It is not difficult to make your own louvered window shutters. With a moderate woodworking skill level and the know-how provided in this article, you can easily make window treatments that are aesthetically pleasing and perfect for ventilation.
Step 1 - Cut Your Rails and Stiles
You want to start out by making a frame for the slats to go into, consisting of two components: the rails and stiles. The stiles are the vertical pieces of the frame, and the rails are the horizontal. To determine the size of each, think about how big you want the opening for the louvers and leave a 1/8-inch gap on the top and bottom of that. The stiles will just be the length of the window and the width that you desire. The rails will be the width of the window and the height of your desired opening, minus the aforementioned 1/8-inch.
Step 2 - Cut the Slats for the Louvers
Each slat will take up one vertical inch of space, so determine how many slats you will need by simply measuring the inches of an opening. A 20 ¼-inch opening will need 20 slats to accommodate for the opening. Make the slats ½-inch longer than the opening because they will need to go ¼-inch into each of the stiles. Cut out your slats and round the edges of each one. Go over that with an orbital sander to smooth the edges.
Step 3 - Cut the Mortise and Tenon Joints
Use a mortise to cut out mortises that are half as thick as stock. If you have something that is 1½-inch stock, you’ll want ¾-inch mortises. Cut the mortise back about ½-inch on each end so that you don’t see the edge of the tenon. Using a saw or tenoning jig, cut a tenon ¾-inch or whatever size is necessary to make up for the other half of the stock.
Step 4 - Make the Grooves for the Louvers
Along the stiles, make the marks for all of your louvers. Space them so that they are 1 inch apart, and allot for ¼-inch on the top and bottom, right after the rails. Use a router to cut out all of the grooves. Clamp the stiles to the table when you do this to ensure that nothing moves around.
Step 5 - Assemble the Louvers
Dry fit all of the louvers into the grooves for the stiles. Put some glue onto the mortises and tenons, and slip the tenons into the mortises. Wipe off any excess glue that comes out. Do this for both mortises. Move quickly and go from one rail to another. Put the slats where they belong on the stile. Clamp the stiles together with some long clamps. Clean up excess glue along the way. Once everything has dried, you can spray on the appropriate finish.