The cornhusk doll is a traditional craft from Native Americans dating back hundreds of years. This is a fun, old-fashion easy craft idea, easy enough for your elderly activities too, including for those with elderly issues who may just need a little more help. A cornhusk doll is wonderful to give as a gift, give-away, or to include in centerpieces.
NOTE: Use green cornhusks that are pliable, rather than dried. You can buy cornhusks at a craft store, or even peel corn yourself. If they are dried, just soak them in a pan for about ten minutes.
You Will Need:
- 4 to 5 husks for the skirt
- 1 husk for arms
- Styrofoam ball for the head
- 3 husks for covering for the head
- Moss for hair
- Ribbon (I used gold metallic)
- Tacky craft glue
- Glue gun
- Gold metallic wire garland for wings and halo
Head — The corn husks will be a sort of triangle shape. To cover the head, put glue at the wide end of each head husk, and then attach them to the top of the Styrofoam ball. It’s ok to overlap them. You may need only two, depending on the size of your Styrofoam.
Let the glue dry. If you need to, insert a straight pin to keep the husks in place on the Styrofoam until dry.
Smooth the husks down, covering the ball. You can also add a little glue to the husks at the bottom to help keep them in place.
Then gather and tie the husks together with string at the bottom of the ball, forming a neck.
The body and skirt — Lay the 4 body husks out on your table so the wide ends of the husks are on the bottom (to form the bottom of the skirt of the cornhusk doll) and the pointed ends are on top. The sides of the husks should all touch each other, going across, making a sort of sheet. Overlap the edges slightly and glued them in place. Let the glue dry.
Roll the cornhusk “sheet” into a tube, with the pointed ends still on top. Insert the neck (with head) into the top of the tube, so the neck is going down into this body tube.
Then gather and tightly tie the body around the neck with string. After tying, you can trim the edges of any husks that you want to even out.
About 1 ½ inch down from the neck, tie another string, forming the waist. The rest of the husks will flare out a little at the bottom, forming a skirt.
Arms — Take a husk and roll it into a tight tube. Put a thin edge of glue along the long edge of the husk to keep it rolled and in place. Tie string around both ends to form the wrists. Then center and glue gun the arm tube to the back of the body.
Hair — Spread a layer of Tacky Glue on the top, sides, and back of the head. Press on a generous amount of dried moss to make the hair. Let it dry well before handling the cornhusk doll. If needed, add a little more glue in places where the moss may not be secure (it will dry clear).
Ribbon — Wrap ribbon around all the areas that have a string, to cover up the string. Put several coils of ribbon around the waist. Glue the ribbon in place. Tie a ribbon into a bow around the neck.
Wings and halo — Find a garland of metallic foil wire. Then cut a circle of wire and glue it to the head for the halo.
For the wings, cut 2 large oval shapes, and glue gun each to the back of the doll. A circle of gold or white ribbon will work for the halo too. And triangles cut from doilies can be glued on for wings instead if you don’t have a fancy wire.
Finishing — At this point the cornhusks can naturally dry.
A cornhusk doll is often made without a face. However, if you’d like to make one, we suggest keeping it very simple. Small dots for the eyes will be enough, and a small dot or smile for the mouth.
Cornhusks are rough, so you would have to work around the wrinkles when drawing anything on them. You can also have the doll holding something, like a songbook, a small (craft) bird, a little wreath, even a flameless tea light. If you’re making this for someone, in particular, think of what would be meaningful to the recipient.
The cornhusk doll over the years has become a playful and fun item both for kids and the elderly. By following the tips mentioned above, you can bring in several different variations to come up with a unique angel cornhusk doll. Perhaps you can gift it to someone close as well or keep them as collections to remind yourself of the creativity and uniqueness you came up with.