Have you ever been poking around garage sales, or estate sales, or at the re-use it center, and come across a huge pile of old wooden shutters?
I would see them and basically climb over them, looking for treasures for my craft business. I would see something I like, then take it home, clean it up and personalize it either for myself, a gift, or for my craft business.
But the last time I went to the re-use it center, I stopped and just stared at these poor old shutters, wondering if there was anything I could do with them. Some of them had about 10 coats of peeling off paint on them. Obviously someone had their house exterior redone, and this is where those shutters ended up.
When selling crafts for a business, you sometimes have to stop and try and think of something just a little different to do. Something that will make you stand out, and yet is not mass produced. If I am stumped as to my next project, I head over to these re-use centers, or garage sales, and take the time and just stare at pieces, and something will come to me. Just be relaxed and wander around, and take your time. You do not do this on a time schedule. You need to be relaxed and let your creative side get to work. If you do it this way, you will be amazed at some of the ideas that will run through your head.
So, it all came together one day, when a friend mentioned that she had this boring wall, and really wished she had a window, but could not afford to hack her wall of her house open right now. So the light bulb went on.
I went to the dump and found a pair of shutters, in not bad shape. All the pieces were in them, they were just full of cobwebs, bugs and old paint. (They don't even clean them up there, they just get piled in a corner, so wear old clothes, and cover your car floor!) I took them home and cleaned them up with fantastic and a nail brush. This seemed to get rid of most of the grime. (wear rubber gloves). I gave them a good rinse and had them sit outside to dry in the sun for a day. Selling crafts, can mean getting dirty!
I then decided, I kind of liked the peeled and chipped paint look. I had got rid of lose paint and was left with a old crackled look. At the time that was the "in" thing in the craft world. So, here I was with shutters that were naturally worn, I didn't have to use any crackle paint!
I then got my son, to help me construct a simple wooden frame from 1" x 1" pieces of wood. He then created a cross section in the frame as well to look like a window. Once he did the one, I was able to make others myself. Sometimes you can find old wooden frames in the re-use center as well. But at the time I found these great shutters, they were 4 feet tall and I could not find a old frame that big. For very little money, my son created a wooden frame for me.
We then went to the hardware store, and purchased a piece of smooth hardboard that measured 2 x 4 feet. The exact size of my wooden frame. We also bought heavy duty hinges so that we could hinge these shutters to this frame.
I then painted a scene, I thought they would like. Set it aside. I then painted the frame to somewhat match the shutters in color and age. Then I gave it a couple coats of satin varathane, on the frame and the shutters, just so you can clean them and protect them. I also gave my painting on the hardboard a couple of coats of the satin varathane. NOTE: If you use any type of varathane, make sure it is water based, if you are putting it on top of your paintings, as oil based will yellow any whites you have. If that is the effect you want then that is great, but I find water based protects and enhances your paintings without any yellowing at all.
I then nailed the painted hardboard to the back of the frame with small trim nails. Attached the hinges to the frame and to the shutters at the top and the bottom. These shutters were more for decorative showing purposes, and did not actually move much. You could make them move, but I chose to have them pretty well stationary. You could use really decorative hinges, like those large barn style ones, or hidden hinges.. this is up to you.
This created a "faux window" for the boring wall. I did a few more of these, and sold them at a craft store. It is hard to know what people will like when selling crafts, but I sold a few of these. They can be as big as you want or as small as you want. You are recycling shutters, plus creating works of art.
I really get a kick out of using recycled objects in my craft business, it just feels good to make something useful again, and at the same time raise my bottom line in my business. The local re-use center, is getting to know me quite well. I think he must think I have built a house by now, out of all the treasures I have found there over the years! He has never really asked me what I do with them!
If you prefer a nicer frame, you don't have to use re-use center items, you can purchase any size decorative shutters at the hardware store, and then make your frame to size. You could use really nice wood and stain it instead of the old painted look. This is just something different to hang on your wall. These can be heavy, so make sure to use the appropriate hooks for hanging your "shutter windows".
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