With so much macabre folklore and superstition surrounding them, crows and ravens are popular Halloween symbols of spookiness. You can create a flock — or, more accurately, a “murder” (of crows) or an “unkindness” (of ravens) — to decorate your home with just some newspaper, wire, tape and paint.

If you don’t want to work from your mental image of the birds, look for inspiration online — you can even get specific and search for “raven tail” or “crow, side view.” As you shape and tape, let the bird’s form and position reveal itself to you. Depending on the placement of the wire legs, the figure might want to lean forward. Or maybe the head is tilting to the side. Let it peck, or peek. If you cut too much off one area, you can build it back up with tape. There are no mistakes in art or bird-making.

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Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
  • Newspaper

  • Scissors

  • Masking tape

  • Something pointy to poke holes (like cuticle scissors)

  • Wire

  • Wire cutter and pliers

  • Black paint (fluid acrylic paint, a.k.a craft paint, works best; tempera/poster paint will flake off)

  • Paintbrush

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

1. Cut or rip off the bottom of a page (about a third). Ball up that smaller piece and place it in one corner of our remaining sheet.

2. Fold the corner over the ball to make the head and cinch at the “neck” with a thin piece of masking tape.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

3. Ball up another piece of newspaper to make stuffing for the torso and place it on the newspaper below the neck.

4. Roll the newspaper around the torso stuffing.

5. Tape around the torso. Use pieces of tape long enough to wrap around the torso at least once. (Short pieces of tape tend to curl up at the edges once they are painted.) Trim excess newspaper as needed to create the desired length of your bird.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

6. Add a tape flap to the head to make a beak. Twist the beak flap to make it round and build it up by wrapping it with more tape.

7. Use something pointy (like cuticle scissors) to poke two leg holes through the lower torso to thread a single wire through.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

8. Cut a piece of wire around 15 inches long. Thread the wire through the two holes — these will be your bird’s legs.

9. Bend once about three-quarters of an inch away from the body to direct the wires toward the head.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

10. Create another bend another three-quarters of an inch along the wire to begin shaping your bird’s foot. Bend the wire to create three digits, with the center one a bit longer. Wrap the end of the wire around the leg to close off the foot and cut off the excess. Repeat with the other leg.

11. Wrap tape around the tops of the wire legs and back onto the torso. You can position the wire to help the legs stay at the desired angle.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

12. Keep adding tape as needed to smooth the surface, build up an area, or change the shape. Coat lightly with acrylic paint. If you like, you can keep adding tape (and repainting) until your bird looks right to you.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times