Easy Corn Husk Doll Tutorial – Native American
Easy Native American Corn Husk Doll tutorial you and your kids’ will love while learning a little about Choctaw tradition.
These little dolls are the perfect STEAM activity for your kids. Although we didn’t originally start making these with the intent of it being a homeschool lesson, it sure did turn out that way.
Science: The kids were able to see cause and effect from when you dip the corn husk in water.
Technology: Learning how the Native Americans recycled every bit of the corn to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible.
Engineer: Little hands learning how to construct a toy from things around the house.
Art: Aside from building these traditional dolls, my older ones started seeing what other creations they could come up with. Planes, eagles, babies…all made from their imagination.
Math: basic counting skills -> 5 cornhusks, 20 pieces of hair, etc.
…and a fun, traditional story to go along with it.
scroll down for video
- 5 corn husks
- yarn (in any color you want the doll’s hair to be)
- container of water
Step 1. fan 4 cornhusks out onto your work surface.
Step 2. cut 20 pieces of yarn to use as the doll’s hair and place them in the center of the fanned out corn husks.
NOTE: It’s better to make your hair long to begin with then trim at the end if necessary.
Step 3. Using the corn husks as a tortilla, roll the yarn up like a burrito.
Step 4. Tie a double knot towards the top to secure the yarn and corn husks together.
NOTE: You should have a little stem at the top now.
Step 5. Pretend your corn husk is a banana and grab “the stem” then start pulling the corn husk flaps down – just like your peeling a banana.
TIP: DIP YOUR DOLL IN THE WATER FOR 3 SECONDS TO MAKE IT EASY TO MANIPULATE.
Step 6. Decide how long or short you want your doll’s head to be and tie your second knot.
Step 7. Take your 5th piece of corn husk and roll it up like a taco all by itself. Then tie a knot at each end to make the doll’s hands.
Step 8. Turn the doll to the side and split it in half. Then stuff the arms up into the body
Step 9. Decide how long or short you want the body to be then tie a double knot.
You can choose to be done here or keep reading if you want a boy doll.
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Step 10 – BOY CORN HUSK DOLL. From the body and on down, use scissors to cut the doll in half to make two legs then tie a double knot at each end to create feet.
Corn Husk Doll video here.
keep scrolling for printable How To
Other corn husk dolls we’ve made to show there is no right way to do this fun activity.
- 5 corn husks
- any color yarn - for hair
- container of water
- fan 4 cornhusks out onto your work surface.
- cut 20 pieces of yarn to use as the doll's hair and place in the center of fanned out corn husks.
- using the corn husks as a tortilla, roll the yarn up like a taco.
- tie a double knot towards the top to secure the yarn and corn husks together.
- grab the top, flip it over, and start pulling the corn husks over and down. Just like peeling a banana.
- decide how long or short you want your doll's head to be and tie your 2nd knot.
- take your 5th corn husk and roll it up like a taco to make 1 long arm then tie a knot on each end for hands.
- split the doll in half and stuff the arms up into the body.
- decide how long or short you want the body to be and tie a double knot.
- (making a boy doll) from the body and on down, use scissors to cut the doll in half to make 2 legs. Then tie a double knot at each end to create the fee.
- it's better to make your hair long to begin with and trim if necessary at the end.
- dip your doll in the water for 3 seconds to make it easy to manipulate.
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The First Corn Husk Doll – a Native American Tale
The first corn husk doll was made by the Corn Spirit. The doll was made with a beautiful face and played well with the Native children but the doll was told over and over how beautiful she was. Hearing this often, she began to become very conceited then started to treat the children badly that would play with her.
The Corn Spirit warned the doll not to be so vain but the doll didn’t listen. So to teach the doll a lesson about humbleness and humility, the Corn Spirit took the beautiful features away from the doll.
Now, corn husk dolls remain faceless to remind people not to ever think they are better than others.
Bonus Story – The Gift of Corn
Long ago, 2 Choctaw men were camping along the Alabama River when they heard a beautiful but sad sound. They followed the sound until they came upon Ohoyo Osh Chishba, Unknown Woman, standing on an dirt mound. The men asked how they could help her so she answered with “I’m hungry.”
The men gave her all their food but Unknown Woman only ate a little then thanked them with a promise.
She said, “Tell no one you saw me and I will ask the Great Spirit to give you a gift. Then return here at the new moon.” So the Choctaw men went home and said nothing.
The next day they returned to the river as instructed, but Unknown Woman was not there. Instead, in the place where they had seen her, stood a tall green plant. That plant was corn and a great gift indeed.