Intro: DIY Shutters
This is the first installment of the home makeover series that is well underway beginning with DIY Shutters. Make sure that you Subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified of the next home improvement project. I’ll give you step by step instruction on each one and I’ll also let you in on the mistakes I made to save you time.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Miter saw: http://amzn.to/2mD5lkV
- Circular saw: http://amzn.to/2nj39MQ
- Brad nailer: http://amzn.to/2s91JWL
- Hammer drill (for brick wall): https://amzn.to/2MO8RBZ
- Masonry bit (for concrete or brick): https://amzn.to/2vVoEeg
- Drill and Impact: http://amzn.to/2EEX4p4
- Shutter Hardware: https://amzn.to/2KRzRPi
The shutter hardware, which I ordered from Amazon, took some time to figure out what I wanted. A lot of the hardware I looked at was very expensive and I didn’t really want to spend more on the hardware than I did making the diy shutters, so I landed on a decorative style. The hardware is plastic, but looks like hammered metal and had good reviews as to not fading from the sun. Unless someone walks up and inspects the hardware up close, you would never know they were plastic.
Step 2: Design
So, we recently had our house cleaned and painted, brick and all, which is what started this whole home improvement series. Before I gave the go ahead to the painters, there were a few things I needed and wanted to do, like tear down the shutters and porch railings and rip out all the old shrubbery. Now that the house is freshly painted, it’s time to make new shutters!
I had three different sized windows to make the diy shutters for. I’ll talk about the 36” windows as those were the mid sized ones. Regardless of the size window you have, you’ll want the shutter to be as tall as the window itself. As far as width of the shutter, making the shutters look proportionate will look better than making them skinny shutters for the sake of having something that just looks like a shutter. Even if the shutters are only decorative, like mine, you still want them to look real. So, make each shutter half as wide as the window or slightly less than half.
I went with a simple three/five board design. This saved money on materials and it also saved me a ton of time making them. They turned out great in my opinion. The color stain and decorative hardware I used really tied everything together. So, even though the design was simple, and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg to build, they turned out great.
Step 3: Breaking Down Materials
The first step in making the shutters is to cut all the parts down using a circular saw or chop saw. In the video I used a sliding compound miter saw, but you can use a regular circular saw for the entire project. I like breaking down the lumber all at the same time and especially in this project when I know the dimensions I’m working with. If you have different size windows, it might be beneficial to just cut the boards you need for each shutter so you don’t make a mistake and cut the wrong sizes. Again, I only had to make four sets, so I was pretty confident in what I had to cut.
After cutting the boards you need, you’ll end up with some long boards and some short boards. There’s a couple different ways to make sure you have the shutters lined up properly and square before attaching the short cross board. Another way to do this is to lay out three long boards of equal length on some sort of work surface. Equally space each board a quarter of an inch by using a yard stick or some other spacer. The goal here is to have consistent spacing between each of your boards. I cut up an old yard stick (3’ wooden ruler) as my spacers, which worked great. Measure down 5-6” from one corner of an outside long board and make a mark. This mark is where you will line up the outer corner of a short board, making sure the end and edge are flush, and attach the short board to the long board with one brad nail or screw.
On the opposite corner of the short board, making sure the end of the short board and the edge of the long board are flush with one another and also using your quarter inch spacer, use a brad nail or screw to attach the short board to the long board. Repeat this process on the other short board making sure the shutter is square. After the two short boards are in place and secured, finish adding screws or brad nails until all three long boards are secured to the short boards without any racking. Assembling the shutter by using fasteners from the back side can be a little tricky, so be sure to watch the video above to see how I did it. I created a jig on my outfeed assembly table in order to get the same exact results on all of my shutters.
Speaking of my Outfeed Assembly Table, this thing comes in handy for a lot of different uses. The whole table is made out of five and a half sheets of plywood, so it’s definitely beefy. In this shutter project I nailed the jig directly to the table with a few brad nails and pulled it up when I was done, which was extremely helpful. Real quick, let me tell you what all this table has to offer: nice large work surface, a tool well, leg vise, work vise with dog holes, router lift with dust collection (Jay’s router lift), down draft table with dust collection, pencil/marker tray, eight cubbies for power tools, four removable drawers, one large storage shelf for plywood cut-offs and such, two there shelves for storage, and three electrical outlets. This thing is a beast. I call it the modern day workbench because even when you’re using a hand plane it doesn’t budge. I have plans for it here if you’re interested.
Step 6: Finishing
Before installing the shutters, take time to sand the assembled shutters to get rid of any unsightly blemishes or sharp edges.
The stain I used was an English Chestnut, but I didn't mix all the stain together, because I didn't want a red tinted shutter. I could have used a walnut stain, but I like the light brown of the English Chestnut without the red.
Step 7: Preparing for Mounting
The difficulty of installing the shutters will depend on what you’re mounting them to. For me, I installed a few on a brick wall and a few on wood siding. The wood siding wasn’t bad at all, since all I did was screw through the shutter and into the wall. So, for the sake of explaining the more difficult method, I’ll cover the brick wall installation in this article.
First of all, I needed to mark where the shutter would be hung. To do this I held the shutter up next to the window and lined the edge of the shutter up with the edge of the window, checked for level, and made a couple of reference marks. I don’t show this in the video, but while you’re holding the shutter in place make a mark at the shutter’s corners with a pencil. Now, you can measure and figure out where you want to drill through the shutters and transfer those measurements to the wall.
An easy way to do this is to pre-drill a small hole (smaller than the head of the screw) in the shutters where the screw will be installed and hold the shutter up once more and use a pencil or marker to make a mark through the pre-drilled hole onto the house. I guess I should mention here that I like to drill in the mortar instead of the brick because it’s easier. Since anchors are being used you should be okay.
Step 8: Installation
Once you have the locations marked where you’ll be drilling the holes, drill the appropriate size hole with a hammer drill for the anchors you’ll be using and tap the anchors in carefully with a rubber mallet. Since you already measured where to drill the shutters you should know where the screws will be inserted. Go ahead and start your screws before holding the shutter up to be installed.
Position the shutter and drive the screws in. Don’t over tighten or drive the screws too deep or might risk stripping the screws out. Just snug the screw down enough to hold the shutter against the house.
Step 9: Final Thoughts
DIY Shutters can be a good way to dress up any house and add value in terms of curb appeal. These were really easy to make and install. If you’re looking for a way to make some extra money on the side with woodworking or light carpentry, make these for your house and see how many folks ask about them. I had several people asking me to make them some after installing mine. Download the Free DIY Shutter Plan and use it to build and sell shutters to others.
Also, I would love to hear what you thought about this article and project. Leave me a comment down below to let me know you stopped by. I love hearing from my visitors!