Outdoor Halloween Decoration: Banister Owls

Create owl silhouettes from plywood then temporarily attach them to your front porch for a sophisticated (and spooky!) outdoor Halloween decoration.
Plywood Owl Silhouettes on Halloween Porch

Haunting Owls Sitting on Banister

Dress up your banister with DIY owls. Trace owl silhouettes onto pressure-treated plywood, then cut them out with a jigsaw. Sand the surface, then paint each owl, front and back, with flat black paint. Add eyes with two-inch washers fastened with picture nails and staple on leaf-shaped pieces of vinyl fabric to create feathered wings. Attach basic plumbing straps to each owl's back then tighten the straps around the bannister to keep your owls on All Hallow's Eve neighborhood watch.

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Materials Needed:

  • kraft paper (for template)
  • pen or marker
  • 4x8 sheet of pressure-treated paint-grade plywood
  • jigsaw
  • orbital sander and sanding pads
  • PVC plumbing straps
  • 1/8" exterior screws
  • 1/8" drill bit
  • stainless steel 1/8" wing nut and bolt
  • can matte black spray paint
  • hammer
  • small picture nails
  • 2" stainless steel washers
  • 1 yard of black vinyl fabric
  • scissors
  • staple gun and 1/4" staples
  • stainless steel tacks

Create Template

Place a sheet of brown kraft paper onto a flat, level surface then fold it in half. Freehand the silhouette of an owl to the size and scale you'd like using a pen or marker then cut out (Images 1 and 2). Tip: Folding the paper in half makes it easy to create a symmetrical silhouette. Flatten pattern to ensure both sides are symmetrical and you're happy with the owl's overall shape (Image 3). Note: We created both a tall and short template so there was some variation in our owls. If you'd like to do the same, create a second template with a slightly different shape.

Trace Silhouette Onto Plywood and Cut Out

Place pattern on plywood and trace around it with pen or marker (Image 1). Use a jigsaw to cut out the owl shape (Image 2). Repeat process to create as many owls as you'd like.

Sand Plywood and Add Straps

Using an orbital sander, smooth any flaws or rough spots in the plywood (Image 1). Attach PVC plumbing straps to the back side of each silhouette using 1/8" exterior screws and drill (Image 2).

Attach Wing Nut and Bolt

Using 1/8" drill bit, add two holes to the back of the PVC straps to properly fit wing nuts (Image 1). Thread wing nut and bolt through the hole created with drill bit (Image 2).

Paint Owls

Coat each owl, front and back, with black spray paint. To ensure a smooth finish, hold can 6 to 8 inches from the surface of the owl and move the can back and forth in slow arcs as you spray.

Spray paint owls black.

Paint Owls

Spray black paint on the front and back of each owl. To ensure proper finish, hold spray can 6 to 8 inches from the surface of the plywood, moving back and forth in slow, controlled spurts.

Attach Feathers and Add Tack Detail

Once paint has fully dried, use scissors to cut approximately 25 leaf-shaped feathers for each owl from black vinyl. Attach them in layers, starting at the bottom, using a staple gun (Image 1). As a decorative detail, add a row of stainless steel tacks (rather than staples) along the top row of feathers (Image 2).

Add Eyes and Nose

Position washers to act as eyes; secure them with picture nails tacked in around the washer's edge (Image 1). Cut a long triangle for the nose from vinyl then attach it between eyes with picture nails (Image 2).

Attach Owls to Banister

Place owls on banister; wrap plumbing straps around banister, and tighten up wing nut and bolt to secure them.

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