Next time you're shucking corn for dinner, don't throw away the husks -- dry them in the sun for one to three days, and you'll have the makings for a corn-husk doll.
Soak the dried corn husks (approximately 20 per doll) in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften them, then blot them dry. Next, gather twenty 10-inch lengths of twine and tie an overhand knot at one end.
Trim the husks so that they are each about 8 inches long. Then sandwich the knotted twine between 4 or so husks and tightly tie another piece of twine around the bundle just above the overhand knot.
Make the doll's arms by rolling up a pipe cleaner in a husk (this will make the arms posable). Roll up 2 more husks (without pipe cleaners). Then braid the three together and tie the ends with twine.
Take the bundle from Step 2 and peel down the husks (as you would a banana) to create a head and expose the hair. Tightly tie the bundle where the neck should be, then insert the arms.
Braid together 3 rolled husks (without a pipe cleaner) for each leg. Then use 2 of the inner husk ends to tie the tops of the legs to the dolls. Trim the remaining husk ends an inch below where the legs are attached.
Snugly wrap a single husk around the doll's hips, tying the ends together to secure it. Trim the knot tails.
Now it's time to dress the doll. If making a girl, go right to Step 8. For a boy, create leggings by wrapping a single husk around each leg and tightly tying twine around the very top. Then fringe the leggings by making a series of short snips along the outer sides.
For a skirt, sandwich the doll's body from the hips up with a few husks and secure them to the waist with twine. Then peel down the husks. For a girl doll, leave the skirt long; for a boy, trim 1 1/2 inches from the waist. Finally, drape husks over the shoulders. Crisscross the ends in front and in back of the doll and sash them around the waist with twine.