How to Make Cedar Shutters

In this blog post, we will show you how to make cedar shutters. It is a fairly easy project and could be completed in a weekend or two (may have to paint the second weekend).

This is a picture before we made and installed the cedar shutters:

This is a picture after we made and installed the cedar shutters.

Background:

The exterior of our house was originally cedar board and batten. However, when we renovated a few years ago, we removed the cedar siding and added Hardie board and batten. We saved a lot of the cedar for future projects, including making our cedar shutters.

Below is a picture of our house with the cedar siding. This is the same view as the house picture above (prior to renovating and adding on). Here is some of the cedar for our house: 

Tools/Materials Needed:

  • Table saw (for ripping the width)
  • Miter saw for cutting the length of each board.
  • Nail gun or hammer and nails
  • Drill and screws (length depends on the thickness of your wood); you will need screws to go through the crosspiece and slats (without going all the way through) and longer screws to go through the crosspiece, the slat and screw into the house.
  • Wood glue
  • Paint sticks (use as spacers)
  • Sawhorses or work table
  • Pressure washer or hose and cleaner (we used bleach in a spray bottle) if the wood needs to be cleaned.

Step 1:

Determine the size of each shutter. We had three different size windows and thus we used these dimensions. The size of each shutter is just a matter of preference.

Step 2:

Using a table saw, rip each board the correct width. We used a DeWALT table saw. (As you can see, we recently purchased this table saw, which includes a stand and have been SOOO pleased with it!)

Step 3:

Using a miter saw, cut each board the correct length. We have had this DeWALT miter saw for several years and it still works GREAT!

Step 4:

Layout each shutter on your workspace. Put a paint stick between each board to leave a small space.

Step 5:

Measure and then place the crosspiece.  We marked the location for each crosspiece. Add glue where each crosspiece will be attached … And then nail each crosspiece. Flip over the shutter and then screw from the backside for durability. We used our Ryobi cordless drill, which is an essential staple in our tool collection. Here are the shutters after we assembled them. 

Step 6:

Clean the shutters if needed. We pressure washed because some still had some mildew (Remember, we used reclaimed wood). Allow time to dry.

Step 7:

Use a paintbrush to apply Sherwin Williams oil-based transparent deck stain. This is the paintbrush we used. This is our favorite paintbrush for projects because of the quality bristles and easy-grip handle.

The picture below shows Neal painting the backside of a shutter.

Here you can see the difference before and after applying the stain. 

Allow time to dry and then apply the transparent stain to the other side. Then, allow time to completely dry.

Step 8:

After drying, attach to the house with a screw in each crosspiece (one at the top and one at the bottom). Because our house has board and batten siding, we had to pay attention to the battens (not to screw in the edge of a batten).

And enjoy the result! Several of our neighbors have commented on how much the shutters dressed up our house. We are pleased with the result too. You can also paint these shutters or make out of another type of wood. You can also add shutter dogs or other accessories. For now, we like them as they are because of the casual style of our house.

Let us know what you think of our cedar shutters or if you have any questions.

We have some cedar leftover, what do you think we should make out of the remaining cedar? 

42 Comments

  1. Jeri on 08/16/2019 at 2:20 PM

    I could do this! Thanks for the directions.

    • Gina on 07/19/2021 at 5:58 PM

      Hi there! These came our great and i plan to do it this way! Could you just tell me the cross peice, should it be the same width as one of the boards in the actual shutter or should it be more narrow?

      • Suzanne on 07/19/2021 at 7:34 PM

        Gina,
        Thanks for the kind words. The width of each vertical piece (the three pieces on each shutter) is 5 inches and the crosspiece is 3.5 inches. So we did make the crosspiece more narrow. I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes.

        Suzanne

  2. Jorge on 08/17/2019 at 10:44 AM

    Beautiful!

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  7. LeeAnn on 02/29/2020 at 10:35 PM

    I used this tutorial to make a shutter as a decorative piece in my house! Great instructions! Thanks!

    • Suzanne on 03/01/2020 at 12:07 PM

      LeeAnn,

      I am so glad our blog post helped you. You will have to share what you created so I will be inspired by your creation!

      Thanks for reading our blog!

      Suzanne

  8. Cedar Protection Auckland on 03/08/2020 at 11:06 PM

    Lovely blog post with truly fantastic pictures regarding How to Make Cedar Shutters. I got to know many things and some solutions for cedar shutters as well. So keep sharing with us and a good job. Many many thanks to Suzanne for sharing this with us.

  9. Mafalda Odhner on 04/08/2020 at 9:12 PM

    Hello, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post.

    • Suzanne on 04/09/2020 at 9:12 AM

      Mafalda,

      Thanks for the compliment. I enjoy sharing about our projects.

      Thanks for readin our blog!

      Suzanne

      • Tracy on 04/24/2020 at 10:36 PM

        What color of stain did you use on the shutters

        • Suzanne on 04/25/2020 at 2:21 PM

          Hey Tracy,

          Actually, we did not use a stain. We just cleaned the cedar (pressure washed because it was used cedar) and then applied Sherwin Williams oil-based transparent deck stain. This was the advice of the expert at Sherwin Williams. The deck stain really brought out the natural color in the cedar.

          I hope this helps! Thanks for reading our blog!

          Suzanne

  10. Lake House Renovation on 04/15/2020 at 8:01 PM

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  12. Kristin on 05/28/2020 at 1:42 PM

    These shutters look AMAZING!

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  18. Domenic on 06/19/2020 at 8:54 PM

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    • Suzanne on 06/19/2020 at 8:57 PM

      Domenic,
      I am so glad this was helpful to you!
      Suzanne

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  21. Kaye on 08/02/2020 at 12:21 AM

    Is it better to use 1×4 or 1×6 cedar? ( three pickets or boards)

    • Suzanne on 08/02/2020 at 6:30 PM

      Hey Kaye,
      It is really just a matter of preference. Either a 1×4 or a 1×6 will work. If your windows are large, then maybe use a winder board. If you windows are small, maybe use a smaller board. We used scrap cedar; each board was a little shy of 5″. I hope that helps.
      Suzanne

  22. Halley on 08/06/2020 at 5:26 PM

    Thanks very nice blog!

  23. Jodi on 08/08/2020 at 8:51 PM

    Did you place the shutters on top of the furr strips or did you cut out for the shutters? Also how far do you place the shutter over the window trim?

    • Suzanne on 08/09/2020 at 7:56 AM

      Hey Jodi,
      These are great questions. We placed the shutters directly over the battens; we did not cut out anything when installing them. Our window trim is 3.5 inches wide. We installed the shutters 1.75 inches over the window trim (basically covered half of the trim). I hope this helps!
      Suzanne

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    Regards

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  30. Renee Perez on 11/13/2021 at 1:20 PM

    What kind of stain did u use specifically?

    • Suzanne on 11/15/2021 at 8:00 AM

      Renee,

      We did not stain them. We just used Sherwin Williams oil-based transparent deck stain. I hope this helps.

      Suzanne

  31. Susan Firtik on 01/30/2022 at 3:56 PM

    I was wondering about placement -it appears you placed shutters OVER part of the vertical trim of window…?
    Can you explain?
    Thanks ! ( great job by the way )

    • Suzanne on 01/30/2022 at 7:34 PM

      Hey Susan,

      Yes, great observation! We studied several pictures online of shutters and just preferred this look. It is really just a matter of preference.

      I hope this helps.

      Suzanne

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