How to Make a Scarecrow in Four Simple Steps

Use easy step-by-step instructions for a scary-good project to keep pests away from your plants.

Published February 27, 2023
Scarecrow in a field

A scarecrow is a tried-and-true way to freak out the pests who would damage your garden, protecting your flowers and vegetables without chemicals or fancy gadgets. Don't worry if you don't know how to make a scarecrow, though. It's incredibly easy and fun, and this is a project you can do with a spare hour of your time.

You can dress your scarecrow in anything you want - from cast-off overalls to a prom dress from the thrift store. The point is to create a vaguely human shape that will make birds, bunnies, and other bothersome critters think twice before they take a nibble from your tomato plants.

1. Gather Your Scarecrow Materials

To make a scarecrow, you will need the following materials:

  • Six-foot sturdy wooden stake
  • Four-foot wooden crosspiece
  • Old clothes, including gloves and a hat
  • Burlap sack
  • Straw or hay
  • Safety pins
  • Twine and scissors
  • Hammer and nails
  • Craft paint and brushes

2. Make the Scarecrow Frame

Now you're ready to start construction. Don't worry - this is one of those things that really shouldn't be perfect. The biggest thing to keep in mind is making it sturdy.

  1. You need to put the shirt on the scarecrow before you make the frame (otherwise you won't be able to get it on), so slip the four-foot crosspiece through the sleeves of the shirt.
  2. Next, lay the six-foot stake on a work surface and position the crosspiece about two feet from the top of the stake, making a cross shape.
  3. Nail the crosspiece to the stake. Don't stress if it's not quite even or level; remember, imperfection is a bonus here.
  4. You should now have a wooden cross shape with a shirt on it. Drive the wooden stake into the ground in the spot you want your scarecrow.

3. Create the Scarecrow's Body

If your scarecrow's shirt has buttons, button them up most of the way. Add overalls or pants. Fill the old clothes with straw or hay to create the body of the scarecrow. Tie the waist and legs of the clothes to the stake to secure the body in place. Stuff the gloves and tie them to the end of the sleeves.

Girl Making Scarecrow
Helpful Hack

The clothes can kind of move around while you're stuffing them, so use safety pins to hold them in their basic position while you work.

4. Add a Head to Your Scarecrow

Now for the super fun part! The head of your scarecrow will be the burlap sack, but you need to paint a face on it. Birds and critters in your garden won't actually care whether the scarecrow has a face, but it's just entertaining to give it one.

Stuff the head with hay or straw. Then, use craft paints to make the face. When it's dry, use twine to tie it to the top of the stake. Add a hat.

No Wrong Way to Make a Scarecrow

One of the best things about making a scarecrow is that there really isn't any way to do it wrong. As long as the frame is reasonably sturdy, it's going to be a win. Ultimately, if it looks even vaguely human, it will help keep pests out of the garden.

How to Make a Scarecrow in Four Simple Steps