This is another of my favourite simple crafts to do with children and in my experience is universally popular amongst girls and boys alike, and for all ages. We made dream-catchers a few years ago at a PowerWood Camp in the crafting tent and found it to be highly enjoyable for all involved. We used Willow that was grown and cut directly on the land at the time, to make the round structural base of the dream-catcher (we had a number of these circular bases pre-prepared for younger children to use), and plenty of vibrant coloured yarns of varying textures. We also used a few of PowerWood’s distinctive beads, and incorporated pom-pom making into this craft to hang from the dream-catchers.
I love this craft because – without the need for going into too much detail – it can be very evocative and empowering in a positive way. The simple idea of a beautiful item that will hang by your bedside, and either evoke good dreams or catch unwanted ones, can touch the imagination in a playful and often re-assuring way. I find I don’t need to say too much about the purpose of a dream-catcher (especially to sensitive children, worried about the prospect of bad dreams); presented simply as a fun and lovely craft, children tend to find the meaning for themselves. Dream-catchers can also be easily incorporated into magical bedtime stories for younger children – again placing them in the realm of the imagination – and to be thought of in a positive, helpful way.
My daughter and I spent an entire afternoon making dream-catchers for this tutorial and throughout she told me how calming it was to wrap the yarn. She immersed herself in making small charms (out of Polymer Clay, to incorporate into her design) that were personal to her. She chose her own colour scheme and all the little touches. It was a joy to see her so excited about a craft!
If you have access to willow it is a beautiful natural material, that lends itself to this craft, but for this tutorial I have suggested the use of embroidery hoops for the base – these are easily available online in small quantities and you may even have some in your home already! Also, whilst there are specific ways (often intricate and complicated) to tie the inner web of the dream-catcher, because this is designed to be a family craft to explore easily at home, the web-tying is hugely simplified – but still effective 😊
You can personalise your dream-catcher in any way you choose. Again, we have used coloured wools and yarns for ours for ease of use and accessibility/affordability (and they work wonderfully!) but ribbons, of different colours and textures, also work and can be very beautiful. Pompoms, tassels, beads, charms from old jewellery, hand-made charms (eg from Polymer Clay), felted items, ribbons, and even fallen and found nature-treasures – all work very well to hang from your dream-catcher (as an alternative – if you don’t have, or want to use, feathers).
Younger children will need some help with tying/attaching the yarn to the embroidery hoop and attaching additional yarn to wrap, and tying the yarn off at the end once wrapped around the hoop. They may also need some help threading beads – otherwise this is a super-lovely and accessible craft that can be as simple or as complicated as you like!
The tutorial below is based on my daughter’s design and colour scheme (her little charms are kawaii/anime style that she enjoys), but feel free to adapt the basic tutorial to suit your own colours and preferences – it’s possible to make any array of shapes out of polymer clay – to attach, or replace this with buttons, beads or charms of your own.
Note: Hot-glue gun is not on the materials list below – but it might be handy to have one nearby, depending on how you decide to decorate your dream catcher.
© Abigail Cole 2020
For more creative ideas visit www.forgetfulfairyartstudio.com
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