Corn husk dolls made easy with 6 simple steps

How to create corn husk dolls

If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your children or even your adult friends, then creating corn husk dolls is a great idea. It’s literally taking this very flexible material that can be found in your kitchen and turning it into beautiful handcrafted dolls.

Corn husk dolls have been around for a long time and are deeply rooted in Native American history, and also other cultures. This is where women in particular, would gather together and create toys made from the dried husk of a corn cub, for both boys and girls.

So before you decide to go and pick up a new doll, why not get creative and grab those corn husks and have a grand time with the children. It’s fun, simple and easy. A great activity for idle summer afternoons or even in the winter, when you’re trapped in by snow.


Materials Needed:

Corn husks 

Warm water

Shallow pan

2mm jute twine

Rubber bands



Corn husks are easily found in grocery stores, and you can make about 10 dolls from a half-pound package (depending on the brand, more or less).

Let’s jump into it!


Step 1: Soak

The first thing you want to do is to soak your corn husks for about 10 to 15 minutes in warm water, make sure it’s in a shallow pan so it’s easier to manipulate.

After soaking, the corn husks will be nice and soft. Place them on a towel so that it absorbs the excess moisture and prevent your working table from getting all wet.


Step 2: Core

After soaking you will need to choose 4 husks that are about the same size and proceed to the next step. If there are smaller pieces, you can put them on the outside, on the bottom or at the top of the doll without a problem.


Stack those four husks on top of each other, and remember, if one is shorter make sure it’s on the outside. You will also need to have an extra husk, it can be a skinny one.


Now take up the stacked corn husks and pinch the top and take a rubber band to wrap it tightly. Those small, strong rubber bands are great for this. 


After it is tightly secured with the rubber bands, you’re then going to flip the husks inside out, so that the rubber bands will be on the inside. 


Step 3: Starting the hair

Now it’s time to create the hair for your doll. Put your corn husks aside and take up the 2mm jute vine with your favorite color, or you can choose to use the natural color. 

Wrap it around your hands (10 to 15 times is enough). For longer hair, cut it on one side; for short hair, cut it on both sides. 


Slip it off from your fingers, pinch it off in the center (like the shape of an 8) and tie it in the middle with a double knot using another piece of string.


For short hair, you want to take a pair of scissors and cut both ends of each loop. If you want long hair, you would only cut one side and tie it at the top instead of the middle. 


Once you’ve done that, cut a piece of string about 6 to 8 inches long and place the string horizontally inside the double layer of the corn husks, at the top and tie it up using a double knot.


Step 4: Head, arms and waist

Cut another piece of string about 8 to 12 inches long, gather up the corn husk and tie it off where the neck should be. Tie it nice and tight, and snip the excess string.


Grab that tiny, skinny piece you separated before and do the arms by rolling it up from one side to the other, like a straw. Give it a nice little squeeze and place it horizontally inside of your core, so you have 2 husks on either sides and then slide the arms up to the right position, which is directly underneath the neck.


Using a piece of natural colored string, figure out where you want the waist to be and tie it up like  you did with the neck. 


For the arms you can tie them off by taking small pieces of the natural colored string and tying the areas where you think the elbows should be. You can also fold both arms or circle the arms to the front and tie it up so that it can hold something (like a corn husk doll child or hang it around a wine bottle neck).


Step 5: Complete the hair

At this point to complete the hair, take up your colored jute vine and place it in between the strings at the top of your doll and tie it in place.


Step 6: Dress or pants?

If you stop right here, you will have your doll wearing a dress! But if you want to turn into pants, then you’ll need to find the center and split the bottom of the corn husks in the middle up to the waist. Using your jute vine, you want to tie the legs off, just like the arms. Just make sure you tie it near to the bottom, or the feet will be way too big! 

And there you have it, your completed corn husk doll.


Warning: this can get highly addictive! You can make different sizes, make tiny, itsy-bitsy dolls or huge ones. You can get some string and make a criss-cross pattern to resemble suspenders or overalls, and best off all you can do this with your kids for a fun filled play day.

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