Build Your Own Cottage Cutout Starfish Shutters
Amp Up Your Curb Appeal... in ONE Weekend!
This was the most exciting project for me in a while. For years I've been dreaming of adding some simple shutters to our very BLAH cottage exterior (never been a fan of our vinyl siding, but residing the house doesn't quite fit into the budget!). Curb appeal was never high on the priority list, being simply a cosmetic improvement.
But this past weekend, my little shutter dream came to fruition, thanks to my resourceful husband (and you'll see, I'm not the only thrifty one in the household). Here's a little guest-post with the details on how he created these charming shutters for me.
When Thrifter decided she wanted to dress up our summer cottage with some fun shutters, I responded in my usual fashion…by procrastinating. She had found some homemade shutters on Etsy that mimicked the old, cottage-type shutters you’d find on cute, timeless summer rentals and beach or lake homes, with the cutout shapes of sailboats, sea stars, and other beachy imagery. At nearly $80 per shutter with shipping and no idea how to hang them (nor a desire to do so), I let the matter go. Of course, if you know Thrifter, she has a penchant for getting her way, and after several not-so-subtle hints and reminders, I went online to make the purchase.
DIY Starfish Shutters Tutorial (by Ben!)
As I was looking at the different sizes and options, cost and shipping charges, it dawned on me that they might not be too hard to make myself. I opened a new browser window and surfed over to the Home Depot website and realized I could get 1”x6”x8’ common board for under $9 per board. For two 12”x48” shutters, I’d need just two lengths of that sized wood, plus a shorter piece at 6’, for about $7, to cut and place across the top and bottom of each shutter to hold it together and complete the look. Some finishing nails and sandpaper completed my purchase, so everything for two full shutters was about $36 – a nearly $125 savings.
The process to make the shutters is fairly straightforward, and even a novice woodworker (like me!) can try their hand at this project. One thing to remember is that part of the rustic charm with these is the handcrafted look – and mistakes – you might make along the way.
Depending on the size of the shutters you want, your measurements and wood selection may be different. These instructions are for 1”x12”x48” shutters, likely the most common-sized shutters people might want to make.
Step 1: Gather your tools and then cut each of the 8’ common board pieces in half using a hand saw or circular saw. I cut mine at Home Depot to make them easier to transport home in the car.
DIY Cottage Shutters: Instructions
Step 2: Lay the boards together with a slight gap between them to get a feel for the size. Although the boards are rated at 6” wide, they are likely a little narrower than that measurement, and it is helpful to get a feel for what the finished shutter size will look like.
Step 3: Pick your image! A pine tree? Sailboat? Windmill? Thrifter wanted a starfish, which was great because it is a fairly easy image to cut with a jigsaw. She drew out the image in Illustrator (may look familiar--it's adapted from the Screenprint Starfish Tees from an old post) we printed it in different sizes, cut them out, and picked the size that we felt looked right on the shutters.
Step 4: With your boards together, measure down 3” from the top – this is where you will align the small piece of wood that will hold the top of the shutters. Repeat the same for the bottom (i.e., measure up from the bottom 3”). I like to use a chalk line to mark a straight line for my measurements, but you can also measure in a few different places and draw your own guidelines.
Step 5: Measure the width of the 2 boards together, small gap included. Note that it is important to measure the widths at the top and bottom of your shutters since there is likely variability in your wood widths.
Step 6: Using the measurements from step 5, use a handsaw or circular saw to cut your smaller piece of wood (the 6’ piece), to create the top and bottom of your shutters. You should end up with two short pieces (between 11”-12” long and 6” wide) that you can lay across your shutters, at your markings 3” from the top and bottom. IMPORTANT – DO NOT SECURE THESE PIECES NOW.
Step 7: With the pieces in place, get a feel for where you would like the cut your shape, and then trace your image.
Step 8: Once the image is traced, separate the boards and carefully cut he shape out using a jigsaw, bandsaw, or other tool you have in your arsenal. After you are done cutting and removing the excess wood, sand them to a finish. I used course and medium sandpaper, as well as a sanding sponge, to get that job done.
Step 10: Repeat for the second shutter – and here is a hint – once you cut the two main boards for the second shutter, all you need to do is place your first shutter on top of the two pieces and trace your shape – this will make sure it is aligned similarly.
And an (obvious) huge THANK YOU to Ben for making me these shutters. I know I was possible a tad impatient for a bit, but it was worth the wait, and actually even better in the end because they were handmade my very own husband!
And I'll take over from here :)
The last step is to finish with paint or stain (my favorite part!). We used a subtle pink to match the same color as our front door.
He used shutter screws (color: PAINTABLE so they would blend with the wood) to hang them (they're fixed, not functional!).
And, there you have it! Such a small touch, but looking at them makes me so happy! They help break up the monotony of our "uniquely-variegated" vinyl siding (yea, that's my "glass-is-half-full description).
Here's a side-by-side of how the front of the house looked when we bought it and where we've gotten it to now. Not perfect, but we're making progress!
Now that pretty pop of pink is a happy greeting when I come around the corner!
And hey, are we connected yet? If not, find me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+, and Bloglovin so we can start sharing ideas together!