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I read a post somewhere once where someone said that it was rather useless to decorate his yard with his nice lighted house in the background so he made some fake boards for his windows…made sense to me. I did this to the front of my house last year and it was the one thing I got the most positive comments on, so I’m doing the whole house this year. What makes this project especially nice is the price. Less than $5.00 (for this one window) and I used real wood.

Any Home Depot or Lowe's will have 6' fence pickets. They are normally ~$1.29 for the 4" wide ones and ~$1.89 for the 6" wide ones... HOWEVER; they will sell you the damaged ones at a discount (usually 25 – 50 cents each)… and it’s the damaged ones that you want!
This project is for a window that is 5' wide and 4' long.

Take one of your boards (red arrow indicates why it was sold as damaged)
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Rip it into ~3/4' strips. A 6" board will yield 5 – 6 strips
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I usually use some of the better boards at the top and bottom. This allows for decent stability. You could put a heavily damaged one here, but I recommend using at least one semi-decent board somewhere near the top and somewhere near the bottom. Attach your boards to the strips using 1” screws (I use course thread drywall screws). I use 2 screws per end on the top and bottom boards (you can see this on the lower left corner). All the other boards I use just 1 on the ends and 1 in the center. Attach the top and the bottom boards first, so as to keep your strips straight and your project square. Attach the corners first, measure to get the middle and then attach your middle support. I use a middle support for any windows over 3ft wide. If you have a window over 6ft wide, I recommend using more than one support between the edges.
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Many of the boards you get will most likely look like this one. Look for these at HD/Lowes. The ones with splits that go all the way through the board (front to back) are usually the ones that they will discount.
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Exaggerate the split! Using your hands, pull the board apart. Break it off, tear it all the way in half, or part way through. In this picture, you can see I tore it all the way thru and then attached it as if it was split at the very end.
View attachment 5430
 

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On this one, I only tore it about half way through and then pulled it apart before I attached it. Whatever ends up looking good to you is what you should do. Attach them right next to each other, gap them a little… whatever you want. Have fun with it and let your creativity flow!
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Finished product…
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To attach these to your house, I use these hooks…
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Screw it into the wood about 2” above and 2” in from the corner of your window. I use 1 on each top corner (total of 2) and only use 1 in the middle if the window is over 4’ wide. You can leave these in year round if you want and they really aren’t noticeable. If you do leave them up, you can also hang Christmas lights on these. (I don’t know what this “Christmas” thing is but it is apparently quite popular… whatever!)
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I use wire… you can use string or whatever else you find that works for you. If you do use string, make sure it’s pretty sturdy. I use the same loop on each end.
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I use inch and 5/8 screws for hanging.
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Here is the window with the hooks attached (arrows) but as I said, they are not that noticeable. I suppose they would be even less noticeable if you painted them to match your house.
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All Done!
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You can see the hook in this picture.
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Optional:
Paint your boards! Here is one of the window sections I did last year. Just make sure you don’t have anything behind it when you are painting.
View attachment 5440
 

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Good step by step how to for those that don't have boarded windows - and I never thought of asking for the damaged pickets, what a DOH! moment! :)

Thanks!
 

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If you work at or have access to a place that uses pallets the boards a very similar to this and are often weathered, and split naturally, and probably can be had for or nearly free.
 

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I've found that if you can't or don't want to use hooks to hang the boards, you can use some woodgrain contact paper and cardboard. It's lightweight and you just need thumbtacks to hold them in place.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures, but you can get the same general look as the photos above.

Personally, I go for a more random look i.e. people boarded up the window in a hurry to keep zombies out, so the boards are hap hazardly thrown up, cris crossed, etc.
 

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that is great! Thanks for the tutorial. I have a very wide window that is not at tall and want to do the Hallowindow in it this year and was worried about it looking distorted or lose some of the pic. Now I will board up some of the window from each side and leave the middle blank so the Hallowindow will show in that area! Love it! Also, my hubby doesn't share my obsession for Halloween and this is something so easy, that even I can do it without him and he will be quite impressed!
 

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DMINOR - Good idea on the hap-hazardness. I still have a few to do. I may give that a go. Thanks for the idea. As I said in my post, whatever you think looks best is really the right way to do it.
 

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I've been using dirty old pallet wood myself, but I do agree that my pre-fab panels can get pretty heavy. That's a good idea with the cedar boards, I'd just have to bury them in the garden for a couple weeks to get that decrepid look I like.
I think it just sets the mood if you can board up your house a week before the rest of your props go out. Just to get the neighbors talking. I've been able to board up my front door as well which is like icing on the cake for me. I'm wanting to get a couple notices stapled to the door as well, like an eviction notice and one saying it's condemned keep out. The best part is that it's still a functional door. I simply unscrewed the bars on my screen door, layed them on top of a prebuilt panel, mark out where the holes go on the bars, and drill my boarded panel into the same holes on the screen door. The door's still intact and usable. Although...the house I'm buying has a really nice glass storm door so I'm thinking of making another lightweight panel and atatching it with a heavy duty Christmas wreath hanger...what do you think.
 

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I think your boards look better than mine... that's what I think!! lol.

I was really trying to get away from being able to see a lot of glass behind them so that's why mine are closer together. If I can find a way to make the glass look broken, then I may end up doing it like you did... NIce Job!
 

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I've thought about taping some black cheese cloth or a screen or a black tarp to the other side of the door so people can't look in. I like the thought of being able to look out but them not be able to look in, even with all the lights on in the house.
As far as a broken glass look I've thought of having bloody shards of plexy glass somehow stuck to porch to give the appearence of something trying to break out rather than in. Imagine if you could rig an arm to wiggle or shake one of the loose boards back and forth. And another arm or two reaching around trying to grab the kiddies feet.
 
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''As far as a broken glass look I've thought of having bloody shards of plexy glass somehow stuck to porch to give the appearence of something trying to break out rather than in. Imagine if you could rig an arm to wiggle or shake one of the loose boards back and forth. And another arm or two reaching around trying to grab the kiddies feet.'''



Last year, Gardenridge sold fake shards of glass. Got some for 90% off. Here is a pic of it. The longest piece is about 3" and is flexible enough to bend with your fingers. Have a couple of extra packs. If you'd like a pack, p.m. me.
 

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OK, now I can't stop thinkin of how to get someone or something trying to break out of my boarded up windows.
Maybe you could use a wiper motor attatched to the arm. And attatch the desired board to a single bolt to pivot on. If it needs to be, make the motor detatchable so the window can be shut at the end of the night.
Here's just my idea if anyone wants to start a new thread and actually build it, 'cause I won't have time this year.
 
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