From time to time it becomes necessary to replace old items of furniture in your home with new ones.  When you come to replace your old metal plantation shutters, why not recycle them into something useful and decorative, such as a plant trellis for your garden?  Read on to find out how to do it.

What you’ll need

  • metal plantation shutters
  • light oil
  • screw driver
  • wire brush
  • steel wool
  • soft cloths
  • rubber gloves
  • paint and a paint brush
  • liquid car wax
  • kerosene
  • spade

This is a relatively simple project that should only take you a few hours to complete.  You’ll find everything you need for the job at a good DIY store.  You’ll need to choose paint that is suitable for use on outdoor metal items.

How to do it

  1. Start by removing the bottom rail from the shutters.  You can do this by simply unscrewing the screws that hold the rail in place.  If the screws are rusted into place, apply a small amount of light oil, allow it to penetrate, and then try again.  When the rail has been removed, you should be left with two ‘legs’.  Although these look untidy now, you’ll need them later to secure the trellis in place so don’t worry!  
  2. Now you’ll need to do is to get rid of any rust from the shutters.  You can quickly do this by rubbing away any rust flakes with a wire brush.  
  3. Now put on your rubber gloves to protect your hands and open a few windows so that your working area is adequately ventilated.  Take a pad of steel wool and put several drops of kerosene onto it.  Rub the kerosene into any areas of rust to remove the staining and discolouration.  
  4. Now it’s time to paint the shutters in a funky colour or colours of your choice.  Begin painting at the top of the shutters and work your way down so that you catch any drips.  Allow the paint to dry thoroughly as per the manufacturer’s directions.  
  5. To provide the metal shutters with protection against the elements, you’ll need to coat them in liquid car wax.  Use a clean cloth to apply a very thin, even skin of wax, working well into all the nooks and crannies.  It’s important to take your time over this job and be thorough to ensure that there are no areas that could be penetrated by rainwater.  Allow the wax to dry completely and then polish-up the shutters to a dazzling shine.  
  6. Next, dig two holes in the soil, in front of the wall or fence where you want your trellis to be sited.  The holes should be deep enough to fully incorporate the two ‘legs’ on the bottom of your shutters, and they should be close enough to the wall or fence to allow the trellis to fit flush against it.  Slide the shutter’s legs into the holes, fill the holes with soil, and tamp down firmly.

Your old metal shutters are now a stylish, weather-proof garden feature!  You can either plant your preferred climbers directly into the soil underneath the trellis or place some attractive pots adjacent to it.