Introduction: Scarecrow Mask

About: Design Technology Teacher at UWCSEA

Halloween is here, it's time to scare the bejeezus outa the neighbours!

Using Hessian Cloth (potato sack), twine, leather laces, a simple face mask and a strong cuppa tea, you can get a really nice but scary costume accessory for the night of all hallows.

The great thing about this little project is how easy and quick it is to get a good effect, anything after is just a bonus.

Step 1: Get Your Equipment

You'll need Hessian cloth and quite a bit of it, potato sacks would be great. I had to resort to some preprinted cloth from a craft shop that was 'a little' over priced.

Natural string, unbleached string or hemp twine, anything strong and rural.

Leather string or thong, but black shoe laces would be better I feel.

A paper clip, straightened with a loop on one end

Any old mask from the year before. I was lucky enough to find a very sturdy one with a manic facial expression. But anything that can separate your face from the hessian will be good.

A cup of tea with about 6 bags stewing in it.

Step 2: Sew a Bag

Using the twine and the straightened paper clip, thread the string/twine through the paper clip's end loop and double it over. You'll need your stitches strong, so a double thread will help.

Fold the cloth in half and start sewing one of the edges, only one mind! You're making a sort of cone shape that can be placed on your head and stay there.

I used a crude locking whip stitch, the more brutal the better, you want it to look like an angry farmer's just sewn it up in a rush, because the Crows are on their way.

You know you're done when the bag can be placed on your head and it covers your head and neck.

Step 3: Prep the Cloth

Once you have the bag, or rather pouch sewn up (un)nicely, put it in a bucket/ basin/ sink of water and soak it.

You're going to get the material wet, this will allow you to mould it to your mask and create some nice lasting expression.

Whilst the hessian is soaking, get the mask and rest it on something. You need to be able to get your fingers around the back of the mask at all times, I used a small green ball that I found in the street. (Don't worry, no kids were upset in the making of this Instructable)

The cloth only needs a few minutes to soak, so remove it from the water and wring it out. It should still be wet but not dripping wet. Wringing out the cloth gets it to crease randomly, this will help with the effect later.

Drape the cloth over the mask with the stitching across the face, you want people to see your hard work and sewing skills!

Manipulate the cloth into place, it's still wet so it should stay in place, get into the eye sockets and mouth if you have a mask, if not try to fold eyes and mouth.

You can allow this to dry now, and the creases should remain in place making it easier for the next stage. I chose to use a Hot Air Gun, this achieved:

A: melting the mask to create non uniform features in the mask

B: sped up the drying process

C: scorched the fabric, making it look a little more fatigued

Step 4: Glue It Down

I used UHU glue, I chose it because it's good with textiles and it wouldn't melt the plastic of the mask I had chosen. Some glues will melt certain plastics so you may want to test them out prior. Of course a melted mask may even add to the effect so play around, just remember that a glue that can melt plastic will be solvent based and those fumes may damage the mind and soul.

I added glue to the edges and features of the mask rather than the flat faces, this was to keep the hessian cloth pinned to the mask but allow me movement and creasing in certain areas. When you're happy that the glue is in the right areas and you have enough of it, place the cloth over the mask with the crease in the same position, you should find that the (now dried) cloth fits over nicely and in place due to the previous activity whilst the cloth was wet.

Hold the cloth down and allow the glue to 'infuse' into the fabric, don't get impatient, you'll need the cloth to really get secured into place. Also allow the fumes to dissipate before you start putting the mask on to scare your household.

Step 5: Facial Features

Now that the mask is securely glued in place, take your trusty straighten paper clip needle and.... bend it.

You'll need a hook like needle similar to the ones used in the Dark Ages when people got stitched up. Take the loose parts and pin them into place, the place that makes it look scariest is what you're looking to do. With the flaps held down, use the bent needle to tack them in place, just a few stitches will do the trick and look like the mask has been 'patched up'... like a scarecrow.

When all the loose flaps are done, you may wish to go around and add a few lines or crosses of stitches here and there, just to get the features going, but it's up to you how much you do.

Step 6: Open the Mouth

Carefully using a craft knife, slice the mouth open, but not too much. You want the viewer to see a movement when you speak but not really a mouth moving.. (does that make sense)

I used leather thong for the next part, but I think a circular profiled shoelace may have been easier.

Take your leather and stress it, a few rubs with rough glass paper should be enough to tear it and remove the shine from the finish.

Snip the end and thread it through your bent needle, you're going to 'attempt' to sew the mouth shut.. Of course you don't actually want to sew it shut but you're looking to create the impression that the scarecrow as stretched it's mouth and the threading has pulled. Use a black or darker brown thong to give a bit of contrast. Again, uniformity here is the enemy so feel free to continue the sewing up or down and extend the sides.

Don't lock whip stitch these, just go back and forth simply.

Step 7: Time for a Cuppa

Remember that cuppa tea with 6 bags? Well it should nice and cold and lovely and strong by now!

You're going to use the tea (or coffee but the smell is quite strong) to brush the contours of the mask, the eye sockets and the mouth, the creases. You really want to get shading on the features, but not in a uniform way, so don't just darken the left hand sides for example.

I actually cheated here a little and lightly sprayed the deeper recesses with black spray paint, Just enough to add definition and shadow.

You wont be able to see very well at the moment when you put the mask on, so use the knife and either cut or fray a few of the thread round about where your eyes will be.. You know how to do this and how NOT to do this, so I'll leave how you get the eye positioning to you.

When you're happy that you can see well enough but they cant see you well enough, get your needle and leather and stitch over the eyes.

Important: You're going to need to start stitching the back of the scarecrow mask up a bit. I got a Bulldog Clip and felt where it pulled the mask tighter around the back of the head but still allowed me to remove the mask, add a few Locking whip stitches here and there to take the strain.


Now that you're done, you can accessorise:

A lovely hat

Some staples or barbed wire

Dried blood

A noose..

Halloween Contest 2018

Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2018