How to Make Your Own Corn Dolly
Through this post, I’m going to explain how to make and use a Corn Dolly. There are many, many ways to make Corn Dollies for festive activities, protection or representation of someone or something. I like to make mine from Lemongrass as it is easy to work with and grows in abundance. The best part about making it out of lemongrass, is it has the power to enhance psychic abilities and smells amazing! This magic is perfect for aiding in the Imbolc divination activities. In saying that, through this tutorial I will be using Lemongrass as my medium for the Dolly.
If you are unsure as to what a corn dolly is and what it is used for, please read the blog post “What is a Corn Dolly“. I try to cover everything about this little dolly as everyone believes it is exclusively for Imbolc and Lughnasadh and made from corn. And as you’ve read, this is just not the case!
Now, there are two methods and will try my very best to keep them as simple as possible. But as always, never be afraid to experiment for yourself and see what works for you. As like I said before, there a many ways to make a dolly and none of them are wrong!
For Both Dollies
To make the dollies you will need some sort of thick grass, reeds, grain sheaf’s (oats, wheat, ect) or corn husks and some tough scissors. Traditionally, grain sheaf’s are the material of choice. Use dried or fresh materials, if it has been dried out, soak the material over night in water so it becomes malleable. I use fresh grasses as it’s easier, smells nicer and there is no messing about with soaking and possibly having the grass snap when you go to bend it. If you are using dried material, make sure you bend the material gently to see if it will bend without snapping. If it feels dry still, soak the material for a few more hours.
Cut your material into equal lengths. For mine, I cut the pieces down to 30-40cm lengths as it makes a nice sized doll.
Female Corn Dolly Method
First up, how to make a female Dolly. I can’t exactly tell you how many strands to use as each material is thicker or thinner. I tend to grab a bunch that would make the size of a 10 cent coin and then bend them overly evenly. Then I have a look to see if I like the thickness of the skirt. If the skirt is too thin, just add more strands to the bunch and bend it over. You now have a the body of the dolly! The top of the bent over bunch will be the head with the bottom of the strands creating the skirt.
Now, take a small amount of strands to make the arms. These aren’t going to be as thick as the body so only grab an amount you’re going to be happy with. With this bunch, loop around the top of the body strands to make a head. At this stage, I tie this loop with just a simple knot to keep them in place. If I made the arms too short, I simply place the strands behind the body and the use a separate strand to cross tie the arms to the body. Once the arms are in place and you have formed a head, use a strand to tie the end of the arm to make a little hand. Repeat this on the other arm.
Male Corn Dolly Method
To make the dolly male, separate the bottom “skirt” in half to create legs. And like with the arms, use a couple of pieces of your material to tie off the bottoms. This then should look like two legs with two little feet.
Male dollies aren’t traditional and you wont see them around often, especially for Lughnasadh or Imbolc. Traditionally, dollies made during Imbolc to represent the goddess Brigid and to represent her blessings of warmth and light.
If your material won’t stay in place, don’t be afraid to add ribbons or anything else to the dolly to make it special and represent what you need.
Place your Dolly somewhere safe
I like to place mine over the fire place, on my altar or above the cauldron I use for incense. When it is placed upon my altar, I use the dolly as a helper, a little magical apprentice that to aid with spell casting and rituals. If using the Dolly as Brigid’s representation, you may want to surround the dolly with colours of yellows, greens and reds. Place flowers, seeds and candles to invite warm, loving light and blessings for a year of abundance. If you’re like me and believe that spirits and deities can go into representational dolls, move your dolly around the place! Place her upon the altar, fire place or windowsill for a day.
Even though this is a fun and simply activity to do with the family or by yourself, the clean up is never fun! This can get very messy with bits of grass and other materials all over the place. Please remember that the “rubbish” materials are green waste and can go into your compost or green waste bin!