Simple Corn Husk Doll People in cultures all over the world have been making dolls from natural materials for centuries.
These directions are a simple variation of a doll made from corn husks, which is a traditional craft of Native Americans. Corn husks are the leaves that cover and protect the corn cob. You can use the fresh green husks removed from the cob, but for this doll, we will use dried husks, which can be purchased from any grocery store that sells corn husks for tamales.
You will need:
dried corn husks, two to three leaves per doll
a pan of water
rubber bands, yarn, or twist ties
Separate and soak the corn husk leaves in water for 10 to 15 minutes. They should be wet and pliable.
Take one leaf, preferably a smaller one, and roll it so the veins run lengthwise. Cut off about 3 inches on the skinny end and trim the fatter end. Place a rubber band about 1/2 inch from each end to secure the roll. This creates the two arms of the doll. The bands will be the doll’s wrists. Note: you can also tie yarn or use twist ties to hold your doll together.
Take another leaf and fold it in half with the veins running up and down. Then fold it the other way, bringing the pointed end down at least halfway to the bottom of the wider side. This will determine how tall your doll will be. You can play with the fold to adjust the length to suit your preference. You will get the hang of this as you make more dolls.
The folded top will be the doll’s head. To make it rounder, tuck the corners inside the fold and shape the top to be more curved. Place the arm piece between the top and bottom folds of the body leaf so it looks like a plus sign. Wrap one rubber band around the body above the arm piece to form a neck. Wrap another rubber band around the body below the arm to form a waist. Adjust pieces as you like.
You now have a basic, skirted doll. If you would like the doll to have legs, split the skirt in half up the middle and fasten rubber bands on each side to form ankles. This is just the beginning of the fun!
You can add accessories, such as a shawl, a vest, or a cape by wrapping pieces of leaves around the doll’s body and fastening with rubber bands. Trim the leaves with scissors to achieve your desired size, shape, and style.
Corn husk dolls make unique ornaments for special occasions and holiday displays. Make them match different members of the family or give them as gifts. You can even place them at table settings for each of your guests, or attach a bamboo skewer and add them to a centerpiece bouquet. Tie loops on their bodies and hang them as decorations for homespun charm. Or just enjoy them as handmade toys made from natural materials.