Corn Husk Craft Ideas- It’s A “Maize”ing What You Can Do!

This post is dedicated to corn husk craft ideas I’ve been researching and experimenting with. As you know, crafts made from natural substances from nature are my jam, and if there’s an out there, I’ll be on it. Corn husks are easy to come by as you can buy them at hobby stores, but you may, like me, want to get them from the most natural place: your own garden. The better half and I grew corn both this year and last with different results..

Our corn yield from last year was a little better but I digress. I’ve been cutting down what was left of the stalks and collecting the husks because i know there are creative things to do with them.

Dyeing Your Corn Husks

So a few of your corn cobs didn’t develop into a nice juicy plump kerneled specimen. it happens to the best of us. Instead of calling it a wash and throwing away the sub-par cobs, you can save the husks, peel them off and dye them in beautiful colors!  Better yet, if you master this it will take the other projects here up a notch. You can use regular food colorant or something like Rit dye.

Take your bundle of fresh husks (if you’re like me and grow corn organically) and spread them out so they will dry out. Of course if you bought yours from a hobby store you don’t need to do this part.

Using Food Colorant

Make sure you have hot water on tap, heat it well but not boiling. Pour into a heatproof container and add half a bottle of one color from the bottle (yes, it will take this much) Submerge your husks into the dye bath if they try to “float” up you may want to use a plate or something heavy to keep them immersed.

Let them set up for about half an hour. The longer they set they deeper the color will be.

dying corn husks

Edit: My experience recently. You may notice I’ve dipped the cob too. Skip that, as any color it takes will be limited to the fibrous, nubby end. As a variation, you might try the ombre look where the color will be the darkest in one area and gradually fade.

Using Fabric Dye

A common household product like Rit dye can work well, too, and produce more vibrant color than food coloring. Be sure you put on some disposable gloves, as it’s messy and may stain. I would not use the whole package, if you use about a quart of hot water (or whatever amount to fill the dish your’e using, a teaspoon of dye is it’s very potent and concentrated. As with the food color, place the dried husks into the dye bath and let them sit for about a half hour. 

I wanted a more authentic fall color scheme like brown, red, orange and deep yellow but I only had purple and pink. You can always experiment. You can mix colors together too (within reason)

Well, here’s how they turned out. Notice the husk part,, of course, took the color well. I’ll probably turn this into some kind of decoration, (after I figure out something I can use to coat that cob so it won’t attract insects.) I think it’ll look good in my second bathroom winch has purple walls and trim.

dyed corn husks

Be sure and rinse off any remaining dye before you set them out to dry. This may take an hour or a day depending on the humidity/time of year.

Try and see what you come up with! These will make a wonderful table centerpiece for Thanksgiving, instead of the standard cornucopia, do this. I’ll bet you will get compliments from your guests. At any rate, great idea for fall decor. I used to see home decorations that consisted of corn cobs with open husk, and the corn was in variegated colors, which I liked. I have no idea how you get that interesting look with kernel color variation.

Pin for Later?

crafts using corn husks


A front door wreath is another great use that corn husks can be made into.m You could dye them various shades or use them in their natural state. Either way you’ll have an eye catching centerpiece for the front door that will get attention and capture the essence of the harvest season. I found a good tutorial shared by this crafter @KarinsKottage if you want a blueprint to do it yourself.

A rustic craft and no waste that’s perfect for your fall decor. I love it! And all you need besides the husks is a bunch of floral pins and a foam base wreath form. The tutorial is no fluff, and you’ll enjoy putting it together by following the steps she provides.

corn husk door wreath

Making Flowers

And the next thing you should do, especially if you followed the dye protocol closely, is crafting flowers.So many possible ways come to mind, depending on the type of flower. Make a special occasion even more so by doing this…Tulips, roses, sunflowers are very popular. Clustered flowers (e.g. marigolds, zinnias) I would imagine, would be hard to replicate.

I think that’s a daisy in the bottom left picture. But you get the idea. 

Corn Husk Dolls

This one is a classic – legend has it this was a tradition passed down from indigenous peoples, even in 21st century, you can do this timeless craft. Remember corn is a crop that was been cultivated for many, many years…no doubt people found many uses for the crop that go well beyond nourishment. You’ll want to start with freshly removed husks in their soft form, and some twine or jute cord Wrapping the husks in a pattern. and securing the head, arms, and legs.

Then let it dry for a day or so.That’s the short version however, if you search around you can find a good tutorial for this.

corn husk dolls


I know some people joke about basket weaving not being a “real” artform…well this takes it to a whole new level. And with variegated colors, you could also blend them in with natural, will make for a striking centerpiece. 

I know this says it’s a “work in progress’ but it’s already impressive…

And One More….Make Paintbrushes

Okay, this one is for the moms out there with a little budding Picasso on their hands.  I discovered this little gem  by a lovely teacher/crafter and thought I would include it here. Basically, what you do is take a handful of dried corn husks and cut them into thin strips.Do this until you’ve got a bundle going and then fold them down the middle, and then cut another husk strand and use this one to tie it at the end.

Image credit: PinkStripeySocks

Simple, but clever! She and her son had a blast doing abstract art with these. I thought I would pass it along.

Corn has such a long history, the Aztecs referred to it as “maize” and cultivated it , and resourceful people like them knew not to throw the wrapper away when the food was consumed. That’s a great way to be, no? What other things have you found to turn those marvelous corn skins into? If you have any other ideas, let me hear them and I may add it to this list.

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