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Tool List
Saw
Speed Square
Power drill with #2 phillips bit
Staple gun with 5/16" and 3/8" staples
Heavy duty scissors

Material List (for 1 hay bale)
8 - 2"x2"x42" square pressure treated deck balusters
16 - 0.625-in x 1.5-in Zinc-Plated Flat Braces
1 roll - 3' x 25' plastic poultry fencing (or similar type of fencing) - you will only need about a 6' long section per hay bale.
1 - 3.25' x 6' Natural "straw" Raffia grass mat with poly backing (jstern.com) - only place I was able to find the mats. Email company directly for current pricing. Approx. $22/mat when I bought them.
1 roll - red twine or string (red twine is preferred as it makes it look more realistic)

Cut List (PT Balusters)
12 @ 20" (legs)
12 @ 33 1/4" (length)
12 @ 15 1/4" (sides)

Time per hay bale = approx. 90 minutes

Step 1: Cut all of the pressure treated balusters to the above mentioned dimensions. These cut lengths will give you a hay bale that is approximately 36" long x 18" wide x 18" tall with an extra 2" for legs.

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Step 2: (2 - 20" legs, 2 - 33 1/4" lengths, 4 flat braces) Assemble the length wise frames first. You will need two length frames per hay bale. I used 4 of the zinc-plated flat braces per side for a couple of reasons. The first was to prevent the cracking of the baluster, the second was to provide the overall frame some structural support. If displaying outdoors, make sure to leave approx. 2" of the leg below the bottom length. This will keep the hay bale above the grass and allow for air circulation.

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Step 3: ( 4 - 15 1/4" sides, 8 flat braces) Attach the upper and lower side pieces to one of the two length sides.

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Step 4: Attach the second length frame to the overall frame

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Step 4A: If you plan on having a Bucky or similar type prop "sitting" on top of the hay bale then I recommend screwing down a small piece of 1/4" plywood to the top of the frame for support and to prevent the top of the hay bale from sagging under the weight.

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Step 5: (1 frame, 1 roll chicken wire) Laying the frame on its side, staple (using 5/16" staples) the plastic chicken wire to the sides and bottom length. Rotate the frame around and continue to staple the chicken wire to the frame, stop when 3 of the 4 sides are covered.

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Step 6: Trim any excess chicken wire hanging over the edge. Standing the frame on one end, cut and staple the chicken wire to the sides. Flip over and repeat on the opposite end.

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Step 7: (1 raffia mat) Following the same process as the chicken wire, staple (using 5/16" stapes) the raffia mat the frame. Note: the raffia mat will hang over the sides approx. 2" - DO NOT CUT THIS OFF. Once all three sides of the frame are covered, trim off the excess from the 6' length.

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Step 8: Flip the frame up on one end. Using the excess raffia mat from the 6' length, cut and staple a piece to cover the end. Once complete, fold the 2" overhang over the ends and staple in place (use the 3/8" staples for this). Flip over to the other end and repeat.

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Step 9: (red twine or string) Flip the frame on one end and approximately 4-5" down from the top of the "bale" staple the twine or string in place. Wrap the string around the four sides length wise and staple when you started. Repeat the same process approximately 4 - 5" up from the bottom of the "bale."

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Lessons Learned: As with anything we do in life there are usually lessons learned, and here are mine.

1. In Step 8 when folding over the 2" overhang, make a 2" cut in the upper corners of the mat before folding it over. This will prevent any unnatural wrinkles when you fold over the overhang. Also, start with sides and fold the top over last.

2. In Step 8, use longer staples when trying to staple the overhang down. The thicker mat in these areas may not stay down with the 5/16" staples.

3. Real hay bales have 2 strings running acrpss the top of the bale to hold it in place. Remember this in Step 9. (mine replicate bales flipped on their sides)

4. You will use more of the 5/16" staples then you think. I burned through a box of 1,000 in no time on 3 hay bales.

5. The raffia mat is constructed by sewing cut up raffia onto a poly backing in neat little 1" wide rows. When you staple the side pieces on in Step 8, make sure the rows run vertically (top of the bale to the bottom) not horizontally (left to right). When you stage your hay bale, the horizontal sides will look out of place.

6: Be sure to leave the bottom of the hay bale open. You can use these for storage in the off season. It will also allow for drainage during a rain and air flow underneath.

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7. When picking up the hay bale at the end or start of the season do not pick up from the bottom. Flip it over first to verify no critters or spiders have decided to move in and make your hay bale a home.

HAPPY HAUNTING!
 

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So, simple how did I never think about this, I've been trying to figure out how to have hay every year without spending a fortune. Thanks.
 

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You already know I love this so much! :D
Thanks for putting together a tutorial! I can't wait to show my husband - I'm not sure if we'll get any done this year, but it would be a *perfect* project in the wintertime lull around our house after all the holidays are over. If I make this my "must have" project for next Halloween, I'm sure we can bust out a few of them! Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Jackpot the idea for storage came to me after last season when I was having trouble storing my funkins. I also got tired of trying to find places to spread 3 soaking wet and falling apart bales of hay from Lowes.
 

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Great tutorial! I decided to look around for some raffia mat locally and of course couldn't find any. What I did find though was some grass stuff used to by hunters to cover duck blinds or something??? I'm not a hunter/sportsman so I just stumbled across it but if you search "blind grass" you'll see it at some sporting good sites and elsewhere. It's not as nice a neat as what was used for this but if you want options or a different look it might be worth checking out. I'm probably going to do this idea to make something to hide my projector for the singing pumpkins. Thanks again!
 
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