Corn Husk Dolls

Corn Husk DollsOctober seems to be a super charged month for children and adults alike. Whether you are a fan of the Halloween holiday or not, it does put an extra special spin on the weeks leading up to it.

Why not harness this extra energy and put it toward a fun project? Corn husk dolls are a traditional way to celebrate autumn and they are great for accenting wreaths and centerpieces. With a little imagination you can dress them up in Halloween attire to add to the holiday's decorations. For tykes too small to handle scissors you may want to make the dolls in advance and then have the kids paint them.

(5) corn husks (makes 1 doll)
string for tying the husks (I used raffia so that it would blend in with the husks.)
yarn for hair
dried flowers
bucket for soaking corn husks
acrylic paints
paint brushes

I found dried corn husks at the super market in the Mexican food section. They are used to make tamales. Farmer's markets selling gourds and pumpkins might be another source. If you have corn in your garden, you can also dry your own. Simply remove the green husks from the corn and cut the bottom, wrinkled part off so that they will lay flat. Place them between 2 sheets of paper towels and then place the paper towels between the pages of an old phone book or dictionary. Allow them to dry for about 5 days to 1 week.

Before you begin making the doll, soak the corn husks in water for about 20 minutes to make them pliable.

Take four corn husks, set two aside, and place two flat on a table, one on top of the other.

Now place the pieces of yarn that will be the hair down the length of the corn husks with just a bit extending over the narrow ends of the husks. If you plan on painting the hair you can skip this step.

For an optional fancy hat use a dried flower. Face the dried flower toward the wide ends of the husks with just a little bit of stem hanging over the narrow ends, same as the yarn. What you are aiming for is a little length of yarn and stem that you can secure in the husks with twine so that when it comes time to flip the corn husks over the "hair" and "hat" will stay in place.

Now, cover the bottom husks, yarn and dried flower with the two husks that you set aside. The narrow ends of the husks should match up.

Tie the narrow ends of the corn husk, yarn and stem of the dried flower together with a piece of string. I used raffia because the color blended right in with the corn husks. Tie it nice and tight so that everything is secure.

Holding the knot in your hand, with the open end of the husks pointing up, turn the husks down over the knot, like you are peeling a banana.

So what you have now is all the husks pointing down and the yarn hair and dried flower hat sitting on top. You may need to adjust the hat a little at this point.

To create a head, tie a piece of string just below where you can feel the knot under the husks.

Make the arms by taking a single husk, rolling it tightly and placing it between the two sets of husks that comprise the skirt, and just under the string that forms the head.

Tie another piece of string under the rolled husk to hold the arms in place and create a waist.

This just leaves the hands. You can make these by tying a piece of string at the end of each arm.

For a finishing touch, snip into the ends of the corn husks at the bottom of the skirt with your scissors. As the husks dry they will curl giving your corn husk doll a fancy hem line.

To dress your corn husk doll in pants cut the skirt in half with scissors and then tie a little string around each "ankle."

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