Bad dreams? Weird dreams? Good dreams? Well…technically Dream Catchers are supposed to catch the bad dreams and let the good dreams come through to the dreamer…but I actually LOVE the way they look, so whether you are trying to keep out the big bad wolf or just like this for art…this is the project for you!
The other week, I teamed up with Tanya Memme to make fun Dream Catchers for you, your kids, or anyone in your life.
Tanya’s little girl Ava, has had some bad dreams lately, so we designed a Dream Catcher for those bad dreams! Tanya focused on a Dream Catcher for kids, and I focused on a Dream Catcher for adults. The Dream Catcher for Ava is smaller (10″ diameter) and the adult version is a bit larger (14″ in diameter).
My great-grandfather, Benjamin, was American Indian and part of the Cherokee Indian tribe. I’ve grown up surrounded by turquoise and other subtle Native American fun stuff…(Actually, the turquoise necklace that I wear every day was from my grandfather, Bill or “Poppop” as we called him.) But I’ve never had a Dream Catcher myself…until now.
Care to know the history of the Dream Catcher? If yes, keep reading. If not, skip your little eyes down to the next paragraph.
According to Native American folklore, the Dream Catcher was meant to hang over your bed and protect you from bad dreams. A traditional dream catcher was made out of sticks (typically willow branches) that were shaped in a circle. Then it was woven in each tribe’s traditional way to cover the inside of the circle. Strings made out of thread or leather were hung down from the circle where they added little treasures that are found in everyday life like gems, arrowheads, beads and feathers. Native Americans believe that the night air around us is full of both good and bad dreams. Legend states that bad dreams are cloudy and confusing, so when bad dreams travel through the air, they would get tangled in the web of the Dream Catcher, thus never passing down to the sleeper. When the sun rose the next morning, the bad dreams that were caught in the web would disintegrate like the morning dew. Legend states that good dreams are clear, calming, and organized. These dreams flow through the air, pass through the web with ease, and drip down the strings to the feathers and flow directly to the dreamer.
There is no set style for a Dream Catcher…so you can use what you have at home, or bring in your own personal style into making a new one. I headed off to the craft store and bought ribbons, yarn, leather laces, fabric, beads and feathers all in colors that I love. Tanya picked up these items with Ava in mind. She picked up more pink, frilly, girly types of fabric and lace.
DIY Dream Catcher
You Will Need:
- Leather or suede lace ties
- 24 gauge jewelry wire (optional)
- Wire cutters (optional)
- Get a ring in the desired diameter you would like. You can use any type of ring you would like – knitting ring, craft ring or even hula hoop if you are making a large one. We used both a 14” and 10” diameter gold ring from the craft store.
- Get yarn in the desired color(s) you would like. We used 5mm crochet 100% acrylic yarn in beige.
- Take your yarn and tie a knot around the ring to secure it in place. Wrap the yarn around the ring until the entire ring is covered. Tie off the yarn.
- Take a piece of lace (or anything that you would like in the middle) and lay your ring over the top of the lace. Tape the lace in place.
- Take a large needle threaded with your yarn and weave through the lace about 1” apart and 1” into the lace, connecting it to the ring. Continue all the way around.
- Remove the tape and cut excess pieces of the lace so that it fits within the ring.
- Be careful not to cut any of your yarn pieces. Tie off the yarn.
- Take pieces of yarn, string, ribbon, fabric, lace and begin tying pieces off the bottom of the ring.
- Continue adding pieces until you are happy with the look you want to achieve.
- Add beads to the end of strings.
- Add feathers where you would like.
Dream catchers are one of the most fascinating traditions of Native Americans. The traditional dream catcher was intended to protect the sleeping individual from negative dreams, while letting positive dreams through. The positive dreams would slip through the hole in the center of the dream catcher, and glide down the feathers to the sleeping person below. The negative dreams would get caught up in the web, and expire when the first rays of the sun struck them.
The dream catcher has been a part of Native American culture for generations. One element of Native American dream catcher relates to the tradition of the hoop. Some Native Americans of North America held the hoop in the highest esteem, because it symbolized strength and unity. Many symbols started around the hoop, and one of these symbols is the dream catcher.
Dream Catcher Lore
Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams both good and bad. The dream catcher when hung over or near your bed swinging freely in the air, catches the dreams as they flow by. The good dreams know how to pass through the dream catcher, slipping through the outer holes and slide down the soft feathers so gently that many times the sleeper does not know that he/she is dreaming. The bad dreams not knowing the way get tangled in the dream catcher and perish with the first light of the new day.
How the Dream Catcher is made
Using a hoop of willow, and decorating it with findings, bits and pieces of everyday life, (feathers, arrow heads, beads, etc) the dream catcher is believed to have the power to catch all of a person’s dreams, trapping the bad ones, and letting only the good dreams pass through the dream catcher.
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