Artist sketchbook: How to make a scarecrow – slide show

Tis that time of year to outfit your home, yard and ceiling fan with creepy things that come crawling from the depths and into your life for the spooky fall season.

Voodoo Medusa/Art and photo by Ryn Gargulinski

Voodoo Medusa/Art and photo by Ryn Gargulinski

Add to this charm with a scarecrow.

Please meet my Voodoo Medusa a.k.a. Voodoo Chile, whom I hooked up for the Tucson Botanical Gardens scarecrow contest – Scarecrows in the Garden, which runs from Saturday, Oct. 17 through Nov. 30.

Featuring scarecrows created by local folks and businesses, the exhibit promises to scare the bejeebers out of you – so go. And please vote for Voodoo Medusa while you’re there so I can add “Scarecrow Contest winner” to my resume.

Then hook up a scarecrow for you own personal satisfaction with a few easy tips.

1. Get the base. The Gardens provided a T-shaped PVC base about 5 feet tall. Perfect. You can also wire together old curtain rods, broom sticks or anything else tall and solid enough to serve as the backbone of your masterpiece.

2. Hook up the head. Basketballs, soccer balls, stuffed pillow cases and watering cans make good heads. So does a metal piece that will be cut into a snake-crowned Medusa.

3. Find the clothes. Raid your own or your friend’s closet or dig out that box in the garage marked “Clothes Donation.” Go for something eye catching and funky, like a loud muumuu you found at the free clothing swap at Dinnerware Artspace earlier this year.

4. Create the fine details. You need hands and dangling things. Medusa’s hands were made out of metal, but you can opt for sticks, stuffed gloves, mannequin hands or a lucky rabbit’s foot. Dangling things can be anything from Christmas ornaments to old jewelry – anything you can tie to the finished product so they flap in the wind. I made little faces, again out of metal.

5. Stuff it. Voodoo Medusa had to be gaunt, so I simply wrapped the base with and old shower curtain I found in the garage next to the “Clothes Donation” box. Make your scarecrow fatter by stuffing garbage bags with newspaper and securing to the base with cord or wire. You want the stuffing to be waterproof in case it does that strange thing and rains. You may need to dress the base before stuffing to make it easier.

6. Put it all together. Attach the head, arms and clothing by bending metal attachments, cutting holes in the things and sticking them on the base, using wire, cord or strips of a cut up skirt that was in the donation box. Just make sure everything is secure enough to withstand any howling winds.

7. Find the right location. Living rooms are a good choice for scarecrow displays, as are backyards or anywhere behind a wrought iron fence. You may want to get a wrought iron fence installed to insure the overall spooky vibe. Front yards are even better showcases, as long as you know your neighbors won’t steal it. The peace sign charm I once hung on a cut tree branch disappeared from my front yard within 24 hours.




Voodoo Medusa/Art and photo by Ryn Gargulinski

Will you be creating a scarecrow this season? Have you ever made a scarecrow?

Have you ever destroyed a neighbor’s scarecrow?

Will you be going to the Tucson Botanical Garden Scarecrow Contest?

Do you make any Halloween decorations or do you buy that cheap plastic crap at the dollar store?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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32 Responses to Artist sketchbook: How to make a scarecrow – slide show

  1. radmax says:

    Very cool scarecrow!…oh Mornin’ Rynski! My daughter and I will definitely be checking these out…we might even vote for Voodoo Medusa… 🙂 Maybe we’ll see you there! PS- look for the bony dude with the red bandanna, can’t miss me.

    • Rynski says:

      Mornin’ Radmax – thanks! you’re a bony dude with a bandanna? i thought bandannas weren’t for people, but should only be worn by dogs? hahah.
      good – hope you do vote for voodoo medusa, as such a win would insure i could get any gallery space i wanted in the future…hahah

  2. azmouse says:

    Very cool. You’re sure to win! 😉

    • Rynski says:

      thanks, AZMouse – but you didn’t add a story about making your own halloween decorations…do you have one? i know you’re a pro with the pumpkin carving, but have you ever made paper bats or claymation spiders?

      • azmouse says:

        All my friends call me Martha Stuart, which couldn’t be farther from the truth!

        When my kids were younger, we did all that stuff, but I have slacked off now that they’re older. I will always do pumpkin carving though!
        My house is decorated up for Halloween. I try to add a few new things every year.

         I am tempted now to make a scarecrow, since I found the coolest mullet wig I just had to buy, and that might look awsome on…say…a Nascar scarecrow, holding a bud light??!!!?? (not trying to offend anyone. I actually like Nascar)

        Oh, and at Big Lots I found the coolest blood splatter window stickey things. They’re goey. They also had bloody, dripping handprints (which look fabulous in my front window)

      • azmouse says:

        I should share, now that you have Laz, that I helped my daughter with a school project once and we made a clay skink. He turned out perfect!
        I do allot of creative baking…creepy cookies, cupcakes, stuff like that.

      • Rynski says:

        …and you come through once again, AZMouse! I KNEW you would have some fun decor input. Love your Nascar idea for the scarecrow…you should go for it! the most time consuming thing is the head – and you can just plop the wig on a spraypainted ball and use paint markers to draw the face. it would be hilarious. you MUST find a use for the mullet wig in any event.
        clay skink! sounds fab, too. i’ll tell laz later when i feed him his meal worms. he’ll be honored. actually, he doesn’t seem to care about much other than eating. the way of the reptile, i guess, no?

  3. Jennatoolz says:

    I agree with AZmouse! That’s definitely a winner in my book, Ryn!

    • Rynski says:

      thank you, jennatoolz. is halloween your favorite holiday?

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Unfortunately, it’s not, but it comes a close 2nd! 😛

        My fav holiday/party day is New Years Eve–aka my birthday, haha! 😀

      • Rynski says:

        awesome! you get a birthday treat every year. mine falls near Memorial Day so i always pretend THAT’S WHY everyone gets the day off…

      • Jennatoolz says:

        But of course! Everyone celebrated on/around our birthdays whether they like it or not! 😉

        As for Halloween, I’m thinking about decorating my house a bit this year, since I’ve never done that before!

        As far as scarecrow building, I probably won’t have much time to make one. AZmouse,  you should totally go for the NASCARECROW! I would love to see what you’d come up with, haha! 😛

      • azmouse says:

        Ahhh, a fellow Capricorn!!!

  4. azmouse says:

    Allright you guys. To much encouragement!
    I’ll use the mullet wig, I’ll figure out the face, which is very important and should probably have stubble. Either a stuffed Nascar t-shirt or a flannel shirt? Stuff some jeans for legs….
    Oh, and in honor of my good buddy and muse, leftfield, I was thinking of throwing on the jean vest I got when I became an N.R.A. member. I’ve yet to find a use for it, but I’m thinking leftfield would figure the vest would go well with the mullet.

    Tomorrow is shopping day, so I’ll think about if I need to grab anything while I’m out….is Bud Light the beer choice of Nascar? Currently I have in the fridge Kilt Lifter, Killian’s Red and Corona, none of which would seem appropriate.  😉

    • Jennatoolz says:

      I’d say a Nascar tshirt would be cool…not sure about the beer of choice for Nascar, but Bud Light sounds like it would work just fine! Don’t forget some missing teeth! 😛

    • Rynski says:

      oh, awesome!! i am so excited – OF COURSE send photos of the finished product. i like the nascar shirt, too. definitely stubble – you can glue sand on a white pillowcase (haha). not sure on nascar beer – did a quick search and saw both coors and budweiser have sponsored the event.
      when in doublt, pabst blue ribbon is always a good choice for art projects (haha).

  5. Andrew Ulanowski says:

    Voodoo Medusa is just plain fun Ryn!
    Nascarecrow Rocks! (Definitely Bud)
    I love this time of year as Halloween is my daughter’s favorite holiday. She always gets excited and has so much fun. We carve a pumpkin. Somehow I’m pretty sure that Andrea came home with a scarecrow made out of paper from school but I can’t recall ever making one. Never destroyed a neighbors either. I left that up to my buddy Stan, from Spencer, IA. I grew up in Chicago.

    • Andrew Ulanowski says:

      P.S. I vote Old Style beer as an alternative.

      • azmouse says:

        Thanks Andrew.
        Make sure you get pictures of your carved pumpkins. There’s a rumor that Ryn might have a contest for the best carved pumpkin.
        I’m very competitive when it comes to my pumpkin-carving! LOL

        My Sarah Palin pumpkin from last year would have had a good chance at winning…..

      • Andrew Ulanowski says:

        You’re welcome mouse
        I’ll get pictures but our entry will certainly be modest compared with your ambitious and competitive ideas. Our theme will be ‘Jack-O-Lantern’ in a traditional style.

    • Rynski says:

      thanks, andrew! and tell your daughter she has fine taste in holidays! glad you never destroyed a neighbor’s scarecrow. that’s just mean. i’ll bet stan was one of those people who put soap on windows and toilet paper on trees, too. hahah. glad arizona is not known so much for DEVIL’S NIGHT, which is huge in detroit (i grew up in mich).

      • Andrew Ulanowski says:

        I will let her know that you said so Ryn. I’m pretty sure Stan did the things you said and more . . . lol, he’s my friend and I love him.
        I’ll show Andrea the blog item and she can decide for herself if she wants to get competitive or not. 🙂
        Good luck with Voodoo Medusa!
        Look, Nascarecrow is makin another left turn!

    • Rynski says:

      yes! send jack-o-lantern pix:
      palin is a tough one to beat…but we got andrea with the favorite holiday vibe over here!

      • azmouse says:

        I’m sweating over the pumpkin carving….
        not sure what to do this year…maybe Lucy or Betty Boop??
        They aren’t scary though, but hard!
        I’ll keep thinking.

        Everybody, please feel free to toss out some jack-o-lantern ideas for me. Thanks!

      • Rynski says:

        lucy was scary when she shoved all those chocolates in her mouth (haha).
        why not betty boop with a meat cleaver?

      • azmouse says:

        The meat cleaver is a good idea, or even a Betty Boop vampira looking chick.

  6. What a cute (oops! I mean scary) scarecrow.  You’ve inspired me to make one myself.  I have some cloths my grandson outgrew so I think I’ll try making a munchkin sized scarecrow.

    • Rynski says:

      hahha, thanks home style hut – i’ll take cute – how about ‘creepily cute’?
      so glad i could inspire! a munchkin scarecrow sounds fab…send me pix if you wish of the finished product – we’re hopin for pix of AZMouse’s nascarecrow, too!

  7. Parapeti says:

    Hahah 😉 this doll, looks really funny and creepy

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