Since moving into our new house in February I’ve been diligently decorating and putting my personality over every square inch of this place. Well, except for one place: our bedroom. We have two super old dressers, re-purposed night stands and a home-made King size Red Oak bed. I’ve been debating for months what to do in there. Should I buy new furniture, make some huge project to hang above the bed? Ugh, so many options and for some reason the bedroom is always the hardest. Marcus and I were talking the other night and somehow conversation turned to a dream catcher. I’ve always wanted one, but as with so many crafts I always think I can make my own special one instead of buying a pre-made one. Today was the day this project finally came to fruition.
I had originally intended to hunt down some Weeping Willow branches as I know the younger ones can be very malleable. I asked my Father-in-law, Ken, if he knew anyone I could get some from and his immediate thought was, ” I have some grape vines I need to cut off the utility pole…”. Well, not what I had expected, but these are smooth bark vines and are also easy to bend. After de-leafing and cutting off all the weird little curly bits I had some nice vines. Next step was to find some heavy gauge wire. Bada-bing bada-boom! Step three- wind the vines around the wire. Not too hard, actually. Now naturally since I did this at the shop Ken was around to see my project in the making. Of course he was less than impressed, as is typical. Of all the things I’ve ever made in the shop, I don’t think he has been impressed with any of them. He just doesn’t see my vision!
I brought my “wreath” home and went shopping for some hemp string. It’s quite strong and also has a little bit of give to it so I could string the center of the dream catcher tight. This took over an hour since I had to do it twice; the first time wasn’t pulled tight enough. I had watched several videos on Youtube before attempting the stringing but none really helped as much as trial and error learning. Turns out once I figured it out the process went quite quickly.
After getting the string tied off I got to sit down and admire my work. Then it was time to assemble the trinkets! This dream catcher isn’t really a dream catcher as you might hear of typically, but more of a memory catcher. I plan on hanging tidbits of memories or little bits and bobs I’ve held onto over the years for some reason or another. The pendant I found at the Ren Faire and the charm from my Brother and Sister-in-law’s wedding will hang with the sea shells and memento beads. This isn’t a project that will ever be truly finished. It’s more something to accumulate over time and preserve tiny memories of where I’ve been in life and what has brought me happiness. I tend to be a sentimental person and I thought this type of art would always be something I look at with love and gratitude. I’ve lead an amazing life so far and have a lot of small bits making up the much larger collection of my experiences.
I feel like for a lot of people who create art, they do so with emotion and intention. I’ve never been one to throw my pain or anguish into my work, but rather the opposite. I want my energy and spirit to be represented and on display. This memory catcher is going to be something I have for many years and I hope when I’m old and worn, the strings are heavy with traces of my path in life.
Interested in making your own memory catcher? Start with the supplies:
- A Hoop- Heavy gauge wire (high tensile or fence wire), a quilting hoop, bike tire, etc
- Something to wrap the hoop with- vines, twigs, rope, fabric, leather
- String the appropriate size for your project. (the diameter of mine is about 3 feet and I used a medium size hemp string. Smaller sizes could use sinew, larger sizes could use twine for example)
- beads, feathers, fabric, trinkets, broken jewelry
If using wire you will need to make it into a circle and then tire the ends together. Overlap the ends by at least 6 inches and find the center of your ‘knot’. to the right and left of the center wrap the loose ends of the wire around the remaining loop wire. be careful as cut ends are usually sharp.
With your loop ready, find the top of your loop and begin wrapping the hoop with your chosen material. I used vines so I had a lot of tucking and weird wrapping to do to get it to lay nicely. My wire is visible but you could use enough wrapping material to fully cover the hoop, as most traditional dream catchers are done. Secure the end of your material in the same place you started.
Knotting The String
This is the tricky part, or it was for me. I started with a few videos:
Following the instructions for stringing was weird but what I learned was that it’s under-up-through-down. That may makes sense as you get going. Go under the hoop, bring the string up and around the backside of the hoop.Next thread the string between the hoop and string you just placed and pull to the right to tighten. Having the string very taught is something I didn’t pay attention to at first but when i got to the end my center was very flimsy. I took everything apart and started over, making sure I held the string very tightly as I continued threading. Most of the tutorials are much better that reading so I would watch the a few times before getting started. Continue threading until you get to a smallish center, or where ever you want to stop. Tie off the string on one of your loops so it’s sort of hidden.
This is the fun part. You can collect whatever you want and attach it however you want, which really leaves open a lot of unique possibilities. I had a lot of small things I’d been saving but you could check out a thrift store or craft store for some cool objects. Beads, pendants, crystals…really anything works here. To attach them I used a few different techniques. Some smaller pieces were attached with jump rings and others I tied on with small pieces of ripped fabric I had in the sewing tote. String, ribbon…it’s endless! You could hang ripped fabric, feathers or objects from the bottom or sides as well to give more size and dimension. I have a few pieces of fabric right now and will add to that section over time.
Finally, tie something to the top of your piece to hang it with. I used a long piece of fabric that I knotted at the top.
I find crafts are far more fun when it’s something you just let run a little wild. Trying to copy a tutorial exactly might yield something perfect but you might not have stopped to put your own flair into it. There is NOTHING wrong with following a tutorial to a T, I rarely do. I have way more fun branching out and including my own weird ideas though! Isn’t that part of the greatness about crafts? You get to make it up as you go, and you never know what you might end up with!
Hopefully you’ve gotten a little spark of creativity, and want to try something on your own. Have fun! That’s really what it’s all about, right?