DIY Dream Catcher with T-shirt Yarn & Lace

This DIY dream catcher is 50 years in the making! That’s how long I’ve been holding onto these vintage beads! Every piece of this dream catcher has a backstory, but those beads hold a special place in my heart.

If you’ve never made a dream catcher before, like me, start by trying out this 9″ mini dream catcher / beaded wall hanging.

International Bloggers Club

It’s time for this month’s International Bloggers Club (IBC). The IBC is a group of bloggers from all over the world who challenge each other every month to make something using a common theme.  Our previous challenge was “Spin me a Spindle” and we created a sea pen coral reef pattern for a local exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre.

When the International Bloggers Club challenged us this month to a ‘Beads Galore‘ project I was stumped. Inspiration didn’t hit until I remembered a little box of beads I had been lovingly keeping all these years. When I opened the box, all the fond memories of the time shared with my great Aunt Jennie came flooding back; I always felt so loved and special when she was around.

You’ll find our friends’ beaded beauties at the bottom of the post. So don’t forget to check them out before you go. And if you don’t have time to browse today, pop back in later in the week to pick up where you left off.

DIY Dream Catcher Backstory

While babysitting me and my sisters, Aunt Jennie would wear the most incredible necklaces. She never left the house without being dressed to the nines!

In addition to her necklaces, I vividly remember how hard she would squeeze my cheeks upon arriving. Anticipating her greeting would make me want to run and hide. But her necklaces? I’d stick around to beg her to wear whatever she had on – if only just for a few minutes.

Although fashion-forward, Aunt Jennie took the most unfortunate pictures; starting with posing me in the bathroom of all places! However, I’m still proud as a peacock to be wearing her necklace. Green has always been my favourite colour ever since I can remember!

By the way, can you see how rosy my cheeks are below? Even with this grainy picture-of-a-picture, you still see the vivid red afterglow of her greeting long after her arrival!

Posing for Pictures

Here I am in my sister’s room posing for another picture. Slightly better, but my sister’s incessant scratching caught on film leads me to remember that soon after this photo was taken she had chicken pox. Which meant I soon had them too!

The chicken pox lasted too long. But like I mentioned, the necklace wearing was far too brief. By the time we got downstairs to snap another photo with both my sisters, the necklace is already back with my Aunt! Speaking of brief, another embarrassing picture of me below flashing my undies. This isn’t one of those pictures you’ll see me recreating with my sisters 50 years later :).

While not the best photographer, my Aunt Jennie was quite the character and a fun person to be around. Except for the cheek pinching. On the bright side, I may be glowing red in every picture, but at least she knew which end to pinch!

Anyhow, enough of my wacky trip down memory lane. When I asked to wear the particular necklace these beads came from, she let me keep it! I treasured the necklace until it broke and then squirrelled away the beads.

Some materials used for DIY dream catcher; beads, yarn, crystal

Although the necklace didn’t survive intact, I knew that one day I’d find a purpose for them again. I hope my DIY dream catcher brings good tidings from my Aunt Jennie to let me know she likes it! We’re long overdue for a visit, but if it works, at least I know there will be no cheek pinching! That’s because dream catchers only bring good dreams :).

Materials for DIY Dream Catcher

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Before we get into the tutorial, don’t forget to get your craft mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe! You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

How to Make a Lace Dream Catcher

Watch this DIY Dream Catcher video or proceed to the written tutorial below:

1. separate the hoop

By the way, you don’t have to buy T-shirt Yarn. You can make your own t-shirt yarn using this tutorial from our friends Jane and Sonja from Sustain My Craft Habit!

We only need the outside of the cross stitch hoop.

Cross stitch hoop used for DIY dream catcher

Separate the two pieces and set the inner ring aside for another project.

Two halves of hoop for DIY dream catcher

2. determine quantity of t-shirt yarn

Pull some t-shirt yarn from the middle of the tube. Start wrapping, opening up the t-shirt yarn as you go and overlapping as shown.

When you are more than halfway around the hoop, mark both ends with green tape. Unwind the t-shirt yarn and measure between the two pieces of tape. Double the quantity, add a few inches for good measure and cut. This will be the quantity needed to wrap the hoop.

Pre-wrap hoop for DIY dream catcher to determine length of t-shirt yarn

Return the rest of the t-shirt yarn to the middle of the tube and put it away.

Cut t-shirt yarn and return rest to yarn spool

3. Wrap Hoop with T-shirt Yarn

Starting in the middle at the hanger, open up the t-shirt yarn and wrap it around the hoop leaving the cut end in the back.

Start wrapping DIY dream catcher near hanger

Wrap the other end of the yarn through the hoop several times so it’s loosely wrapped as shown. This will save you pulling the end through the hoop each and every time you wrap. Do this several times as you wrap.

Wrap t-shirt yarn around hoop

Ensure that the left side of the t-shirt yarn is fully open, while the right side is still folded under.

Hands wrapping t-shirt yarn around hoop for DIY dream catcher

As you wrap, overlap the previous t-shirt yarn so the folded yarn covers the left edge. Keep wrapping in this manner until back to the beginning. You’ll end up with a ribbed look.

DIY Dream Catcher TIP:

I upycle orchid plant clips to use as clamps! They are great for when you want to take a break (i.e. to answer the phone!).

However, they are also indispensable for holding the t-shirt yarn when it comes time to glue the end!

Bring t-shirt yarn to back. Then glue the end as shown.

Take care not to get glue on the strand butting against it (we’ll weave under that in a moment).

Press down to make contact.

Now, thread the t-shirt yarn onto a bodkin.

Use the bodkin to pull the t-shirt yarn under the loop beside it to hide the end. Pull and cut the end.

Now we’re ready to weave the web and string the centre of the DIY dream catcher!

4. 1st Round of dreamcatcher: yarn only

I did the first round straight from the yarn tube. But you’ll see later that I wind a dowel with yarn for the second round. You will move counterclockwise around the hoop as you go.

Starting anywhere on the hoop, triple knot the end of the yarn onto the hoop. Add a dab of tacky glue.

Wrap yarn through the hoop and tighten over the knot again before proceeding with the next wrap.

Move counter clockwise landing two inches away from the start. Wrap yarn through the hoop bring the yarn tube down and around the hoop and back through the loop of yarn. Tighten and move 2″.

Once again, repeat the previous steps, continuing in this manner around the hoop until back near the beginning.

Here’s how it should look.

Once back near the beginning, you will have a space between the end and beginning of the yarn which is normal. Unwind a bunch of yarn from the tube and cut the end. Pause here to string beads and rewind the yarn onto a dowel.

5. String Beads onto Yarn

To prepare for this step, use the darning needle to string 48 beads onto the yarn. Reserve 18 beads for the tassels.

string beads onto yarn for DIY dream catcher

Move all the beads along the yarn toward the hoop. Then wrap yarn onto a dowel but let the beads remain in a string. Allow for some some yarn between the last bead and hoop. I actually forgot to leave the slack between the beads and hoop in the picture below. Use the plant clip to hold the yarn onto the dowel until ready to string beads.

Beads strung and yarn wrapped around dowel for DIY dream catcher

TIP:  as you’re working with the yarn, it can tend to come off the end of the dowel. Either use a longer dowel so that’s less likely to happen (I only used a 4″ one, but 6″ would be better!).  Another thing you can do is is add rubber kite end caps to each end to prevent the yarn from slipping off.

Put kite caps onto ends of yarn on dowel to prevent slippage for DIY dream catcher

6. First Round of beads on web

Now we’re starting to add beads. In the first yarn space, move one bead over and loop the yarn around in the same manner ensuring that the yarn is tightened in the middle of the space.

First round of beads for DIY dream catcher; inserting yarn wrapped dowel through webbing

Notice how the beads are centred within each space….

…and the rest of the beads are pulled through after positioning one bead into each space.

Continue to slide one bead from the yarn to the right so it’s isolated on the yarn as shown.

slip bead from left to right for DIY dream catcher

Then insert the dowel from front to back through the space below the bead. Ensure as you come through the hole that the yarn with the bead is in back of the dowel.

Push the dowel all the way through the space.

Then pull the yarn through until you get to the beads.

pull beads through webbing for DIY dream catcher

Next, pull the beads through too.

Tighten the yarn as shown.

Tighten yarn after finishing pulling through yarn for DIY dream catcher

Mind the Gap!

You’ll need to maintain a yarn gap between the beads on the DIY dream catcher and the string of beads on the dowel. When the gap becomes too small, unwind some yarn on the dowel and slide the beads toward it so you have some yarn free and clear of beads.

Here’s the first round of beads on the hoop.

7. Second Round of Beads

For the second round of beads in the centre of the DIY dream catcher, continue sliding a single bead to the right. But slide the bead directly below it from the first round to the right also. Then, when you work the knot, bring the yarn to the left of the first round bead and tighten up against it.

As you do subsequent rounds of beads, you will notice the pinwheel effect starting to form.

Just remember to tighten the yarn against the end of the bead and you’ll be golden!

Tighten yarn against left edge of bead for DIY dream catcher

Continue this process of moving over a single bead until all the 48 beads are strung. You will run out of beads near the centre and end with plain yarn again.

Finishing second round of beads

8. Complete the Webbing in Centre

Once all the beads are strung, you will continue with only the yarn until the holes are so small that you can’t fit the dowel through.

Four rounds of beads on the DIY dream catcher before filling in the centre web with yarn

At this point, unwind a few lengths of yarn from the dowel. Cut the yarn. Now, thread the yarn end onto the darning needle.

Continue weaving the yarn with the darning needle until the hole is closed up. Insert the needle into the centre and pull the yarn end through to the back. Knot 3 times.  Add a dab of glue and allow to dry. After the glue dries, cut the end close to the knot.

Finish off the centre of the web by threading a darning needle onto the yarn

9. Attach Lace and crystal

Now it’s time to embellish with lace, crystal and the remaining 18 beads!

Measure out two 48″ pieces of lace. Fold the first piece in half and knot onto the hoop in the centre on the bottom.

Fold a piece of wire in half and thread the bottom of the lace through as shown.

Add beads onto lace strands of DIY dream catcherAdd a bead onto both sides and slide near the top.

With the second piece of lace, thread on the crystal making sure it sits in the middle and the ends are even.

Straddle it across the first piece…

Add crystal teardrop to the DIY dream catcher

…and knot each end onto the hoop.

Bring the first piece of lace down to the teardrop level and thread each end through the wire in the crystal in opposite directions. Double knot to secure.

Tie the crystal teardrop onto the DIY dream catcher with lace

At this point, I hung up the dream catcher to view it and noticed that the hoop was pulling into an oval shape because it’s made of a rubbery plastic. To combat the distortion, tie fishing line between the top and bottom to pull it back into a circular shape.

See how the DIY dream catcher looks while hanging and adjust with fishing line if necessary

Cut three more pairs of lace at 44′, 40″ and 36″ inches. Attach from longest to shortest on either side of centre.

10. String Beads onto Lace

String remaining beads onto the lace in any pattern desired. I left the outer piece of lace without any beads.

11. Hang and Enjoy!

Use the hanger attached to the hoop to hang on the wall.

Beaded Dream Catcher

I love crafting fibre art wall decor, like this string art dog – another first for me. How about you; have you tried any fibre wall art ideas lately? I think the beaded dream catcher is a pretty wall hanging for anywhere you’d like to hang it. Hopefully it brings you sweet dreams!

DIY dream catcher hanging on wall as a beaded wall hanging

Pin Dream Catcher DIY

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated.

Pinnable image for DIY dream catcher

International Bloggers Club

Don’t forget to visit these awesome ‘Beads Galore‘ projects from our creative friends below. You’re in for some inspiring bead decor ideas!

28 thoughts on “DIY Dream Catcher with T-shirt Yarn & Lace

    • Thanks Maria – loved reminiscing through this 🙂

    • You’re welcome Laura! This is a first for me; had never even heard of dream catchers as a little girl 🙂

  1. How wonderful that you still have those beads from your aunt’s necklace and I’m sure she’d be thrilled to see them on this lovely dream catcher. I watched your fabulous video tutorial from beginning to end. I so admire your patience. I hope the dream catcher brings sweet dreams of your aunt!

    • I really hope so too; we’re long overdue for a visit! Thanks so much for watching the video; I really never know what my project is going to become. I’m always amazed that I have something at the end of it all 🙂

  2. Aaaawwww what a lovely way to remember a favorite Aunt. I bet she’ll be super impressed and honored too.

    P.S. Love seeing those pics of you and your sisters, Sara.

    • Thanks Michelle! It was fun reminiscing about the good ‘ol days of my childhood 🙂

  3. That’s a very elaborate tutorial, well done! I made mine in minutes, with old lace.

  4. So many beautiful memories of a darling aunt, her beaded necklaces and now a gorgeous dreamcatcher, Your idea of using the plant clips is amazing and the tying the fishing line to help help the shape is genius! Thanks for the complete and detailed tutorial, Sara!

  5. What a cool back story about the beads. I bet your aunt would be proud that you repurposed them in such a cool way. Kudos to you for doing a dream catcher I tried a few years back and failed miserable, very intercute to do and the video is so easy to follow. 👏👏

    • Thanks so much Anita! I don’t know how, but our projects always seem to work out.

  6. I love your dreamcatcher, Sara, but the memories behind it are even better!

    • It is, isn’t it?! Those beads were worth saving all these years 🙂

    • It’s so funny the memories that finding something like this provokes! It really was a fun trip 🙂

  7. What a great way to use your Aunt’s beads, Sara! I love the story behind the project and the cute photos of you as a child. The dream catcher came out great! Pinned!

    • Thanks Rebecca; I relocated it to my office and I’m enjoying seeing those beads once again 🙂

    • I guess good things come to those who wait – lol! It’s so nice to see and enjoy them again.

  8. Love the pattern created by the beads! Never would have thought to arrange them that way.

    • Thanks so much Allison! I love the idea of a pinwheel pattern with these beads too because they’re elongated 🙂

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