Front Yard Scarecrows:
How to Make One
Once an old-world emblem and tool for entire farming communities that protected the fields in the farmer’s absence, the scarecrow has become one of the most popular and versatile harvest figures. A scarecrow can be scary or friendly.
It has been an agricultural figure around the world for centuries. For example, The Russian field spirit polevoj passed from the forest to the field at midday and punished those he found doing damage to the crops.
America’s industrial revolution with its technological advances in farming equipment and techniques gave the scarecrow less field work to do. Even so, this valued farming character continued to be an important symbol and by the 1800’s was being used for decoration as well as for practical purposes. Individual creative expression became more commonplace and the scarecrow took on a more ornamental and artistic nature.
This traditional folk art has found its way from the large crops and extended back yard gardens to the landscape of modern front yards and porches. Colorful and even flamboyant, it can welcome friends or ward off foes.
Making a front yard scarecrow is something the whole family can do. The scarecrow can reflect what the family is interested in. For instance, a soccer family may want their scarecrow to look like a soccer goalie and a family fond of science fiction may choose to build a space age scarecrow.
Here are some easy scarecrow-making tips:
Basic structure: Often a “T” made of lengths of wood forms the backbone and arms. Other options include a broom handle, or baseball bat. The scarecrow can be standing, sitting, lounging in a lawn chair or mounted on the wall with twine and nail.
Clothes: use any article of clothing that would have been discarded, including faded old blue jeans, outgrown party dresses, ties, Halloween costumes, scarves, gloves, and shoes.
Stuffing: Use wadded up newspaper (stuffed into plastic bags to keep dry), and old plastic gallon-size milk container that can fit into pant legs and shirt arms.
Head and Face: A simple head can be made of a board with stapled on paper bag that has been decorated or a more complex paper-mache version with glitter, make-up and stickers can be used to create beautiful, comedic or harsh looking faces.
Accessories and extras: Apply costume jewelry, a stuffed animal, an old baseball mitt, watering can, or even bedroom slippers. There’s no limit to what your scarecrow can be!