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It's Fall Harvest Time

Corn Husk & Corn Silk Doll Making

Facilitator - Camille Hulbert, MStar Arts Creative

"Harvest Festivals are celebrated all over Africa and the world! These celebrations are filled with lots of music, singing, and dancing with dancers adorned in traditional masks and costumes, some of what you will see in our museum exhibits."

Our October workshop will commence our Fall “Harvest Time” workshops (Oct – Dec)  when we will make dolls from Corn Husk & Corn Silk, expand on our decorative mask making using the multi-purpose textile, Roselle. We will discuss & explore African’s use of celestial knowledge for African Harvest, other celebrations, and rituals. We will introduce the art of Assemblage to prepare for our Annual Part 1 & 2 Kwanzaa “First Fruits of the Harvest” December workshops when we will make our Kwanzaa Quilt Squares & design Affirmation Journals for the new year. 


The  Fall “Harvest Time” workshops will culminate with a creation of a Kwanzaa Assemblage, incorporating your creations from all of the “Harvest Time” workshops!  Not required, but we hope you will join us for each of these workshops as we celebrate the Fall Harvest and enter the new year!

Corn Husk Dolls Image.jpg

Cornhusk Doll made by Camille Hulbert

 MStarArts Creative 

(c) Camille Hulbert



Igbo Yam Festival  in Dublin
Wiki Media Commons 

(c) Wikipedia


Harvest is a very important time of year when the fruits of the planter’s labor is celebrated.   


Various Harvest Festivals are celebrated all over Africa, e.g., The New Yam Festival of the Igbo people in Nigeria, The Homowo Festival celebrated by the Ga people of Ghana in West Africa and many others. These celebrations are filled with lots of music, singing, and dancing with dancers adorned in traditional masks and costumes, some of what you will see in our museum exhibit. A common celebration called “First Fruits” involves several days of planning to bless the newly harvested crop and purify the people prior to eating the food from the harvest. 


First Fruits is the basis of the African American celebration, Kwanzaa, celebrated December 26th – January 1st. It is an ingathering of African Americans for celebration of their heritage and their achievements, reverence for the Creator, creation, commemoration of the past, recommitment to cultural ideals and celebration of the good. 

Kwanzaa Altar

Flickr Image Hosting

(c) Black Hour

Are there any Harvest Traditions that inspire or interest you? 
Use it as inspiration for this workshop! We are going to show you how to make corn husk dolls below, feel free to follow along or create your own design with dyes and different tying techniques. Please Share your finished mask with us!

Let's Get Started

Corn Husk Dolls Image.jpg

Plant Material Mask Kits are available for purchase through Camille's website. Click the image or the link below.


What You Will Need

  •  4-6 Dried corn husk & silk from fresh ears of corn. 

  • (Dying your doll - optional) 1 Package of Food Color Dye.

  • Large bowl

  • 12oz of water. 
    *See directions at the end for coloring the dolls


Step One:

Bundle Your Husks

In steps one through five you will bundle your four pieces of dried corn husk together. Make sure to bundle the thicker ends together with the the thinner ends pointing down. 


Step 2:

Secure Your Husks

Using a small piece of the dried corn husk, tie it around the top of the bundle at the thicker part at the top. This is important in making the head of your doll.


Step Three:

Flip and Fold

Once your bundle is securely tied you will flip it over so the thin part of the bundle is now at the top. You are going to fold these thin ends down over the tied part so it looks inside out. 


Step Four:

Tie Again

Once you have the husks folded over the first tie that you did, you are going to tie them again to make a ball shape for a head from the folded husks. 

Step Five:

Get a New Piece of Corn Husk

For this step you will be making the arms! 
You will need a piece of dried corn husk and roll it up to make a tube like shape. 


Step Six:

Secure Your New Roll

With a small piece of dried corn husk you will tie of each end of your newly rolled husk. This makes the hands of the doll!


Step Seven:

Adding the Arms to the Doll

Back to the head of the doll we were making! Separate the husks under the head of the doll we just made and put them in two sections. You will then take the arms we just made and put them between the layers of the body of the doll. 


Step Eight:

Making the Body

Now that you have the arms put into the body of the doll we need to make sure they stay in place!

With small strips of dried corn husk you tie the bundle of strips that the arms are in together. You will tie them just under the arms to make a waist for your doll! 

What if I want to Dye my doll?

Glad you asked! 
For dying your doll you will need several things before you make your doll.

To make your doll, follow the steps listed above. 

  • 4-6 Dried Corn Husks

  • 1 Pack of food coloring

  • 1 large bowl

  • 12oz of water. 

Step 1: 

Fill your bowl with the 12 oz of water 

Step 2: 
Choose your color! Which ever color you choose, put approximately 12 drops of that color into the bowl of water. 

Step 3:
Soak your corn husks in the dyed water until the corn husks are the right color you want them to be. 

Step 4: 

When done soaking set them out on a paper towel to sit in window or outdoors for a few days to dry

Corn Husk Dolls Image.jpg

Send us what you made! We would love to feature it on the workshop page!

Visual Step By Step Video

Visual step by step video coming soon

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