How to Make a Dream Catcher – Craft Tutorial


Posted By Paul G September 7th, 2012 Blog


The Dream catcher now comes in all sizes and a great variety of designs. Depending on the artist making them and how they were taught. These instructions are the most basic of design and materials. We leave it up to you to choose how you want to finish the decoration of your Dream Catcher.

How to Make a Dream Catcher

How to Make a Dream Catcher

Photo A

Photo A shows it finished based on our instructions here.

Many make the hoop out of bent willow which in the northern regions needs to be collected and bent in the spring. These instructions show the alternative of making the Dream Catcher with a metal hoop and wrapping it with a buckskin thong. We are writing for right-handers so left-handers may want to reverse directions when weaving.



How to Make a Dream Catcher

Start by smearing a light coat of tacky glue at the start of your thong wrapping and around the hoop. Let it dry until tacky. Begin wrapping as in Figure 1 being careful the thong is tightly wrapped but not overlapped as to make ridges.

Complete all the way around the hoop and then slightly overlap the starting piece of thong. Finish the wrapping with a single half hitch as shown. Now cut off the remainder of the thong. Finish the wrapping with a single half hitch not as shown in Figure 2 and 3.

How to Make a Dream Catcher

Do not cut the thong yet. As in Figure 4 and 5, form a hanging loop with the end of the thong then tie around the loop with another half hitch as shown. Now cut off the remainder of the thong.

You are now ready to start the web. Completed it looks like Photo A. For a three inch diameter hoop cut a 2 yard piece of simulated fine sinew.

How to Make a Dream Catcher

Start the web by tying a knot at the top of the hoop next to the hanging loop. The entire first row is loosely woven as shown in Figure 6. When using a 3 inch hoop hitch tie the web using only 8 equally spaced connections around the hoop about 1 inch apart. Tie the hitch the same at each intersection of the thread or the hoop as you proceed and as shown in Figure 7. After the 8th hitch on the hoop the next hitch is made at the midpoint of the first loop in the first row as shown in Figure 8.


As you tie these hitches you begin to pull each stitch in the web up snugly but not tight. You continue around the web tying a hitch and pulling tighter on each row until you are down to a small center hole in your web.

At the point you want to quit your web tie a double half hitch knot over the middle of the next section in the web and pull tightly.

How to Make a Dream Catcher

On this basic Dream Catcher shown in Figure 9, people are adding a variety of decorations. The original design used a small feather hanging from the bottom of the hoop or from the center of the web. A bead was included in the weave of the web somewhere halfway or close to the center.

A variety of looks can be achieved by varying the number of points you attach the web to the hoop, and the length of the first row of loops in the web. Some people have specific reasons for certain numbers of points in the web. Dream Catchers can be made of other materials such as our Rattan hoop in Photo B.

Our experience is that the beauty of the Dream Catcher comes from its original uncluttered form and notion that we exist in the presence of two worlds, a physical one and a spiritual one.

Learn to make more Native American Crafts in our Craft Tutorials.

Copyright: 2005 by Loren Woerpel, Noc Bay Publishing, Inc.

Featured photo by Kate Ter Haar



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Comments

32 thoughts on “How to Make a Dream Catcher – Craft Tutorial

  1. My wife, who passed to the spirit world a year and half ago, taught dream catcher making at our house to several in a Native group we belong to. I, unfortunately, was busy supporting the guests and not paying attention to the instruction as I should have. Will try again with the instructions. Well never match her matter of fact talk; teach; make but maybe I can make one that isn’t too awful.

    Wawanon Thank You

    • Thank you for sharing I come from Australia and have the two most wonderful friends, One is Apache and the other Cherokee. They have shared and taught me so much, I have cried and laughed, mostly learned. I have been beading for 25 years and now with their inspiration and direction make jewelry. I can now go ahead and wire wrap a silver dream catcher ear ring. thank you

  2. Kathy Nienhueser says:

    Thank you so much for this site! I have been searching for directions to make dream catchers and couldnt find any I could follow. This one I can actually follow! Again, many thanks, Kathy

  3. Gay Emmons says:

    Thank you so much for the information. My Cherokee heritage becomes more important to me as I start to learn beading and more crafts. Thank you again!!!

    • SantaFe Freeman Navarre says:

      I Also Native American My GrandMother was A Emmons before She Married I was Amazed to See Your Last Name Because You Don’t See that Name To Often.May I ask What State are You From?I am So Shocked Or What Tribe You are Affiliated With.Thank You

    • SantaFe Freeman Navarre says:

      Great Site.I Hope You Have Received My Email I sent Earlier About Your Last Name.I would Like to Know More About The Emmons Heritage Any Information Would Be Greatly Appreciated.Thank You

  4. my older family has passed. I would like to freshen up on my cherokee language skills any help out there?

  5. Robert A. Guzman says:

    I’ve been looking for instructions on how to make a half moon dream catcher. Do you have any instructions on it?

  6. anaynomus says:

    I tried making this for my project and they turned out wonderful. Thanks for the instructions

  7. tlredneck says:

    dream catcher’s are awsome, wish i knew how to make them.i want to make them for a project.

  8. Christy Link says:

    Thank You for all your instructions for many different things. I have a dream catcher that is so old it is falling to pieces, I will now fix it. Thank You!!!

  9. doloreslucas says:

    i love make the dream cathch < s i for got how to put the bead i want to bead around like the pyote

  10. Kim Kiniishokwe says:

    I have been making Dreamcathers for 2 years now. One thing it brings me great peace when I am designing them. I make them out of Red Willow, cut in fall and circled with yarn to keep the shape. Many of my Tribal friends have requested my work, which makes me proud of my heritage. Miigwech (Thank you)

  11. Hello, I am Rebecca and am 1/2 Cherokee. I have dreamcatchersbycherokeewest on facebook says:

    Hello, I am Rebecca and am 1/2 Cherokee. This was a very nice demonstration I have dreamcatchersbycherokeewest on facebook I have sold at pow wows in so. ca. I liked your presentation

  12. Hochunkga'winga' (winnebago women) says:

    Hello my friend…thank u for your Dream Catcher instructions. I SEEMED TO BE HAVING LARGE KNOT BEGINNINGS
    I WILL TRY YOUR WAY.

  13. Melinda Cote says:

    I was taught by an Abernaki healer that when you are making a dream catcher for someone you know, a prayer for that person should be made with each loop. Also, the dream catcher should be shaken outside every morning to rid the catcher and home of the bad/negative dreams and forces.

    • It’s so funny everyone believeshould they are cherokee if your family is not on rolls and York not in a tribe then your probably not american indian.

      • Jeff, not to be insulting but i have Cherokee blood as well as Wintu blood. My ancestors are not listed on any of the rolls. My great grandmother was born on the Trail of Tears in Alabama Territory. My great great grandparents managed to escape and travel with their children to Northern California where my great grandmother’s son, my grandfather, married my grandmother, a Wintu Native from Northern California. I can prove it through census reports, etc, but not listed on the rolls. At least i have a degree of blood showing my Wintu blood. My great great grandfather’s headstone says “A Cherokee Father”

  14. I think the stories passed from person to person in a family have great power and fill people with pride. Stories are the backbone of many tribes and clans. I would not assume to know more about someone than they know themselves. I would deny someone their stories simply because there are no books or papers or lists to prove it. Even sequoia thought written stories were nothing more than “talking leaves”. Dream catchers have stories, songs, prayers, medicine for everyone. Thank you to the original poster for sharing your knowledge.

  15. I think the stories passed from person to person in a family have great power and fill people with pride. Stories are the backbone of many tribes and clans. I would not assume to know more about someone than they know themselves. I would not deny someone their stories simply because there are no books or papers or lists to prove it. Even sequoia thought written stories were nothing more than “talking leaves”. Dream catchers have stories, songs, prayers, medicine for everyone. Thank you to the original poster for sharing your knowledge.

  16. iu found ouT A FEW YEARES AGO THAT. I AM METIS CREE.I HAVE HAD SO MUCH FUN LEARNING ABOUT MY CUL. MY DAUGHTER AND GRANDDAUGHTER ARE JNVOLVED AS WELL. WE MEET ONCE A MONTH FOR DIFFERENT THINGS IE..DANCING SINING STORIES BY THE ELDERS AND WE ALSO LEARN DIFFERENT CRAFTING THINGS. MY BROTHER MAKES THE BEST DREAM CATCHERS. I AM GOING TO SUGGEST THAT AT OUR NEXT MEETING. I HAVE A PAIR OF MOCCASINS ON THE GO. I AM SO INTERESTED WITH EVER ASPECT OF MT CULTURE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN INTERESTED IN OUR CULTUERS AS WE NEED THEM TO CARRY ON TH DREAM

  17. Deb in Arizona says:

    Very nice work! So sorry to hear that your wife has gone on. I’m sure she is proud that you are continuing her work. She will never be forgotten.

    I am making an Indian Girl with a Dream Catcher Necklace on her. She is going into a book of instructions on how to make her. I would like permission to use one of your diagrams above in my instructions on how to make the web of the Dream Catcher.

    Looking forward to your reply. Thank you in Advance!
    Deb in Arizona

  18. Fina says:

    Thank You So Much For sharing! I have been wanting to learn how to make dreamcatchers for my home!

  19. Grey Wolf says:

    Wow, Thanks for this! What a great share my friends. Peace-Grey Wolf

  20. My maternal grandfather was full Cherokee. I only met him when I was a baby but I have lots of pictures of him from the reservation in Tenn. where he was born.
    I have often been saddened to not have any memories of him but feel I have a lot of him in me.
    I am an avid crafter and jewelry maker and used to make dreamcatchers before I had a stroke and RA.
    I came to your site for a refresher and I look forward to making more dreamcatchers.
    I would love to learn more about his tribe, any ideas on how one does that? tyvm awesome site. 🙂

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