Native American Crafts

Some ideas and instructions on making various Native American Indian crafts, like various unique wallhangings or a rearview mirror feather hanger.

Native American art doesn't have to be a dream catcher or intricate paintings of tee-pees and horses. You can make beautiful Native American wall hangings with a few things from the craft store. You'll need: craft arrowheads (or real ones), leather sinew, metal craft rings, small solid pieces of leather, beads, feathers in a variety of colors and maybe a wooden base or two. Some pictures cut from magazines of Indians or wolves can be worked into the art as well. All of the projects are simple and can be changed to suit how you want the piece to look.

A quick and easy mantle display can be made using a piece of wood for a base. It can be long or short, painted or unpainted. Purchase a small picture frame, about 2"X3", preferably round. Put a picture of Native American life in the frame, then glue the frame in the middle of the wooden base. On one side of the picture, set a rock or large wood chip. On the other side, lay an arrowhead or two. String tiny turquoise-colored beads and randomly lay the strand on the base, stringing it around the arrowheads, in front of the picture, over the rock and so forth. Instead of the string of beads you can also use leather sinew to snake around the plaque.

Make an arrowhead display by painting three craft arrowheads in three different colors. Use a wooden base that is rectangular to mount the arrowheads, straight down, in a row. The long sides of the base should be vertical. Now glue a wooden bead to each of the four corners of the plaque. Dip feather ends in glue, then slide them into the wooden bead holes. Use any color combination you want for the arrowheads, beads, feathers and wooden base. To finish, place a wooden bead in the center of the top of the plaque. Dip feathers in glue and slide them into one side hole of the bead, then put more feathers in the opposite hole.

Slide a Native American picture into a clear CD case. Glue rawhide bones to the CD case, one on each side. Cut a strip of leather the length of the perimeter of the CD case. Find the center of the strip and glue it to the center of the top of the CD case. Now glue the leather down each side of the CD case and leave hanging. Place a bead on each end of the leather strip, then insert feathers. Glue hanging hardware to the back of the CD case, or use a peel-n-stick picture hanger.

Cut the shape of a teepee or buffalo from a piece of brown or black cloth. Cut two circles of leather and glue the first one to a craft ring by folding the edges of the ring and gluing. Now trim the second circle down to where it will fit the outside of the ring. Before gluing the back round piece on, cut three small strips of sinew and affix one to the bottom of the back side of the ring, and one to each side part of the ring. Glue the backside fabric onto the ring. Now glue the teepee image onto the front leather piece. Slide a bead onto each of the three pieces of leather stripping that are hanging down. Slide the bead all the way up, place a couple of feathers in the hole, then slide another bead on. Place feathers in it and slide on the last bead, then feathers. Do this to each of the three hanging down pieces of sinew. Glue a long, flat bead horizontally at the top of the ring. Glue feathers into each hole. Glue on hanging hardware or use a sticky-on hanger.

Use gold or silver lame stretch cord to make an arrangement for your rearview mirror. Measure the length of the mirror. Cut the cord that exact size. Place both ends of the cord in a bead, then glue feathers coming out of the bottom of the bead and dangling down. At the same time, glue a small piece of sinew into the bottom hole as well, to use for hanging more feathers. Slide a bead on to the sinew, stick in feathers, slide another bead, feathers, and so forth.

There are many other things you can make using Native American pictures, beads, leather and feathers. Be creative and try your own designs.

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