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How to Make a Corn Husk Doll - An Old Time Craft
Make Your Own Doll - An Easy Craft for Kids
An easy craft for kids, corn husk dolls are believed to have been made by Native Americans since the beginning of agriculture, more than a thousand years ago. The activity was adopted by the European settlers who carried on the tradition with their children. These dolls delighted our grandmothers and great-grandmothers when they were little girls. They hark back to a time when life was simplier and toys had to made.
Although not quite so pretty or so shapely as those produced from more costly material, they still possess a charm of their own. They generally do not have faces, although sometimes a face is drawn on them. They were much more durable than dolls with joints that could bend and break. The toy could stand up to being hugged enthusiastically and then tossed on the floor. There was no need to worry about damage or breakage from rough play.
Buy Corn Husks in Bulk
Start With Fresh Corn Husks or Buy Them
There are many different methods to make corn husk dolls so go with which ever one is easiest for you. You can use the husks straight from fresh corn, or you can buy them from a craft store. Purchased corn husks are conveniently uniform in size, but will need to be soaked in water to soften them up.
This is a fun craft for kids to make especially when they have to prepare the husks themselves. It makes them feel like they are really part of the construction of the doll and they are more invested in it. Of course getting to eat the corn after shucking it is fun too!
Step by Step Instructions
Remove the husks from several large ears of corn, and from those select the softest ones which grow closest to the ear. It is important that the husks be soft and maleable otherwise they will crack and break apart.
Place the stiff ends of two husks together, fold in a lengthwise strip, and wind it around the ends as shown in the picture.
Then select the widest husk you can find, fold it across the center over a strong piece of string.
Draw the string in, and tie it securely.
Place this piece entirely over the husks that were wound in Step One, bring them down smoothly and tie with thread underneath to form the head and neck.
To make the arms divide the husks below the neck in two equal parts.
Fold together two or more husks and insert them in the opening to form the arms.
Hold the arms in place with one hand, while using your other hand fold alternately over each shoulder several layers of husks, allowing them to extend down the front and back. When the doll is plump enough, use your best husks for the topmost layers and wrap the waist with strong thread, tying it securely.
Next divide the husks below the waist and make the legs by neatly wrapping each portion with string, and trim them off evenly at the feet. Finally, twist the arms once or twice, tie with string, and trim them off at the hands. If you want to draw a face, you can use a felt pen.
See a Demonstration
The author, Anne Freels, has been crafting since she was a teenager. She is now a full time artist designing and selling her own designs.