Bye bye black birds!

Scarecrows are not just for scaring away pesky birds so that they don’t eat your vegetables or seeds that you’ve just sown. They can be dressed up in your old clothes, to give them a personality and used to brighten up any part of your garden at any time of year. Just for fun, use them at the entrance to give visitors a warm welcome and make mini scarecrows to add finishing touches to your patio displays.

Making a scarecrow is a craft project that the whole family can enjoy

As well as imagination, all you’ll need are a wooden broom handle and a stout stick about 20cm long – an old rake handle and a shovel handle would do. Plus some strong garden twine.

Typically dad’s old trousers and shirt is the style but you can make scarecrows of different sizes using babies, toddlers and children’s clothes – just make the length of broom handles slightly small each time.

Ask the family for some old clothes to dress your scarecrow and if you want them to be scary, use red clothes as crows, blackbirds and starling see this colour as a sign of danger!

For the padding, straw is traditionally used but old plastic bags filled with scrunched up newspaper or mum’s old tights can be just as good.

Using the twine, secure the shorter stick across the top part of a broom handle to form a cross shape and the shoulders for your scarecrow. Make the body, by putting the shirt onto the crosspiece first and pad it out with the stuffing.

You can thread one trouser leg down the pole and after tucking in the shirt, use rope or an old belt to tie the pants to the pole. Tie the ends of the sleeves and trouser cuffs with twine and then fill the body of the scarecrow, starting with at the bottom of the legs and working your way upward.

Old-fashioned scarecrows always have a little straw sticking out of the cuffs of the shirtsleeves and bottom of the trousers to form hands and feet and more around the top of the shirt to look like a neck.

For a more realistic-looking hands you could stuff old gardening gloves and fix them to the shirtsleeves with twine and recycle a pair of work boots

Push the scarecrow anchor pole 60cm into the ground in a spot in amongst your flowers or vegetables so that it appears that he is standing on the ground. It can be helpful to put it against a fence that will provide some additional support.

Finally, add the crowning glory – his head!

Make the head by stuffing a Hessian bag or old pillowcase and either paint a funny or scary face on it. Alternatively use buttons to make the nose and eyes and scraps of material for the mouth. Place it securely on top of the pole and crown the head with a hat pushing some straw underneath it with strands dangling out to look like hair.




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