How to Build Simple and Inexpensive Decorative Shutters

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These decorative shutters were so easy to make. I had them cut in a matter of minutes and gluing them together was a breeze. Anyone could make them! They only took a few cheap 1×4’s and some staining to give them a rustic look, and they were ready to go.

I built them for our dining nook. Is that a thing? Kitchen nook + dining room = dining nook?  Sure, why not, right?

Our Newly Renovated Dining Area

We recently finished renovating our dining area (er..nook) and the space is super small. In fact, it’s so small that I could not fit my farmhouse table in the middle of the room and have my chairs pull out without hitting a closet door.

I couldn’t part with the table, though, because it’s one of the first projects that my husband built for us and I adore it. So, the only way we could make the table work in that room was to push it against the wall and create a nook.

The nook bench was custom made by yours truly. It’s a testament to how even with the smallest bit of woodworking skill you can put together a custom solution for your home.

Never mind the fact that I had to pull apart that bench and start over not once…but twice.

I digress.

As the dining room was near completion, I was irritated by this giant blank wall that we created.

I looked high and low for rustic wall decor that would work, and I couldn’t find anything that I liked.

If you’ve read any other snippets on this blog, you will find that this has become a running theme. The perfect “thing” exists in my head but I can never source it, so my solution is always to build it, or make it, or have my husband create it.

And, that’s what we did.

DIY rustic shutters hanging on a wall.

Rustic Decorative Shutters for a Touch of Farmhouse Charm

The great thing about these rustic shutters is you can make them as small or as large as you want. The ones I made are:

  • 36 inches high
  • 36 inches wide
  • Spaced with two inches in-between

I had to make mine over a few days because we only have one set of clamps. We really need to amp up our clamp game! 

Maybe I will buy the husband a few sets of clamps for Christmas this year. We can name them all Homer (I hope someone got that joke)!

Moving right along…ahem. 

You can make all 3 of these rustic shutters for about $30.00 (CDN). Cheap and easy – just the way I like all my DIY projects.

For me, the DIY shutters were beyond cheap because they ended up being free.

I dug through our scrap wood pile and found a few 1×4’s that we had for another project and didn’t use. So, technically this project cost me nothing, except the cost of that beautiful eucalyptus wreath.

The wreath is artificial (has no smell), making it perfect for the dining nook.

3 homemade shutters hanging above a dining table.

~This post may contain affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.~

Tools, supplies and cut list required to make a set of farmhouse shutters

Here is the list of everything I used when making my rustic shutters.

Tools required

Supplies needed

Cut List

  • 9 – 1x4x36-inches
  • 6 – 1x4x10.75-inches
  • 3 – 1x4x27-inches

Step-By-Step Instructions to make rustic shutters

Here is the step-by-step process I used to make my decorative shutters.

Step 1 – Glue Boards together

1x4's laid out side by side and clamped together while the glue dries.

Line up 3 36-inch 1×4’s and add glue to the inside edges of the boards. Be sure to add the bead of glue all the way down from top to bottom.

Once your two inside board edges have glue, you are going to clamp them together.

Let your glue dry for at least an hour before removing the clamps. Handle the project carefully – the glue will hold but won’t be fully set for 24 hours.

Step 2 – Glue the horizontal boards

Step two to build a set of rustic decorative shutters

Add the 10.75-inch board horizontally across the top. Place this board 3 inches from the top.  Add a double bead of glue under the horizontal piece and clamp in place.

Add the bottom piece the same way and clamp place.

Let dry for 24 hours.

Step 3 – cut and glue your angle board piece

Now, this is the step where professional woodworkers would give you instructions to cut the piece at a specific angle on your miter saw.

Good thing I am an amateur because I am going to tell you how I skipped the angle lesson and still got a perfect fit.

My solution to getting the inside slanted shutter piece cut correctly is to mark a line and then cut my board based on the line I marked. It ends up perfect every time, and I don’t have to fuss around with geometry formulas.

Adulting is hard enough, don’t make me do math too.

Here is a diagram because honestly, it explains it far better than I ever could.

Decorative Shutters DIY diagram

Lay one 27in (or longer) 1×4 diagonally across your shutters as shown.

Using a straight edge, draw a line across the board where it will need to be cut to fit inside the top and bottom horizontal pieces. The line will need to be just inside the frame, along with the edge of the 1×4. Do this at both ends and cut the board just inside those lines. 

Test fit the board before resetting the angle on your saw!

Once your piece is cut, you are going to slide it into place and glue it the same way we did the bottom and the top.

Let your glue dry overnight.

Step 4 – add finishing nails (optional)

Step four is an optional step.

If you clamped and glued your wood pieces well enough, you shouldn’t need to add the finishing nails.

I like to err on the safe side, and I always add the extra step to make sure my build stays together.

Flip your decorative shutters over and add small finishing nails through the backboards into the front pieces. These finishing nails add an extra layer of stability.

You can also use a hammer and a few very small finishing nails instead of a nail gun.

Repeat steps 1-4 to build the rest of your decorative shutters.

Step 5 -Finishing your rustic shutters

You can choose to refinish your decorative shutters anyway you want. I wanted to paint mine a funky color, but funky colors do not work well in my all neural wood and white farmhouse, so I stayed safe and stained them and roughed them up to create a rustic finish.

If you like the finish that I used, you can check out THIS POST. It will take you to our DIY headboard tutorial, and if you scroll down to the bottom, you will find the detailed instructions for that chippy, worn wood look.

Closeup of the rustic wooden finish.

A very cheap way to fill a blank wall space!

These shutters are an easy and inexpensive project to build. The only thing that takes time is the gluing and clamping. I took a few days to make these just because I had to wait for the glue to set! I also had to wait for a day for my stain to dry.

Rustic Shutters on a shiplap wall

These rustic shutters would also make an adorable Christmas farmhouse wall decor item as well. I can see them with a Christmas wreath, or even used as Christmas cardholders. I think there are all kinds of fun things you could do with them.

If you do decide to make them, or if you have some fun ideas for them, let me know in the comments!

If you like this project head on over to see these other rustic farmhouse style projects:

UPDATE: I had to add an update to this post because I have been receiving lots of questions about our dining nook.

  • The color on the wall is Sherwin Williams Alabaster.
  • We purchased the light fixture from Lowes.
  • My husband designed and built the table.
  • We used a vinegar and steel wool stain solution on the table.
  • The nook bench was designed and built by me.
  • The chairs are simple inexpensive Ikea chairs. 
  • I am still hunting auctions and vintage shops for the perfect Windsor chairs of my dreams.

If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a line.

Simple, Inexpensive Decorative Shutters

Simple, Inexpensive Decorative Shutters

Beautiful rustic shutters that are so easy to make for a gorgeous farmhouse touch.

Materials

  • SUPPLIES NEEDED
  • 7 1 inch x 4-inch x8 feet pine lumber.
  • Finishing nails
  • Carpenters glue
  • Stain
  • Eucalyptus Wreath
  • CUT LIST
  • 9 - 1x4x36-inches
  • 6 - 1x4x10.75-inches
  • 3 - 1x4x27-inches

Tools

  • TOOLS REQUIRED
  • Miter Saw
  • Nail gun (or hammer, either will work here)
  • Woodworking clamps
  • Set square

Instructions

  1. Glue the vertical boards together - Line up 3  36 inch 1x4's and add glue to the inside edges of the boards.  Clamp together for at least an hour before removing clamps.
  2. Glue the horizontal boards - Add the 10.75-inch board horizontally across the top.  Place this board 3 inches from the top. Clamp and dry for 24 hours.
  3. Cut and Glue Your Angled Board - Lay one 1x4 diagonally across your shutters. Cut the board just inside the frame. Glue it down and let dry for 24 hours.
  4. Add finishing nails (optional) - Flip your decorative shutters over to add small finishing nails through the backboards into the front pieces for extra stability. 
  5. Finish them by staining them and roughing them up to create a rustic finish

20 Comments

  1. Thank you for having such great directions! I made the shutters fo my dining room & I love them!!!!’

    1. Thanks so much Tara for leaving a comment and I am so glad you were able to work with the instructions. I still have mine hanging in my little dining
      nook!

  2. Hi! This will be my first DIY like this, so this may be a dumb question, but what did you use so you can hang them on the wall? Love these shutters!!

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Amy, This is a GREAT question, I cannot believe I never added that detail to this post.

      I used 3M Command Large Picture Hanging Strips – 1 pack per shutter and they have been hanging on my wall in my dining room for over a year. No issues, no problems. You can usually pick up a bulk pack of the strips and save a few bucks. This is a great time of the year too to pick up this stuff because places like hardware stores and Walmart often have it on sale during the holidays.

      I like to use command strips when I can because it doesn’t damage the wall. The shutters also sit flat against the wall, with no movement.

      You could use a picture hanging kit as well. They are fairly inexpensive, but they would require you to screw into your walls. They work great, but I am challenged with getting in the right place so everything sits evenly.

      Good luck with your shutters, and if you have any problems at all drop me an email.

      Cheers!

    1. Hi Crissy, my husband made that table for me a few years ago, and at the time I never even considered I would be posting these projects online. We never had the foresight to save his plans.

      That table was also like 10-12 feet long at one point to fit in our unusually large dining room in our last home. We chopped off a few feet just to make it fit in the new smaller dining room.

      Even if we had plans, both sizes were custom made for our spaces and neither size is standard. Sorry, I really wish I did have the plans for this table. I get asked so much for it in emails.

      Cheers!

    1. Hi Casey, I talk about the wreath in the post and have a link directly out to where I purchased mine. It was from Amazon, it’s called GTIDEA 16-17″ Artificial Eucalyptus Wreath.

  3. Hi there 🙂
    I know you mentioned that the bench was awkward measurements so putting a plan together would be difficult, but could you give a little overview on what material you used and how you assembled it?

    1. Hi Alyson – So I used simple pine 2×4’s to build the frame. I measured the length I needed the bench and then created a wooden frame to that size. Once the frame was built, I covered the whole thing with thin 1×4’s and then used 1×2’s to trim around the top, and the sides and added a few more pieces to the front to create the recessed look. The lid is a single piece of pine shelf board that we had to rip to size and it was attached to the bench with a piano hinge. It was chip as chips to build since we used regular pine boards. Lots of cutting and fussing to get the 1×3’s If you need some additional information feel free to send me an email littleyellowwheelbarrow@gmail.com. I can take some additional pictures if you need – just let me know. Cheers!

    1. Hi Melinda, thanks for the comment! The pillow on the far right, the one that looks like it has tiny flowers and embroidery appliques all over it (it’s the beige pillow) I purchased from Winners. I spent a good year checking back to see if I could find a match with no luck. The rest of those pillows I made myself from fabric I had laying around.

      The rose pillow was made from a drop cloth. I actually have a tutorial here for that pillow https://www.littleyellowwheelbarrow.com/diy-beautiful-rose-textured-pillow/.

      Cheers!

    1. You’re not the first person to ask about that Jamee!

      The table and bench were customized to fit that room, so they are not at all standard sizes.
      The bench might not look it in the picture, but it is 88 inches long making it too long for most tables and too short for the rest.

      So I am guessing that any plans that I did pull together wouldn’t work for most people due to the awkward sizing.

        1. Hi Amy, my bench is 21 inches deep but honestly, it would have been far more comfortable with a few extra inches. We just didn’t have space in that room to make the bench any deeper. Cheers!

    1. Believe it or not but that table is a total DIY! My husband designed it and made it for me. He’s a keeper. The total cost of that table was about $250 (CDN). The table is made from untreated cedar and if it was made from pine it would be even cheaper. I am all about getting that “look” and not spending a fortune in the process. Thanks for the comment, Susan!

    1. Hi Hailey, I purchased that light from Lowes Canada. It’s still available on the Canadian site. If you are in the US, Lowes doesn’t seem to have it listed anymore, but there is one that is very similar from the same line, it very well might be this year’s model. The light is Kichler Lighting Carlotta 8-Light Distressed Black Wood Hardwired Standard Chandelier. Cheers!

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