Making Cornelia

Besides my day job, I design projects for an online resource for activity directors. One of the projects I recently finished required corn husks. I got a big bag from the Mexican grocery down the street ($5.49), and I had TONS left over so today I decided to make a corn husk doll. Most of the instructions online were for more traditional dolls. I wanted my doll to look like “the kids today” so I did some editing. I’ve written down the process I used so that you can make one, and then our dolls can be best friends! I made mine into a puppet by ramming a 12″ bamboo skewer up her bottom. You can do that too if you like.

Project: Cornelia (get it, corn?) the corn husk doll

Materials:

  • 7 intact corn husks
  • Paper towels
  • Twine
  • Scissors, ruler

Optional materials:

  • 12″ bamboo skewer
  • Apoxie Sculpt
  • Craft paint, painting supplies (brushes, water, paper towels)
  • Hot glue

Let’s do it!

  1. Soak the corn husks in warm water for a bit to get them nice and soft. Maybe you should do that now while you’re reading this. Or maybe while you’re making dinner. Like that amount of time. Maybe a half hour. When you’re ready to rock and roll, take them out and blot them on some paper towels.
  2. Cut twenty 10″ pieces of twine. Gather them together and make a huge knot at one end. This is going to be your doll’s skull and hair. O.k., you know how all of the corn husks have a tapered end and a wide end? Well, take four of the corn husks and like wrap them around the twine bundle like the picture down below. The tapered ends go at the knot end. After your twine bundle is “burrito-ed” in the four corn husks, wrap a piece of twine tightly around the “neck”.
  3. Now peel down the four husks like a banana so that the nicely wrapped head and the twine hair is emancipated. Tie another piece of neck-making twine. I swear this is the last time I’ll tell you to make a neck with twine.
  4. O.k., you’re going to do this next part three times, so listen up. With the three remaining husks, tear lengthwise into three equal pieces (so you’ll have a pile of nine pieces). Take three pieces (bundle them without all wides on one side or all tapered on one side, like mix that up). Use a piece of twine and tie one end, braid those pieces, then tie another piece of twine on the other end. I should have told you to cut six small pieces of twine to begin with so you’re not holding your braid and trying to cut a piece of twine. Live and learn. So do that three times. One is for the arms, and the other two are legs. Maybe I should have included a photo of that step, but really, it’s just braiding three strips of husk and tying twine on each end. You’ll figure it out.
  5. Sandwich one of the braids between the body husks to make arms (like two lengths of body husk should be in front of the arms and two behind). Now, this part is a little bit trickier. You’re going to tie an end of each leg braid to one of the inner lengths of body husk. You can sort of shove them up in there and burrito the body husks around the legs. The photo sort of shows what I’m talking about.
  6. Dude, you’re almost finished! Now all you have to do is tie one last piece of twine around the waist. Look at that! You made a corn husk doll with an updated outfit! You can braid the hair if you want or make a fine hat. Dress it up. Make her fancy.
  7. OR if you’re less than satisfied with mediocrity, you can take some Apoxie Sculpt and make a lovely face. When that’s cured, you can glue it on and paint the whole shebang. Yeah, that’s not at ALL creepy. THEN if you’re sort of obsessed with puppets, stick a skewer up the butt of your doll to make it a puppet.
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