Friday, July 22, 2011

Cornhusk Dolls

Landmark Park, Dothan, AL  2002
Members of our Junior Troop included my 9 yr. old daughter, Elise and 11 yr. old daughter Christen and a homeschool friend of Christen's.  Sidekick Bryce is working on his own cornhusk doll while the three girls demonstrate to other visitors of Landmark Park at a special event (probably Heritage or Harvest Days).  Between our homeschool group and Girl Scouts, we visited Landmark Park a lot!--usually free since we were doing some sort of service while there.  The following instructions Cornhusk Dolls can be found at Pioneer Days, by David C. King (ISBN 0439259398).

Cornhusks have a smooth side and a rough side.  Always keep the smooth side facing out.

  1. If the cornhusks are green, dry them until they are straw-colored.  Place between sheets of newspaper.  Store in a warm, dry place for 5 or 6 days, or until color turns.  (Can be found in produce section of grocery store or in craft stores).
  2. Cover work area with more newspapers (we used a plastic table cloth).  Soak dried husks in water for about 5 minutes before working with them.  This will make them softer and easier to shape.
  3. Remove all the husks from the water and shake the water out of them.  Cover the ones you are not working with, with a damp towel.
  4. Cut off the pointed tips of all the husks with craft scissors to make the shapes more alike.
  5. Form the doll's head by taking a large piece of husk and folding it in half.  Stuff 3 or 4 cotton balls under the fold.  Tie a piece of heavy thread (candle wicking is good) around the husk 1 to 2 inches from the fold to create a head shape (we actually used thin pieces of cornhusks to do this).  The ends of the husks will extend several inches below the neck.
  6. For the arms, cut a thin piece of husk about 7 inches long and wrap it around the 6-inch piece of wire or pipe cleaner.  Fold back the tips of the husk at each end of the wire.  Tie them with the thread at the wrists to form hands.  (You can omit the pipe cleaner/wire--they can be made without this).
  7. Slide the husk-covered wire between the two halves of the husk below the figure's head to form the arms, one on each side of the body.  Carefully bend the arms into any position you wish.
  8. Tie a piece of thread around the doll's waist.  Stuff 2 or 3 cotton balls between the husks to fill out the torso.
  9. For a full skirt, place 3 or 4 husks around the doll's waist, but point the husks up, so that they extend above the figure's head.  Tie the husks around the waist with thread, then fold them down over the tied thread to created the skin.
  10. If you would like, glue a little corn silk to the head for hair and use felt-tip pens to add facial features--eyes, eyebrows, nose, and mouth.  (I prefer not to do step 10 and leave them more natural).

making the skirt

how I like to leave the dolls

Here is the simplest version for making Cornhusk Dolls found in the Nov/Dec '98 CopyCat Magazine, p. 11.  See my post for homeschoolers or teachers of K-3rd graders:

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