October 4, 2011

How to Make Corn Husk Dolls

At work I got the rare chance to try my hand at the Native American craft of corn husk doll making. The English were first introduced to dolls made out of corn during an 1585 expedition in Virginia. It seems that the English preferred rag dolls but that corn husk dolls were numerous among many Native civilizations. 

Soak the husks for 5-10 minutes to make them pliable.

Make a stack out of four husks and tie a string around the husks around an inch from the top.

Divide the husks into two sections, with two leaves on both sides.

Fold one side over. 

Tie a string around the bulge to make the head.

 Cut a piece of husk in half longways. Roll it up and tie both end up to create the arms.

Lift up the front two husks and insert the arms in. 

 Put the husks back down.

 Tie a string under the arms to hold them in. From this stage you can vary the doll in many ways. if you cut the front husk a little smaller than the rest, it will appear that the doll is wearing an apron. If you cut a vertical line from the bottom of the dress up to the bottom string, you can tie off "legs" and make a boy.

Watercolor painted by John White on his expedition to Virginia in 1585. It depicts a little girl playing with an English doll, which was part of a series of trinkets given to the Native Americans that Sir Walter Raleigh's men encountered. It was reported that all of the the Natives were "greatlye Dilighted with puppetts, and babes which wear brought oute of England." 


  1. I've always thought corn husk dolls are so sweet. I enjoyed the posts and pictures.

  2. Thanks Rachel! I'll be sure to follow you under "New Zealand Skies," when you get there.

  3. Cute! I think I might put some of these in a wreath that I am making. Did you dry these or is there a place you can buy them?

  4. We never did this with corn husk but have using rags, the same method. We also did this with yarn, very much the same way. My daughter used to love them when she was small.
    Mrs. J.


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