How to Make a Scarecrow (a real one–for a garden, etc.)

A scarecrow is, traditionally, a human-like figure that has been stuffed full of straw or other similar plant material and placed strategically in

a farmer’s field for the purpose of scaring away crows and other birds who may try to eat freshly planted seeds. The scarecrow concept has been found to date back to, at least, ancient Japan with the first reference occurring in the 700s. However, farmers have known for a while now that crows will very quickly become accustomed to

the presence of scarecrows making them largely ineffective. The solution by farmers in the 17th and 18th centuries was, they found, to shoot some of the crows with a shotgun, and then make a fake shotgun out of wood and place it in the hands of the scarecrows–this was found to keep the birds away for very long periods of time without any further effort being necessary. Current technology has progressed far beyond this and propane noise guns that fire at random and reflective metal attached to plants are used to deter crows (go down to the first thing listed under “Additional Resources and Further Reading” at the bottom of the page if you’ve actually got a bird/animal problem and need something to scare them away with).

That being said, many people wish to make a scarecrow for their own gardens not so much to deter any particular wildlife, but as decoration. If that is what you’ve got in mind, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve got a series of videos here by scarecrow expert Crystal Allison, who works at Colvin Run Mill in Virginia, Fairfax County’s award-winning operational 19th century water powered gristmill–she’s going to show you exactly how to make your own historically accurate scarecrow. Let’s get started.

Part 1: Basic necessary materials and equipment

Part 2: Arms and head

Part 3: Upper body

Part 4: Lower body and legs

Part 5: Putting everything together

Additional Resources and Further Reading

If you’ve genuinely got a bird/animal problem in your garden and need something to scare them away, the best choice by far is a Contech Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler that you can get there from Amazon (check the reviews on it), it works better than any kind of ultra-sonic device or foil tape or whatnot.

Here’s a nice set of step-by-step instructions and pictures you could use if you want a different perspective.