DIY Shutters With Cutouts

Window shutters with cutouts add a charming, decorative touch to the exterior of a home. Shutter size can vary, depending upon the size and configuration of the windows, and the dimensions of the exterior walls. Typical cutouts include a heart, a tulip and vase, a diamond, a crescent moon, or a monogram.

Sizing and Cutting

Shutters should match or exceed the window height. The width of shutters is determined by dividing the width of the window in half, which then determines optimal shutter width.

Shutters can be less than one-half the width of the windows, if there is not adequate wall space to mount the shutters. For example, a 40-inch wide window would use 20-inch wide shutters. After determining the shutter width, purchase pine or cedar stock that is 3/4-inch thick. A 20-inch width shutter would use two 1-by-12-inch panels, placed side by side.

Rip (saw lengthwise) each panel down to exactly 10 inches wide. Cut the wood panels to the desired height (length). Cut two identically sized pieces of 1-by-12-inch lumber for the shutters that will go on the other side of the window.


Lay the two 1-by-10-inch wood panels side by side on a level working surface. Cut two 20-inch pieces of 1-by-4-inch lumber. Drill holes in the 1-by-4 piece, and attach across the two 1-by-10 panels, about 6 inches from the top and the same distance from the bottom. Use 1 1/2-inch wood screws. This joins the two panels.

Repeat for the other shutter.

Making the Cutout

Create a design for the cutout. A simple, graphic shape is easiest to transfer to wood shutters. Trace the design on a piece of cardboard to make a stencil.

Find the center of the shutters, top to bottom. The joint between the two 1-by-10 panels is the center, side to side. Position and trace the stencil onto the shutter with a carpenter's pencil. Drill a half-inch hole inside the stencil outline and cut the design with a jig saw. Repeat the process for the other shutter, using the same stencil. The cutout design can match from shutter to shutter, or can vary by using different, but complementary designs.

Paint or stain the shutters as desired. Mount to the house with wood screws or appropriate masonry anchors.

Alternative to Cutout

The shutter cutout is a void, so an option to cutting out material from the shutters is to face-mount a decorative piece. This can be painted a contrasting color, or painted to match the exterior wall of the house to create the illusion of a cutout.