How to Make Corn Dollies

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Corn dollies have been around for many years. With origins in the Pagan, these dolls were created to give the "corn spirit" a home for the winter. The act of creating them is one of many customs to celebrate the harvest. Traditional corn dollies are made from wheat grasses or corn shucks. However, you can use most types of craft straws, which is much easier for a beginner or for kids craft projects.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium: straws, corn shucks or grass
  • Decorations: including seeds and other natural decorations
  • Fasteners: including rubber bands, string or ribbon

Gather together the straw, grass or corn shucks. Stand them on their ends and even out by cutting excess lengths. Chosen your fastener and tie it about 2 inches from the top of the medium. This leaves you with a long end below the fastener and a short, stubby one at the top.

Place the beginnings of your doll on your work surface. Stand the short, stubby section upright and leave the long section arranged so that the pieces are spread out in four even groups for weaving. It is easiest to set the groups in a compass formation of north, south, east and west.

Now you will begin weaving. Take the bottom strand of the eastern straw group and pass it beneath the top of the remaining eastern straw group and the north straw group. Now, take the whole material and rotate it a quarter turn clockwise. This will make the direction of the north strand group the new east group. Once again, take the lower east strand and pass it beneath the top of the East and North strands. Again, make a quarter turn clockwise in rotating your material. Keep repeating this action until your work starts to pull up a basket shape around its stubby ends. Continue weaving until the material completely covers the stubby ends. Leave about 4 inches of raw ends if you intend to make a handle.

Gather together the raw ends of the basket. Fasten them off using a rubber band, string or ribbon. After tying the material, do some plaiting or twist the material and make a neat braid.

At this point, you have the option to paint your finished product or color it with felt tip or crayon. Personalize your dollies by gluing maple seeds, acorn caps and any other interesting objects you desire.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can explore more complicated designs of corn dollies by consulting a number of craft books.

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