Saturday, 25 June 2011

Tutorial: Dream catcher from plastic rings

 The plastic rings found on six-packs of beer, cider, and other delicious canned beverages serve a brilliant purpose--until it comes to throwing them away.

Six pack rings (also known as yokes) have the potential to cause harm to wildlife unless disposed of properly, the general method of which is cutting the rings up beforehand.

But why throw them out anyway if you can do something with them?

As a teenager, I used the rings from a six pack (okay, four pack) of my Dad’s cider to make a very shoddy dream catcher. It hung from my cupboard door for years until eventually it became lost within a drawer.
Recently I rediscovered it, cringed at how badly it was made--and took it apart to remake it:

Though it takes a little time to make, dream catchers are fairly easy to put together and a great stash-busting project!

To make this, I used the yoke from a four pack of cider, a length of rather worn bias binding given to my by my Nan, beads and embroidery thread left over from previous projects, leather cord from a tag, plus feathers and sheep’s wool picked up on walks in the countryside.

Here’s how to make your own:

Time needed: 45-60 mins (approx)

You’ll need:
Plastic rings from six pack or four pack
Ribbon/bias binding/similar
Thread or string
Beads, feathers and other embellishments
String or cord for hanging

1. Cut the yoke into separate rings, trimming off any excess bits that stick out and stack them together. This will be your frame. Wrap your ribbon around the rings. If you don’t have ribbon, try bias binding or strips of fabric.

2. Loop the ribbon around itself at the back of the dream catcher to secure, and cut off the excess.

The next three steps follow a very similar method to that in my Hanging Heart Dream Catcher tutorial, but use knots instead of crimps.

3. Cut a length of thread (I used around 1m) and tie the end to the frame of the dream catcher. Make a loop by tying the thread around the frame again, leaving a gap. Repeat until you have gone all the way around the frame of the dream catcher. This is the start of the ‘web’.

4. Create another row of loops, smaller than before, by knotting the thread onto the centre of the loops you created in step 3. At this point you can also start to add beads to some of the loops.
Depending on the size of the loops you created, you might want to make a third row of loops connected to the second.

5. To finish off the web part of the dream catcher, pass the end of the thread through all of the last loops, pull to tighten and then secure with one final knot. This should make the web tauter.

6. So far, it should look a little like this! My plastic yoke was a bit misshapen, so it’s more of an oval shape.

7. To fix on feathers and other things:
Slide feathers through the loops of thread and/or ribbon at the back of the dream catcher.
Tie on other embellishments such as wool, bells, etc, using some of the same thread as the web.
I had a little gold leaf on a tiny safety pin, this I just pinned into the web.

8. Loop on some cord or similar to hang the dream catcher.

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