Creating simple and functional woodwork from throw-away window shutters
If you have had the chance to visit Menorca you’ll remember the green rugged landscape and the typical white houses with dark green wooden window shutters.
When we moved into a typical Menorcan farmhouse we needed some furniture to fit the scene but without spending too much. I had been collecting discarded shutters from the street for a while so now was the perfect opportunity to get creative.
It’s not unusual to find old wooden shutters dumped by bins or in the street awaiting collection as they are replaced by a more modern weather resilient version. The wooden shutters are slowly being exchanged for green aluminium. Although the original wooden shutters are made with a hardy pine wood, they must be repainted frequently to maintain upkeep. The aluminium shutters don’t need any maintenance and withstand the weather far better.
Here’s how to make a mosaic window shutter table.
When the old wooden shutters are sanded down they reveal a really nice stained pine. Mind you it’s a lot of sanding as they usually have many years of coats of paint.
But it’s worth the work. They were obviously made by skilled carpenters, made to last. You can find a variety of styles.
After sanding, fill the spaces with cement and broken tiles for a mosaic effect.
The tiles can be a selection and mix of leftover and second-hand tiles. You can get a good mix of broken size pieces by dropping them from a height. Holding one up about head level and letting it fall to the ground.
Place the tiles in the cement, pushing gently to immerse them just enough so you can still see the top of the tile. When you are happy with your mosaic scrape over the surface with a flat piece of wood to level out. The wood should be as wide as the shutter so the level of the tiles, cement and wooden edges all coincide.
Once dry, sand the concrete a little to smooth over the surface.
Turpentine and linseed oil mixed makes for a nice wood protector but you can protect the wood with whatever varnish or wood protector you prefer.
The shutters can also be transformed into mirrors. Here’s one that I put up in my kitchen. I placed it opposite the window to reflect the sun and bring more light to the area.
And shelving. I’m sure you can think of many other uses.