The basic scarecrow design hearkens back to pre-industrial agricultural communities where people set up figures that vaguely resembled humans to scare away birds and other pests from their gardens. That's why ornamental scarecrows still should suggest a human figure.
In the classic design, old clothing is stuffed with straw and attached to some sort of solid support post. Scarecrow heads are often fashioned out of cloth or burlap sacks stuffed with straw or leaves, or a pumpkin can serve as a more striking head. But don't feel that you're limited to the classic design with its traditional materials.
Here are 15 ideas to make a scarecrow using different types of materials and themes.
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Burlap Scarecrow Face
Scarecrows don't always have to be scary. This one sports a rather goofy face drawn on burlap. Burlap gives the scarecrow a rustic appearance and looks like it belongs in the garden. After all, burlap is often used to protect plants in winter and to wrap plants for transportation. Plus, the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz" sports a burlap face.
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Of course, you always can get a little spooky with your scarecrow, especially if you're using it for a Halloween decoration. This scarecrow also uses burlap for the face with material twisted upward to form the ears. Then, it's just a matter of drawing your best werewolf face on the burlap.
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Cloth Scarecrow Face
While it's not as rustic as burlap, any type of cloth can be used to form a scarecrow head. An advantage of using cloth is it's easier to draw on than the rough and scratchy burlap. Simple black magic marker works well for making facial features.
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Scarecrow With Jack-o'-Lantern Head
A jack-o'-lantern is a festive option for a scarecrow head around Halloween time. Because carved pumpkins rot quickly, you could use a plastic jack-o'-lantern for a long-lasting scarecrow head. Or you could try making a head from a dried hard-shell gourd, which will last longer than a carved pumpkin.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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Scarecrow With Flower Pot Head
An overturned flower pot can make for a fun and simple scarecrow head. A plastic pot is best, as it will be light enough to be attached to your scarecrow support post. Pick one that's about the size of a human's head, so it's to scale with the scarecrow clothing. Facial features, such as fake flowers for the eyes, can be hot-glued onto the plastic.
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Wooden Pumpkin Head
You always can cut a scarecrow head out of a piece of wood in any shape of your choosing. In fact, some people opt to make a scarecrow whose entire body is a painted wooden cut-out. A wooden pumpkin head that's painted and decorated is fitting for the harvest and Halloween season.
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Metal Pot Scarecrow Head
Here's a scarecrow that looks more like the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz" thanks to its metal pot for a head. The metal gives the scarecrow an earthier and more rustic feel, especially compared to using a more modern plastic flower pot. Decorating materials can be hot-glued to the metal to form a face.
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Wooden Scarecrow Frame
A scarecrow with clothing supported on a basic wooden frame makes for a simple and stable decoration. Drive a support pole into the ground, and screw the wooden framework right into the pole. Then, dress your frame. You don't even have to stuff the scarecrow if you don't want the mess of straw or leaves.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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This scarecrow is basically a bundle of corn stalks that has been dressed up. A cloth head and cloth hat sit on top of a cornstalk "body." Material covers the mid-section as if it were a shawl or poncho, effectively suggesting a division between a torso and legs. Stiff wires sticking out on either side of the support pole provide "arms" over which the material is draped.
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This scarecrow doesn't use a conventional straight pole as a means for support. Instead, the scarecrow is set up on a bicycle. It's a whimsical use for a vintage bike that isn't functional enough to ride anymore. Plus, you can attach a straw basket to the bike to coordinate with your scarecrow.
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Scarecrow With a Wig
You often see straw hats and straw hair on scarecrows. But it can be fun to break the mold with a wig instead. A red wig in particular is a bold look that will show up from a distance. And it coordinates with the reds and oranges of the harvest season.
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Rather than being purely decorative, a scarecrow can also serve a useful purpose (besides scaring off crows). This scarecrow has a plastic pot for a head that functions as a garden planter. Choose short ornamental grasses or plants that cascade over the sides of pots for your planter to serve as hair for the scarecrow.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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Why stop at one scarecrow? Make a whole scarecrow family to represent your own family if you'd like. Everyone in the family can decorate their scarecrow however they want, including carving their own jack-o'-lanterns for the heads and picking out clothes.
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Another option for a scarecrow display is to create a scene with a theme. And as raking leaves is a common fall activity, it's a natural fit for your scarecrow scene. Set up your scarecrows where leaves fall on your yard, and lean rakes against them. For an authentic look, fit gardening gloves over the scarecrows' straw arms to look like hands.
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Scarecrow on a Hay Bale
Hay bales make wonderful seats for scarecrows, evoking a rustic farm feeling. Plus, if you lean your scarecrow on a hay bale and stuff it with hay, you likely won't need another form of support pole. Surround the scarecrow with pumpkins, cornstalks, or fall flowers to complete the festive autumnal look.