How to Flangiprop A Scarecrow for Your Garden

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Scarecrow, who is taking a break in Jacki Kellum’s garden.

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In a previous post, I admitted that I am a Jacki of all trades and subsequently, a master of none.  I don’t let that keep me from getting things done, however.  I have learned to flangiprop.

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Even though no one ever taught me how to build things, I do it anyway; and I love it.  In another previous post, I talked about this lovely grape arbor that I built 2 years ago. When I initially constructed my grape arbor, I didn’t take the time to anchor it to anything–I just decided where I wanted a dramatic entrance and flangipropped it right there.

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The upper grape-covered arbor initially looked like the one just above:  It was merely a bunch of old boards, a bit of fence and a gate that I salvaged from someone’s garbage; some shutters that I got the same way; and a discarded wicker headboard.  All of the materials were flangipropped together, and that worked nicely for a while.

My favorite tools for flangipropping are my hammer, my level, and heavy florist wire.  In flangipropping, it is important to understand that even when you cannot find 2 boards that can withstand proper nailing, florist wire holds very well.

I am an older gal [I am almost 66], and I live alone.  Builders actually need partners–someone who will hold things while their mates make the calculations and hammer.  I don’t have that partner.  Again, my florist wire holds things until I can seal the deal.

I recently had to rebuild the above grape arbor, and after 2 years of similar flangipropping projects, I have learned how to do things slightly better.  Following are photos of the arbors that I have been building this fall.

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Check out the superior topper on the above entryway.  Also note that I figured out a way to build a little table–a place to hold my morning coffee and a pot of flowers.  Whereas the other trellis is part of my grape arbor and it is an entry into my side yard, this is part of my rose arbor and it opens to the very back of my property.  I am actually becoming a fairly good builder, and I use less and less florist wire as final anchors for boards; but when it came time for me to create my garden’s scarecrow, flangipropping was the perfect approach.

In case you want to make your own scarecrow, here is how I made mine:

The body is an old bed pillow.  I pulled a long-sleeved t-shirt over the pillow and I stuffed the arms with polyfil. At the very end of the project, I buttoned a short-sleeved shirt over the t-shirt–simply because it was orange.  Any long-sleeved shirt is adequate to top the body of the scarecrow and create the arms. I do believe that straw would be best for stuffing the scarecrow’s arms, but I did not have any straw when I flangipropped my scarecrow.  After I created the arms, I stuffed some garden gloves, too, and then I sewed the gloves to the ends of the t-shirt arms.

Let’s pause for a second.  I learned to sew as a child and that is easy for me.  If you cannot sew, get a huge bag of straight pins and pin things together.  Remember: This is not Home Economics.  This is Flangipropping 101.

In finishing the arms and hands, I finally tied a bit of twine around the wrists.  This gathered things and made the arms seem more real.

I believe that I could have taken an easier route in making the head.  In hindsight, an old pillowcase would have been much easier than what I did.  After stuffing the pillowcase, you could merely tie twine around the area that will be the neck.

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I painted the face, and I sewed on a piece of stuffed, orange fabric for the nose. The nose is the hardest thing to make.  You can just paint a nose, too.

I had a bunch of fake straw that was in long strands.  It is not raffia, which is paper [that would disintegrate].  This straw seems to be synthetic.  For hair, I sewed the synthetic straw to the scarecrow’s scalp. I was not terribly careful about the hair.  I knew that once I added the hat, the hair would be anchored. Until then, I merely flangipropped the straw in place.  I did not use a sewing machine to make the hair.  I merely grabbed about 10 strands at a time; tied a knot at the top of each group of strands; and hand-basted the masses directly to the head. [Again, pinning is just fine].

I sewed on the hat and added a couple of fancy ribbons to that.

Because I set my scarecrow up on a shelf and against a garden post, mounting her was simple.  I did not need the traditional scarecrow cross of wood. I merely flangipropped her neck to the fence post [with florist wire and a nail], and I allowed her body to drape to the shelf.

My scarecrow’s legs aren’t even attached to her body.  I did weight the boots with a couple of short [about 30″] pieces of 2×4 lumber, and I flangipropped one boot to the shelf. Otherwise, her legs wanted to roll off to the ground.

This weekend, we have had a tropical storm and high winds, and my scarecrow is still sitting where she is supposed to be.  She is very wet, but she is still in place.

While flangipropping may not be fully adequate for building a wooden arbor that competely surrounds your back yard, it is perfectly fine for creating garden scarecrows.

Go ahead–flangiprop a scarecrow for yourself!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Flangiprop!.”

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