Monday, June 21, 2021

Assembly Instructions for Barn Window Frames and Shutters

Below are the assembly instructions for my custom SVG files for window frames and shutters for Breyer's big two-stall barn with cupola.  

If you haven't yet purchased the files and would like to you can find them in my Etsy shop.

Barn Window and Door Frames

Barn Shutters


Setting up the File and Cutting

  1. Because the Cricut software does not import items in a specific size, a red square is included to help with sizing.  That red square should be 1 inch square.  When it is that size, the rest of the pieces will be approximately the correct size. 
  2. These pieces are meant to be cut from 24pt chipboard.  

All of the pieces and materials I use for this project are collected on one of my Amazon lists. Please note this is an affiliate link so I do make a small amount from any purchases you make through this list.  If you’re not comfortable with that I also make sure to include the names and photos of things so you can search for them on your own.

Instructions Specific for the Barn Window Frames

  • The barn frames are meant to be two layers thick when using 24pt chipboard.
  • This means the file includes the following:
    • 2x Door Frame
    • 4x Dormer Window Frame (the window below where the hay hook goes)
    • 8x Small Side Window Frames
    • 8x Large Side Window Frames
  • Once all pieces have been doubled up (two pieces layered together) you will end up with the following:
    • 1 Door Frame
    • 2 Dormer Window Frames
    • 4 Small Side Window Frames
    • 4 Large Side Window Frames
  • Once the pieces have been layered, hardened, prepped, and painted I simply glue them onto the barn.  You can use any glue you like for this part of the process.  If you're using a glue with a long working time you can secure the frames with small pieces of painters tape while the glue dries.

Instructions Specific for Barn Shutters

  • Each shutter is designed to be 4 layers. 
    • 1 solid back layer
    • 1 panel layer 
    • 2 cross bar layers.
  • I highly recommend finishing the shutters completely before attaching the hinges.  This way you don't accidentally lock a hinge up by getting paint or glue into it during the building process.
  • You will need 2 hinges for each shutter.  To do the entire barn, it means you'll need a total of 28 total hinges (7 windows with 2 shutters per window and 2 hinges per shutter).  I included the hinges I used on my Amazon supply list.  They're approximately 1/2 inch tall and have 1/4 inch of width from the edge to the hinge and a total width of about 9/16 inches.  These are the size hinges the cutouts on the panel layer are meant to accept.  
    • You can use any similarly sized hinges or hinges that are smaller.  If you do larger ones you may need to make the cut out on the panel layer larger.
    • I HIGHLY recommend looking for hinges meant for small boxes, NOT ones meant for dollhouses.  The difference is that dollhouse hinges are mounted with small nails while hinges for boxes are mounted with screws.
  • Once you have finished the shutters there will be a gap on one of the layers where the hinges can be inserted.  I squeezed super glue into that gap and slid the hinge in.  I did not use screws on the shutters themselves. 
  • To attach to the barn I held the shutter in place with painters tape and then used the screws to screw the hinge straight through the frame and into the barn itself.

Layering Pieces

1. Layering is meant to help build up thickness when using a thinner material.  If you're cutting from a heavier material, you can easily skip the layering steps below.

2. Start with the two pieces you're going to layer together.

3. For layering I use Zig 2 Way Glue.  It goes on blue and as it dries it turns clear.  This isn’t going to do the heavy lifting, it’s just holding everything together until the hardening stage.  You can use any glue as long as it will not cause the chipboard to warp or swell.


4. Lay down a layer of the Zig on one of the two pieces you're layering together.  Then place the second piece on top and align the edges so they match as closely as possible.


5. To get a nice tight grip and so the layers don’t keep trying to peel apart I go over the pieces with a hard rubber brayer roller.  It seals the layers together a little better during the construction phase.

6. And after the braying process.



1. The next step is hardening.  While you can technically skip these steps, I highly recommend you do not.  Hardening stiffens the chipboard, reinforces the layering and makes the entire piece more durable.

2. For hardening I like to use Starbond Thin super glue.  When I purchase this on Amazon it comes with a long nozzle and small tube attachments for that nozzle.  I use both to get the finest control I can. Please make sure you use this in a well-ventilated area and be very careful not to get it on your skin, clothing, or furniture.

3. You’re going to carefully run lines of this along the edges of the layered pieces.  Let it soak into and saturate the chipboard. 


Finish and Prep

1. Between the way the Cricut cuts and the super glue there can be some swelling along the edges of pieces.  I just take a foam sanding block and lightly sand any rough spots or ridges.  You can also use a needle file or exacto blade.  This is also good for cleaning up any areas where the frames may not have aligned perfectly for whatever reason.

2. To finish this off you’ll prime and paint the way you would a wooden piece.  I didn’t take photos of this stage since you can take care of it any way you wish.  I just use Rustoleum spray primer and do additional sanding as needed between layers then paint with either spray paint or acrylic paint.