Costume flowers made of the natural or dyed husks have a nice texture for use with wool or heavy rayon suits and dresses. Cut a simple pattern for a petal form and lay it lengthwise on the husk. Cut around with scissors.

A cornhusk costume flower

PLATE XIV. A cornhusk costume flower.

Centers are made by gathering the husks together; tearing, twisting, and tying knots in the ends of narrow strips of the cornhusks; by using the butt end of the corncob; and by a single knot of the husk.

Bind the parts together with strong thread. Add leaves and buds as desired. To make a neat covering over the tied portion, glue additional petals or strips onto the flower stem with rubber cement such as one finds in a tire-repair kit or at a stationery store. The flower is held in place with a corsage pin, or a safety pin is sewed onto the stem. Soft neutral shades are the most attractive.

The cornhusk costume flower shown on a coat in Plate XIV was made by an eight-year-old child. The petals were made by tearing the dyed strips of cornhusks about 1 inch wide. Then the strips were formed into loops by bringing the ends together and overlapping them about an inch. The ends were held in place by tying them together with string. Five or six petals may be tied around a center and the end of the stem which is formed by the center wrapped and glued.

Cornhusk Dolls

The quaint little cornhusks dolls in Plate XV were made by grade-school children. The natural colored husks are dampened and several are folded together to form the head. Tie at the neck with cotton twine. Add folded husks at right angles to the neck for the arms. The body is formed by the ends which extend from the neck. Clothes fashioned of colored husks may be made to the craftsman's own design. The dried corn silks are glued in place for the hair. The features of the face are painted with water colors or drawn with pen and ink. Cornhusk dolls are clever party favors. Cornhusk nativity scenes or other diorama figures and costume dolls of foreign lands offer opportunities for expression.

Cornhusk dolls

PLATE XV. Cornhusk dolls.

Braided style mat

Figure 7A. Braided style mat, round spiral center.

Braided style, zigzag and square

Figure 7B. Braided style, zigzag and square center.

Heavy Braided Mats

Heavy braided cornhusk mats a foot square may be stitched together for doormats and recreation-room rugs. The individual squares make fine mats for table coverings under vases and statues.

Use the whole husk. Trim the thickened ends. Dampen the husks and braid a heavy round braid. The French Indo-China braided-grass squares sold in department stores show several ways of starting the centers. See Figure 7. If a round spiral coil is used, as the mat increases in size the straight sides are eased into shape. Or the mat may be made with a zigzag or square center.

For a rug, the individual squares are easier to handle than a large single piece. Several persons can be working on the different pieces. The squares can be stored away more easily between working periods.