DIY: Outdoor Shutters

We have had MAJOR shutter envy for a while now. Our neighbors added new shutters to their house and it made the world of difference. We have been wanting to replace our existing shutters with these simple updated shutters. Online and in stores – These shutters cost a small fortune. We decided to make our own – Not only did we learn a ton, we saved quite a bit of money making these ourselves! 

We originally purchased treated wood – We actually built these shutters and were about to paint when we realized we forgot primer. We called Lowe’s to ensure we needed it only to learn you cannot paint treated wood for roughly 6 months because the wood has to dry out (from being treated) before painting. We learned if you are using primer, you do not necessarily need treated wood. All that to say, we went back to Lowe’s and bought untreated pine. We decided on pine because it’s less expensive and we planned to paint the wood so we did not necessarily care to go with a more aesthetically pleasing wood.

There are definitely more than one way to construct and hang shutters – I am simply sharing how we did it!

Supplies needed to build shutters:

  • Untreated Pine (we used 1.5 inch thick pine wood for the backboards and 3/4 inch thick pine for the cross board)
  • 2 inch Wood Screws
  • Wood glue
  • Spacers
  • Primer (optional)
  • Paint (optional) – We painted ours Sherwin Williams, Tricorn Black in a satin finish.
  • Drill

Supplies needed to hang shutters from mortar:

  • 1/2 inch Masonry Drillbit
  • 1/2 inch Bolt, 2.5 inch long
  • Ratchet Set
  • 1/4 in. Lag shields
  • Wood Filler
  • 3/4 inch Paddle Bit
  • Level
  • Right Angle
  • Saw Horse (2)
  • Wood Shims (Optional)
  • Hammer (Optional)

How to build exterior shutters:

1. Begin by determine the length of your shutters. We drove around and looked at a ton of examples before deciding on a length. We noticed most shutters cover just the windows – Meaning, the shutter does not go from the top of the trim to the bottom of the trim. We determined from the top of the trim to the bottom was 60 inches and the trim is about 1.5 in. We then ripped the pine boards to 57 inches.
2. Determine the length of the cross board. This next part is entirely up to you! The space between each board is a personal preference. We used tile spacers between the boards and were then able to determine the length of the cross board. We cut the cross boards at 17.25 inches long.
3. OPTIONAL – Prime and paint the edges of the boards prior to putting the shutters together. We primed the edges before and did not also paint them and later regretted it. It’s much easier to paint the sides now  than after you’ve put them together.
4. Apply wood glue to the back of the cross board and drill two wood screws through the cross board into each back board (i.e. Six wood screws per cross board). We then used wood puddy to cover the wood screws, sanded, and later painted.

5. Finish priming and painting the boards. Lowe’s will apply tint to primer for free – We had them tint our primer a dark gray so we did not have to apply as many coats of black paint. Allow paint to dry 48 hours before hanging shutters. TIP – If you are expecting rain or high humidity, move shutters indoors to dry. We made the mistake of leaving them in the garage with high humidity and they felt sticky even after drying several days. We moved them inside to dry one night and the problem was solved.

How-to hang shutters:

Let me start by saying – This is a two person job! We learned so much, messed up (more than once), and are writing this in hopes that you won’t make the same mistakes! There are definitely more than one way to hang shutters – I am simply sharing how we chose to do it.
1. Place shutter against the wall to determine the placement. Place the level along the top and the sides to ensure the shutter is straight. Mark on the side of the shutter exactly where the mortar is (always anchor into mortar, never brick) – Do this on all four corners of the shutter, on the outer most board (on the outside of the cross board).
2. Place shutter on the saw horses. Place the right angle on your mark, to give you a straight edge across your shutter. With a pencil, draw a line, remove the right angle and make a mark in the center of each outer board (you will soon drill through). Using a 3/8 drill bit, drill into the center of your mark, completely through the board. Next, use a 3/4 inch paddle bit to drill 1/3 of the way into the board where you previously drilled through. This is to counter sink the bolts, which will later be covered with wood putty. For those who don’t know what countersinking is, I recently learned. Countersink: Enlarge and bevel the rim of (a drilled hole) so that a screw, nail, or bolt can be inserted flush with the surface. 

3. While one person is holding the shutter back up against the wall, another needs to ensure the shutter is level and in place. Next, using a 1/4 inch drill bit, place the bit inside the previously drilled holes to lightly mark exactly where on the mortar you plan to drill. Remove shutter and use 1/4 inch masonry drill bit to drill into the mortar where marked.
4. After drilling into the mortar, place the lag shield into the hole. TIP: The lag shield should feel tight. We used a wood shim and hammer to fill any space by hammering in a piece of a wood shim to eliminate any gap and secure the shield.
5. Place shutter back against the wall. Using the proper size socket, screw in the 2.5 inch bolt through the shutter and into the lag shield. The shutter should feel tight against the wall, and the bolt countersunk into the board. Do this on all four corners for each shutter.

6. After shutters have been hung, use wood filler to cover the bolt. Allow 24 to 48 hours to dry, sand and paint.

There you have it! You did it! These shutters aren’t going ANYWHERE!!

See pics of our finished product below!

Thank you for stopping by – Feel free to comment with any questions! 🙂

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  • Reply
    September 22, 2016 at 1:42 am

    This is a great project, so well explained. We made window boxes, but I feel shutters would go well with them. You make it look easy. May be heading to Home Depot tomorrow.

    • Reply
      October 14, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Thank you so much! Good luck with the shutters! 🙂

    • Reply
      rex layne
      May 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

      thanks so much for step by step shuttermaking we ars building a new country home. these new shutters will do a great job

  • Reply
    Exterior – Before & After – Mindfully Gray
    November 2, 2016 at 9:45 am

    […] DIY: Outdoor Shutters […]

  • Reply
    December 8, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Many thanks for the very fine discussion on how to build exterior shutters. I am glad that you shared your ideas somehow it would help to someone who’s interesting with this thing.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Hi! These are incredible! What was the cost of these versus buying shutters?

  • Reply
    Tiffanie Curey
    January 17, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Do you know what the area below the windows that are wood with trim detail is actually called?

  • Reply
    January 23, 2018 at 9:04 pm


  • Reply
    Jeff Gerber
    February 8, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Great idea for share DIY outdoor shutters. Thanks.

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