Dream catchers were originally made by the Ojibwa (Chippewa) to protect their children from nightmares. Bad dreams were trapped in the web and burned away with the first light of the sun. You can make one for yourself or for a beloved child to ensure sweet dreams.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Twig or piece of grapevine, about 2 feet long
- Approximately 3 to 5 yards of real or artificial sinew
- Small package of pony beads
- Two or more feathers
- Thin wire
Soak the twig or grapevine in water to make it supple. Bend it into a circle no less than 3 inches and no greater than 8 inches in diameter. Take some of the wire and use it to secure the twig ends together.
Tie a loop of sinew to the top of the circle. Continue to loop the sinew around the circle, spacing the loops evenly (about 1 or 2 inches apart). Make the loops snug but not too tight, since that will bend the dream catcher out of shape. You want it to be able to lie flat.
Finish the first set of loops. Start a second row of loops by threading the sinew between the first and second loop. Evenly space the second round of loops inside the first row of the dream catcher.
Thread one of the pony beads onto the sinew during the third or fourth row of loops. This bead is a symbolic spider, whose web will "trap" the bad dreams.
Tie a knot in the bottom of the round when the hole in the circle gets small and it is difficult to tie more loops. Let the sinew dangle from the knot and trim it to about 8 inches in length.
Add pony beads to the end of the sinew and thread feathers between the sinew and the beads. Glue carefully into place and allow the dream catcher to dry.
Tips and warnings
- Use a metal hoop about 5 inches long if you can't find a suitable twig or vine. Wrap the hoop in suede lacing. Approximately 4 feet of lacing should cover the hoop. Tie the loops according to the directions above.
- Thin string can also be substituted for the sinew, although it won't look as nice or be as authentic.
- Although it is not traditional, you can also decorate the feather with a small metal concho for a nice accent.
- Many Native Americans have mixed feelings about dream catchers. Some view them as a sweet tradition from the old days, while others see mass-produced dream catchers made in Taiwan as an example of exploitation of their culture.
- It is best to get your dream catcher feathers from a craft store. Possession of certain feathers without appropriate permits can result in heavy fines and even imprisonment!