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Upcycle an Old Shutter Into a Holiday Decoration

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If you have trouble getting rid of stuff like old shutters, upcycle them into festive and artistic creations.

If you have trouble getting rid of stuff like old shutters, upcycle them into festive and artistic creations.

Don't Toss That Shutter!

When my family moved into our new house, we knew we had to replace the siding at some point. The house was in the country and the old siding was very exposed to all of the Midwest elements—snow, sleet, wind, ice, and rain. After 50 years, the old wood siding was rotten in places to the point that a hammer would get stuck in it if you gently hit the wood. The siding was eventually covered with new, and the old vinyl shutters were taken down too.

The contractors asked if we wanted to keep the shutters or toss them. I have a really hard time throwing anything away that might still serve a purpose, so after a quick Pinterest search, I discovered that there are all sorts of ways to upcycle old shutters. They can be turned into vertical succulent gardens, repurposed into furniture, or hinged together to make a privacy wall. There are also many ways to paint the shutters and turn them into fun porch decorations. My holiday shutters were inspired from images shared on Pinterest. There are many ideas, so browse around to find your favorite design!

Materials Needed

Scroll through the photo gallery (above) and select a design. Your exact materials will depend on the design you choose. Not every design will require all of these materials.

  • Shutter
  • Spray paint
  • Painter's tape
  • Cardboard/newspapers
  • Scrap wood
  • Raffia
  • Ribbon
  • Embellishments (artificial flowers/leaves, snowflakes, scarf fabric, burlap)

Step 1. Wash the Shutter

Chances are, the shutter that you are upcycling has been hanging on the side of a house for years. While outside, hose off both sides of the shutter. Use high pressure on your sprayer to knock off dirt, cobwebs, and debris.

Fill a bucket with soapy water. Wash both sides of the shutter and then rinse off the soap. Let the shutter air dry in the sun.

Clean and let dry in the sun

Clean and let dry in the sun

Step 2. Paint the Shutter

My shutters were vinyl, so I used a spray paint that would adhere to plastic. The spray paint I used is Rust-Oleum 2x Ultra Cover Paint & Primer. At the bottom of the can, it says "also bonds to plastic!" It comes in a large variety of colors.

If you have wood shutters, any outdoor spray paint should work. Hand painting with outdoor paint is also acceptable (but perhaps a little more work!) If your shutter is going to be outside, using outdoor paint is essential so that it is protected from the sun and other elements.

Decide what holiday design to make, then purchase the colors you like. If you're using multiple colors, you may need painters tape to block off areas that will be a different color. For example, the 4th of July shutter (inspired by Hoosier Homemade) requires a lot of painters tape in order to block off the star and stripes.

Be sure to lay down cardboard or newspapers to protect the ground before you paint.

Paint the shutter

Paint the shutter

Paint the shutter

Paint the shutter

Step 3. Create a Stencil

This step is for the 4th of July shutter and Jack-O Lantern shutter.

Some shutter designs have an image at the top. Using a stencil to create the image will make your life easier. Specifically, the 4th of July shutter has a star and the Jack-O-Lantern has a pumpkin face. To make these images, create a stencil out of cardboard. Draw the star (or the face) onto a piece of cardboard, then carefully trim it out with a razor. Put the cardboard on the shutter and trace the image onto it with a pencil. This is not easy, but not impossible!

Once your image is traced onto the shutter, carefully hand-paint with acrylic paint and a small paintbrush.

[Bonus tip: If this sounds like too much work, you could just buy a metal star to hang on the 4th of July shutter!]

Step 4. Add Scrap Wood

This step is for the Snowman shutter and the Scarecrow shutter.

Hat Brim

If your design has a hat brim, find pieces of scrap wood and carefully cut them to size. I used old floor trim for the snowman and scarecrow hats. Sand your trim lightly, then paint the wood. Use gorilla glue to secure the hat brim to the shutter. You can angle the brim of the hat or have it straight across (either way looks cute).


The nose is also from a piece of floor trim cut into a triangle. If you are unable to cut a triangle from scrap wood, you can purchase wooden triangles from the craft store and paint them. The eyes and snowman buttons are cut from a leftover piece of dowel rod. Regular buttons would also work for eyes and snowman buttons. Use hot glue to attach these pieces to the shutter.

Note: If you don't have wood or buttons, you could also just hand-paint using a DIY stencil (as discussed in step 3).

Step 5. Add Embellishments

Now for the fun part—adding the embellishments!

Pick out artificial flowers, raffia, ribbon, burlap, snowflakes, and fabric. You can truly design your shutter however you prefer. For instance, sunflowers are one of my favorite fall flowers, so that's what I chose for the scarecrow. I used snowflakes on the snowman's hat, and raffia on the pumpkin. A little square of burlap adds flair to the scarecrow hat (an artificial leaf looks cute too).

Dollar Tree has inexpensive ribbon that you can use to tie on a bow. Use festive fabric for the snowman's scarf. Hot glue is great at securing these embellishments to the shutter. Be as creative as you want to be!

Display your shutter on the porch and admire your handiwork!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Kristina BH