Hi there! From the first moment that I set eyes on our home, I knew that I wanted to add some gorgeous, farmhouse inspired board and batten shutters to our front window. We’ve gone back and forth on the exact design and whether or not we were ready to commit to such a dramatic change to the front of our house! After many conversations we decided to do a trial run and create some shutters for our pole barn to get some practice before tackling our main window out front.
We have this little window on the side of our pole barn that was pretty drab. A few months back, Cody removed the sod beneath the window and we added some dark wood chips and hydrangeas. Even after this landscaping upgrade, our barn was still a bit lackluster so this trial run couldn’t have worked out better. We started by measuring the window dimensions and figuring out what look we wanted to go with. There are several ways that you can decide to go with this, you can either align the shutters to the height of your window, you can make them even with the window trim, or you can make them slightly larger than the trim. We decided that we preferred the look of the shutters lining up with the trim and we headed to Lowes!
This project was another fairly affordable one to tackle. Since we knew that we would be staining and water sealing the wood, we went with a basic builder grade option. We knew that we wanted to add dark walnut accents, so we picked up a can of Minwax deep penetrating stain. Lastly, we knew that these had to be waterproofed in order to withstand the Michigan elements, so we also picked up Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Flat Waterproofer.
2 pieces of 1-in x 3-in x 6-ft Spruce Pine Fir Board ($2.48 each)
Minwax Dark Walnut Stain ($7.77)
Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Flat Waterproofer ($4.98)
Titebond Yellow Interior/Exterior Wood Adhesive ($3.98)
Sandpaper – 100 grit
Paintbrush / Rag
Let’s Get Building!
We started by measuring our desired length and marking them off on the boards. I suggest adding an extra millimeter or two to make up for the width of your saw blade. Never hurts to be a perfectionist, right? We also hand measured the two boards that would go across the other three to make sure we had the exact length we were looking for. Once Cody had them all cut to size, he passed them off to me for some light sanding. Basically all I did was smooth the edges of the boards and ran the sandpaper over the entire length of the board to make sure there weren’t any wood snags. Next up the stain…
Staining Boards and Fingers
If I could offer one piece of advice that I ALWAYS forget, it would be to wear some gloves while working with stain. I legitimately never do this and I always wish that I had. I end up with weird stained fingers and sticky hands which are really difficult to clean up. But anyways – I will end my rant there… We decided that it would be best to stain the pieces before securing them together to ensure an even stain coverage in all the nooks and crannies. I added one coat of the stain using a basic paintbrush and I let it saturate for about 5-6 minutes per board before wiping off the excess with an old rag. Also, please excuse my outfit above… I had been floating in the pool earlier that day and decided to work on this project in my bathing suit coverup!
The next day, we used Titebond Yellow Interior/Exterior Wood Adhesive to attach the boards. This was done on the interior edges of each board to help hold the shutter together and also would work to prevent water damage between the boards. We had allowed the stain to dry over night before adding the gun to make sure it would adhere correctly. I would like to note here that ideally we would have also used clamps during this process to really make sure the boards were secured to one another, but since we are new to the woodworking scene we didn’t have any clamps that would get this job done so we went without.
At this point, Cody secured the shutters with a metal screw in the middle board from the back. I don’t have any pictures of this process because I was his assistant at the time and was holding the pieces in place. We only screwed the center board because we knew that we would be adding screws in both side boards to attach it to the siding. Now that we had our shutters built, we had to make sure they were built to last – which in Michigan means weather-proofing.
24 Hours Later…
Call us overly cautious, but we wanted to make sure that the stain was completely dry before adding the water sealant so we gave it another full day to dry. The sealing process took a total of three days. According to the package directions, I sprayed the shutters from about 12 inches away and applied in a thin coat. I did my best to coat every surface and added a bit more sealant around the edges. After this first coat we left it out to dry overnight. I repeated the entire sealing process the next day and again allowed 24 hours to dry. Lastly, we flipped the shutters over and gave the back a good layer of sealant as well. Also note that I don’t usually do projects wearing high heels… but sometimes you get home from happy hour and decide to add one more layer just to be safe.
Hanging Our Shutters
After letting that final layer dry for a couple of hours (we were to excited and couldn’t wait any longer!) we headed outside to hang them up. We had 8 black screws that we planned on using so that they wouldn’t stand out from the dark stain. I held them in place while Cody drilled them in. We added the screws through the left and right boards (through both pieces of wood) on the top and bottom to make sure they were very secure. I can’t believe how great these turned out! I mean, they seriously only cost us $21.69 for the set.
I love how the finished shutters pull together the look of our pole barn. Now that we have some experience behind us, we are ready to tackle the front window! I’ll share an update on that project very soon. Until next time!