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Transform Your Home With Exterior DIY Shutters: Step by Step Tutorial

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Let’s make some DIY shutters! Making your own wood shutters can be a great way to add a beautiful and unique touch to your home. With the right materials, tools, and know-how, you can create stunning shutters that will give your home curb appeal and charm. Whether you want to stain them a warm brown or use cedar wood to match a white house, creating your own wooden shutters can be an easy and rewarding project that you can do yourself.

Let’s take a look at how our simple DIY wood shutters made from old pallets, completely transformed the front of our small lake house.

Our lake house below (before we completed our exterior renovation) was pretty sad and neglected looking. When we bought the house, we knew we instantly wanted to spruce up the curb appeal.

lake house before exterior renovation with large trees hovering over house

DIY Wood Shutters

The Inspiration Behind DIY Wood Shutters

DIY wood shutters have become increasingly popular, as they offer a unique and stylish way to add charm and character to your home. Plus, they can be made from inexpensive materials like old pallets, so you can easily make your own shutters with a minimum of investment.

The classic look of cedar shutters on a white house is a timeless combination that never goes out of style. The warm brown color of the stain creates a warm and inviting contrast against the bright white of the house, while the wood texture brings a rustic feel to the exterior of your home.

Due to our budget being eaten up by interior projects, purchasing cedar shutters was not an option so DIY wood shutters that looked like cedar was the next best thing.

How To Make Wood Shutters

Materials you’ll need

Homemade Wood Shutters Supply List

  • Pallets or solid wood (cedar wood)
  • Circular saw or miter saw for cutting wood
  • Tape measure
  • Galvanized screws
  • Pencil
  • Power drill
  • Level
  • Sanding block
  • Stain or exterior paint
  • Exterior wood sealer (optional)

1. Gather Pallets

Our pallets were left over from a previous project and were a bit dirty. We used a sanding block to clean them up and smooth out the rough edges.

pallet wood for diy shutters

2. Measure and mark pallets for cutting

We cut our pallets the length as our windows.

measure pallet wood for diy shutters

3. Use saw to cut pallets to size

diy shutters, cutting pallets to size

Check alignment with square and level

use a square to make sure your diy shutters are square

4. Fasten pallet pieces together with screws/nails

We used 3 pieces of pallet wood with a small space in between and a cleat piece on the top and bottom the width of the 3 cross pieces. Using galvanized screws, Jim fastened the 3 longer pieces to the cleat (or cross piece).

how to make wood shutters from pallets
diy shutters made from pallets and stained to look like cedar

We made 3 sets of wood shutters that took about 1 hour to construct. We made a pair for our shed as well!

diy wood shutters

5. Apply stain or paint for finishing

For a cedar wood look, we stained the shutters with Pecan stain giving the shutters a warm cedar look. Whether they are painted or stained, be sure to use an exterior product.

Cedar shutters would have been more expensive so we opted to make a “cedar looking” shutter.

diy shutters made from pallets and stained to look like cedar

Using a disposable “cheapy” brush, we applied 2 coats of Minwax Satin Polyurethane in the Pecan color.

diy shutters made from pallets and stained to look like cedar

Once we determined where we wanted the shutters to hang, Jim marked the siding with a pencil in order to know where to hang the shutter.

diy shutters made from pallets and stained to look like cedar

Two ways to fasten shutters to a house are:

  1. Hinge Mounting: Install hinges on one side of each shutter and directly attach the other side of the hinges to the window frame or wall. This allows the shutters to swing open and closed, providing both functionality and aesthetic appeal.
  2. Direct Mounting: Secure the shutters directly to the window frame or wall using screws or nails. In this method, the shutters are fixed in place and cannot be opened or closed. This is a simpler and more straightforward way of mounting shutters, especially if they are purely decorative and not intended to be functional.

We opted for direct mounting the shutters to the siding with 6″ black Lag Screws. Not only are they functional, they are decorative as well!

diy shutters made from pallets and stained to look like cedar

DIY Wood Shutter Tips

Seal the wood for protection

Use clamps if needed during assembly

White House With Wood Shutters

Here is the house below the day we bought it and before we made our homemade shutters. As you can see, the house was lacking curb appeal and was dwarfed by a group of dead trees.

small house exterior renovation with new siding windows diy shutters

The exterior transformation is quite drastic! It’s amazing what cleaning up the yard and a little TLC will do for a home.

Our white siding on the house with cedar tone shutters looks like a million bucks!

I love the color scheme and the vertical boards (board and batten) + white siding created the modern farmhouse feel we were looking for.

diy shutters made from pallets and stained to look like cedar
diy wood cedar shutters on white house

I can’t believe after all the pictures I take, I didn’t take a final one of the house after we got the new shrubs installed! Watch the video that I shared earlier, because there is a clip of my dad and Jim installing the new tree and hydrangea bushes.

FAQ’s DIY Shutters

Question: Are DIY shutters difficult to make? It depends on the type of shutters you choose to make. Basic wooden shutters can be relatively easy for beginners, while more complex designs like plantation shutters may require intermediate woodworking skills.

Question: Can I customize the size of DIY shutters to fit my windows? A: Yes, that’s one of the benefits of making your own shutters. You can measure your windows and adjust the dimensions of the shutters to fit perfectly.

Questions: How to make cheap shutters? Pallet shutters are one of the cheapest types of shutters to make as the pallets are often free and the hardware or stain is relatively inexpensive.

DIY Shutter Ideas

Looking for more wood shutter ideas? You can use wood to make basic wood shutters, and paint them any color you like, similar to how we made ours. Shutter colors can vary from any color you want – especially when you make your own. If you have old barn doors, you can use them to create cool barn door rustic shutters. Plantation shutters are elegant and help control light. Another idea is to use pallet wood for a rustic look. You can also build a folding outdoor shutter screen for outdoor privacy. Making your own diy exterior shutters saves money and lets you design them just the way you want.

Other DIY Projects At Our Lake House You Will Love

More Exterior Curb Appeal Projects You Will Love

Below you will find a printable version and any affiliate product links we used to complete this project.

How To Make: DIY Shutters

How to make wood shutters using pallets and stain to make them look like cedar shutters.
Print Instructions
white house with brown cedar looking shutters made from pallets

Supply List

Instructions : Step by Step

  • Cut wood to size for shutters
    we used pallets but cedar also works nicely
  • Cut cross pieces for top and bottom of shutters (cleats)
    the cross pieces of the shutters will add character and also keep the long pieces together. We created a small space in between the shutters to create the look we wanted
  • Fasten wood together with galvanized screws
    Use a square to ensure the shutters are square
    Using rust proof screws will prevent damage to your shutters
  • Stain or paint wood shutters
    We stained our shutters in a satin Pecan color by Minwax to create a cedar look. Cedar wood is expensive so using pallets and staining to look like cedar saved us hundreds of dollars
  • Direct mount or use hinges to attach shutters to window or siding
    We direct mounted our shutters to the house with 6" lag bolts. If you want your shutters to swing or be functional, you will need to purchase hinges.
Author: Jessica Bruno
Cost: Under $50

DIY Shutter Conclusion

DIY wooden shutters made from wood pallets are an inexpensive and attractive way to upgrade the look of any home. When stained with a high-quality cedar finish they can have the look of expensive custom cedar shutters. Staining them also helps to protect the pallets from outdoor elements and can extend their lifespan. With a bit of effort, these DIY wood pallet shutters can be a stylish and economical addition to any home.

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

diy fire pit

Come Enjoy a Stay at our Lake House

Our newly renovated waterfront lake house retreat with 1500 SF (7 beds), 3BR, 2BA, open concept living room + kitchen + lower level w/ arcade game is the perfect destination for your next getaway.

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