Instructions to Make a Garden Scarecrow From Tin Cans

Katherine Kally

Think twice before you discard used soup, coffee and vegetable cans. With a little creativity, these used cans can add personality to your garden. To make a garden scarecrow from tin cans, you'll need a variety of can sizes; larger cans work to make the body and the head, smaller cans work best to make the arms. Your tin can scarecrow can stand or sit in your garden to scare away the birds, or give them a place to rest.

  1. Remove the advertising paper from each can. Clean and dry each of the cans, inside and out.

  2. Drill 1/4-inch holes through the bottom of two of the institutional-size tin cans, in the center. Drill a 1/4-inch hole through the remaining institutional-size can, in the center of the side of the can. You can also puncture the cans with an awl or a hammer and screwdriver. The holes should be large enough to fit the twine.

  3. Cut a 4-foot-long section of twine. Cover both ends of the twine with duct tape to create strong threading tips.

  4. Tie a double overhand knot 20-inches from one end of the twine. Thread the bottom of one institutional-size can over the opposite end of the twine, down to the knot. As you are making the scarecrow, always thread the vertical cans over the twine open end first so that the cans cover the knots.

  5. Tie another double overhand knot 8 inches above the top of the first can. Thread the bottom of another institutional-size can over the twine to the knot. These two cans make up the scarecrows body. Thread the remaining institutional-size can over the twine horizontally to create the scarecrow's head. Tie a double overhand knot in the twine as it exits the tin can.

  6. Tie the twine exiting the top of the scarecrow's head to a 2-foot-long dowel or broomstick. Place the dowel on the backside of the tin cans to support the scarecrow's torso. Cut a small piece of twine and tie it around the twine exiting the first institutional-size can and then around the dowel for added support.

  7. Drill 1/4-inch diameter holes through the bottom center of the 14 8-inch cans. These tin cans make up the arms and legs of the scarecrow. Drill 1/4-inch diameter holes through the center sides of the four 4-inch cans. These cans make the scarecrow's hands and feet.

  8. Cut four 3-foot-long sections of twine. Tie a double overhand knot near the bottom of one end of each section. Make a duct tape tip on the opposite end of each section of twine.

  9. Thread one length of twine through one of the 4-inch horizontal cans. Tie a double overhand knot in the twine, 8-inches above the can. Thread one 8-inch tin can over the duct tape end, down to the knot. Make another double overhand knot, 7 inches above the can. Thread another 8-inch can. Make another knot, 7-inches above the can and thread another 8-inch can to the knot. This is one of the scarecrow's arms. Tie the top end of the twine to the twine between the head and the body so that the arm falls to one side. Repeat this step to make the second arm.

  10. Follow the process in Step 9 to make two legs, but use four cans for the length of each leg, rather than three as you did when making the arms. Tie the legs to the twine exiting the body of the scarecrow. Cut away all the excess twine.

  11. Decorate the tin cans with acrylic paint, if you like. After the paint dries, place an old hat on the scarecrow's head and stand or sit him in the garden. Tie the dowel that supports the body to the back of a garden chair, bench or wooden stake.