Tristyn & I have been wanting to make Corn Husk Dolls ever since we checked out an old-fashioned crafts book from the library. Unfortunately we weren't able to renew the book as it had a waiting list of other people who wanted it but with a little look around the Internet and our memories we were sort of able to remember how to do it.
This is a great project if you have been taking advantage of all the late summer corn!!
There are a few preparation steps before you can begin your doll:
1. Husk (and eat!) corn, being careful to keep the leaves whole. Lay the husks and the silk in the sun to dry for 1-3 days. I'm not really sure if this step is necessary since you are going to soak them in the next step but we did it anyway since so many instructions indicate that you should.
2. Prior to making your doll, soak the husks in water for ten minutes. Gather up scissors and some sort of string or yarn. We used brown wool yarn which might not be the best choice as it it a little too dark.
Making the doll
1. Select 6-7 large leaves and lay them in a stack with the corn silk on top of them.
2. Gather the leaves around the corn silk and tie it shut with a bit of yarn or string. Tie tightly!
3. Holding the short end of the tied leaves in one hand, carefully peel back the leaves sort of like peeling a banana. Smooth the leaves out and use another length of string to tie the head at about where my thumb is in the picture. Tie tightly and set aside.
4. Take another leaf and cut it into three long strips. Tie the three strips together and braid them together to make a braid about 6 inches long. Tie the other end to hold the braid toether. If you wish to make legs, repeat this two more times for a total of 3 6 inch long braids.
5. Insert one of the braids under a few of the leaves to form the two arms. Tie a length of yarn a little below the arms to make the waist. Trim the excess leaves to make the length of skirt you want or to simply 'straighten the hem.' If you are making legs, before you tie the waist, place the legs under the leaves as well and then tie the waist. To neaten up the appearance, tie the long leaves to the front and back of the legs between the legs (think almost like you are diapering the doll) and trim the excess.
6. If desired, use other pieces of leaves to form clothing. I made a little apron out of one of the greener pieces and also a little dark green headband to hold back her hair. You can make pants and shirts as well.
You might want to give the doll a haircut as well. Tristyn cut most of his doll's hair off.