DIY Shutters

A smaller project of mine also made it into This Old House's
"Cheapskate Hall of Fame."  I created custom reclaimed wood shutters for our home out of an old fence panel.

Below you can see my excerpt as well as
the original post and mini-tutorial.

Happy reading!

The cover

My "blurb"
The Cheapskate Hall of Fame 2011

Taken from My original post:


About the shutters... and bonus mini-tutorial

So, the previous owners of our home added 7 sets of vinyl shutters to the front of the house.  It wasn't a bad look.  In fact, when we first saw the home I thought it was so charming (especially for where we live) and I am sure it was, in some part, due to the shutters.  After about a year though,  it slowly became vinyl overkill to me.  After staring at them day after day, I started to notice that on some of them the placement didn't even make sense...  shutters on the front door?  shutters on a massive picture window?  shutters on the far left window?  It just stopped working for me.

The now infamous vinyl shutters.  I spy 7 sets, can you?
Around this time something else was also driving me nuts.  There was a single fence panel in our back yard that had been put up to conceal some misc. pool equipment.  One beautiful day I decided it was no longer necessary and got a sledge hammer and tore that puppy down.  I kept the panel in tact and thought at a later time it might come in useful.  Time passed and the panel was getting to be a nuisance.  Something had to be done with it.  I racked my brain but I couldn't think of a use for the actual panel. The wood was certainly worth keeping.  So, I broke it down even further.  "What great wood,"  I thought with its weathered gray color.  Had to be good for something, right?!  More time passed and it finally hit me.  A house in our neighborhood had these great batten board shutters.  Every time I went by that house I lingered... staring at the shutters.  "I can do that! I have the wood... I just need some hinges."  That is where it began.

First I measured each window and made sure I had plenty of usable wood.  Once that was confirmed, I cut the boards accordingly, each window was slightly different.  I then glued and nailed them together and added 2 hinges to each panel. Lastly, I attached them to the window trim. It really was that easy!!!  I also removed several sets of shutters and added window boxes on the upstairs windows to balance out the house.  To me, it instantly looked 100x's better.  Not only that but, I loved that I was able to salvage the wood from the fence, and I really loved that my only real expense was the cost of the hinges. I was in love!

Just finished... ala natural..

I embellished  the window boxes with the same wood I used on the shutters.

Knowing myself and my ability to fall out of love with my projects- I thought I better live with them for a while before I added any sealer or stain to them.  Initially I loved the natural, lighter, weathered look of the shutters.  It was a nice change from the bold, black vinyl shutters of old.  I thought it was more authentically cottage-y.  But, as more time passed I think the charm of the original shutters began to prick my memory.  There was never a time when I wanted to put the old vinyl shutters back up, but part of me missed the stronger statement that the black made.  I missed the contrast.  Easy fix though...

One afternoon I went to our garage and grabbed a left over can of Thompson's Water Seal (which is clear) and  added some ebony stain drop by drop.  I had some practice boards and I would paint a little then let it dry and check again.  When it was still to light I added a smidge more of the stain, drop by drop and repeated .  You know, you can always get it darker, but it is much harder and more expensive to work in the opposite.  After several tweaks, I finally got the color I wanted, and the Thompson's gave the protection I needed- BONUS!  I applied 2 coats with a paintbrush and ta-da!

You too, can make your own reclaimed wood shutters!

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