I always enjoy making crafts that highlight a natural appearance. Recently, I was trying to decide on my next project when I visited the Chickasaw Dallas Cultural Center. They had plenty of Native items on display, but I figured that most of them were beyond my skill level. Fortunately, I did get inspiration from something that looked doable: a dream catcher.
There are many conflicting beliefs about dream catchers, but it would be incorrect to call them misconceptions. That’s because there are actually multiple legends and uses surrounding dream catchers. The top two concern the purpose of the creations. The more famous use is to stop nightmares and allow good dreams through, and for this reason, most people hang them near their beds for peaceful sleep. Another legend says that they catch good ideas, while allowing bad ones to dissipate.
Why are there multiple concepts surrounding dream catchers? It’s because different tribes have different ideas about them. In fact, some say that it’s important to match the type of catcher with the purpose you have in mind.
Here’s an easy way to make a dream catcher of your own. This style is meant to catch bad dreams in its webbing, while allowing good dreams to pass through the hole in the center to reach the dreamer.
- Start with the hoop. The easiest way is to buy one that’s made of plastic or metal, but the most authentic way is to make your own hoop from grape vines or willow branches.If you choose to make your own hoop, soak the material for about a half hour to make it supple enough to bend into a smooth, round shape. Then bind it into position so it doesn’t straighten out when it dries.
- Wrap the hoop with suede lacing, hemp or another natural material. Each loop of the lacing should touch its neighbors, but not overlap. Stick it into position with tacky glue and allow it to dry.
- Use simulated sinew or waxed nylon string to make the web. You’ll need string that’s about 10 times longer than the material used to make the hoop.White or translucent string is traditional, but some people choose to use colored strings now.
- Weave the web by tying knots every so often. Start at the bottom of the hoop and work your way around. Then continue by weaving under the loop created by the first and second knots. At each knot, make a hitch by creating a loop over the loose string. Make a hitch at every knot. Don’t make the thread too tight – it should just be snug. The webbing will tighten as you complete it.By using a different weaving style, it is possible to create a web without using any knots except at the start and end.
- Secure the web by tying it off once there is only a small circle remaining in the center. Make a double knot at the point where you would have made the final hitch, and snip off the extra string.
- Watch a YouTube video to see these concepts in action and find other styles. A video can clear up any remaining confusion and show you how easy it really is to create your own dream catcher.
Making a dream catcher should be simple for anyone to do with a bit of planning and concentration. Once you’ve made your unique creation, hang it in your bedroom window to see if it really works!
Image Credit: Dream Catcher Macro 11-8-09 -IMG_9496 by stevendepolo, on Flickr