This Instructable will show how I made a pumpkin scarecrow. The pumpkin was made out of paper machie, and the body of the scarecrow was made from PVC pipe, palm fronds, and spanish moss.
On Halloween, it is the first thing that trick or treaters see as they approach the front door.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Pumkin Mold...
The first thing you need to make your scarecrow is a pumpkin. I real pumpkin would rot once you carve it, and it would be quite heavy, so I made mine out of paper machie.
The first thing I did for my pumpkin was to make a base to put paper machie over. I did this by taking a whole bunch of supermarket plastic bags and sticking them inside of each other until I got an approximate pumpkin shape and size. I then taped some paper towels over this to get an even better shape. I then covered this base with aluminum foil. I have found that paper machie doesn't stick to aluminum foil very well, so this layer will make it easy to remove the paper machie pumpkin once dry.
Step 2: Add the Paper Machie
Now you're going to cover the pumpkin mold in paper machie. Here's how I make paper machie glue:
1- Get some sort of plastic container. I like using the quart size Chinese restaurant soup containers. I have them lying around the house, and they are disposable, so who cares if you're filling them with glue and paper.
2- Get some flour. It doesn't matter if it's bleached or unbleached at this point, but later on when doing the final steps I would recommend using bleached flour, so why not use it all the way through? Put a few spoonfulls into the container. The exact amount really doesn't matter. On average, I put 3-4 scoops into a quart size container.
3- Add some salt to the flour. I read that it keeps the bugs from eating the flour in you paper machie, so I'm going with adding salt. Again, the exact amount doesn't matter. I use a lot less salt than flour in the mixture.
4- Add water. Normal tap water will do. Fill it up to the top of the container and mix well. You want the clumps of flour to be broken up while you mixing, and sometimes that takes some work on the first mix.
And there you have it, paper machie glue. Now take whatever kind of paper scraps you can find and rip them up into strips. Old newspapers, junk mail, Christmas catalogs, it all works. Dip the strips one at a time into the well mixed glue. Crumple them up while submerged to get all of the paper's fibers well soaked. Then remove the paper from the glue and rub off any flour that didn't get mixed properly (you'll have this problem at first, but as you do more and more, the flour will get mixed better and better). Take the glue covered paper and stick it on the aluminum foil pumpkin. Repeat this until the whole pumpkin is covered. Then do another layer of paper. I like alternating between two different types of paper so I know where I covered and where I didn't on each layer. Do three layers of paper and let the pumpkin dry overnight. Then do three more layers and let the pumpkin dry for a few days.
Step 3: Cut the Pumpkin Off of the Frame and Clean Up...
The pumpkin's paper machie should now be dry. Draw a line going all the way around the pumpkin, and take some sort of cutting apparatus and cut. Cut all the way through the paper machie until you are able to remove the two halves of the pumpkin off of the aluminum foil.
Take some tape and tape all around the edges of the two pieces. This will clean up the edges and make it easier to reassemble the pumpkin.
Step 4: Reassemble...
You are now going to reassemble the pumpkin. Fit the two halves of the pumpkin back together and tape. Use lots of tape to keep them from coming apart.
After the pumpkin is taped, you are going to add several more layers of paper machie to the pumpkin. The more you add, the stronger it will be. Once you are satisfied, let the pumpkin dry fully, and move on to the next step.
Step 5: Add the Pumpkin Stem
Adding the stem of the pumpkin is pretty easy, and it makes it clear that this is a pumpkin, and not an oval blob. I made the stem by twisting paper into a vine and then covering that with tape to hold the shape. Once I was satisfied, I taped it into position on the top of the paper machie pumpkin.
Step 6: Carve the Pumpkin.
Just like a real pumpkin, I carved my paper machie pumpkin. I took a marker and drew out where I wanted to cut, and then I actually cut the face out with a knife making a wonderful grinning Jack-O-Lantern.
Step 7: Finishing
Once I had the face cut out, I put a final layer of paper machie on the pumpkin. The difference is this time I specifically used tissues. This gave the pumpkin's outer layer a fine, skin like quality. Using tissues, you can create facial expressions much more than other types of paper. Pumpkin's don't have too much facial expression, so I didn't do too much here.
I then cut a small hole in the bottom of the pumpkin to stick it onto a PVC pipe for the scarecrow's body. This can be messy because nobody will really look close enough to notice a messy cut on the underside of a pumpkin.
Once the final layer of paper machie is on and you aren't going to make any more cuts, paint the pumpkin orange. I used a can of spray paint to do this. Wear goggles and a mask when you do this because spray paint is nasty stuff. I then put a final layer of polyurethane over the paint to seal the pumpkin.
You should now have the scarecrow's pumpkin head complete. Move on to making the scarecrow's body.
Step 8: The Body
Making the scarecrow's body is very simple. I went and bought some PVC pipe from the store. I bought 2 sections of 1 inch pipe and 1 section of 2 inch pipe. The two inch pipe would be used for the central post of the scarecrow, while the 1 inch pipe would go to the rest of the scarecrow. I painted all of the pipe black to start, but this is totally optional. It will still look good if left white.
I then took the 1 inch pipe in cut it in the middle. I screwed the two pieces into the central 2 inch pipe where I wanted the arms to be. I wanted the arms to be raised, so I took about a foot from the third pipe and made a brace between the two arms.
I secured everything until I had a sturdy frame for my scarecrow.
Step 9: Dress Up Your Scarecrow...
When I dressed my scarecrow, I used string, spanish moss, and palm fronds (palm tree leaves). I took the palm fronds and wrapped them around the arms. Since the leaves are shaped like fans, wrapping them around the PVC arms was very easy. I tied the palm fronds into their wrapped position with some string. I put several more layers of palm fronds on the PVC until I was happy with the size of the arms and until the PVC was covered.
On the cross section that braced the two arms, I hung lots and lots of spanish moss. I have plenty of it growing on the trees in my back yard, so getting it was no problem for me. If you have to buy it, consider using something else instead.
And that is basically all my scarecrow wore. The pumpkin was put on the central PVC post, and it was complete! I liked the natural look of my scarecrow, being dressed entirely in plant life, but feel free to dress your however you would like!
Step 10: Putting the Scarecrow Outside...
Sticking the scarecrow in the ground involved digging a deep hole. Mine was about 3 feet deep and putting the base of the PVC into the ground. I filled the hole back up with dirt around the PVC, and stomped it down. This setup has stood through hurricanes, so it has been well tested.
Once you have the scarecrow in the ground, you are ready to go. You could always add you own embellishments like putting some LEDs into the pumpkin, giving the scarecrow a lighted Jack-O-Lantern head, but my scarecrow has been a Halloween hit even without a lighted head.
Good luck building yours!
Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest