Living Like Little House in the Big Woods ~ Homemade Dolls

by Merissa on January 5, 2011

in Living Like Little House

I promised, and here it is. A whole series about frugal living based off the Little House books! My tenative plan for this series is to run each book for about 2 weeks. I'll be doing 3 different posts each week about crafts, frugal living, recipes, and more. There will be fun things to do, fun giveaways, and hopefully we might all learn something!

Of course I need to start at the beginning, where it all started, The Little House in the Big Woods. I've actually been to Pepin and the site where the little house was in Wisconsin. It helps you get a true sense for where these books really were based and when you read through them you can picture all the things that Laura talks about. Lake Pepin, the big woods, the little cabin where they lived.

We are going to start this series off with a little craft.

"Mary was bigger than Laura, and she had a rag doll named Nettie. Laura had only a corncob wrapped in a handkerchief, but it was a good doll. It was named Susan. It wasn't Susan's fault that she was only a corncob. Sometimes Mary let Laura hold Nettie, but she only did it when Susan couldn't see." ~ Little House in the Big Woods p. 20-21

Since I was homeschooled we got to do a bunch of different craft projects that I might not have gotten to do in public school. Mom did a whole series with on based on the Little House books because we loved them so much. So, naturally, one of these crafts was to make a corncob doll. Once I realized you could make your own dolls we had a whole bunch of different dolls. Dolls made with pipe cleaners, dolls made from yarn, paper dolls we cut out from magazines....and so on. To us it didn't matter that they didn't come from the store, they were perfect anyways. I'm pretty sure I had a whole family of yarn dolls and the pipe cleaner dolls were special so they got to live in the dollhouse, the yarn dolls only got to visit sometimes.

Here's how to make your very own corn cob doll with your little girl!

Here is a picture of what you need. A scrap of fabric for the dress. A dried corncob, a dried piece of corn husk that was hung over a chair while drying, and a few pieces of string or ribbons.

Wrap the fabric around the corncob leaving room for a head on one end. Tie it securely with a string or ribbon.
Put the folded, dried corn husk over the other end of the corn cob to make the bonnet. Tie in place with a string or ribbon. Tie securely but not too tight, you don't want to break the husk!
And that really it is! Now you have your very own corn husk doll!
Want to know how to make a yarn doll as well? It's just as simple as the corn husk doll!
Here's all you need, yarn in any color and scissors.
Wrap the yarn around your hand or around a piece of cardboard. This first section will be for her arms so make it about how long you think her arms should be.
Tie each end of the arm loop to make the hands separate from the arms.
Cut the loops on the end of the arms for the hands.
Now make the longer yarn loop for the body. You can use a few pairs of hands or a piece of cardboard to wrap around. Make sure you wrap enough loops or she will look too skinny!
Tie off the head at the top of the large loop of yarn. If you want her to have a bun make sure you make her head a little longer. If you are making a boy doll or you don't want her to have a bun, just make a normal round shaped head.
Insert her arms into the middle of her body and tie another piece of yarn to make her waist.
Cut the ends of the big yarn loop to make the bottom of her dress.
If you wanted her to have a bun, tie back part of the longer shaped head and puff out her face a little bit so it looks like her hair is separate from her head.
You can do all kinds of variations! Use ribbon to tie around her hair and her body to make her a little fancier or separate the dress into 2 parts to make pant legs for a boy doll. You can also make mini yarn dolls for the dolls to have babies!

Make sure you read the entire Living Like Little House series!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle January 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Awesome! Thanks so much.


2 Marly January 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm

AWESOME Start to a great series!!! : )


3 Rachel October 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I have a Question , You said about the little house replica in pepin. What state and where is pepin?


4 Merissa October 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Pepin is located in Wisconsin.


5 Brenda January 7, 2013 at 6:44 am

Great website! Our family is currently reading the Little house on the Praire series. Thank you for your website.


6 LAC June 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I’m going to make these for my granddaughter who is three. I wonder how she will react to the corncob doll since she loves pumpkins and has kissed them when I have given them to her! I wonder if she will kiss the corncob doll I can’t wait to find out!


7 jody November 5, 2013 at 10:30 am

Love this! We are enjoying a rainy, cold day here so this is a great project for us to do! Thanks for sharing!


8 Vicki March 6, 2014 at 12:29 am

Thank you so much for sharing!! My 2 little girls and I are currently
On the 2nd book and have been this past week been living w/out
Running water or electricity (due to a severe storm that caused a tree
To fall on our power pole) anyway the girls are actually enjoying their
Adventure !!


9 karen July 31, 2014 at 10:57 am

Those yarn dolls bring back the best memories for me! In the early 60′s my mom made them and I thought they were SO special! The only time I got toys was birthday and Christmas. Mom made them in red and white and green and white for Christmas packages, instead of bows. She was a very young farm wife living on a 11$ a week milk check so she had to be thrifty! Thanks for the memories!


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