Learn how to make a dreamcatcher! These paper plate dreamcatchers are so pretty, and they’re incredibly simple to make! Keep bad dreams away as you make this easy kids version of a dreamcatcher.
Make a Dreamcatcher
A dreamcatcher is a Native American item which is traditionally hung over a child’s bed as protection. Dreamcatchers allow good dreams through, while catching and stopping bad dreams.
Most kids will enjoy this craft, but a DIY dreamcatcher is particularly great for kids who have trouble with nightmares. You can work through the problem together as you make the craft, and the dreamcatcher will offer them comfort after it’s hung over their bed.
These paper plate dreamcatchers are far from traditional cultural objects, but they’re a lot of fun to make. Making dreamcatchers is a great activity for birthday parties, sleepovers, summer camp, or anytime!
Dreamcatchers are the perfect craft for a group because they’re so simple and customizable. Each child can decorate their own dreamcatcher however they like, whether they use buttons, pom poms, sequins, or gems. The sky is the limit!
Check out our DIY Dreamcatcher video tutorial:
*Note: Scroll down for the step-by-step photo tutorial.
Looking for more summer camp crafts? Here’s some of our favourites:
Here’s what you’ll need:
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The full printable instructions are at the end of this post, but here’s a list of products on Amazon that are similar to the supplies we used:
What is a dreamcatcher?
Traditional dreamcatchers are made of willow branches, with sinew (or animal tendon) woven into a web pattern in the middle. Their purpose is to protect against bad dreams.
Dreamcatchers were originally made by the Ojibwe people, but in the 1960s and 1970s they were adopted by other tribes, as the Pan-Indian movement promoted unity. This helped dreamcatchers become more widely known.
The way dreamcatchers work is that good dreams pass through the web and slide down the feathers to the sleeping child. Bad dreams stay caught in the web and are destroyed.
Where should I hang my dreamcatcher?
Dreamcatchers should be hung in the bedroom, especially in children’s rooms. Near cribs or by the bed’s headboard is the ideal location.
You can also place dreamcatchers in or near a window. Legend has it that this offers a layer of protection from the outside world as it lets the dreamcatcher catch the light. In the morning, the light will supposedly destroy the bad dreams.
Where can I buy supplies to make a dreamcatcher?
We make these dreamcatchers with really simple items, many of which you might already have in your craft cupboard. Otherwise, the dollar store is a great place to pick up paper plates, markers, etc.
Michaels, another craft store, or Amazon are great places to buy yarn and craft feathers. If you don’t have a hole punch, Walmart and Staples have them in their office supply sections.
Can I make a dreamcatcher without feathers?
Yes, you can definitely make a dreamcatcher without feathers. You can cut feather shapes out of felt, fabric, or even out of paper.
Another option is to replace the feathers altogether. The traditional replacement for feathers is gemstones.
If you have any craft gemstones, you can tie them on or use a glue gun to attach them. You can also add pom poms, tassels, artificial flowers, or even a jewelry pendant instead.
- paper plate
- markers (or pencil crayons or crayons)
- stickers, pom poms, buttons, etc (for decorating plate)
- pony beads (or other beads that will fit over yarn)
- one hole punch
- glue or tape
Step 1: Prepare & decorate paper plate
- Carefully cut out the center, or inner circle, of the paper plate.
- Using a one hole punch, punch eight evenly spaced holes around the inside edge of the paper plate.
- Punch two holes in the top of the outer edge of the paper plate, roughly 2 inches apart - This will be where the dreamcatcher is hung. Punch three holes 2 inches apart on the bottom of the outer edge of the paper plate - These will be where the feathers hang. (Note, the photo is upside down.)
- Decorate the paper plate however you'd like! Draw patterns or shapes, or paint your paper plate. We used markers to make a line design on our plate.
- Use glue or crafters tape to attach decorations to the paper plate. You can attach pom poms, buttons, gemstones, sequins or anything else in your craft bin!
Step 2: Attach yarn
- Cut a 55 inch length of yarn. Tie one end to any of the inner holes, knotting it in place.
- Thread this yarn through the eight inner holes in whatever pattern you would like, crossing them over each other to create a web pattern. String beads on the yarn as you do so.
- Cut a 6 inch piece of yarn. Feed this through the top two outer holes and tie a knot in it. This will be the hanger.
- Cut 3 pieces of yarn, each of them 12 inches long. Tie feathers to one end of each strand. If the feathers slide out, add a dab of glue to keep them in place.
- Slide beads over each yarn strand, letting them fall on top of the feathers.
- Tie the other end of these three strands to the bottom three holes on the plate.
Step 3: Hang the dreamcatcher
- Your dreamcatcher is complete!
Making paper plate dreamcatchers is so much fun, and they’re so easy to make! The decorating possibilities are endless, giving you an opportunity to use up craft supplies you already own. These DIY dreamcatchers will have you saying goodbye to bad dreams in no time!
Here’s even more summer camp craft ideas:
Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!