Pair of shutters
Power drill and/or screwdriver
Upcycling projects are all the rage, with creative DIYers scouring flea markets, Craigslist, yard sales — maybe even the nearest curbside trash — for hidden treasures that can become new-and-improved furniture or decor pieces for their home. We decided to jump on the bandwagon by trying our hand at our own garden upcycling project.
Inspired by a variety of shutter-related gardening ideas, such as this interior planter, we opted to try our hand at a basic plant stand on which to showcase a pretty bouquet. A trip to the local ReStore — a resale store for new and gently used home-improvement products whose profits support Habitat for Humanity ‐ yielded a pair of shutters for $10 and two lightweight, large-format ceramic tiles for $1 each. (Note: Even though they were solid wood, the shutters seemed a little too lightweight to hold some of the heavier granite and quartz options available. But larger or thicker shutters may provide more flexibility.) Be sure to check the bottoms of each tile, as some may have residue (e.g., leftover cement) from a prior application.
To ensure a stable stand, we opted for corner brackets ($4 for pack of 4) at the top and bottom of each shutter over simply nailing them together. The spray-paint color will be a personal preference; we opted for a hammered rosemary shade, with primer built in, for an organic but textured look. This project required two cans ($8 each) to cover the ivory finish of the original shutters, but this may differ depending on the opacity of the color chosen, original color of the shutters or preferred finish. Because we opted for the lighter tiles, Gorilla Glue ($5 for a small bottle) would suffice for an adhesive to attach the tiles to the top and base of the shutter unit. A clear enamel coat of spray paint ($4) should help protect the final product as well.
Total cost of materials equaled $37. Although not cheap comparable to what you might pay for a similar product in a general merchandise store, similar to cooking (where purchasing multiple spices can quickly add up), you may already have some of these items in your tool shed, which could help lower costs.
Here’s how the final product came together:
- Remove hardware from original shutters. Clean each shutter, and allow it to dry. Clean each tile, and all it to dry as well.
Lay out your newspaper, or other protective covering. Lay each shutter down with the front facing upward. Open the louvered slats.
Spray each shutter with a light coat of spray paint. Make sure to cover the louvered sections as best you can. Allow it to dry (usually about 30 minutes), and repeat.
- Once each shutter has dried completely (usually about 1 hour), flip it over and repeat spray paint on the back side. Take care to cover louvers in this process as well.
- Once each shutter has dried, assemble your shutters into a box configuration. We opted to place two boards on the outside of the other two boards for a more rectangular configuration (Configuration A in the diagram listed in our gallery), but you can reassemble with each board abutting the corner abutting the next one for a square box (Configuration B).
- Mark the holes for your corner brackets — one on top and one on bottom — and drill pilot poles for each. Install the corner brackets using the supplied hardware. (Note: Although we used 1.5-inch brackets, the screws were almost too long for this application. The next size down would probably have worked just as well.)
- Apply a thin line of Gorilla Glue to the bottom of the shutter box on the innermost ledge — it will expand across the base as it dries — and place it on the base tile (ceramic side up). Adjust as needed, and wipe any excess from the tile. Repeat on the top with the second tile, which should be placed on top of the box with the ceramic side up. Place a stack of books, or something comparably heavy, on top of the plant stand to “clamp” the glue for at least 30 minutes.
- Spray paint tiles and exterior of the box to create a cohesive look. (Note: In hindsight, we would have spray painted the tiles first before adhering them to the stand, but the white top of the tile is not that visible from the exterior.)
- Finish the exterior with a coat of the clear enamel as a protective layer.