Kickoff Summer by Building a Scarecrow

Submitted by Ally M., Sprout Contributor

Hungry birds have always been a problem for farmers. Sometimes the birds are so much corn or wheat that a farmer and his family would not have enough food to last through the winter. So, for more than 3,000 years, farmers have been making scarecrows.

But who says you need to be a farmer to make a scarecrow? In honor of Build a Scarecrow Day, July 1st, everyone should have a fun scarecrow! Here’s how:

You’ll need:

  • Old pair of jeans
  • An old plaid shirt
  • Plenty of leaves
  • Straw
  • A pair of women’s nylons
  • Needle and thread
  • A straw hat or other hat
  • Rubber bands, sturdy and thick
  • Rake
  • Buttons (optional)


  1. Gather a huge pile of leaves by raking them together. You need a lot of leaves to fill a scarecrow. If you do not have an overabundance of leaves, you can make up the rest of the bulk with straw.
    Take the jeans and wrap a rubber band around the bottom of each leg to close off the holes. Stuff the jeans with leaves. Leaves tend to settle, so you will need to stuff them really good to make the legs thick. Decide if you want your scarecrow to be sitting in a chair before you start stuffing. If you do, you will need to make the knees of the jeans bendable by not putting so many leaves in that area. After stuffing, set the jeans aside.
  2. Take the shirt, making sure it is totally buttoned up, and wrap a rubber band around the bottom of each sleeve, as well as around the bottom of the shirt. Begin stuffing the shirt with leaves through the collar area. You will need to decide if you want the scarecrow to have his arms bent or straight. If you want his arms to be bendable, you will need to put less stuffing at the elbow area of the arms. After stuffing, set aside.
  3. This part is tricky, so an adult might have to help. Take the pair of nylons and cut a rectangular piece from one side of a leg. How big you cut the rectangle will determine how big your scarecrow head will be. The nylon will stretch quite a bit, so a 3-inch cut will produce about a 6-inch in diameter head. Sew one end of the nylon to the inside collar of the shirt to secure the nylon to the scarecrow’s body. Once this is done, stuff the nylon with leaves, shaping it as you go to form a ball. Once the head is as big as you like it, tie a knot in the top of the head.
  4. Carefully remove the rubber band from the bottom of the shirt, not letting any leaves fall out, and stuff the shirt into the top of the jeans. Use needle and thread to secure the shirt to the jeans on the sides. You do not need to go all around the jeans with needle and thread.
  5. Sit your scarecrow in the position that you want him to stay. Once he is in position, remove the rubber bands from the arms and legs. Place straw up into the arms of the scarecrow, as well as up into the bottom of the legs. Place a straw hat on top of the scarecrow’s head.
  6. Now you can decorate the face of the scarecrow with miscellaneous items, such as sewing buttons into the nylon for eyes, a nose, and a mouth. You can be creative with what you want the scarecrow face to look like!