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Corn Husk Dolls

Simple corn husk dolls have timeless appeal and are just the thing to keep little hands busy at a family gathering taking place during the fall.

corn husk dolls

Photography: Kate Mathis

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2012

Introduction

The cornucopia can be a bit of an attention hog: proudly spilling its bounty across the dining room in a way that borders on needy. As harvest-time icons go, we much prefer the simple beauty of corn husk dolls: They're understated, easy to make children's crafts, and truly ingenious, requiring not much more than some husks, twine, glue, and felt. Square-cut corn husks (the ones used for tamales and sold at international grocers) are the main supply for making these dolls. Basic twine is used to create body parts. 

materials

  • Square-cut dried corn husks ($7.43 for 6 oz., amazon.com)

  • Yarn or raffia

  • Paper towel

  • Buttons

  • Glue

steps

  1. Start by soaking the husks in water for 10 minutes, and then blot excess water with a paper towel.

  2. Lay four or six husks (always an even number) in a stack.

  3. Using thin twine, tie husks together, about 1 inch from the top.

  4. Separate husks into equal portions (2 and 2, or 3 and 3), and fold halves down, covering twine.

  5. Using thin twine, tie husks about 1 inch down, creating the head.

  6. Roll a single husk and tie at the ends to make arms.

  7. Position arms below the knot at neck, between equal portions of husks.

  8. Tie waist. For a female doll, trim husks to an even length.

  9. For a male doll, separate legs into equal portions. Tie at knees and ankles. Trim evenly.

  10. To make the hair, glue the yarn or raffia to the heads. Fashion clothes from pieces of felt: Cut rectangles, and snip slits or X's in the center; then slide over the doll's head, and secure around the waist with a strip of felt or yarn. (Glue on buttons, and use scissors to make fringe as desired.) Create hats and bonnets by cutting felt to fit, and then gluing in place.

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