Make Your Own Board And Batten Shutters
I did some of my DIY boards and slatted shutters this weekend, including painting and adding the decorative hardware.
But, unfortunately, I have not installed them yet. I think it’s a two-man job, so I’ll have to ask for reinforcements as soon as I have the rest.
These are really very easy to make, and of course you can regularly use wood to make roller shutters if you wish. I chose PVC panels because I think they are more durable and last much longer, and after my very frustrating porch column failure (which you can read about here if you missed it), I am all about PVC panels for outdoor projects now.
Before I started making my own, I looked at several online tutorials for making slatted and slatted shutters (they are quite abundant, as this style seems to be the most common for do-it-yourselfers), and decided on the details, such as how many slats I want, and what decorative material I want to use.
I also read this article about shutters on the Old House Guy site. Fair warning-he tends to be a bit abrasive with his opinions, but I still really like his information. It really emphasizes using the right width and height for your specific windows (something I’ve talked about here). But another thing he said is that this style of shutters should never have space between the shelves.
Personally, I think it’s a matter of personal taste, but I didn’t realize until I read this article that the black shutters (which you can see here) that finally made me choose this style for my house don’t have spaces between the shelves, and that’s actually one of the things I really like about them. Every board and slat shutter tutorial I had read showed how to use spacers to add gaps between the boards.
So I decided not to leave spaces between the boards. Perfect. This meant that I could screw the boards together at the back and make the shutter stronger, so I thought it was a good idea. And since these are purely decorative and will never be closed, the screws on the back will never be seen. (Obviously, if you want to make functional shutters that will actually be closed at any time, my method is not suitable for you.)
How to make roller shutters from boards and slats
Step 1: Cut the boards to length
My windows are 44 inches high and 48 inches wide (actually 24 inch double windows). The trim around the windows makes the total height 51 inches. I didn’t want my shutters to measure the full height of my window and trim, so I chose to have my shutters measure 48 inches.
As for the width, I settled on 22 inches (which is exactly the width of four 1″ x 6″ shelves, since they are actually 5 1/2″ wide each). If they were actually usable shutters, they should be 24 inches wide, but since they are purely decorative, I decided to stick with the four 1″ x 6″ plank widths to save money.
So I used my miter saw to cut all my 1″ x 6″ boards up to 48 inches in length.
The length of your shelves is determined by the height of your windows. And depending on the width of the shutters you want, you may also need to tear your shelves to the right width using a table circular saw. Once again, I invite you to read the Old House Guy article (linked above) to determine the correct height and width of your roller shutters.
Step 2: Round the edges of the boards
I liked the idea of using PVC sheets for my roller shutters for more durability. What I don’t like about PVC panels is that the edges are really square, so when the panels collide, it can be difficult to see where one board ends and the next begins. Here they are side by side, so you can imagine that if they were tightened and screwed together, they would all visually merge.
So I used my sander with 80 grit abrasive discs and sanded the sharp corners of the edges, giving them a more rounded look. I hope you can see the difference in the signs below. The left board is the original with the sharp edges, and the right board with the rounded edges sanded.
With the rounded edges, even after being tightened and screwed together, the individual plates are still visible.
Step 3: Screw the boards together
I turned the boards over and marked where I wanted to screw the boards together using pocket holes. I made three pocket holes per board-one hole six inches from each end and one in the middle. (Note: In retrospect, I would have liked to have moved the screws closer to the ends of the boards — maybe 3 inches from each end instead of 6 inches from each end.) I used my Kreg pocket hole jig (this is the one I have) to drill pocket holes.
Then I used a trigger clamp (this is the one I have) to clamp the board’s side by side, and a Kreg front clamp (which you can find here) to keep the boards flat on the front and back, and screwed the boards together using the pocket holes.
Step 4: Cut and secure the slats
I decided to use only two slats on my shutters, but you can add one in the middle if you like this look. Or you can add a longboard on the diagonal between the upper and lower slats to create a “Z” pattern.
I wanted to fix the slats from the back so that I didn’t have screws or nails on the front. So I placed the slats face down on my work table, then I placed the boards face down on the slats. After that, I carefully measured each side and set up the bar exactly to the right. I placed the slats three inches from the top/bottom, but there is no hard and fast rule on placement. It’s just a matter of personal preference.
(Note: I ended up making a design change and moved the slats further – six instead of three — which improved the proportions of the shutters, in my opinion. But again, there is no rule.)
And then I screwed the slats from the back with the same screws that I used to screw the boards together. I used three screws on each end per board, which is probably an exaggeration, but I wanted them to be very secure.
Step 5: Add paint and hardware
I called the company that makes these PVC sheets to check if the sheets can be painted in a dark color. I’ve been told that dark colors are fine as long as you use heat-reflective paint with vinyl-safe technology. You can find this painting at Sherwin Williams. It’s actually an additive they can add to any of their high-end exterior paints, so just tell them you’re using it to paint PVC, and they’ll let you know what your options are.
I used Sherwin Williams Emerald in a satin finish. (When will I learn? I hate the shine of the exterior paint in a satin finish. This is what I have in the rest of my house, and the sparkle is driving me crazy. I should have gone flat for my shutters.) The color I used is actually a Benjamin Moore color — Gentleman Gray (it’s a dark navy blue) — but Sherwin Williams has the BM formulas in their system, so you don’t even need to bring a sample for color matching.