together. I think the look of the real wood boards looks a lot more authentic than the plastic and cardboard options online. It looks especially nice at night with a flicker flame bulb in the window! I hope you're inspired to try this yourself and spread all the feel-good, spooky vibes! Happy DIY'ing :) Cheers!
Participated in the