How to make a Dreamcatcher

Make A Dreamcatcher 5

How to make a Dreamcatcher

You may have seen these wrapped hoops in stores, movies and in some homes. This blog will give you some history about this traditional item and will include a video, a list of items you need to make one and instructions with images.

So what is a dreamcatcher?

In many First Nations cultures, a dreamcatcher is a handmade gift based on natural items such as willow hoop, which the maker weaves a loose net or web, similar to a spider’s web. The dreamcatcher includes items such as feathers and beads which are considered sacred in the First Nations community.

In our languages:

Lakota: iháŋbla gmunka,
Ojibwe: asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word for “spider”[1][2] or
Ojibwe: bawaajige nagwaagan meaning “dream snare

Where did they come from?

Although the dreamcatchers started with the Ojibwe people, other First Nations communities adopted the traditional item through marriages and trade. In the mid last century, many other First Nations communities all over North America also adopted this tradition.

What does it mean?

Depending on who you ask you may get a few different answers. One is that the dreamcatcher is a symbol of unity among other nations. Another is that it is a symbol of the First Nations culture.

An ancient Ojibwe legend speaks about a Spider woman, who was known as Asibikaashi. Asibikaashi was the caretaker of children and the land. The legend tells the story of the Ojibwe people expanding to far away places in North America. This distance concerned Asibikaashi because she wasn’t able to watch over all the children. The mothers and grandmothers began to weave magical webs for the children, using natural items like willow hoops and sinew, or they would fashion their own cord from plants. The tale of the dreamcatcher tells children that the web would filter out all the bad dreams and only allow the good dreams to enter our sleep time. Tradition says that once the sun rises, all the bad dreams are sent to a far away place.

Newborns were often and still are given these protection charms. In the past, these hoops were hung on a cradle board. Most infants received more than one of these charms made from small wooden hoops with a web of fine yarn, usually red in color. In the beginning, Ojibwe used nettle fibre to make the netting. The belief is that the spider’s web would catch and hold whatever came into contact with it.

Traditionally the Ojibwe people believe that the dreamcatcher can change a person’s dream from bad to good. While bad dreams are captured and held until morning light, good dreams slide down the feathers back to the sleeping person.

The Lakota have another explanation. According to the Lakota, nightmares pass through the holes and out the window. Good dreams are trapped in the web and then given to the sleeping person by sliding down the feathers.

What materials are used to make dreamcatcher traditionally?

Traditionally, the Ojibwe used the following objects:

*Small round or tear-shaped piece of willow branch
*Sinew strands

I don’t feel like making a dreamcatcher. Where can I buy one?

First things first. You can buy a cheap dreamcatcher at local dollar stores throughout North America and over seas but why? To buy one you might spend $10 on something which is neither authentic or lasting. You can make one for half that cost. You can use a ton of items to make them to keep costs low and these are great gifts for births, graduations, weddings or house warming gifts. Anywhere you can give a gift with meaning, these come in handy. If you know a child who is having nightmares, why not make them a dreamcatcher or even get them to help make their own, using the items they really connect with.

I have made and sold dreamcatchers for decades and have always made them according to the person’s birthday and totem animal. It’s always amazing when someone gets the dreamcatcher over seas and then asks me how I knew so much about them. Animal totem’s tell a whole lot about people and are part of the First Nations traditions. I make them according to favorite color, add little things I think they will like and then ship them. I have given away many to people with small children to help their sleep. I enjoy making them and the best part is tey are easy. Why would you buy a piece of store bought merchandise with no meaning and no love, when you can make or buy one from someone who will.

How easy is it to make a dreamcatcher?

Easy peasy! Your imagination is the only limit really. I have included a video from a helpful YouTube channel showing you how to make them.

****Please subscribe to her channel if you like the video http://www.youtube.com/user/Sarahjrb

dreamcatchersupplies

What do you need?

This depends on you, your imagination and your budget.

Make with metal hoop:

*Small metal hoop from dollar store or craft area
*String, leather or yarn for wrapping (if desired)
*Sinew (artificial of course), thread or string for weave
*Beads
*Feathers
*Your imagination!

Make with wooden hoop:

*Small willow branch or grape vine
*String, leather or yarn for wrapping (if desired)
*Sinew (artificial of course), thread or string for weave
*Beads
*Feathers
*Your imagination!

How do you make dreamcatcher’s?

Step 1: Put a little tacky glue on the beginning of the hoop or branch (to hold cord, string, leather or yarn in place) and start wrapping cord, string, leather or yarn around the hoop or branch.. Tie off when you meet the ends.

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Step 2: Using sinew, thread or string, tie it off in the same area you tied off the ends of the hoop wrapping. Using the

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Step 3: Add beads, charms and or feathers if you want to dress up your dreamcatcher.

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So you see you can really make an elaborate or plain dreamcatcher by yourself and people will love them. Will you try to make your own dreamcatcher? Do you have a story about your experience with dreamcatchers? Thanks for reading my blog.

Sources:

[1] http://www.freelang.net/dictionary/ojibwe.html
[2] http://www.nativetech.org/dreamcat/dreamcat.html

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