The easiest way to make a scarecrow this fall
Fall is a magical time. The leaves change color, the air turns brisk, hot apple cider and bonfires trend and scarecrows arrive.
If you’ve never ventured beyond pumpkin carving and need scarecrow craft ideas, that changes today. Our DIY expert, Beth Allen, founder of Home Improvement Project Chicks, or HIP Chicks, shared the easiest way to make a DIY scarecrow.
A brief history of scarecrows
As a proto-scarecrow, ancient Egyptians used wooden frames draped in nets to help protect their crops. When startled by farmers hiding in the fields, birds would fly into the netting and become trapped. Often, they would also become a meal.
It wasn’t until ancient Greek farmers began carving wooden figures to look like Priapus that the modern scarecrow was born. According to mythology, Priapus was cursed by a jealous Hera to be so ugly just the mere sight of him scared away birds.
With other ways to protect crops from birds today, scarecrows have become a symbol of the season. While they can look scary for Halloween, these decorative items represent the entire fall season, from the first harvest through Thanksgiving.
How to make a scarecrow
While making it may seem a little overwhelming, our DIY expert assures that a scarecrow craft project is a fun, easy way to involve the whole family. Allen has broken the process into two sections: building the frame and making the scarecrow.
Building the frame
The frame is what holds the scarecrow. While many other articles say to use wood or lash two posts together, Allen said to consider polyvinyl chloride pipe and fittings. Yes, the same materials you use for plumbing. “If you’re using wood and you’re trying to screw and nail things together, it’s a little bit harder to get your kids involved,” Allen reasoned. “Using PVC is easy. And it’s a way to get the kids engaged.”
- A 5-foot piece of 1-inch PVC tubing for the body.
- A 1-foot piece for the head.
- Two 2-foot pieces for the arms.
- One 1-inch PVC cross fitting.
- One PVC cutter.
- Sandpaper for smoothing cut edges of the PVC pipes.
- PVC primer and PVC cement for making your frame permanent (optional).
- Cut all pieces of PVC tubing to size.
- Deburr and smooth any rough edges that resulted from cutting.
- Assemble the frame: place the 2-foot pieces on either side, the 1-foot piece on the top and the 5-foot piece on the bottom of the PVC cross-fitting. If you wish to disassemble the frame after use for easy storage, do not cement it. If you prefer a sturdier build, follow the PVC primer and PVC cement directions to fasten all pieces together.
Making the scarecrow
This is where your creativity comes into play. Give your imagination permission to adapt these guidelines when building your scarecrow. For example, you could use a burlap bag for the head and add gloves and boots.
- A large shirt (button-down is best).
- Rugged pants.
- A large plastic flower pot.
- A straw hat.
- A neckerchief.
- Rubber bands.
- Put the shirt over the frame and button it up.
- Rubber band the waist and wrists.
- Fill with straw.
- Hang the pants using the suspenders.
- Rubber band the cuffs and fill with straw.
- Place the plastic flower pot upside down on the top and add the hat and scarf.
What is furniture-grade PVC?
When shopping for PVC, you may notice some offerings of furniture-grade PVC. All this means is the pieces are made to be seen. They have a richer pigmentation, there is no writing on them and the edges may be rounded for better aesthetics. Also, this type of PVC endures direct sunlight better. Since the frame for your scarecrow is hidden from view (and sunlight) for the most part, using furniture-grade PVC is an option, not a necessity.
Do scarecrows work?
If you have a garden and want to protect your crops, a scarecrow is an option. However, you can’t stick one in the ground and expect it to scare away birds for the entire season. There are a few tricks to getting the most out of your scarecrow.
- Make it flashy: A bird depends on its eyes and ears to gather information about the environment, predators and other hazards. Adding reflective tape, old CDs or a reflective safety vest can make a bird a little more cautious about getting too close.
- Add movement: You don’t have to make the entire scarecrow move. Hang something such as a wind spinner from the scarecrow to keep the birds on their toes.
- Make it noisy: Anything that makes noise can startle a bird away. Rustling straw, wind chimes or any other item that makes noise can help increase the scarecrow’s performance.
- Change details: Since birds have keen eyesight, changing the clothing on your scarecrow from time to time may help. However, this can be a time-sensitive process, unless you’re only swapping out a hat.
- Move the scarecrow: Animals adapt. If your scarecrow remains in the same location, birds will learn it isn’t a threat. Pulling it out of the ground and moving it to a new location may cause enough concern so birds stay away for a few more days.
What you need to make a DIY scarecrow
These durable PVC pipes are ideal for your scarecrow’s frame. They are UV-resistant to hold up better when outdoors.
This is the cross piece you need for the center of your scarecrow frame. Again, it is UV-resistant for durability.
There are several ways to cut PVC pipes. However, this ratcheting model is the best way to get a precise, clean cut.
Sanding is optional. You want to do it to give your pieces a better fit. If you are going to sand, this fast-cutting fine paper is an excellent option.
To make your frame permanent, the PVC will need to be primed and glued. This convenient combo pack has everything you need to do exactly that.
Most of us do not have a neckerchief lying around. If you want to add a little personal flair, this offering comes in red, blue, black or white.
You need a tough rubber band to tie off the opening, so the straw doesn’t fall out. These heavy-duty options are suitable for the task.
While you can use rope or twine to hold your scarecrow’s pants up, suspenders are a much more fashionable option.
Just flip this affordable plastic planter upside down, draw a face and your scarecrow now has a personality.
This fun scarecrow hat can be a good, affordable option to top off your creation.
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