a-maize-ing necklace

one of my favorite things about autumn are the beautiful, variegated ears of maize that grace the farmers markets. their jewel-like colors are always inspiring… and this year they inspired jewelry. 😉

if it were not for crow rooster crow, i wouldn’t have known it was possible to bead with corn, but i saw this supercool idea for making an indian corn necklace and had to put it into action.

N was thrilled to help pop the kernels off the ears of corn. she spent an entire day (off and on) working on one of the ears. this is a great task for little hands, unless you have one of those weird ears of maize where the kernels are sharp. (we had one of those and it so wasn’t possible for her or me to pluck that one.)

after all kernels were off the cobs, it was quite satisfying to even just play with a huge bowl of the seeds. this material alone makes a colorful filler for an autumn sensory box for toddlers and up.

the next step was to soak the kernels in water to soften them a bit so they can later be punctured by a needle. i chose a handful of the seeds to soak, as i wasn’t ready to use them all at once. (we ended up with zillions!) the blog where i saw this idea said this may take “a few hours” but i soaked ours for about 24 hours (only because i didn’t have a chance to get back to them until a day later.)

i chose some random thread and a needle from my sewing stash, and drained the water from the kernels. then i began to string them onto the thread. it was easier than i thought it would be.

the white part of the kernel is easiest to pierce.

pardon these dark rainy-afternoon photos

stringing the necklace was very satisfying. while N couldn’t use the needle and thread herself, she sat beside me, cheering me on excitedly as she watched her necklace take shape.

the idea is to make this as easy as possible… use a LONG piece of thread so you can just tie it together after the strand is long enough to go over your little one’s head. i didn’t have too much forsight on this one, so my thread was too short, and i ended up having to put a clasp on this necklace so she could take it on and off because it lacked a bit of length. luckily, i’m a beader and had those things on hand, but it would have been easier had i thought about this in advance, so i’m telling you now so you can learn from my mistake.

once it was complete, N was thrilled to try it on. she said it looked like “what a hula dancer would wear in the fall.”

we have so many more jewel-like kernels that i’d love to make a multi-strand harvest necklace for myself, and perhaps a bracelet for N.


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  • Annette Standrod

    awesome. we have some dried red corn that is used as decoration now but we will definitely do this in celebration of thanksgiving in the coming weeks.

  • Now all we have to do is fine some of this corn over here in Prague! That really is lovely! Thanks for sharing.

  • Just stopping by to let you know that I have featured your project on Fun Family Crafts today! You can see it here

    If you have other kid friendly crafts, I’d love it if you would submit them 🙂 If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above.

  • beccaboo435

    I want to make this with my daughter but have a quick question. Do the kernals dry hard after its made? Or do they stay soft/mushy?

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