Repainting Wooden Shutters – France

Charming  French  roof  tops with  painted  shutters

Shutter painted (USE COVER), top bedroom, open, walls, greenery, roofs - 001 - annotated, smaller

In the shady streets of old Agde, the second oldest port town in France, glorious yellow honeysuckle and roses climb and cascade down the walls of the houses.

Yellow Roses, Honeysuckle view from lower window - 001 - edited
Tumbling honeysuckle: a tapestry view on a plain wall.  Top left out of sight are yellow roses.
Shutters, new paint, terrace evening light - 003 - edited - annotated
Shutter painting prepared and in progress in evening light on the roof terrace – shutters laid flat on large dinner table and set of metal frames.

Painting Preparation 

VIDEO (click) – Sanding Prep Commentary

Shutters need preparing, to remove ingrained dirt after first cleaning, and sanding where paint has become loose, due to heat and damp damage in the South of France.  Hand sanding commenced on some shutters, revealing previous colours.

Balcony Shutters, first hand sanded, black hinge right - 002 - annotated
The balcony bedroom shutters are the largest, and heaviest, accessed in situ from a chair.
I had previously painted them pale grey over dark green, now any thicker painted areas are removed, during sanding, for a smoother surface.

Balcony upper shutters, hand sanded - 001 - editedBlack hinges were previously painted in Hammerite and look good still after 7 years

Shutter, long hinge, rot damaged end - 003 - edited - annotated

Shutter machine sanded, metal bar - 003 - annotated
All shutters have metal ‘furniture’ to avoid painting.

The hinges of some shutters (painted by others) have a faux distressed wear affect: painted green ‘verdigris’ as undercoat, covered loosely with dark grey, or watered down black.  They look effective from a distance and have been left as is.

When metal becomes very tarnished, or even rusty, they can be painted black.  Lay cloth around to avoid black splashes on new shutter coats.  Unscrewing and removal is recommended before painting, if time allows; but if not, as was the case here, have wet cloth ready to wipe off shutter paint, if the brush marks the black metal.

First Paint Coats

Twelve shutters in all, both sides, two coats = 48 coat sides!  Ground floor shutters painted downstairs; bedroom balcony shutters left in situ, reached by standing on a chair; the others painted on the roof terrace.

  VIDEO (click) – Painting in process 

Shutter painted, terrace view of derelict shutters - 003 -edited - annotated
The sun terrace is a cut-out bedroom space, with great light for working under.  Succulents survive over winter in centre of terrace; moved to sill again during visits.

Finished Shutters

Shutters 3 finnished house front - 001 - edited
Finished shutters.  They are heavy to lift off and on their pins; thankfully a strong neighbour   assisted.  The terrace window shutters will be replaced where they have had water damage.
Shutters, painted, back bedroom balcony and ground floor grills - 002 - edited, cropped
Balcony bedroom shutters and lower living room shutters with security grill.

Floral views from ground floor living room window in May.

Living room window, red roses, shutters open - 003 - edited - annotated

Red roses, Agde window - 003 - edited
Charming colour in narrow shaded streets.  Photography does not catch the vividness of the red.
Yellow Roses from top small shutter window
Yellow roses above the mass of honeysuckle at top of the house, view from top terrace bedroom.

VIDEO (click) View from top shutter windows.

Yellow Roses from top floor small shutter window

The streets of old Agde are very narrow with 3 or 4 storey houses, so the views are often shaded from lower windows.  Shrubbery grown up walls gives a special interpretation of nature; a must to visit during flowering time in May.

3 shutters - middle open, top closed, dirty neighbour wall, street light
The yellow roses and tumbling honeysuckle wall is viewable from the bedroom balcony.

VIDEO (Click) – How-to-do technique – curved window frame

Terrace, curved window painting

Agde ville rooftops October 2015 - 003 - edited - annotated
View from the roof terrace with Agde Cathedral in black stone to the left.


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Wind Chimes ~ Hand painted wood with shell pendulums

Windchimes closer

Recycled wooden circles, with geometric acrylic varnished painting decoration.

Pendulum ‘chime’ shells hang on knotted leather cords tied to metal rings on lower edge of wooden circles.  Razor shells make a pleasant gentle mid-toned ‘clatter’ when moving.

Windchimes 4 designs, varnish drying ANNOTATED

Windchimes two geometric distressed designs drying on wall - 50% res. - ANNOTATED
Distressed layers of paint design, varnished over.
  • Paint circles black with emulsion (water based paint).
  • Paint acrylic colour over, leaving border for another colour.
  • Paint ‘crackle-glaze’ solution (purchased).
  • When just about dry (not to dry), paint over gently with a large soft artist’s brush in a contrasting colour.  Paint should not be too thick (i.e. not straight out of tubes), but mixed with water to a single cream consistency.   Move brush carefully, and in a slightly blobbing like fashion, in circles, to avoid unbalanced marks and encourage circular markings.  Water content and drying times, will determine how the crackle layer works.
  • Note:  Crackle-glaze is unpredictable: practice with drying times of the glaze and water content of covering paint mix helps.  If it does not crackle well, some sanding will produce a distressed surface, showing paint colour layers through.
  • Draw geometric designs in dark pencil: paint lines with ‘liner’ brush (a narrow and long brush head, which spreads to required width and holds the line evenly as paint is dragged along one side of pencil line. (no need for two pencil lines)
  • Spirals can be painted with just one stroke of an artist’s round brush, starting in the centre and sweeping in an ever increasing curve. (practice on paper before if needed)
  • Coat circles art in at least 3 layers of water based acrylic varnish for protection.  It dries in 20 mins, but leave 2 hours between coats.  Note: Long lasting oil based polyurethane varnish can be used as a fourth coat for outdoor protection.  (16 hours drying time)
Windchime tying on razor shells - 50% res
Fixing razor shells to wood circles with leather cord.
  • Screw metal ‘screw eyes’ into one edge of wooden circle.
  • Drill holes carefully into top of razor shells.
  • Lightly sand off any brown seaweed stuck to shells. (they are brittle and can break) Paint could also be rubbed into razor shell grain at this stage to tone in with wood.
  • Using thin leather cord (available in colours), attach to razor shells to screw eye rings.  Metal wind chimes can be included, to nestle in the concave side of the shells, to increase the wind noise: also smaller shells can be tied on at the tops.  Note:  I found a clearer sound resulted form purely the razor shells alone.
  • Experiment with shell length and positions for ‘sound making’.
  • Use thick leather/suede strips to make hanging loops to hang onto trees, or hooks outside.
Painting circles on wood scraps - 800 px
Circles painted in advance of cutting out on softwood

Circles are cut incrementally from squares; sawing and filing off 4 corner facets.

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