How to build your own scarecrow

Fending off birds and other plant and vegetable feathered foes is a mission a scarecrow pulls off with glee. But frightening birds away doesn’t mean your scarecrow must look scary! Actually, what is attractive to us is repulsive to them!

Build this useful ornament yourself for a tip-top garden or balcony. These step-by-step instructions should appeal to quite a lot of us. Of course, this is something you can involve your children or grand-children in, they’ll find it thrilling.

Time to make: 1h30

Equipment you’ll need

  • 5 swaths of cloth of different colors (deep red, sky blue, deep blue, red, orange)
  • Adhesive felt
  • Straw
  • White plastic bag or pouch
  • Raffia
  • String
  • Thick wool string
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • A bamboo stem or a broomstick

Step by step

  • Select the cloth that will serve for the trunk or body of your scarecrow. This swath of cloth should be about 3 feet (1 meter) wide on both sides. For the one made here, we chose sky blue. Fold the cloth in half. The result is a double-clad rectangle sized 1½ feet by 3 feet (½ by 1 meter). Add arms and legs.

  • Take the string and sow the arms and legs to the body to attach them, but don’t sow the ends shut yet.
  • Fold the cloth over in such a way that the right arm and right leg are paired over the left arm and leg. Use your scissors to cut a V-shaped collar near the top fold.
  • Gather your straw and stuff the scarecrow with it. Keep stuffing until straw juts out of each arm and leg, and tie it shut with the raffia. The straw sticking out will look like hands and feet, and will help frighten the birds away.
  • Select the cloth that will serve for your scarecrow’s head. This cloth should be about 20 inches (50 cm) by 20 inches (50 cm) square. For ours, we selected orange.
  • Fill in a small plastic pouch with straw and tie it shut to form a ball.
  • Place it in the center of the cloth, bring the four corners over to one side and tie it shut with raffia. This will be the neck of your scarecrow. Normally, some of the cloth must still be hanging free.
  • From the felt this time, cut out eyes, eyebrows, a nose and mouth. Stick them on the head thanks to the adhesive felt.

Pas à pas épouvantail

  • Reach for your bamboo stem (or broomstick) and sink it into your scarecrow’s head, through the neck that is tied with raffia.
  • Slide the bamboo stem through the collar, down through the groin of your scarecrow. Use raffia to sturdily attach the head, collar, and bamboo stem together so that your scarecrow stands firm. This may be a bit difficult. Feel free to staple the head and body together if raffia isn’t enough, to ensure a tight fit.
  • After that, select another piece of cloth – we chose red – to make a bandana that we place at the scarecrow’s neck. This hides the ungainly staples and raffia and looks quite fashionable, too.
  • With the deep red cloth, we sewed a nice jacket for the scarecrow. Fold the cloth in half, and cut a large rectangle from the center of one of the sides of the cloth. Place the uncut half at the back of the scarecrow, and the two extending parts over the shoulders to the front. With the thick string, tie the jacket to the body with a knot, like a belt.
  • The last piece of cloth, which for us is deep blue (20 inches (50 cm) by 20 inches or 50 cm square), will serve to make the hat. To each side of the cloth, tie knots that will help the hat sit well on the scarecrow’s head.

It’s all set! After that, place it wherever you wish.

Laetitia Devillars

Image credits: Laetitia Devillars (copyright)