Confession time. I am addicted to flea markets and vintage stores. While my husband speeds up as we drive past one, I deliberately drive SLOOOW through towns to see what’s happening on the vintage scene. Funky store with rusty junk? I’m in. Quaint little window full of old chairs and random paintings. Slam on the brakes. This fun DIY was born after a trip to our local flea market. A cheap shutter and a few bucks later, we created this Rustic Wall Decor for our home. Wanna see how?
How to Make Rustic Wall Decor with a Shutter
My latest trip through the flea market sent me home with a shutter. Nothing fancy about it either. My eyes are always drawn to those very old, very worn, paint-chipped fabulously heavy wood shutters. However, the price tag on really great shutters is often more than I want to spend.
When I spotted this plain, boring and dusty shutter for around $10, I grabbed it.
Was it old? Nope. Worn and paint-chipped? Negative. This shutter started as a relatively new, plain, white pine wood shutter. But I had a plan and some paint to make it perfect for our home.
First, let’s talk about the supplies needed to create your own rustic wall decor from an old shutter. Here’s what we used:
- Wood shutter – Old, new, heavy, light, it doesn’t matter. In my opinion, the cheaper the better.
- Cleaning rags – One for wet, one for dry.
- Warm water
- Sandpaper – Any grit will do.
- Drop cloth or old sheet
- Paint brushes
- Chalk paint – Two or three colors.
- Old plastic lids or paper plates
- Wooden word or letters
- Flat head wood screws
- Screwdriver or drill
- Wreath of choice
This craft DIY idea for turning an old shutter into rustic wall decor shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. So don’t invest in a lot of new things. Use an old sheet to protect your working surface. Newspapers will also work. Used paint brushes are great, too.
For paint, you can use chalk paint, matte finish paint, really anything you have. I wanted the chalk look. I suggest you pick three basic colors for this project. The first color should be a bright or light accent color. The second should be a darker neutral. And the third color should be your main color that will show the most.
You can really use your imagination with this rustic wall decor craft. It can be seasonal. It can be muted. It can be full of color as a focal piece. It can be mild or wild, it is all up to you.
The great thing about this project is that it doesn’t take a lot of paint. The little two ounce bottles from your local craft store are the perfect size. We picked ours up at Walmart and used this color combo, all from Plaid.
- Folk Art Patina – a bright, beachy teal blue
- Folk Art Cottage White – the perfect shade of warm white
- Folk Art Maui Sand – deep, charcoal gray
Now that we have talked about the shutter and paint, it is time to get to work. First, let’s prep!
Step 1 – Clean the shutter with warm water and a cloth. Get into all of those grooves and use a brush if you need to. Our shutter wasn’t too bad, just a little dusty, so it didn’t take long. Let the shutter air dry completely before moving to step 2.
Step 2 – Lightly sand the shutter surfaces. We used 150 grit because that’s all we could find in our craft box. You don’t have to sand all the way down to the wood. The goal with this step is to create a rough surface that the new paint will stick to. Keep in mind that the smaller the number, the rougher the sandpaper is. For this project, anything is great.
Step 3 – Using a dry cloth or a tack cloth, wipe all of the sanding dust off of the shutter. Now you are ready to paint!
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Painting the Shutter to look like Rustic Wall Decor
To get that look of really old shutters that have been painted several times, we are going to use a dry brush technique to create the illusion of years of paint layers. To achieve this look, work in three “layers”. First, pick your accent color (teal) and squeeze an amount on a plastic lid. Gently dip the ENDS of your dry paint brush into the paint. You don’t want to fully load your paint brush.
Next, randomly paint partial sections of the shutter. My advice is to change your brush pressure to get different looks and not to overthink it. Most of this is going to be covered up later.
This is a shot of what our shutter rustic wall decor looked like after Paint #1.
Since the chalk paint dries quickly and we aren’t using a thick layer, you can move right on to the next step.
Next, repeat this process with your darker neutral paint, in our case the “Maui Sand” / charcoal gray. To me, this is the paint color that really helps the piece look vintage. Use a little or a lot, it is totally up to you.
Remember to only use a little paint at a time and change your brush pressure to get different paint effects. You can even drag the brush over some of the teal areas for a really nice aged look.
Another cool trick? When the brush is “dry”, drag the brush up and down lightly over the shutter. See how it makes the edges look worn? Very cool.
You aren’t trying to completely cover the existing shutter paint. We want that original color to come through in places. This is how we build “layers” of paint without really painting it several times.
This is what ours looked like when we were finished with Paint #2. Pretty funky, huh? No worries, we are about to make it all better.
If your shutter has little grooves, add a little of that dark color into the groove so it will peek through later. The little details will create an authentic-looking end product.
Right now your rustic wall decor really has three shades of paint (original, accent and dark neutral). Now with the final paint color, we are going to paint over the shutter using the same dry brush technique.
This time, feel free to get heavier with the amount of paint on the brush in certain areas. Keep working with it until you have the coverage you want. I wanted the original shutter paint to shine through in places, so I didn’t paint over it. In some areas I barely brushed over the teal and charcoal colors, and in others I covered it heavily.
Keep layering and brushing until you get the final look you want.
When we finished with the final paint color, this is what ours looked like:
The final step to this Rustic Wall Decor Shutter craft project is adding more details.
When the paint has dried completely (about two hours), add more “wear and tear” to the shutter using sandpaper. Lightly sand off sections of paint. Pay attention to the edges and the shutter slats, too. This step is totally up to you on how worn you want the shutter to look.
Remember the wooden word or letters we mentioned in the supply list? We picked the word “home” from our craft store. You can also pick your own special word like “love”, “grace”, “family”, “blessed”, etc. This is YOUR project so totally make it your own.
We found this word at Michael’s.
Using the same charcoal gray chalk paint, we painted the wooden word and let it dry completely.
Then, using two flat head wood screws, we attached it to the thick outer edge of our shutter. If you don’t have matching screws, just dab a little paint on the screw heads once it is attached.
Make sure you decide exactly where you want to mount the word. I went about 1/4 of the way down the shutter so it would look nice paired with the wreath we add later. Play around with placement and decide what works for you.
The finishing touch? A gorgeous wreath. Hang it right on the shutter slats. This is a great decor piece because you can change it out by season, by room, or whatever mood you are in. This way you can use this shutter year round. In the spring use spring flowers. In summer, how about big, blue hydrangeas? Of course, you can use your holiday Thanksgiving and Christmas wreaths, too.
TIP: You can also hang pictures and ornaments from the shutter slats instead of the wreath.
You can prop up your Rustic Wall Decor Shutter on your porch, in your hallway, in your livingroom. …anywhere you’d like. Want to hang it instead? Just install hardware on the back and you are ready to go.
So what do you think? How would you decorate this shutter for your home? We would love to hear your ideas. If you create this project, share it with us by using #buythiscookthat on all social channels. Tag us, too @buythiscookthat.