Gorgeous DIY Fall Decorating with Corn Husks | Midwest Living

Gorgeous DIY Fall Decorating with Corn Husks

At summer’s end, corn’s lowly husks become decorating stars. A quick dip in fabric dye sets them aglow in ruby, indigo and gold, leaving vibrant raw material for easy and long-lasting fall crafts.
  • Dyed corn husks

    Cut and dyed

    You can dye husks on ears of dried corn to make radiant centerpieces or mantel displays, or use just the husks for the crafts on the next slides. No, you won’t have to shuck a mountain of corn—instead, buy an inexpensive package of tamale wrappers at a Mexican market or online.

    To dye, mix 12  cup of liquid fabric dye (such as Rit) with 2 quarts hot water in a large vessel. Immerse the husks in the dye bath for 15 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until desired color develops, and then transfer to layered paper towels. If you dye husks with the ears still attached, prop them so only the husks are submerged, and let them dry before displaying.

    See the dyeing process step-by-step.

  • Corn husk projects

    Corn husk projects

    Decorate your tabletop, buffet and wall with our colorful corn husk projects. Click or tap ahead to see how to make candlestick collars, napkin rings, plate charges, husk flowers and a wreath. 

    Pro tip To prevent dye transfer, seal all finished projects with polyurethane spray.

  • Candlestick collars

    Candlestick collars

    Shred damp, dyed husks into long, 14- to 12-inch strips. Use hot glue to attach one end to a wooden ring, then wrap the ring. Use hot glue to secure the wrap and attach a husk flower (next slide). Slip onto a wooden candlestick. (Find rings and candlesticks at crafts stores.)


  • Husk flowers

    Husk flowers

    Chrysanthemum Cut damp, dyed husks into long strips 3 inches wide. Stack the strips and fold in half lengthwise. Use scissors to fringe the edge opposite the fold. Then roll the stack, leaving the fringe free and securing with hot glue. Fluff the fringe into a flower form.

    Strawflower Cut damp, dyed husks into 12 to 15 pointed 2-inch petals and one long 1-inch-wide strip. Arrange petals into an overlapping flower. Secure with hot glue. Fold strip in half lengthwise, coil it, and attach to center with hot glue.

    Cosmos Follow strawflower instructions, but start with five to eight rectangular 2-inch petals. Round the outer edge of each, then glue into a flower shape. Repeat with layers of smaller rounded petals. Attach a coiled husk for the center.

    Petals will curl as the husks dry, creating a more dynamic shape.

  • Corn husk wreath

    Corn husk wreath

    Beforehand, get a straw wreath form and dye your husks. (We used Rit dye in Charcoal.) A 1-pound pack of husks does the job.

    Make shapes Use our instructions (previous slide) to create flowers. Then cut out leafy shapes to cover the wreath.

    Plan the design Try an asymmetrical composition for visual interest. Make more flowers or leaves if needed. 

    Cover the base Add overlapping layers of leaf shapes, attaching with floral pins until the wreath is covered.

    Finish it up Use hot glue to attach flowers. Let dry completely, then seal all sides with polyurethane spray.



  • Corn husk bouquet

    Corn husk bouquet

    In place of flowers, display a bouquet of dyed corn husk ears in a wide, clear vessel on your fall table.

  • Corn husk napkin rings

    Corn husk napkin rings

    Shred damp, dyed corn husks into long, 14- to 12-inch strips. Bundle the strips, knotting one strip around the end of the bundle to secure. Divide the strips into three sections and braid. Use another strip to secure the braid, about 112  inches from the end, to leave a fringe. Use hot glue to attach the knotted end underneath the fringed end. Clamp with a binder clip until dry.

  • Corn husk plate chargers

    Corn husk plate chargers

    Sandwich a dozen damp, dyed corn husks between paper towels, then use a warm iron to press flat and dry husks. Trace a large circle onto adhesive cork shelf liner (a 16-inch pizza pan makes a good stencil). Remove paper from adhesive, and arrange husks in an overlapping sunburst until cork is covered. Trim edge as needed. Secure overlapping spots with hot glue. When dry, press again with iron, then seal both sides with polyurethane spray.

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