How To Make Dream Catchers: Beautiful Native Indian Crafts
Our step by step instructions for how to make dream catchers will show you
that Native Indian crafts can be both simple and beautiful.
This is one of those homeschool crafts for any age up to and including adults;
younger kids will need more help.
I think dream catchers have something magical about them
and it's even nicer when you can make one
which is personal to you.
I'm going to start by giving a quick run through of the stages so you can see our homeschool design is basically very straightforward - and I'm hoping that will tempt you to have a go!
Ball of wool to wrap round the hoop of your dream catcher.
Two clothes pins.
Something to make the hoop - we used homeschool cane but you could use pipe cleaners or buy a metal hoop.
You can make the web of your dream catcher from wool too - but we much prefer using the artificial sinew* you can see in the pictures as it is a lovely golden color. You need about 9 meters in length.
A few beads.
*N.B. I'll show you where you can get this with a few links to Amazon. If you decide to use my links you'll be helping me, so thank you - but do find something else if you prefer.
Make a hoop 8-10 inches in diameter. We used three cane sticks wrapped round each other. You can use anything - it'll be covered over so you won't see it. At one homeschool group we used thick craft pipe cleaners.
Wrap wool tightly in circles round and round the hoop. You can hold it in place using clothes pins. Leave a long tail of wool at the start of your hoop - you can use this to hang your dream catcher.
Cut off a 9 meter length of sinew (or some wool of your choice) for the web and wrap it round a very narrow piece of card (see photo). The card needs to be narrow because you will 'knit' the web by pushing the sinew through the loops you make.
Attach sinew onto the hoop with any sort of knot. This will form the web.
Take the sinew around the outside of the hoop and, about an inch and a half later, bring it into the middle (as shown.)
Bring the sinew up inside the loop you have made so that it forms a simple knot on the hoop (see picture).
Continue round the hoop. Leave the same inch and a half interval between each knot. You can make the intervals longer or shorter - it will simply make the web more or less complex. But the gaps need to be even.
When you arrive at where you started, begin to make the web.
This is very simple. Just push the sinew into the loop as shown.
N.B. This is slightly scary the first time you do it because you have to push inside the gap between the sinew and the hoop and nothing seems to happen. But as you keep going pushing through the loops above you'll see the web begin to form.
The wonderful part about learning how to make dream catchers is that the web looks very complex - but actually it's really simple to make.
Keep going round and round your dream catcher. Push the sinew inside the loop above and move on from one loop to the next.
As you get further on, the loops get quite tight. Just keep going.
Eventually it gets really hard to push through the loops above and it's time to finish off.
Here's Catherine holding our homeschool dream catcher so you can see the old-fashioned granny knot we've made in our sinew before we cut it off.
This is the final stage in learning how to make dream catchers where you get to personalize your dreams! Collect some feathers to hang from your dream catcher.
Place a few beads on the quill. You will use these to hang the feather off the web of your dream catcher.
This video uses a very similar method for how to make dream catchers if you need some help:
Native Indian Crafts
Learning how to make dream catchers is a fabulous way to enjoy Native Indian crafts.
It's worth checking out Wikipedia to see the meaning behind dream catchers. Apparently the Ojibw believe that the feathers act as a soft ladder allowing good dreams to slide down to the sleeper - so maybe you should choose especially long feathers to decorate yours!
Here is a link to some articifial sinew and, in case you want to cheat, a dream catcher kit:
If you like, you can thread beads onto the sinew as you make the web.
We enjoy a lot of Native Indian crafts in our homeschool:
These Native Indian paper dolls delighted William and Catherine in our homeschool when they were younger.
I have a bead loom and enjoy making the Native Indian beadwork patterns shown in this book.