How to Make Corn Husk Dolls

Wherever corn was grown as a crop, children, in both Native American and Colonial American families, used husks to fashion dolls. Follow these simple instructions and refer to the accompanying diagrams to create your own unique doll.

Materials Needed:

  • string
  • scissors
  • a bucket of water
  • bags of cornhusks- most easily purchased (dried, cleaned and in uniform sizes), at a local craft store
  • cornhusk doll diagram page (print out)


****Before beginning, soak cornhusks in a bucket of water until they are soft and pliable.****

1.gif (5979 bytes) Take four cornhusks and arrange them in as shown.
2.gif (5997 bytes) Using a small piece of string, tie the straight ends together tightly.
3.gif (5618 bytes) Trim and round the edges with scissors.
4.gif (7677 bytes) Turn upside down and pull long ends of husks down over the trimmed edges.
5.gif (4299 bytes) Tie with string to form the "head."
6.gif (3390 bytes) Take another husk, flatten it, and roll into a tight cylinder.
7.gif (2759 bytes) Tie each end with string. This forms the doll’s arms.
8.gif (4063 bytes) Fit the arms inside of the long husks, just below the "neck."
9.gif (4292 bytes) Tie with string, as shown, to form a "waist."
10.gif (4768 bytes) Drape a husk around the arms and upper body in a criss-cross pattern to form "shoulders."
11.gif (5864 bytes) Take four or five husks, straight edges together, and arrange around waist. 
These form a "skirt" for the doll.
12.gif (6792 bytes) Tie with string.
13.gif (6556 bytes) If desired, follow the diagram to form legs for the doll. Tie legs with small strips of husks as indicated. Finish off the doll by tying small strips of husk around the neck and waist to hide the string. Small scraps of cloth may be used to dress the doll.