Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn Project: Construct a Scarecrow

For figures of such floppy posture, scarecrows have an enduring history that spans centuries, countries, and cultures. Iconic symbols of the harvest, they truly come into their own in autumn, lurking in corn mazes and perched on (or with heads made of) pumpkins. Ranging from goofy to spooky, they can be humble or filled with personality. However you prefer your straw figures, putting them together is a fun fall project for people of all ages, and can be accomplished with materials you probably already have on hand. Get your yard dressed for the season!

Photo by Felder Rushing

This is the classic way to make a scarecrow stand up. These instructions were created by Linda Tilgner of Bennington, Vermont, for her ­second-grade class and her book Let’s Grow: 72 Gardening Adventures with Children (Storey Books).

What You Need:

  • Two poles, one 5–6' long, one 2–3' long
  • Heavy twine
  • A pillowcase, sack, or nylon stocking
  • Permanent markers OR yarn or embroidery thread and needle
  • Straw, hay, or dry leaves for stuffing; see page 21 for other suggestions
  • Rag mop head or straw for hair
  • A shirt and overalls or jeans
  • A hat and hat pins
  • Gloves, scarf
  • Optional accessories: broom, rake, mop, etc.

Illustration by Chuck Galey

How to Do It:
  1. Make the shoulders by attaching the short pole perpendicular to the long one, about a foot from the top, and lashing the two together with heavy twine.
  2. Pound the long pole into the ground.
  3. Draw a face on the pillowcase, sack, or stocking. Go over it with permanent markers, or stitch the features with yarn or embroidery thread.
  4. Stuff the head with straw, hay, or dry leaves.
  5. Slide the head over the top of the long pole and tie it around the neck with twine.
  6. Add a rag mop head or straw for hair, and pin on a hat.
  7. Dress the scarecrow in a shirt, overalls or jeans, gloves, scarf, and whatever else you wish. Stuff with straw.
  8. Add any accessories you wish to make your scarecrow look at home in your yard!
Excerpted from Scarecrows © 1998 by Felder Rushing. All rights reserved.

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