Corn Garland Tutorial

by Whitney on November 17, 2010

Of crows and corn . . .

Ariana’s glowing photography sang out from children’s craft collective, The Crafty Crow, thumbnails, and rang more beautiful still on her own site, Crow Roosters Crow. She probably could have sold me on a dung necklace with that light, but she really had me with the amber-like beauty of ornamental corn. I bought some from a stand down the street that very day, and let it adorn the table for a while before stealing the husks for my last-minute Halloween costume (scarecrow). So, in addition to crafty inspiration, I can thank the Crows for saving the family photo op.

After three days of Halloween festivities, we were all happy to unwind with a slow-paced project. We enjoyed the process so much that we just kept going, and our necklaces grew to garlands.

How to make an Ornamental Corn Garland:

thread or fishing line (filament)
ornamental corn (one ear ≈ 5 feet garland)
water, for soaking

1. Remove kernels from an ear of ornamental corn; we found it easiest to start on the edge and push along the row with sides of thumbs or fingers.

2. Soak the kernels in warm water until a needle slides through without much effort. This should take a few hours; it took nearly a day in our cold house.

3. Measure a manageable length  (18″ for us) of thread or fishing line, and knot end. Thread through needle. (We used fishing line, so I knotted it at the top, too.)

4. Start stringing! (Before we realized they would get softer, we pushed the needle through the kernel on a sofa pillow, so as to avoid pricked fingers when the force gave way.)

5. String to end of thread, then tie off top. Repeat from step 3 and tie segments together until garland is at desired length. Trim string ends if needed.

*Edited to link to {inhabit}, a new tradition at The Little List.

Gina asks,

How are YOU… capturing time, filling your table, making memories, weaving rituals, creating warmth, encouraging deep roots, nurturing creativity, being fully present, and learning to fully inhabit the space you call home?

I commented on Gina’s {inhabit} a celebration home post that I find great peace in the meditative nature of needlework, be that mindful embroidery (as she engaged in this week) or the repetitive stringing of corn. Goose and Gander also enjoy slowing down and focusing on the sensory aspects of sorting, steadying, and piercing the intensely colored kernels. I have another dried ear reserved for Thanksgiving day; I’ll soak the kernels that morning and present the opportunity to string when the energy of a full house threatens to become frenetic.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

ariana November 17, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Hello Whitney::
Thank you so much for your kind words! They really do mean a great deal to me. I am always surprised when people find me in that little space of mine and just when I think about putting the old blog to rest some wonderful connection happens from across the great divide and I remember anew what it is all about. Your garland is divine and such a marvelous idea! I hope this finds you all well! All the best, a


Whitney November 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Dear Ariana,

I am so happy to have found your sweet, inspiring space, and look forward to many return visits. I apologize for the delayed reply; unfortunately, your message did not find me well, but it is nothing that a little rest and a lot of garlic can’t cure!

All the best to you!



The Little List November 20, 2010 at 8:49 am

This is such a wonderful idea. What beautiful autumn colors. Thank you so much for linking up for {i n h a b i t} this week. It’s a pleasure having you. Enjoy your weekend.


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