How to Make a Scarecrow


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how to make scarecrow
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jerry

Build a Scarecrow and Recycle

Sometimes it takes a lot of effort in order to recycle and make recycling a habit. That’s why it’s fantastic when something is traditionally made with recycled materials. One such autumn decoration is the scarecrow, whose original purpose as a dummy in a cornfield meant that it was thrown together with whatever spare materials a farmer might have had.

Although most of us no longer have to scare crows out of cornfields, scarecrows are still a very popular decoration to put up in fall as a reminder that it’s harvest time. It’s also a great reminder to get down to our farmers’ market to take home some of that local harvest!

If you want to learn how to make scarecrow for your yard or garden, they’re easy and fun to make yourself, and you can do it the old fashioned way- using lots of creativity and materials you already have. Many towns even hold scarecrow-making contests, which offer a great opportunity to show off your creation.

Getting Started

First decide what size your scarecrow should be. Where will you display it? At their most basic level, scarecrows are two sticks arranged in a “t” shape with stuffed clothes. If you want the full, free-standing, cornfield model, you’ll want to rummage up some old clothing and a frame sized appropriately. If you’d like a smaller, table-sized version then perhaps some old doll clothes or children’s clothes will determine the size.

What You’ll Need

how to make scarecrow
Creative Commons License photo credit: garryknight

Clothes:

  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Old jeans or long pants

Other clothes you might want to add:

  • Gloves
  • Boots or shoes
  • Old tights or pantyhose

For the construction:

  • A “t” frame. This is made of two poles, fence stakes, old broom/rake handles, tomato stakes, spare lumber, or anything else you might have on hand.
  • Twine, string or rope.
  • Plastic bags used to protect newspapers or garbage bags.
  • Stuffing material- old newspaper, straw, old plastic bags, etc. You could even use dry raked leaves!
  • Other tools you might want are safety pins, hot glue, a needle and thread, rubber bands, or anything else you have on hand that you would like to use. Your construction can be as simple or elaborate as you like.

For the head:

  • An old pillowcase, burlap sack, pumpkin, etc.
  • Buttons, paint, markers, or a Halloween mask to make the face.

Putting it Together

how to make scarecrow
Creative Commons License photo credit: dawarwickphotography

1. Start with the frame. This could be a complex piece of carpentry or two sticks secured together with twine or rope.

2. For the torso, place the shirt on the frame. If rain is not an issue, tie off the ends of the sleeves themselves and stuff the shirt with your stuffing of choice. If you’re attaching gloves to the sleeve ends, make sure to put a bit of stuffing in them too, and attach them with safety pins or tie the gloves to the shirt. If you have straw, just leave the straw sticking out of the sleeves without gloves.

Stuffing old pantyhose also makes great arms. To make a scarecrow that will hold up in various autumn weather, stuff plastic bags (garbage bags or long thin plastic bags used to protect newspapers work well) into a tube shape and cover with the shirt.

3. Tie off the bottom of the pants and stuff them as you did with the shirt. Connect the two halves- safety pins work well. Tuck the ends of the legs into boots or shoes, or leave them with a bit of straw coming out. Tights stuffed with plastic bags are great for making a female scarecrow if you’d like to use a skirt or dress.

Now is a good time to place your scarecrow where you would like it to stand, either by pounding the frame into the ground (if the frame is sturdy enough) or attaching it to a fence.

4. Finally, construct the head. In many cases you might want to add the face before you stuff it. Connect the head to the body, and top with the hat!

Now that you’ve got the basic idea, feel free to experiment. There’s no reason why your scarecrow should be limited to standing stiffly in your garden. Use coat hangers to make the arms or legs bendable. Change the frame height and have your scarecrow sitting in a chair or on the porch steps. Add rustic looking touches like old patches onto the clothes.

Display your new stuffed friend!

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