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Repurposing Old Shutters

Sorry for being a day late posting this week. I’ve been so out of it sick all week that I don’t know what day it really is. But enough of that…here is a project I’ve been dying to reveal for a while. I completed these before Christmas but couldn’t talk about them and ruin the surprise for my nieces. I have four nieces through marriage, ranging in age from 13 to 22 (I think…I’m bad with ages). The youngest was just a baby when I started dating the Rock Star, so yeah these girls mean a lot to me.

I love making them one-of-a-kind, personal gifts whenever I can and I had seen a lot of shutter transformations online. Seemed easy enough. Here goes nothing!

I bought four shutters at Habitat Restore for $2 each. Here are two of the shutters before. Can’t find the other two before shot, but image them taller and painted yellow…

I removed the hinges and pulls and puddied the holes. On the painted pair I sanded down the paint and knocked out a few broken slats.

Then I primed the short pair and used liquid sander on the painted pair before priming.

With a blank canvass, I decided what I wanted to do with each shutter. For the shorter ones I decided magnetic primer would be fun around the edges. Some tips about magnetic primer…the gritty magnetic stuff settles quickly. I had to go back to Home Depot twice to get it shaken and almost broke my arm stirring it the first time. And it takes a lot of coats.

Meanwhile I cut some basic plywood and sprayed them with chalkboard paint for the larger boards.

Then came the fun part…colors! I selected a color for each niece that suited them perfectly. Of course you want to move the slats around and paint from every angle.

For some reason I don’t have a picture of the pink one being painted. After painting, I attached picture hangers to the top (two of them needed wood extenders beneath them so they could hang evenly because of the slat bar that moves the slats up and down) and used wood glue to secure the slats in place.

I nailed the chalkboard pieces to the two taller boards with a brad nailer…ok so my father-in-law did mostly, but he let me use it twice. I’m still learning power tools. Then it was just a matter of presentation. I added magnets and clips to hold pictures or messages.

My two youngest nieces sent me pics of the boards all decked-out in their rooms. 🙂

So…an inexpensive, fun gift for anyone in your life with endless possibilities! I’d say it’s a winner. Have you tackled any handmade gifts recently? Let me know about it below.

Linking to:

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About Erin Shipps

Life in your thirties can sometimes feel like you're stuck between what has happened and what's yet to come -- like being amidship. But I'm forging through with thrifty household decorating, DIY projects, health advice, and just life. When I'm not crafting my local Kansas City magazine VintageKC, I'm busy being a rock star's wife and mommy to the most beautiful 3-year-old. Welcome to our world amid the Shipps.

15 responses »

  1. These are great! I love the orange and blue especially.

  2. Those are great, Erin! Good ideas

  3. Such a great project, Erin! I didn’t know about magnetic primer paint. I like your idea of using it around the frame of the shutters. Very cute, and practical!!!

    • Regarding magnetic primer…it’s kind of a beast. It’s about $25 for a small can and like I said, keeping it mixed is tough. BUT it is an amazing material. You could make a whole magnetic framed section of chalkboard in a kid’s room or kitchen. Just cool!

  4. How lucky are your nieces?! These are fabulous! Hope you’re feeling better today. 🙂

  5. This is such a cute idea! And so inexpensive! I’m sure the girls loved that you made each one specifically for them! 🙂

  6. I love those shutters! That is such a fun project!

    Thanks for the inspiration.


  7. How great!! Those are so practical!

  8. I’m loving your tutorial on these shutters…One question..Did you put anything on the back of the shutter slats to keep the pictures from falling through?


    • Thanks Lissa! If you shutters have a vertical piece that moves the slats up and down, try gluing the end of it so the slats are facing up. The vertical piece itself should be enough to hold the pictures in place on smaller shutters. On the larger ones I believe the slats were close enough together that they held the pictures tighter. Hope that helps!


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