Dreamcatchers - an American Indian Craft

Dreamcatchers are a traditional American Indian craft. An old Sioux Indian legend says that Dreamcatchers were hung in lodges and teepees to assure peaceful dreams. The good dreams, knowing the way, slip through the webbing and slide down the soft feather to the sleeper. The bad dreams not knowing the way, become entangled in the web and melt away at the first light of day. Small Dreamcatchers were hung on cradleboards so that infants would only have good dreams.

It is difficult to explain how to make a dream catcher without actually showing you one. But I will do my best!

Make a hoop from whatever you can (it doesn't matter what as it will be covered up). Traditionally you should use willow or dogwood. Wrap it with leather, fur or materials. Using fine cord, start at any point on the circle with a knot. This is to start making the web. Travel short distances around the hoop with the cord. At each point of contact, tie with a half hitch. Each loop must be pulled snug, as the next loop will pull it further. Once you are back to your starting point, tie off. Now do the same thing to make the next layer, traveling inwards. Make your points of contact at the middle of the loops on the previous row. Keep going until you have just a small hole in the center. Glue a small ornament in the middle. Now add strings of beads, or feathers dangling from the bottom of the hoop (this is what the good dreams slip down), and something to hang it up by at the top.

Contributed by:
Liz Watts
Ex Brownie Guider and County Hillwalking Adviser, England

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This page last updated July 2nd, 1999