Building Our Own Wizard of Oz Scarecrow

Ray Bolger cropped 010My husband wanted a scarecrow for our garden, but not just any scarecrow–he wanted none other than Ray Bolger, from the Wizard of Oz. It sounded like a fun project, so I gave it a try. Starting with the basic mannequin mold head, and referring to Internet photos, I built up the face over a two day period. I worked pretty fast and without too much deliberation.

The hat was the most difficult part! I bought ticking, or stiff cotton canvas. Since I didn’t know where to begin making a hat that would fit him well, I first tried to follow a website on how to make a witch’s hat–I thought I would modify it, since pictures showed him wearing a hat with a rounded peak and a narrow brim–but the algebraic formulas proved too daunting. So I did what I always do: estimate. I ended up having to sew the brim twice, but I was happy with the result. I sewed wrinkles into the peak, so it would curve upward. Then I sprayed it with a leftover can of black spray paint.

June 2015 Ray Bolger on way to garden cropped 006 Here he is in the back of the truck, on his way down to the garden. He’s got a pair of Rich’s old jeans, a worn-out pair of gloves, and a thrift-shop plaid shirt. His head is sprayed with several coats of poly-acrylic sealer, and is stuffed with bubble-wrap, so he won’t rot. This is the first time I’m putting a paper mache work outside to weather the elements, so I’ll be interested to see how well he holds up.

Ray Bolger cropped 010   Adding his collar, and making final adjustments. I have built several life-size standing forms before, for Halloween, and my practice is to make a frame from PVC. This time, however, I had Rich pound in a 1″x 2″ with a crosspiece for the arms, because scarecrows are traditionally erected this way. I only wish I had some straw to stick here and there, so it looked as though he were stuffed with it (well, maybe next year).

And here he is, guarding our tomatoes!

Ray Bolger cropped

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