How to Make Fanciful Ghosts and Dolls Using Fresh Corn Husks.

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

Don't throw away those fresh corn husks!!! Use them to make ghosts, scarecrows, and dolls with this very simple "three in one" tutorial.

All you need are fresh corn husks, waxed dental floss and scissors! A bit of scrap yarn and a felt tip pen will come in handy for "embellishing".

Pumpkin Patch Craft

Inspired by an image on Dyhanaverse and a how-to Diana sent me by e-mail, I worked out a version that would be VERY simple to teach and share, and take advantage of the nature of shredded corn husks to twist and twirl and curl as they dry.

As many of you know, my sweetie and I set up a free craft area for kids of all ages at the annual Harvest Festival at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island, and this year we shared gourd painting, corn husk ghosts and dolls and house blessing wheat brooms.

We always try to share crafts made using farm produce.

Pumpkin Patch Craft

The ghosts and "corn men" (adorable name given to my scarecrows by a young doll maker) were a big hit.

After teaching dozens of children this simple method, I can tell you that not only do kids love their ghosts and dolls but also as long as they can tie a knot - they can make one!!

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

The original idea for the ghosts came from memories of making "Kleenex Zozobras" with my mother. (The little guys below have been around a long, long time!)

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

We made them to sell as fund raisers at the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe. They are actually miniature Zozobras but I think they translate into ghosts beautifully!

BTW it is Fiesta weekend in Santa Fe! Good timing, huh?


Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows


You start out making a ghost, and then, if you like,  modify to create a doll and finally a "corn man"!


1. Select two or three corn husks. I prefer using the more tender husks found near the kernels because they tend to curl better when drying. But if you aren't fussy about the curls - use any part of the husk except perhaps the very stiff outside.

2. Cut off the end that was attached to the cob.

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

3. Now simply shred the husks into thin strips, starting at the wide end and pulling toward the point. (Kids at the Pumpkin Patch loved this part!)

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

4. Collect the shredded strips into one bundle making sure that there are both "pointy ends" and flat ends on both ends of the bundle.

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

5. Now, select another corn husk (again as you can see, I prefer the softer more pliable inner husks.)

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

6. Shred only the ends but leave the center portion - at least 2 1/2" - unshredded.

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

7. Place the first shredded bundle of husks on top of the partially shredded husk, gently wrap the center part of the partially shredded husk around the bundle and tie around the middle with a piece of dental floss.

Using a surgeon's knot is a very good idea!!

Leave two long ends - about 4"' as these ends will become your hanging loop!

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

8. Now fold your bundle of husks in half (seam to the inside). If you plan to hang your ghost (or put hair on the head of your doll or "corn man"), be sure the floss ends are left free as shown.

9. Tie a second piece of floss about where you want the "neck"! And as you can see in the image - you now have a ghost!!!

10. Use a slip knot to tie together the two long pieces of floss at the top of the head and hang to dry. In just a few hours, all those lovely little shredded bits will curl and twist.

11. Use a felt tip marker (thin point works best) to draw eyes; or try using the marker to color a couple Avery dots black and then glue on! Add a bit of black yarn around the neck if you like.

You now have ghosts haunting your house!!

But if you really had your heart set on a doll or "corn man" read on!

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

12. Once the "ghost" is completed, create a couple "arms". First select a couple husks and cut them at the wide end to a good length for arms. Then shred just as you did in steps 1 through 3 above.

13. Collect them together into a little bundle (remember - points and flats at both ends).

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

14. Spread apart the two halves of your "ghost" and tuck the "arm" bundle right up snug against the "neck".

15. Tie a piece of floss around the "chest" right under the "arms" as shown.

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows16. Tie floss near the ends of each "arm" . And now tadaÂ… you have made a corn doll! Hang her to dry and watch her skirt and hands fluff and curl!

17. If you wish, use a bit of corn silk to create lovely long locks! Just gather silk strands together and tie right in the middle to the the doll's head using the loose floss ends at the top of the head. Arrange as you please.

The corn silk dries beautifully, retaining the golden color.

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

Funny thing - I had no one make a corn doll! Every child wanted a ghost or a "corn man".

18. Easy enough!! Simply draw the husk shreds in the "skirt" into two bundles and tie near the "feet"

19. Hair can be attached in the same way as above - I used the brown, dried out corn silk for my "corn man".

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

20. Add eyes and a mouth and tie on a bit of yarn and you are done!!

If you are feeling exceptionally creative - make an apron for the doll or hand stitch a simple pair of britches and shirt for the "corn man"!

Corn Husk Ghosts and Scarecrows

During the festival, I displayed my ghosts and figures on bamboo skewers stuck in a vase filled with black beans. I have to tell you that the kids loved the idea of having their ghosts and figures on a stick and since I was not prepared to supply sticks, I resorted to using wheat straws!!! Whew! Happy kids!

Note to moms - have some straws or skewers handy!

Hang your corn husk creations or display on a stick! I have mine displayed in a pot of autumn flowers near the front door while they wait to be hung on my Halloween tree!

I am taking a few days away from Gingerbread Snowflakes but I will be back late next week to share some fun new stuff I am up to with Mod Podge and food coloring and fall leaves!

Update:  here is the tutorial for the above mentioned Mod Podge project!

And you might enjoy this  easy way to add a bit of interactive humor to your fall festivities! 

And you might also enjoy these fun fall theme ideas too!

What a fun way to spend a

What a fun way to spend a fall day- I love this Pam! I can't wait to try this with the little ones I craft with. Thanks so much as always for such fun and thorough tutorials. I'll be linking!

I use to do the same thing

I use to do the same thing with the tissues and create little ghosts for halloween! It's cute to do this for the fall with the corn husks!

These are so cute- what a

These are so cute- what a great use for corn husks. The scarecrows are my favorite
Thank you for sharing he how-to!

: )

This is a fun one that I

This is a fun one that I think I can actually do! Cathie can grill the corn and I'll save all the husks. I used to make those kleenex ghosts by the dozens.

Have you ever painted the dried corn husks? Because I might make husk ghosts but do rainbow colors or orange and black or an ombre effect or...

Pam, this is a great craft

Pam, this is a great craft and tho all my children are grown and out of the house, I'm going down to King Soopers and see if I can get the corn husks to make these! This will be our 1st Halloween in the house and I want to make all the holidays special!

Trouble OHara

Very sweet. I think a

Very sweet. I think a garland of corn husk ghosts on the porch would be really cute. :)

I love the ghosts! :) I think

I love the ghosts! :)
I think this material is great for them.
About the dolls... the tecnique you show in this post remember me some dolls I made with my grandma (not sure, maybe my aunt) with leftovers of yarn thread. I was probably 4-5 years old :)

I love corn husk crafts!

I love corn husk crafts! These are absolutely adorable.