When we got our allotment in 2016, I knew I was going to want a Scarecrow up there. It took me a while to get organised, not least of all because I had no idea how to make a scarecrow. Or in this case: a Scaregirl. If you want to know how to make a simple scarecrow too, I’m your girl.
I have consciously added the word ‘simple’ because Nelly the Scaregirl wasn’t always as simple as she is now. It is fair to say that I rather over complicated the project originally, with lots of stuffing and wotnot. Standing out in a field for 365 days a year rather takes it out of you it seems, and over time her stuffing has disappeared. The downside to this is she’s rather less buxom. The upside is she’s now very easy to maintain. All Nelly needs is a fresh outfit from the charity shop every year and she’s happy. And accessories. Accessories are essential.
The reason for needing a fresh outfit every year is a good one: the sun. Whilst living in England isn’t necessarily a recipe for constant sunshine, clothing fades a great deal in the sunlight. And as I have discovered: some fabrics fade more than others.
Last year I chose to dress Nelly in pinks and purples. I planned to re-use her skirt that year because it looked pretty good, all things considered. But I was going to have to virtually re-build her if I was going to get that skirt back on over the stuffing which had now slipped. Unfortunately I chose to attempt this on a windy day. As I stood there wrestling with Nelly trying to dress her, a fellow allotmenteer helpfully looked on thinking I had lost the plot (geddit?). In the end I decided the skirt wasn’t essential today, and I’d add it over the stuffing later when didn’t have an audience. By the time I went up to the allotment to do this, the stuffing and skirt had gone missing because I hadn’t weighed them down. Ah well. Even without stuffing or skirt, Nelly looked pretty good last year.
However by the end of the amazing summer of 2018, Nelly’s shirt had faded beyond recognition, see picture. This was a flouncy purple blouse in very lightweight cotton didn’t look purple for long. I’m sure she didn’t mind, but by autumn Nelly looked very faded.
So this year we’ve gone for a (relatively) heavyweight denim shirt, and Nelly has a skirt again. And accessories. Obvs.
What you will need
A small length of wood for his/her arms
A pair of old tights
A couple of handfuls of straw with which to stuff the tights
Cable Ties for doing just about everything else
String for odds and ends. In my case, I used string for tying Nelly’s hair in pigtails and making her belt
Optional: pillow case for the body and more straw to stuff it with.
Fix the mop head to the broom handle and tape it well to ensure it stays on in a force 10 gale. Then tape the wooden plank across the handle to make his/her arms. Cut the two legs off the tights and stuff each leg with straw. Cable tie each arm to the plank. And just like that, you have a body to dress.
If you want your scarecrow with a bit more meat on him/her, you can stuff a pillowcase with straw and strap it to the pole if you want. Nelly had that in year one, hence her rather more buxom look.
Use the cable ties to attach the main two items of clothing (shirt and trousers or shirt and skirt) to the plank.
Here Nelly is partially dressed, to show how I attached her skirt to the plank with cable ties. Once you put the shirt over the top, everything is hidden anyway. Nelly wasn’t sure if she was happy for me to take her photograph in a half-dressed state and share it with the nation, but eventually she agreed it was all in a good cause.
Then accessorise. Use the cable ties to attach as many of the pieces to each other as possible, so his/her clothing doesn’t fly away in a gale. Over the years Nelly has had scarves, hats, a neck scarf, a necklace, gardening gloves and even earrings. The earrings are on their third year, they’re a bit rusty now but they’re still intact so I daren’t fiddle with them.
Et voila! You have a scarecrow on your allotment. Or in your garden. Or wherever you need a scarecrow.
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