DIY upcycle: ideas that will make you shutter

DIY & Save Money / Friday, February 2nd, 2018

I love shutters and I love cheap things. So I’m going to share with you four projects we’ve done in our house with old upcycled shutters.

The first project began when someone offered Dr. Greg three free sets of bi-fold closet doors. You can’t beat the price of FREE! The concept was to make the basement home gym feel less subterranean by creating faux shutters to make the standard basement windows appear much longer than they were.


Using pine boards, we created a border around the window to add thickness to raise the space beneath the window so that it was even with the existing window trim. To unify the surround and make the window trim appear seamless, fluted MDF boards painted in Rustoleum’s hammered silver were added on all sides to play off the chrome and steel of the exercise equipment.

The bifold doors that were sacrificed had horizontal trim that divided them into a top third and a bottom two-thirds. We cut along the trim and used the longer sections for this project. In keeping with the industrial/steampunk theme of the gym, the shutters were painted black and were then dry brushed with silver. To age them, faux rust was created with acrylic paint ranging from brown, to orange, to yellow, which were applied wet-on-wet.

Finally, nickel drawer pulls were added to complete the illusion that the shutters were functional and that they could be opened to a breath-taking view beyond.  A cool option would have been to back-light the shutters with string lights, but we’ll leave that novelty for you to try!


With the shorter remnants from the first project, we were able create faux plantation shutters to provide privacy in our parlor bay window. These got a fresh coat of white spray paint, but not before providing us a lesson. We grabbed a can of antique white spray paint, which when applied was hungrily absorbed the old wood. Upon inspection, the spray paint was intended only for glass. Live and learn. We did successfully cover the shutters in off-white with our second attempt.

By sheer dumb luck, the shutters fit the width of the parlor windows exactly, and the top aligned with the middle window frame. Two dry-wall screws were used to anchor the shutters in place, and voila! Virtually instant privacy that looks like custom shutters from the street.

A third project is so easy that you need only one shutter or a pair of small shutters. They can be used as a backdrop, photo board, or alone for visual interest. We found this discarded pair and thought they looked beautiful simply leaned against the wall.

Our final shutter project also benefited from discarded shutters. our downstairs bathroom has a clear glass window that gives us a direct view of our neighbor’s yard, and unfortunately it gives him a direct view into our bathroom.  While a half-curtain would have sufficed, we feel like shutters feel more substantial and can add perceived value.

There were a few issues that needed to be overcome. As they were, the shutters were a bit short. A typical person could see over them (thus not providing much privacy), and they were lower than the middle of the window with the locking mechanism. We solved this problem by adding 2″ tall pine planks across the top and bottom. Of course these needed to be cut to the length of each panel because we wanted to shutters to be operational. The planks were affixed with wood glue, and added 4″ to the overall height.


Sporting their new wood trim, the shutters needed a coat of paint to unify the color. After the paint cured, the shutters were affixed to the outside edge of the window frame with small hinges that cost a few dollars. Again, we got lucky that the width of the shutters perfectly matched the width of the window frame.


Finally, we replaced the broken plastic pulls with bronze knobs that perfectly match our original doorknobs from 1903. We replaced the bent latch with a cool lock we’d purchased earlier at Hobby Lobby but for which we’d never found an application. We had an “a-ha” moment when we locked eyes as we realized we could finally put that lock to use. A light coat of bronze paint coordinated the latch with the knobs.


Have any shutter projects? Please share your ideas below.

This ad may contain unaffiliated ads.

Leave a Reply