As a young child, I have been drawn to dream catchers, moccasins, and all things Native American. Maybe it's the Native American blood running through my veins, or maybe its the meaning behind it all. Dream catchers were created to capture the bad dreams in the web and the first morning sun would perish them away. They were created to bless you with pleasant dreams while you sleep, good luck and harmony. They are a sacred piece and should be treated with care. It is not uncommon to bless your dream catcher after you have made or received one. (I'll get to that after) It is also said that dream catchers help us communicate with spirit while sleeping. The first dream catchers were made of horsehair mesh, twigs, feathers, string or yarn and beads. Not much like the modern ones we see today.
I have created my version of a modern day dream catcher. I used a "twig" like ring that I bought at the local dollar store, twine (because it's closest to horse hair), a doily for a "web", wooden beads, glue (I used Elmer's because it dries clear), scissors and feathers. Nice simple list of supplies. Some of which you probably already have hanging around. I'm going to start by going over how to make the first half. You'll want to gather your supplies. You can use a regular metal ring (and wrap it in leather cord), or even a wooden one. Be creative. Instead of twine, you could use leather cord, wax cord, string or yarn. Don't have a doily? Cut a piece of lace. (just make sure it is slightly smaller then your hoop)
Start by measuring your COC (cord of choice) 2 arm lengths and then cutting it. Leave about 3 inches at the "top" of your ring and start to weave the COC through your web (aka doily of sort). Now it may be best to count the amount of holes along the outside of your web. This way you can evenly space out where you will be weaving.
Bring the COC up and behind the ring. Then bring it back around and weave through the web. I spaced my weaving every 5 holes, but the choice is yours. The closer you weave, the tighter the web will be. Repeat this step until you have gone all the way around the ring. During this step, it is also important not to pull too tightly on the COC while weaving. By keeping the COC loose and adjusting later, it will be easier to keep the web in the middle of the ring. Once you have completed the step, start to adjust the tightness of the COC. Start pulling it at one end and work your way around until you have reached the desired look. Then, tie the remaining COC to the original piece you left at the "top" to create a loop for hanging.
Now you have completed the first half of your dream catcher. Once the ring and web are weaved, they represent love, honesty and purity. The next part we will be creating the parts that hang from the bottom. This is where I used the twine, wooden beads, glue, scissors and feathers. Start by again, measuring out your COC 2 arm lengths and then cutting. You will want to cut two more pieces the same length. Gather all three pieces so they are all hanging in the same length. Fold them in half and create a "loop" where they are folded together. Bring the loop behind the ring (at the bottom of the ring) and pull the remaining pieces through it. See picture below.
You will now have 6 same size pieces of your COC hanging from the "bottom" (opposite side of where you will be hanging the dream catcher) of the ring. Separate into two sections of 3 and braid each section. As you are braiding, add the beads. It is best not to have all the sections be the same size. It is also best to space out the beads differently. The beads are where you will be adding the feathers later. See picture below for example of braiding and bead placement.
Once both sections are braided and beaded, Repeat step above to add another 2 sections. Keep repeating these steps until you have the desired amount of sections hanging. I created 10 sections total, about 12"-14" in length. Make sure they are all evenly spaced apart at the "bottom" of the ring. You don't want a lop sided looking dream catcher!
Now it is time to add the feathers. I started by deciding how far I wanted the feathers hanging and then cut them to size. The feathers are going to be tucked into the beads. You can use as many or as little as you want. Once you have cut them to size, place glue at the part that will be going into the bead (pointy side) and place then where they need to go. Repeat until all the beads have feathers. Then let dry about 12-24 hours. And voila! You have created a dream catcher. Pretty simple huh?!
One last step, and the most important. Blessing the dream catcher. The Native Americans used to use cleansing Sage. So, if you happen to have some, great! If not, (you should get some, it's great for getting rid of yucky energy) you can use your imagination. Use the Sage to clear and ask that your dream catcher bring you good dreams and happy thoughts. Ask that all bad dreams be captured by it's web and perish with the morning sun. If you want, you can even ask that your dream catcher help you communicate with the spirits during sleep. Place and treat your dream catcher with care. Remember, it is a sacred object.
Happy Dreaming!!! ~Amanda