How to Build Board and Batten Exterior Shutters

Board and batten shutters are the simplest shutter type to make. Plank boards are combined to cover half the width of the window. Smaller plank boards are attached across the shutter boards to hold the boards together. Often this style of shutter has a decorative cutout, such as a pine tree, star, heart, moon or other symbol. These shutters are popular country-style shutters that are painted to dress up the exterior of country cottage-style homes.

Measure the height of the window you are building the shutter for. Measure from the top inside casing and exterior sill. Measure the width of the window from the inside of the casing. Divide that amount in half. This is the finished height and width of each shutter (based on a single double-hung-type window).

Cut 6-inch boards to the height you need. You may need three or more boards depending on the width of your window. Cut two batten boards out of 4-inch board. These should be the width of your finished shutter.

Position your 6-inch boards so that the tops align. Space them no more than 1/2 inch apart to reach your optimum shutter width. Since your shutter is decorative and not functional, you can make it narrower to keep the spaces between your boards no more than 1/2 inch apart. Simply recut the battens to your new width.

Position the battens across (perpendicular to) your shutter boards approximately 1/4 the distance from the top and the bottom. They should be evenly spaced from the top and the bottom. Screw each batten to the shutter boards with two offset deck screws per board.


Finish your shutter by cutting out a decorative shape in the middle and by priming and painting the shutters on all sides and edges with a quality exterior primer and paint.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-by-6-inch boards
  • 1-by-4-inch boards
  • Saw
  • Deck screws
  • Screwdriver
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About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.