DIY Shutters

Update the look of your home without spending big bucks with these fresh, rustic shutters made from wooden pallets.

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Looking to create a unique, rustic style without breaking the bank? In DIY Wood Pallet Projects, author Karah Bunde presents 35 creative ideas for upcycling wood pallets into beautiful projects that will help fill your home and yard with plenty of personality. This excerpt, which provides instructions on creating DIY shutters for your home, is from Chapter 5, “In The Yard.” Buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: DIY Wood Pallet Projects.

A simple set of DIY shutters is an easy way to add a little curb appeal to the front of your home. You don’t even need to add them to every single window of your house–consider just making a pair for the windows that can be seen from the street. Depending on the size of your windows, you might actually be able to use pallet slats, but for this tutorial I’ve used new 1×4s to show that with a little sanding and staining they can end up having the same look as a pallet slat. The tools and supplies list assumes you’re making 2 shutters, so multiply everything by 2 for each additional set you’d like to make.

And when it comes to the sizing of your DIY shutters, what will be appropriate for your windows will vary depending on the style of your house and your personal preference. Take a drive around your area and see where your neighbors’ shutters line up with their windows. Are they as tall as their window trim? Are they very narrow or do they appear to be about half the width of the entire window? Which style do you like best? These observations will help you determine your specific shutter measurements. Or just wing it and make whatever size you want; there’s no hard and fast rule here. Because really, who likes rules? And if you, too, need to use new wood, remember that the actual measurement of a 1×4 is 3/4 inches × 3-1/2 inches.

front of a house with a bench and shutters around the windows

Investment: the drying time for the stain and polyurethane could take a few days depending on how many coats you want, but the only cost is the price of the 1×4s and the shutter hardware, assuming you already have wood stain and polyurethane.


• 1×4s (how many you need and the length will depend on the size of your windows and the style of shutter you choose)
• medium-grit sandpaper
• cotton cloth (for stain application)
• wood stain
• polyurethane
• wood glue
• 1-1/4-inch screws
• shutter-hanging hardware (found at most home improvement or hardware stores)


• tape measure
• miter or handsaw
• palm sander (optional)
• paintbrush (for applying polyurethane)
• cordless drill


1. Use your tape measure to measure the height and width of your windows.

2. Use a miter or handsaw to cut your 1×4s to the same length as the height of your windows. How many pieces you need to cut will depend on the width of your windows.

3. Use a miter or handsaw to cut 2 pieces of 1×4 per shutter 2 inches shorter than the width of each shutter. For example, each of my shutters is the width of 4 pieces of 1×4, with a total width of 14 inches, so I cut my pieces 12 inches long.

4. Use a palm sander and medium-grit sandpaper to sand each 1×4 piece making sure to remove any splintering wood.

electric palm sander sitting on a plank of wood

5. Use a cotton rag to apply stain to each piece. Don’t forget the ends and sides. Refer to your can of stain for the recommended dry time before you proceed to the next step.

person wearing a glove using a rag to put wood stain on wood planks

6. Use a paintbrush to apply 3 coats of polyurethane. Refer to your can of polyurethane for recommended dry time between each coat.

7. After the appropriate dry time, line up the 1×4s that are the same length as your windows side by side and measure 8 inches down from the top and 8 inches up from the bottom and mark.

8. Run a bead of wood glue on the flat side of 1 of the 12-inch pieces (or whatever size you made them based on the shutter width you chose) and line up the top of it with the mark at the top of the shutter and lay it, centered, across the window-length pieces. Use your cordless drill to secure it with 1-1/4-inch screws. If you want the screws hidden, screw them in from the back of the window-length pieces into the horizontal 12-inch piece. They won’t be seen when your shutters are open. Just lay the 12-inch pieces on the ground, then line up the window-length slats on top. Even though you can’t see the 12-inch piece, you can use your tape measure to ensure you attach it in the right spot.

measuring tape sticking out from underneath four planks of stained wood

9. Run a bead of wood glue on one flat side of another 12-inch piece and line up the bottom of it with the mark at the bottom of the shutter. Use your cordless drill to secure it with 1-1/4-inch screws.

measuring tape going over a hinge on wooden boards

10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 for each additional shutter.

11. Attach your shutter hardware with the screws provided in the packaging at your desired height. The exact measurement doesn’t matter as long as you attach each shutter using the same measurement so they look uniform once hung.

Want to find more creative uses for wood pallets? Try these other ideas:

Make Your Own Flag From Pallets
Adirondack Chair Plans

book cover with wooden projects on the front

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from DIY Wood Pallet Projects, written by Karah Bunde and published by Adams Media, 2014. Buy this book from our store: DIY Wood Pallet Projects.

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