how to build board & batten shutters


hello, I’m Jackie. And today on Exterior Home Improvement we’re going to be building custom board and batten shutters.

A few things before we start:

a. I’ve always wanted to start a post that way. Thanks for indulging me.

b. This post could also be titled “girls can use power tools too”.

c. Please note I built these shutters one day while Caleb was at work. I still have all my fingers and toes, but I did break one of Caleb’s best drill bits. I confessed and he forgave me. Well, he gave me a hard time. Then he forgave me.

Shutters have been on my wish list since we moved into this house six years ago. We were not big DIYers at that time so our options included buying standard plastic shutters from Home Depot. Or buying standard plastic shutters from Lowes. Problem was, I really wanted wood shutters. Ones that actually looked like they fit the window, not the prebuilt one-size-fits-all. I’m so high maintenance.

This is the closest thing I could find that resembled my vision:


We’d need three pair to cover the windows on the front of our house. At $378 a pair that would put us at $1,134. And that didn’t include hardware. Ouch. You can see why we put it on the back burner for six years.

A few weeks ago I started thinking about those shutters again and it suddenly occurred to me that we could make our own. Then I texted Caleb and was all “Why didn’t we think of this before??” I blame old age. We are approaching thirty. It was bound to start affecting us sooner or later.

Home Depot still got our money, just not as much of it. Between wood, paint, and hardware we ended up spending about $66 per pair. That’s about $200 for the entire job. Which means I get to pay myself $934 for the day of work. Ha!


I started with a pile of 1x6 boards. Caleb bought them an inch longer than we needed so I began by trimming them to the correct size. Experience has made us slightly mistrustful of the Home Depot saw. Better to buy too long and trim them ourselves. 


I used a 1x4 for the cross piece. Once I got the wood cut and arranged together I drilled holes through the cross piece and used 1 1/4 inch screws to assemble. Had Caleb been building these shutters, I’m pretty sure he would have drilled the screws in from the back of the boards so the screw heads wouldn’t be visible. I don’t have his confidence. I need to see the front of the project or I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.


Therefore I decided to sink my screws and cover the holes with wood filler. This lovely drill bit allows you to make holes in the wood that will accommodate a screw head. This is also the bit I broke. This was before I broke it. Please ignore the ugly blister. Next time I’m doing manual labor I’ll be sure to listen to my husband when he recommends gloves.


Once the screws were embedded nicely in the wood I covered them with wood filler and waited while it dried. Then I ate half a pint of caramel chocolate covered pretzel ice cream. Not pictured.


Caleb bought me a belt sander several months ago when we were building a table and benches for the back porch. I used it for two minutes and then I shunned it. I had used a hand sander for years and was quite set in my ways. Remember, I’m approaching thirty. It takes me a while to warm up to new methods of doing things. Fortunately, belt sander and I seem to have bonded over these shutters. It did an excellent job smoothing out the rough edges. And I learned how to steer it instead of letting it steer me. That improved our relationship immensely.


The last step was to prime, paint and seal. Or if you’re lazy like me, you skip the primer and just slop on two coats of paint. I don’t think I’ve ever primed a thing in my entire life. But just so you know, you’re SUPPOSED to prime before you paint.

That concludes part one of the DIY board and batten shutters. We are now on a hunt for mounting hardware. More to come!


Anonymous said…
wow. I like these.....looking forward to the "after" photo. :) 123 Me
Josalyn Snyder said…
Lol love me some power tools, and I never prime anything either! Btw- I am loving your DIY projects on here!