Pumpkins are, indeed, a symbol of autumn but they are not the only things you can use as decorations. Dried corn and corn stalks are quite popular and versatile as well. There are lots of things you can do with them.
The great thing about using corn stalks and dried corn in fall decorations is that these items are easy to find for fall crafting. It’s also possible to use these materials in both rustic and modern interiors depending on how you include them.
Why Is Dried Corn Used in Fall Decorations?
Dried corn stalks originally came about as decoration through practical use. Corn is a crop that is grown into late fall, but unless it is cut and harvested before it’s ripened, farmers can’t plant a spring wheat harvest in its place. This led to the practice of shocking, or chopping the wet corn stalks down early and bundling them up in stacks called shocks to dry out.
Since most corn used in agriculture is used in a dried state for animal feed or industrial purposes, setting corn aside to dry in this way didn’t hurt the corn crop itself. These stacks of drying corn stalks became synonymous with the fall harvest in America and eventually were used as pure decoration in homes.
How to Dry Corn Husks for Decoration
If you want to use corn husks in home decorating, one way to get them is to buy corn on the cob from the grocery store and then save the husks to dry. This allows you to recycle the husks without having to throw them out, especially if you don’t have a compost where you can reuse them.
Here’s the easiest way for you to dry your corn husks to use in fall decor:
- Peel the corn husks off the corn. Be sure to wipe away and discard any clinging corn silk between the corn cob and the corn husks.
- Lay the corn husks out on a newspaper or paper towels to dry. If your corn husks are very wet, consider using paper towels since it’ll prevent the transfer of ink from the paper to the husks.
- Leave the husks to cure for three days. As they dry they should become pale and crackly in texture.
If you want to speed up the process of drying corn husks for decoration, you can also dry them in the oven for several hours at a low temperature (175F).
Indian Corn in Decorating
Many people may think by looking at it that Indian corn has been dyed or painted, but the truth is that this unique-looking vegetable naturally comes in a wide variety of different colors. Some varieties, or cultivars, of Indian corn, are all a single shade of color, such as strawberry corn, while other varieties like Glass Gem can feature much brighter hues like jade and turquoise.
Can You Eat Indian Corn?
Indian corn is commonly seen in fall interiors as a focal point, but chances are you won’t see it steamed and served at the table. The reason is that Indian corn is a corn that is bred specifically for drying. It has a high level of starch and isn’t sweet like the fresh sweet corn you’re used to eating from the grocery store.
Indian corn is sometimes used in animal feed and popcorn, but the place you’re most likely to see it used is in seasonal decorations.
Tips for Decorating with Dried Corn
Dried corn looks great in many different displays during autumn, but if you’ve never worked with it before you might be at a loss how to include it in your current decorations. Here are a few additional tips for making the most out of your dried corn and corn stalk decorations:
- Bundle dried corn ears together. Tie two or three ears of dried corn together with twine, yarn, or even a strong piece of corn husk to create a bunched display. If you’re planning on hanging your dried corn on a door or wall, include a loop in the back to hang the dried corn.
- Check the corners. Dried corn stalks are a good option for taking up unused space and in your home that would be too vertical and narrow for other decor.
- Include other harvest objects for a finished-looking display. Dried corn and corn stalks pair well with other long-lasting natural harvest decorations like dried gourds, fresh pumpkins, mixed dried beans, and dried fall flowers.
To see some more examples of how to incorporate these objects into your fall decorations, check out the list of inspirational ideas below!
Dried Corn And Corn Stalks Decor ideas for Fall and Halloween
1. Front Entry Corn Stalk Display
A smart place to use dried corn stalks is on either side of your front door since this is a space that is sometimes too narrow for other displays to fit on your porch without crowding the entrance. Take a bunch of corn stalks, tie them together and place them on either side of your front door entrance. Pair them with pumpkins and other decorations.
2. Corn Stalk Box Displays
Dried corn stalks or leaves can also be used in planters and boxes along with tiny pumpkins, dried fruit, or flowers. Dried corn husks have a nice neutral beige coloration that works great as a backdrop for more colorful fall decor. Try layering dried corn with different colors and textures in your display to create visual interest.
3. Sunburst Corn Husk Wreath
Have you ever even thought that you could make a corn wreath? Well, it’s an interesting idea and it’s not a difficult project either.
The advantage of a dried corn wreath is that this multi-colored corn naturally comes in lots of colors. It’s easy to find dried corn that looks good with the autumn color palette you already have set up in your interiors.
4. Corn Stalk Garlands
Another interesting thing you can make using dried corn is a garland. You can either let each dried corn hang down and tie twine around it or you can tie the corn horizontally and this way the garland will look like wheat ears.
Indian corn works well in dried corn garlands against a light-colored wall because it gives the corn plenty of light to show off its beautiful colors.
5. Corn Stalk Fence Arrangement
The fence in the garden or anywhere else on your property could also use some nice decorations this fall. A simple way of giving it a seasonal look is by using corn stalks.
Try grouping corn stalks at the end of the fenceline to act as a formal-yet-rustic border. Corn stalks are also a smart way to frame a gate in a fence.
6. Corn Stalk Stair Display
The base of the staircase is a perfect spot for displaying fall arrangements. It’s also a great spot for hanging corn stalks in a bunch.
Be sure to keep dried corn and other decorations out of the center of the walkway to avoid trip hazards. Adding a few pots of mums or some fresh pumpkins can disguise unsightly corn shock bottoms and increase the variety in your display.
7. Corn Stalk Light Pole Display
You can basically use corn stalks to decorate anything that’s sitting vertically. For example, you could decorate the light poles you have on your property.
Tie corn stalks around them and give them a nice and comfy look. Utility poles can look unsightly if you have them on your property, but corn stalks are one way to dress them up in the fall or even year-round.
8. Corn Stalk Foyer Centerpiece
Welcome your guests with a seasonal décor on your entryway. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Even some corn stalks or dried leaves would be enough.
If you’re decorating a minimalist or modern interior, just choose one or two elements to display rather than a cornucopia of harvest items. The motto “less is more” is a good one to adopt for fall decor to avoid a cluttered look.
9. Dried Corn Candle Decor
Candles are usually present on the table or on the mantle no matter what so how about you add a little autumn flair to their usual look? Use dried corn and twine.
This is a good way to decorate with Indian corn in a way that allows your guests to inspect it close-up, so choose some especially colorful varieties like Glass Gem to get the most out of this display.
10. Dried Corn Table Centerpiece
An eye-catching centerpiece suitable for the Thanksgiving table could be a transparent glass container filled with dried corn and other garden goodies. Using clear containers such as trifle bowls and hurricane glasses can let you layer different colors and textures in your display so that the focus is on the decor, not the bowl.
11. Dried Corn Wreath
Using multi-colored Indian corn on the husk in a starburst pattern isn’t the only way you can use dried corn in a wreath. This dried corn wreath from Martha Stewart uses strawberry corn (a special kind of solid-colored maroon Indian corn) to create a layered display. The deep red coloring in this dried corn wreath will look dramatic against any white or cream wall.
12. Scarecrow and Dried Corn Display
If you’re more into whimsical fall decorations, dried corn makes a good match for scarecrows. Just place some dried Indian corn and fresh mini pumpkins in a basket or container along with some scarecrow rag dolls for a child-friendly display. These little guys would look perfect on your foyer table or the corner of your entertainment center. (via The Garden Cook)
13. Corn Husk Poms
This corn husk craft takes a little time to complete, but it’s worth the final result. These crafted corn husk poms at 100 Layer Cakelet are affordable and simple to make.
Another advantage of these poms is that they can be hung from the ceiling to dangle. Floating decorations help draw the eye up and make the decor more interesting.
14. Corn Husk Luminaries
If the fall design you’re going for is more cozy than spooky, these corn husk luminaries from Kleinworth & Co. fit the bill. To create them, simply wrap dried corn husks around the base of candles before binding them with twine or yarn. For fire safety, bind the corn husks low enough on the candle to keep the dried tips of the corn husks away from any open flames.
15. Corn Husk Brooms
Dried corn and corn stalks are associated with the harvest, but these crafting materials can be incorporated into Halloween decorations too. These homemade witch brooms at Coquitlam Heritage use dried corn husks to form the brush bottom of the broom. This is also a good decorative broom option for people who are allergic to the cinnamon brooms sold in crafting stores in the fall.
16. Corn Husk Mats
Dried corn is useful for displaying as-is, but the corn husks in dried corn are also a great crafting material. Corn husk mats take some skill to make, but these traditional fall decorations can be used either as wall hangings or as chargers for your fall dining table.
Either use the corn husks in their natural shades or dye them for a colorful variation. See how to make your own at Circle Creative Collective.
17. Spooky Corn Stalk Display
For a spooky take on the traditional corn stalk display, check out this Halloween crafting project from Flax and Twine. The black painted dried corn ears create a stark and darkly beautiful contrast to the light coloring of the corn husks. Since this decoration incorporates both light and dark colors, it can look good against light and dark walls.
18. Dried Corn Lantern Display
Placing Indian corn in containers is a great way to show off the bright coloring and patterns in the dried ears without having it scattered all over your tables and other surfaces in the home. The lantern displays shown at Confessions of a Plate Addict also include other objects such as mini pumpkins and faux leaves. This is a smart way to add a rustic touch to your modern fall decor without making everything look cluttered and untidy.
19. Spray Painted Popcorn Kernel Wreath
Dried corn ear wreaths aren’t the only way to incorporate dried corn into your fall wreath decor. This popcorn kernel wreath from At The Picket Fence shows a minimalist take on the look.
The painted white corn kernels add texture to the simple wreath design, and a metallic ribbon tops it all off. This bright wreath can help a dark-colored door pop for major autumn curb appeal.
20. Corn Husk Flower Napkin Rings
When it comes to seasonal decorations, the smallest touches are often the ones that are most appreciated. These corn husk flower napkin rings are another crafting project from At The Picket Fence that can add farmhouse charm to your table settings. Making these napkin rings is simple, but they still help create a glamorous effect for special gatherings and holidays.
Dried Corn and Corn Stalks FAQ
Where Do You Find Dried Corn and Corn Stalks?
Indian corn and corn stalks can often be found for sale at farmer’s markets, farm stands, and pumpkin patches during the fall season. If you’d rather decorate with artificial Indian corn and corn stalks, the faux varieties can usually be found in major department crafting stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.
Note that it can be somewhat difficult to find these items in the off-season, which is one of the reasons they are a popular seasonal decoration.
How Do You Dry Corn on the Cob for Decorations?
Before corn on the cob can be dried for decorations, it has to be blanched in boiling water. This helps sterilize the corn and prevents it from molding.
After the corn is boiled for four minutes, throw the boiled corn into an ice water bath to shock it, then lay it out on a baking sheet and bake at 150F for eight hours. Once the corn has been baked and dried, it should be ready for use in decor around the house. Flip the corn every two hours during the drying process to ensure that it dries evenly.
Does Indian Corn Last Forever?
Indian corn doesn’t last forever even if it’s been dried, but dried corn can last for more than thirty years if it’s kept sealed up in an oxygen-free storage environment. Since Indian corn used in decor isn’t protected from the elements in your home, it won’t last quite that long. However, it can still last for years if stored properly when the fall season is over.
Does Corn Grow in the Wild?
Unlike other domesticated crops that have wild cultivars, corn doesn’t grow in the wild anywhere in the world. As one of the world’s oldest domesticated crops, humans have been cultivating corn for over ten thousand years.
Why Is Multi-colored Corn Called Indian Corn?
The multi-colored ears of dried corn used in fall decor known as Indian corn are called that because these colorful corn cultivars were introduced to Western colonists by the Native Americans when they first reached the New World. Americans eventually cultivated Indian corn into the sweet corn varieties that are seen on grocery store shelves today.
Dried corn and corn stalks are a fantastic look in both indoor and outdoor fall decorations. These corn-based crafts range from simple arrangements to more complicated skills like weaving, but all of them make your home’s design more seasonal and refined. Whether you’re setting up a scarecrow or just scattering some dried ears as part of a table display, this is a crafting material you definitely want to include in your decor for fall.