Friday, December 16, 2011

DI(fr)Yday: How to make a birdcage dreamcatcher (great gift idea!)

Need a last minute gift idea for that person you still need to check off your list? How about a handmade dreamcatcher?

How to make a birdcage dreamcatcher

I've detailed how to make a colorful birdcage one here (my put-a-bird-on-it version of the traditional decoration), but there are some ideas for variations (with photos) at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoy the project!

You will need:
How to make a birdcage dreamcatcher

- Colorful netting: about 3 feet long and 6 inches wide (I tied a few small scraps together to meet the length requirement.)
- Some embroidery thread in a complementary color
- Scissors
- A few bird charms or beads
- A small green branch (i.e. cut directly from the tree rather than found on the ground) Dead branches are totally stiff, but green ones have some give to them.

How to make a birdcage dreamcatcher

Step 1. Bend your branch into a hoop, securing tightly with embroidery thread.
Step 2. Thread the charms or beads onto your embroidery thread.
Step 3. Knot one end of the thread to the hoop you've created. Holding the length of thread and all the charms together, wrap the thread around the hoop about once every inch, until you've come full circle as shown.
Step 4. Now, continue around the loop a second time, this time passing the thread and charms through the loops you created with the thread on your first trip around. Look to the photo to see what this looks like. (Note that this trek will be the hardest. It gets easier as you get closer to the center.
Step 5. Continue spiraling toward the center in this way, dropping a charm off every so often so that it dangles in the midst of the net you're creating. Keep the thread taught as you go, but don't pull too tight. Try to keep the net as even as you can.
Step 6. When you reach the center, pull everything tight and tie a knot. Cut off the remaining thread.
Step 7. If you so desire, shape your hoop into a more birdcage-like shape by bending the twig to create two bottom corners. This takes a delicate touch, but it makes for a fun variation on the traditional dreamcatcher look.
Step 8. Tie a few strips of netting together (if you don't have one long strip).
Step 9. Tie the netting to the top of your dreamcatcher and wrap it around the frame, passing it between the loops of thread. When you reach the top again, tie a loop for hanging.

If you want some inspiration for other dreamcatcher designs, here are two I've made for my parents in past years . . .

The one for my dad is pretty traditional, using imitation sinew for the net, strips of leather for the outside, feathers and turquoise beads for decorations.

Traditional dreamcatcher

The one for my mom is cozy and soft. I used yarn for the net, slipped the branch inside a knitted i-cord (see You Tube for tutorials on that), and crocheted some decorations.

Cozy dreamcatcher

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1 comment:

  1. This is really cute! I love the bird charms you used! What a great idea!