DIY Wood Shutters For Under $40

Once we had our old windows replaced, we thought that we needed to dress them up a little bit more, on the outside.  We decided that they really needed wood shutters.  We priced out what it would cost to by new shutters and found out that it was going to be over $100 to $300 a pair.  That was way too much money for us (and I am assuming you feel the same way?, am I right?).  So, we started designing instead, to come up with a cheaper alternative.

The design that we came up with, is actually called “cottage style board-n-batten wood shutters with a Z bar”.  We decided that we could build a pair of wood shutters for under $40.  That was more like it!  A lot cheaper than the alternative of buying shutters.

DIY wood shutters

DIY Wood Shutters

DIY Wood Shutters


Here is how they turned out.

wood shutters

We have had many requests to make a tutorial on how we built our wood shutters, so here it is.

Get a printable version of this tutorial

Prefer to buy instead of build? See our picks for best exterior shutters. 

Build Your Own DIY Wood Shutters Tutorial

front and back DIY shutters


DIY Wood Shutters Notes

  •  These are instructions for one wood shutter only, one side of the window.  Adjust your material quantities for the number of shutters that you need.
  • Screw the boards together through the back, in order the hide all the screw heads from view.  Be sure the buy screws that are less than the thickness of the material screwed together and weather resistant so they don’t leave ugly rust stains on your wood.

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Tools Used

Material Used (enough material for two shutters around one window)

wood shutters made from cedar plank fence boards

Cut Sheet  for 45″ Shutter (length x width x thickness)

  • (3) Boards – 45″ x 5 1/2″ x 1/2″
  • (2) Front battens – 16 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ x 1/2″
  • (2) Back battens – 14 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ x 1/2″
  • (1) Z bar – 27 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ x 1/2″

Construction Steps

DIY wood shutter tutorial step one

wood DIY shutter tutorial step two

DIY wood shutter tutorial step three

This is how I spaced the battens.  I used a scrap piece of cedar plank which was 5 1/2″ wide to offset it from the top and bottom.

wood DIY shutters instructions


DIY wood shutter tutorial step four

To adjust the Z bar for a different height shutter: Place a board across the battens diagonally, matching up the outside corners. Use a carpenter’s square or L square to draw a straight horizontal line at the batten position. Then cut along that line using a miter saw, table saw, or circular saw.

Use clamps to hold everything together when you have the pieces in place.  Then flip over the wood shutters and screw them together.  This way you don’t see the screw heads on the front side.  Just make sure that the screws are short enough not to poke through.

cedar wood DIY shutters DIY cedar wood shutters

Use exterior wood screws so they won’t rust.

DIY wood shutters wood DIY shutters

Now, in step five, you can screw on the back battens to offset the shutters from the wall slightly.DIY wood shutter tutorial step five

When we made a set of these wood shutters, we thought that it looked best to have the right side a mirrored image of the left, just like you see below.

left and right Z bar DIY shutters

Staining and Installing the Wood Shutters

We wanted to make sure we liked which way the z bar was oriented, so we did a couple of test shots.

install DIY wood shutters

DIY wood shutters installation

Now it was time to apply the stain.   We picked a dark chocolate color stain called, Kona.

DIY wood shutters stain

Just apply with a foam brush and wipe off with a clean rag.  The cedar wood soaks up a lot of stain, so plan on using a little more than one pint per shutter.

stain wood shutters

All ready for install now.

Installing Exterior Wood Shutters

Ours are installed on the concrete foundation walls, so I needed a hammer drill to drill holes for the concrete screws.

wood shutters DIY

DIY wood shutters wood DIY shutters

Use a block on the bottom to set the shutter to the right height, when installing.  This is great if you don’t have another hand to help hold it up.

wood shutters DIY installation

I used (4) 3 3/4″ concrete screws to hold the wood shutters to the wall.  Because the screws were blue, I took a cotton swab and applied a little bit of stain to camouflage the blue screw heads, worked like a charm!

DIY wood shutters installation

Here is what the original window looked like, before being replaced.

wood shutters before

Here is the new window installed.

wood shutters for new window

And here is the new window installed with wood shutters.  I think it looks so much better, don’t you?

See more of the projects we did in this Canyon House yard here.

DIY wood shutters tutorial

Click here to get a printable version of these instructions.

More easy ways to improve your curb appeal:

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Cheap And Easy DIY Window Shutters To Add Curb Appeal To Your Home's Exterior Remodelaholic Affordable DIY Wooden Window Shutters Tutorial To Build And Install Shutters For Added Curb Appeal Remodelaholic

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  1. Those turned out fantastic! If you really want them to look real, you should add some decorative vinyl shutter hinges and s-holdbacks. They still won’t be functional, but they give the impression that they are. You can find a set for two shutters on amazon for $14. That’s what we’re planning on doing when we finally get around to making our shutters! BTW, great idea putting the two pieces on the back. We hadn’t thought of that.

  2. This exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for the instructions and photos. I love the look and have been wanting something like these shutters for our log cabin in North Carolina. I’m off to the hardware store tomorrow.

  3. We made the board and batten style shutters for our twice. The first time we used wood. They split after awhile, though. We went to Lowe’s the next time and found some pvc wood boards and made them this time. They said not to use very dark paint on them, though (?). We painted ours a Saltbox blue color and have had no problem after 3 years.

  4. I almost NEVER comment on help/DIY articles I get from the web, but I this is too good to not thank you for!! You helped me increase the curb value of my home exponentially with a TINY price tag and an afternoon’s worth of work. Thank you!!

  5. I love these shutters. They turned out great , I hope to be able to add some to our home soon.
    I’ve got a question about the new window you installed, did you guys DIY it or have it done professionally? If you did DIY it, I would LOVE to see a how to on that. We’ve got a window that needs to be replaced (we even have the replacement window already) and I’d like to DIY it but am pretty nervous about. I can’t wait to get the new window in so I can add some cute shutters like yours. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Thank you! I too had sticker shock over prefab shutters. Your tutorial makes it easy! Plus real wood is much nicer. I’m going to map out this project for my cottage this weekend.

  7. I love your tutorial! We are planning to make these, but can’t find the 1″ exterior wood screws around here. Lowe’s, Home Depot, Dunn Lumber, no one has them. The shortest length is 1 1/4. Can you please tell me where you purchased yours? Thanks!

    1. Sorry that you had a hard time finding the screws. I found this link for some one inch screws at the home Depot that would work. You can use any outdoor screw at 1″. Some times they are hanging up in small plastic containers.

  8. have these lasted up over the years? i figured the reason you picked cedar fence planking was you knew it would be sturdy–i saw another commenter saying their wood shutters split after a short time. That’s my only concern with using wood—how long will they last?

    1. They are doing great, and they are south facing with full sun all day long. Wood obviously has a certain lifespan, but I feel like vinyl product fade So badly as well, so you kind of have to pick which problem you want to deal with…

  9. Thanks for the great tutorial. I will use your guide lines to build my shutters. Mine are 6″10″x18″ but your pattern will give me a good idea for a reference. Thanks again Larry Glodt

  10. I am a single mom who has a very tight budget. I am somewhat handy but did not realize I could make these myself until I saw this video. The ones I saw on line for the size I wanted were 200.00 dollars a piece. Ridiculous!! Thanks so much for sharing. I know I can do this after seeing it step by step out. Maybe you can post other projects you do in the future. your instructions are way clear.

    1. Thanks, Tammy! You can see all of our projects here on — we’d love to have you browse around and see what inspires you 🙂

    1. I liked the cedar too but the darker color looked so much better with the exterior of the house. But the good news is, you can make them yourself and leave the cedar! 🙂

  11. Curious to know whether these designs could be used for a functional shutter with the addition of hinges and barrel bolts. Would that be able to protect homes that face storms and hurricanes seasonally?

  12. Great tutorial! Thank you for the idea of using the cedar planks. I love the dark rich color. I have been debating about what wood to use.
    I have to ask why you added the back batten pieces to push them away from the wall? We have existing shutters (needing to be replaced because they are rotted) that are directly screwed onto our cedar shake shingles.
    Wondering if there is a purpose for that. Thank you.

  13. I can’t wait to build these! I have a cedar beam in my house so I want to make shutters to match them. Where did you get the cedar planks? Could you send me a link to them if possible so I know what I’m looking for? There are so many types of cedar wood at Home Depot. Thanks!

  14. Did you hVe to seal the wood to protect it? I want to make these but paint them instead of staining them. My hub thinks the wood won’t hold up very long. What do you think?

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