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Shred a Scarecrow © Marilyn J. Brackney

Halloween Craft Project:

Shred a Scarecrow

Shred a Scarecrow

Farmers work very hard planting and harvesting their crops. The scarecrow is an important "farm hand" whose job is to stand in the garden and frighten away birds which might eat the fruit, vegetables, and grain before they're harvested. People all over the world rely on the figures to keep their crops safe.

Scarecrows have a long history, dating back to the ancient Romans and Greeks who carved wooden statues of their harvest gods to stand guard in the fields. Germans created wooden witches for the same purpose, and they believed that the figures had special powers to draw the "evil spirit of winter" into their bodies so that spring would come. People in Japan protected their rice paddies with scarecrows made of oily rags and fish bones attached to tall sticks.

As you can see, scarecrows are created from whatever the farmer has on hand. In America the figure is usually made of some old clothes and a hat, and the stuffing is straw or hay. It's possible to make a small version of a scarecrow from some common materials. We'll use scraps of cloth and paper for the clothing and hat, and we'll shred yellow pages from a discarded telephone book to look like the straw. Recycling these materials will help save natural resources, energy, and landfill space.

You Will Need:

Two straight sticks or dowel rods-about 3/8" in diameter x 8" and 3/8" in diameter x12"
Shredded yellow pages
Scrap construction paper and fabric
Fine wire like telephone or florist's wire
White glue
Block of wood for a base
Acrylic paint
Newspapers on which to paint
#7 or #8 Paint brush and pan
Hot glue gun and sticks
Electric drill

How to:

Paint the base before starting to make the scarecrow. By the time you finish the figure, the base will be dry and ready to assemble. Wash the brush when finished, because acrylic paint which dries in brushes can ruin them.

Make the Arms

  • Gather some shredded pages together into a bunch measuring about 1/2" in diameter.
  • Hold the bunch in the palm of your hand, and pinch the ends together. Place the shorter stick on top.
  • Lay another bunch of paper about the same size in diameter on top of the stick, and hold in place.
  • Fasten the paper to the stick at the scarecrow's wrist by tightly wrapping it with a 3"-4" piece of wire.
  • Gather the loose paper around the other end. Holding the ends of the stick, carefully twist the shredded paper around it. Fasten tightly with wire at the other wrist.
  • Cut off the extra wire. Trim the paper ends, and snip it to make finer.

Make the Body and Head

  • Again, gather some shredded pages together into a bunch measuring about 1/2" in diameter.
  • Hold the bunch in one hand as before, and pinch the ends together. Place the other stick on top.
  • Lay another bunch of paper about the same size in diameter on top of the stick, and hold in place.
  • Fasten the paper to the stick by tightly wrapping it at the top with a 3"-4" piece of wire.
  • To make the face, wire the paper about 1" below the top. Decorate later with scrap paper.
  • Lay the arms across the longer stick just below the face.
  • Place a long piece of wire diagonally under the cross pieces where the arms meet the body.
  • Bring the ends together, and twist tightly in the center.
  • Take the ends to the back over the remaining sticks, making an "X" with the wire on the front. Fasten tightly at the back and reinforce, if necessary. Cut off the extra wire.
  • Wrap wire a short distance below the cross pieces to form a waist.

Design the Clothing

click to see full size pattern
(Click for full size pattern)
  • For a female scarecrow, trace the apron pattern, cut it out, and dress the figure.
  • For a male scarecrow, divide the remaining shredded paper in half to form two legs. Wrap the wire tightly around each ankle. Trace the vest pattern, and cut out. Make an opening for the figure's head. Cut the front as shown, and dress the scarecrow.

Make the Hat

click to see full size pattern
(Click for full size pattern)

  • Trace the patterns for the hat brim and crown, and cut them out.
  • Working with the hat brim, cut out the circle on the inside. Now make short cuts all around the inside of the small circle, forming tabs.
  • Put glue on the underside of each tab, and place it on the scarecrow's head.
  • The top of the hat is made from a cone. Hold the paper with the straight side up, and fold one side over the other, folding toward yourself.
  • Adjust the size of the cone to fit the figure's head, and then glue it shut.
  • Snip off the top 3/4" of the cone, and then partially collapse it by gently pushing paper down and into the center.
  • Glue the cone to the brim, and decorate the hat with scrap paper.

These are just a few ideas of how to dress the scarecrow. Try to create some designs of your own!


  • Drill a hole slightly smaller than the stick or dowel in the scrap wood. Use a hot glue gun to fasten the scarecrow to the base.

Tips and Tricks:

  • If you don't have a paper shredder, just cut the paper into fine strips with scissors, or have an adult cut the paper for you using a utility knife or a paper cutter.
  • Another option to using a base is to attach a wire at the back, and display the figure by hanging it on a wall or door. This will eliminate the need for the wood, glue gun, and drill.
  • Substitute a scrap of felt for paper in making the hat, and use fabric glue to make the pieces stick together.

Marilyn's Imagination Factory
© Marilyn J. Brackney

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