How to Build Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters are simple indoor shutters that block sunlight and provide a decorative touch to windows. Composed of several horizontal slats, or 'louvers,' a central 'tilt bar' that controls the movement of the louvers, two vertical stiles and two horizontal rails. Plantation shutters vary in size, shape and functionality. The steps below will teach you how to build plantation shutters by installing simple flat louvers within a shutter panel to be mounted onto a window frame.

Steps

  1. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 1
    1
    Measure your window frame.
    • Begin with the four planks that will serve as the shutter frame. Your shutter frame should be about .25 inches (or .6 cm) narrower than the window frame.
      Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 1Bullet1
  2. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 2
    2
    Cut the four planks to size.
  3. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 3
    3
    Build the shutter frame by gluing the two vertical planks to the two horizontal planks.
  4. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 4
    4
    Measure the length of your flat louvers. The length of the louvers should be 1/16th inch narrower than the opening between the two vertical stiles. The nylon louver pins that support the louvers inside the frame have a washer that is molded into the pin and is 1/32 inch in thickness. These washers prevent the lovers from contacting the inside edges of the stile resulting in smooth action. How many louvers you use depends on the size of the louvers and panel height.
  5. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 5
    5
    Ideally, you should buy louvers already fitted to size. If starting from scratch, remember to leave room to securely attach pins with glue at either end of the louvers. Flat louvers are typically 2.5 3.5 or 4.5 inches in width.
  6. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 6
    6
    Cut your louvers to size.
  7. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 7
    7
    Mark along the inside face of the vertical stile on the shutter frame the spots where the louvers will go in. The louvers should overlap by 1/4 inch. Take great care to line up the markings on either side of the frame so that the louvers will sit flat.
  8. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 8
    8
    Drill holes for the pins of the louvers on these markings.
  9. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 9
    9
    Insert the louvers by placing the pins into the holes in the shutter frame. If you're having trouble getting the louvers in, drill the holes a bit deeper.
  10. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 10
    10
    Measure and cut the tilt bar to stretch from the top horizontal plank to the bottom horizontal plank of the shutter frame. A wooden dowel that can swivel easily is ideal.
  11. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 11
    11
    Drill holes in the top and bottom horizontal planks to accommodate the tilt bar.
  12. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 12
    12
    Insert the tilt bar into the holes.
  13. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 13
    13
    Secure the tilt bar to the louvers by shutter staples or threaded eyelets.
  14. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 14
    14
    Test the shutters by moving the tilt bar up and down and observing the movement of the louvers.
  15. Image titled Build Plantation Shutters Step 15
    15
    Mount the shutter frame onto the window frame and secure it by screws or another method.

Tips

  • Indoor shutters look much nicer when stained or painted. You can paint the individual louvers after Step 6 or stain the whole shutter frame after Step 14.
  • If making shutters for a larger window or a series of windows, use several panels of shutters. Follow the instructions above for each panel and attach the panels by gluing or screwing their frames together.
  • Many people prefer elliptical or tapered louvers to flat louvers. These louvers function the same as flat louvers. Fabricating elliptical louvers will require a moulding machine and moulding knives ground to profile.
  • Computer programs exist to aid in the construction of plantation shutters. These programs, also know as Shutter Cut Sheet Programs, simply require the builder to enter the dimensions of the shutter they wish to build. The Cut Sheet Program provided a list of components with measurement to build the shutter.

Warnings

  • Accurate measurements are essential to well-functioning shutters, especially at Step 7. Re-check your measurements after installing a louver or two and make sure they overlap as you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood louvers
  • Nylon louver pins or small wood dowels
  • Two wood Rails
  • Two wood Stiles
  • Wood dowels or screws
  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Shutter staples or threaded eyelets
  • Shutter Hinges

Article Info

Categories: Doors and Windows