DIY: Quick patio wall makeover with upcycled shutters

We recently painted the house a lovely tone of grey and I’d always wanted to add a focal point on the empty patio wall leading to the front door.

As luck would have it I found a few old shutter doors in the shed and with a lick of paint and a bit of imagination turned them into a lovely focal trilogy.

I’ll show you just how easy it was in the following steps.


You will need

  • x3 Reclaimed shutters
  •  Decorative Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan (Paris Grey, Provence, Greek Blue) *
  • Annie Sloan soft wax (clear) *
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Sandpaper (200 grit)
  • x6 Moulding hooks
  • x6 Nail-in-anchor nails
  • Drill

Shop your chalk paint online here!


Step 1

Clean your reclaimed shutters so that they are free of dirt and grime. Apply one coat of paint and leave to dry before adding a top coat in the same or a different colour.

I have used my colours on the three shutters as follows. Shutter 1: Only Paris Grey. Shutter 2: Undercoat in Paris Grey with a top coat in Provence. Shutter 3: Undercoat in Louis Blue with a top coat in Paris Grey.

This way the three shutters’ colours echo each other and work together as a unit.


Step 2

Sand down the top coat to reveal as much of the bottom coat colour as you prefer. Press harder on the edges to reveal the wood and beautiful imperfections you want to highlight.


Step 3

Seal your paint with a layer of clear wax. Simply ‘moisturize’ the wood with your lint-free cloth.


Step 4

After the paint and wax have cured, drill a hole big enough for your nail-in-anchor screws to fit through at the top and bottom centre of the shutter. Now simply measure up the wall and secure them in place.


Step 5

Picture rail hooks add to the old world charm of these shutters and are pretty handy as they give your air plants something to hang from.


Step 6

My recently acquired collection of air plants are now proudly on display at the front door. I secured the bigger ones with a little piece of natural twine to the picture rail hooks just to be sure they don’t blow away.


Step 7

I wanted to add a focal point to the centre shutter and have had this little ceramic bird (bought at Flowers in the foyer) for ages without having a proper use for it. Looks like she’s finally found her nest … or so I thought!

I was almost 100% sure that she was secured to the air plant but clearly not. A gush of wind blew her from her nest and I found her in pieces on the patio! Luckily it as a ‘good break’ so I will be able to glue her back together.

Learn from my mistake! Double secure your plants and ornaments with twine to the shutters.


All done!

It really couldn’t have been easier and it feels great having found a new purpose for these little-forgotten shutters in the shed.


Now it’s your turn to shop around the house, garage or shed to find the perfect upcycling project.

Happy styling,


Keeping it loose

In my recent Living Room Make-over post, I showed you my “new” ottoman after I made a simple loose cover for it. I’ve decided that life is just too short for ugly, worn-out furniture but of course re-upholstering is quite the expensive endeavor. 20140218_094824 (600x450)My deep-buttoned leather ottoman has a lovely shape and a great size – perfect for extra seating – but the leather was starting to look horrible.

IMG_7744 (700x467)This cover took me about 4 hours to make and the results are amazing – it looks like it’s brand spanking new! At first I was going to try my hand at full re-upholstery, but after I unscrewed the legs I realized that I am completely mad: this is a white fabric in the most-used room in the house and I have two little boys who are going to want to climb on it! So I promptly screwed the legs back on and proceeded to figure out how to make a loose cover. IMG_7403To be honest, I haven’t done this before, but I always trust in my practical mind when it comes to things like this. I first carefully measured the top and 4 sides, keeping in mind that it is bulging slightly at the sides so I need to allow an extra 20mm or so on the width and height.

IMG_7405 (467x700)Then I cut the fabric according to the measurements, making sure that the pattern is positioned evenly (with one flower in the middle) of the ottoman.

IMG_7415 (700x467)Placing the fabric back on the piece of furniture I folded the excess fabric over on the line of the existing seam and cut my fabric 20mm away from that line.

IMG_7413 (467x700)I started pinning the sides on (fabric inside out) and then proceeded to sew it together. It’s easier keeping it on the ottoman when pinning to get a good fit!

IMG_7418 (700x467)After pinning, I used a clear acrylic straight edge to draw a pencil line along the pins for sewing.

IMG_7421 (700x467)Once all the seams are sewn, you can still tweak it if it doesn’t fit properly. Only after being absolutely happy with the fit, I cut away any excess fabric along the seams.

IMG_7425 (700x467)I didn’t trim any fabric along the bottom so that I could fold it over underneath. Next, I put on the cover (fabric right side out) and turned the ottoman over for working underneath.

IMG_7430 (700x467)IMG_7431 (700x467)I cut away any excess fabric around the legs and then pinched the corners so that it creates a nice snug fit around the base.

IMG_7435 (700x467) (2)A simple roll-seam along the entire hem works very well, at the same securing the pinched corners – it will be underneath so it doesn’t have to be perfect!

IMG_7668 (700x467)  I used the off-cuts to put together enough fabric so that I could pull the cover tight underneath and fix with Velcro.  Pin it in place, cut Velcro strips and sew them on.

IMG_7437 (700x467)Since I really like the buttoned effect of my ottoman, I wanted to keep it even with a loose cover. I made little fabric covered buttons, making sure that they more-or-less match the print where they will be placed (plain on plain and print on print). I marked their positions with a black marker and then sewed them into place on top of the fabric with industrial thread.

IMG_7439 (700x467) I used pants-hooks to keep them in place, with the hook-part sewn into the ottoman using a curved needle and the bar to the underside of the fabric underneath the button. I have to say that it felt a little bit like performing surgery, curved needle and all! I used pliers to close the hooks tightly so that the buttons won’t pop out accidentally.

IMG_7449 (700x467)Make sure that everything is hooked into place before you secure the cover underneath with the Velcro. before

After I absolutely love it and considering I paid R80 (USD8) for the 2 meters of fabric, it was the most cost-effective face-lift I could’ve dreamed of!