|Dream Catchers made by myself and my two boys, ages 9 and 12|
I thought I would offer up a little something for the older kids in today’s Kid Craft. This is a wonderful project for quiet summer afternoons, and the dream catchers make great gifts for loved ones (especially a sibling that might have bad dreams!). Younger kids can do it too, they just might need some extra hands and help. By the way, this is a perfect activity to tie into a geometry unit. The spiraling design created by bisecting the line segments is fascinating (to me at least)!
|Beads, feathers, string, branches and scissors
are all that’s needed!
Thin flexible branches (we used suckers off our mesquite tree, but you could use willow or grapevines – just make sure that whatever you choose, it is safe to be handled by children)
Strong string (we used fine hemp, but waxed linen does the job beautifully. Kite string or even embroidery floss would work as well).
Beads and feathers if desired
To begin, you want to make sure that any leaves are completely removed from the branches. Also break or cut off any very thin ends. Our branches were about 12 to 16 inches in length after we removed the tips. If you are using grapevines or a similar material, you may have to soak them for a while first to make them more flexible. Have ready a 4 foot piece of string (longer for bigger branches).
The beginning is perhaps the most difficult part, and it may help to have a couple extra hands here. You may also want to have some extra branches in case they snap while working them. Slowly and carefully bend the branches into a circle with the ends slightly overlapping. You don’t need a perfect circle, part of the charm of these are the unique shapes that are formed!
When you have your circular shape, tie one end of your string around as tightly as you can (this is where you might need those extra hands). Don’t let go yet! The branch ends may slip apart, so wrap your string tightly around and around until they feel secure.
When you are happy with the binding, make one final wrap with your string but don’t tighten it. First bring the end through the loop that you have made, this will help cinch it down in place.
Now it’s time to create the web. One stitch is used over and over again to make the whole thing! Start with your string at the front. Now loop around behind the branch and up through the hole that you created between the string and the branch. Pull this tight a short distance away from your wrapping.
Now continue making those stitches all the way around your circle, perhaps an inch or so apart.
When you have reached your starting point, rather than working on the branch, you will move to the string. Make your same little loop that you have been making, but make it around the midpoint of the string segment, then move onto the next midpoint.
Here is what it should look like when you have gone full circle twice.
And three and a half times. You can add a bead (the spider) by just slipping it onto the string (slide it all the way down) and continue on. When you come back around to your spider, you may be a little confused. Just pick one side or the other to make your loop around and try to slide the loop as close to the center as possible.
When you have gone around the web as many times as you want and are happy with the web (or are about out of string), make a little knot by bringing your string through the loop another time. Pull tight and make sure it is secure.
If you still want to continue your web, but have run out of string, no worries! Just make as small and neat a knot as possible when adding another length of string to the first. The knots will not be too noticeable, especially if you can keep them on the back side.
You can tie feathers onto the remainder of the string that is hanging down. Wrap them with string to really secure them. Or you can just cut it off and enjoy as is. If you prefer, you can cut a string for each side of the hoop, tie them on, string beads and tie on feathers. Go crazy with the beads and feathers or keep it simple, it’s up to you!
All that’s left is to tie a loop onto the top for hanging.
Then find a place to hang and enjoy! Sweet Dreams!