Indian Corn Series Part 1 - Making an Indian Corn Wreath

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I am crazy about Indian Corn!

Every year, in the fall, I end up buying more - even though I have bunches and bunches of it already at home. I just can't resist the stuff!

So - this year I decided to actually DO something with all those bags of Indian Corn my sweetie has so patiently hung from the garage rafters year after year. He never complains, but I know he is convinced I am nuts!

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So to say the least, he is thrilled that I just completed three corn wreaths and two of them now live at the Pumpkin Patch as displays for the Indian Corn Wreath tutorials I am sharing in the market.

That is why you are getting these rather scruffy quick shots of the finished wreaths.  I forgot to photograph them before I took them out there!

That big guy at the very top is about 28" across and this one is closer to 16" just in case you want to know!

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The third little wreath? Only 10" across.  And it is living with me because it is a Winter Holiday Wreath! It is put together a little differently. If you are interested, the directions for the Winter Holiday Wreath are at the very end of the post.

Making a Corn Wreath is the first of a series of four posts devoted to playing with Indian Corn. I hope you enjoy!

 

HOW TO MAKE AN INDIAN CORN WREATH

Materials needed:

- 1 standard green wire wreath form (12” for large corn and 8” for small corn)

- dark green floral wire (24 gauge wire for large corn and 26 gauge for small corn

- Indian corn in mixed colors - between 16 to 18 ears for one wreath

- Wire cutters and craft scissors

- Elmer's Glue or a Hot Glue Gun (optional)

Steps for making a corn wreath:

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1. If you are making a wreath using large corn, a quick dip in warm water will soften the husks so that they are easier to manage. Small cornhusks are easy to work with so there is no need to soften them.

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2. Some ears will have one or two inches of stem still attached. Pull the husks back to reveal the stem and clip off all but about a half-inch of the stem. Garden clippers make this job easier. A few husks will come off with the stem but this is not a problem. But be sure to save them. You might need them later.

3. Select the ears that will be attached at the “north”, “south”, “east” and “west” points on the wreath form.

4. Cut a length of floral wire about 18” long. This is longer than you will need to attach the ear of corn but the additional length makes attaching the ear much easier.

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5. Pull back the husks into a bundle as shown.

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6. Fold the husk to what will be the back of your ear of corn.

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NOTE! Before going on - a bit of light housekeeping!

Sometimes you will bring home a spectacularly beautiful ear of Indian Corn but it has only a little bit of husk attached. Or, maybe when you trimmed off the stem, you lost more than you intended. Well - there is a solution!

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Simply place several of those husk trimmings under the corn as you see above. Don't worry about attaching them, they will get "attached" in the following steps.

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And more often than not, you will find there is an ugly, dried up tip. I always cut this off using a pair of craft scissors or garden shears.

Now - back to the tutorial!

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7. Loop the floral wire under both of the middle supports bringing the ends of the wire back to the top of the wreath form.

8. Hold the husks in place and lay the ear of corn (husk side down) on the wreath form right next to the floral wire.

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9. Holding the husks to the back of the ear, arrange the husks so that some are at the back of the ear and a few are positioned on each side. The husks along the sides will fill in the gaps between ears.

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NOTE! This is the wrong way! If you attach your corn with all the husks gathered together next to the ear of corn, there will be big ugly spaces between the ears!

11. Pull the wires over the corn leaving a space of about 1½” between the wires where they lay across the ear of corn..

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12. Pulling the wires tightly against the corn, return them to the back of the wreath form making sure to again work the wires between the husks as before.

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13. Make sure to place the two wires on each side of the middle supports.

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14. Pull tightly and twist the wires around each other to secure. About three to four twists is sufficient.

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15. Now pull one wire around the loop you made when the floral wire you are currently using was first attached to the form.

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16. Pulling tightly, bring the two wires back together and twist together about 6 times.

NOTE! Don’t cut the wires -  yet. The ears may need to be tightened when the wreath is dry or it may be necessary to shift an ear while adding the rest of the corn.

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17. Continue wiring the ears in place until the wreath is completed, attaching the four compass points first and then fill in with remaining corn. As you can see, I didn't take my own advice while mading the first wreath; but trust me, placing the first four ears at the compass points makes it easier to  fill in with the others and avoid any "slanting effects".

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18. Once the all the corn has been wired onto the wreath form, let the wreath dry out a couple days (if the husks have been soaked).

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Turn the wreath frequently to be certain both sides get lots of fresh air!

19. Once your wreath is dry, tighten any wires that need to be tightened, and cut – leaving enough length to tuck them into the back of the wreath. I usually wrap them around the wreath form supports a couple times and then just tuck.

NOTE! It is usually best to handle these wreaths only by the wire form, so to avoid cutting your fingers, be sure the wire ends are tucked into the body of the wreath.

20. To fill in any gaps, extra husks may be attached using a hot glue gun or Elmer’s glue. See the little Winter Holiday Wreath tutorial below to see how great this works!

WINTER HOLIDAY WREATH

Material needed are almost the same as above except you will want to use a 6" wire wreath form and you will definitely not need to soak the husks. They are very easy to work with.

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I have no idea what these gorgeous little red "corns" are called. (Anyone who knows, let me know and I will pop the name in here.)

ADDED 9/19 - Thank you Gill!  Apparently the beauties above are called Strawberry Sweet Corn!  Of course they are!  Perfect - right?

But - I love the dark red color against the creamy white husks. Perfect for holiday decorating!

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1. Cut away the top part of the husks.

2. Tie three to five husks together into a little bundle using florist wire.

3. Tie each bundle onto the wire form. You can tie them on any old way - just so they are secure and won't fall off.

4. Wire on the red corn using the same  method used above for the large corn wreaths; however, this time, instead of securing the corn by placing your wires over the top of the ear, place them together right where the corn and husk meet. The wires will disappear!

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But these wires won't! Disappear, that is!

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Glue husks cut from the "extras" between the little ears where you can see the exposed wires.

DONE!

Hang your wreath and enjoy. Since these are Winter colors, you can enjoy your wreath until Spring!

as someone with no artistic

as someone with no artistic talent, i am attempting, yet again this year, an indian corn wreath as a gift (this is last years gift...)
it's proceeding okay..not well..just okay. looking at your tutorial, and at the place where i am trying to secure the corn tightly as it is quite heavy, i've hesitated to you the wire in the middle of the corn, as it can be seen, as it can be in yours. that makes me crazy! is there a way to hide it??/ or my thought is to try to secure with LOTS of glue gun glue.....
please help me with this part....it's not bad for an older, disabled momma who can sing, but using hands for creation is not one of her gifts!
thanks for any help on this.

Tara,  I would love to offer

Tara,  I would love to offer another solution - one that provides completely invisible attachment.  However, I do not know of one.  When the wreath is hanging, the wires are not actually that noticable - the dark green wire blends in with the multicolored ears quite nicely.  If the ears have been drying for some time, it might be possible to gently work the wires inbetween the corn kernels.  

I do not recommend a glue gun for attaching the heavy ears to the form.  There is not enough surface area on the form to create a good bond.  Even if the form is wrapped, the surface area that would be in contact with the ear would be insufficient for a good bond.  

I have an idea that might work but since i have not tried it out personally, I will send it by e-mail.

thank you for your response.

thank you for your response. i will await the email...(and they have been drying....for a year!!!)
maybe it's the bit of ocd but i can see the wire when i hang it up, so where there's a will, there's way!!!
thanks again
tara

Do you need to do anything to

Do you need to do anything to the corn, such as shellac or a sealer to preserve the corn? I would like to be able to use my wreath again next year.

No Era!  You don't need to do

No Era!  You don't need to do a thing except to store it where hungry mice can't get to it!!  I have Indian corn swags that are over 10 years old and they still look perfect.  That is one of the beautiful things about Indian Corn - it can be stored for a long, long time.

Hi, just thought I'd let you

Hi, just thought I'd let you know that my 16 year old daughter loved this wreath and made one today. It is hanging on our front door now. looks great!!! Thanks for sharing your idea!

This is beautiful. Such a

This is beautiful. Such a perfect representation of autumn. I'll be sharing on Facebook. Thanks :)

Beautiful! Thanks for the

Beautiful! Thanks for the detailed instructions--I might actually be able to do this!

I've been wanting to do a

I've been wanting to do a natural wreath this year instead of my tired old silk sunflower wreath. Was looking to copy the ones from Williams Sonoma. Can't wait to do this with DD this weekend. Thanks!

That's gorgeous Pam! I love

That's gorgeous Pam! I love all the colors! Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

Hello, I believe the little

Hello,
I believe the little red ones are called Strawberry sweetcorn. We grew some one year, but the mice sure do love them, so we didn't manage to keep many! The wreaths are lovely. I guess regular sweetcorn would dry out and get too wrinkly to be nice...
Gill.

Hi Pam, Thanks for your nice

Hi Pam,

Thanks for your nice comment on my blog - it's always nice to see new friends and old!

I love the Indian corn wreath! I will have to look around for the corn, I can't wait to make one!

You have such fun ideas, I love your blog!

Hugs,
Barb

Now that I am in love with

Now that I am in love with painting, I hardly ever do any construction!! This is an amazing project and a stunning result! I love those little red corns. You are marvelous. It's feeling so much more like autumn...

Great tutorial! I love

Great tutorial! I love wreaths and Indian corn. I remember growing up with my Grandparents up North. There was always Indian corn hanging in the basement. I always loved looking at them. We also had hot peppers drying in the basement.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane and the pattern.

These are beautiful! A great

These are beautiful! A great autumn-y craft!

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