Making Hoops For The Hoop Dance

Hoop Dancer at Memorial Day Powwow.

Learn to make inexpensive hoops that stand out

This article was originally published in Spring of 1988 in Whispering Wind Magazine by Art Tate.

The hoop dance is one of those special dances which enlivens any program or powwow. I have also found that it is a superb way to teach advanced Indian dancing to young people. Finding hoops can sometimes be a problem; and buying them can be expensive if you can find a source. This article will explain a simple, inexpensive and effective way to make hoops. And, of all the various hoops I have found, these are the most satisfactory for dancing.

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Make Your Own Eastern Woodlands Moccasins

Eastern Woodlands Moccasins

Make a basic pair of pucker-toe softsole moccasin with cuffs. Cuffs can be worn down or tied up for extra protection. Everyday moccasins were left plain, but they can be decorated with beads, ribbon or wool. You will need Leather and 1/8″ leather lacing, paper for the patters, awl, scissors and marking pen. We have an Eastern woodland’s Moccasin Kit with the materials you need to make your own!

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Bead Weaving with a Bead Loom

Bead Loom

Bead Weaving with a Bead Loom

Use our Ojibwa Bead Loom or our Mighty Mini Bead Loom to create strips of beadwork. After you finish your beaded strip you can use them as straps, belts, and bracelets. You can also attach beaded loom strips to other items like shirts, leggins, moccasins, and bags. Bead weaving on a loom is easy to learn to do and can be done with a variety of beads including Seed Beads, Pony Beads, and Wampum Beads.

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Lazy Stitch Beading Instructions

Lazy Stitch

Lazy Stitch Beading Instructions

About Lazy Stitch:

Native Americans of the Plains commonly use Lazy Stitch to create beaded designs on clothing and accessories. Instead of creating a Loomwork Strip that you later attach to the item, with Lazy Stitch you sew the beads directly to the fabric or leather.   The design should be drawn to actual finished scale on a piece of paper then traced onto the work surface. Designs that are going to appear on opposite sides of an item should be reversed for a mirrored effect. For example, on a vest, the design should appear as a mirror image on each side.

You can also bead directly onto a leather strip which you can later attach to your item. This technique allows for the creation of beaded designs that you can add to Blankets or Buffalo Robes, Leggings, Leather Shirts, Pipe Bags and other bags, and Wrist Cuffs.

 

Getting Started:

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Buffalo Horn Choker Instructions

Horn Choker

Buffalo Horn Choker Instructions

Hairpipe chokers served many different purposes throughout history – They adorned and protected warriors’ necks before battle, and also served to represent social standing. Hairpipe Chokers made with Brass Beads are appropriate for ‘old style’ Regalia.  You can wear Hairpipe Chokers made with Glass Crow Beads with both Traditional Regalia and Contemporary Regalia.

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Traditional Hairpipe Choker Instructions

Traditional Hairpipe Choker Instructions

Hairpipe chokers served many different purposes throughout history – They adorned and protected warriors’ necks before battle, and also served to represent social standing. Hairpipe Chokers made with Brass Beads are appropriate for ‘old style’ Regalia.  You can wear Hairpipe Chokers made with Glass Crow Beads with both Traditional Regalia and Contemporary Regalia.

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Deerskin Neck Pouch Instructions

Deerskin Neck Pouch Instructions

A Leather Neck Pouch is the perfect accessory to hold your personal medicine items. It will also hold change, gemstones, and small keepsakes of all kinds. You can decorate your Leather Neck Pouch with beadwork, our own Plume Powwow Pins  or Trade Brooches !

Materials Needed:

You can acquire these materials separately or purchase a Deerskin Neck Pouch Kit from The Wandering Bull, LLC with the supplies you need to make a Deerskin Neck Pouch!

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Crow Loop Necklace Instructions

Crow Loop

Crow Loop Necklace Instructions

The Native Americans of the Northern Plains often wear Crow Loop Necklaces.  These necklaces feature multiple strands of beads strung between two leather strips. Crafters also add Deerskin Leather fringe to the sides. Wearers add shell, metal or beaded rosette conchos to the top or the center. Additional drops can personalize each necklace.

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Dreamcatcher Instructions

Dreamcatcher Instructions

Traditionally, the Ojibwe construct dream catchers or “dreamcatchers” by stringing sinew strands in a web around a small round or teardrop-shaped frame of willow. In a way, it is roughly similar to their method for making snowshoe webbing. The resulting dream catcher, hung above the bed, is used as a charm to protect sleeping people, usually children, from nightmares. Dream interpretation has directly influenced Native American cultural and spiritual beliefs for centuries.  American Indians believe dreams influence the conscious soul of the dreamer, often acting as a means for change in personality traits such as confidence, maturity, kindness, and loyalty.

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Porcupine Roach Instructions

porcupine roach

Making a Porcupine Roach

The  Porcupine Roach is one of the most beautiful and practical headpieces of the North American Indian. Many different men’s dance styles use porcupine roaches.  The following directions will show you how to make a long porcupine roach.   You can also use the same technique to make a shorter or a round porcupine roach.

Materials Needed:

  • Porcupine hair
  • Roach Base
  • Imitation Sinew
  • Deer Tails
  • Large Needle
  • Scissors
  • Frame for tying rows of hair
  • Glass Jar/ Cup  approx. 4″ tall x 3″ wide (to hold the Porcupine hair)
  • Roach Stick (a 2.5″ dowel 6″ longer than the finished roach – with a nail in the top to hold the roach in place)
  • Elastic style bandage for wrapping completed roach

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How to make a Cowrie Shell Necklace

Cowrie Shell Necklace 

Native Americans have traded Cowrie shells amongst themselves for hundreds of years. They use these shells to decorate their clothing and to make jewelry.  The European traders brought glass beads to trade with the Native Americans.  These beads were eagerly adopted by Natives and also used them to create jewelry. Our Cowrie shell necklace is a very traditional, yet simple necklace to make, so you can show off your new necklace in no time at all! Continue reading How to make a Cowrie Shell Necklace

Breastplate Plains Style Instructions

breastplate instructions plains style

Plains Style Breastplate 

The Hairpipe Breastplate has historically been associated with the Comanche. They were first created in the mid 19th century  and were adopted by many other tribes of the Great Plains.  The term “Hairpipe” is used to describe the long, slim, hollow beads made from animal bone that are used to make Breastplates.

How to make a Plains Style Breastplate – 36 rows long:

You can make a longer Breastplate by using more Hairpipe and longer Breastplate  strips

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Chicken Dance Bell Instructions

Chicken Dance Bell Kit Instructions

It’s Easy to Make your own Chicken Dance Bells!

Use the Chicken Dance Bell Kit Instructions by The Wandering Bull Native American Trading Post to made your own Chicken Dance Bells. Chicken Dance Bells are long enough to extend from the waist to the ankle. They are tied in three places, at the ankle, just above the knee and to a belt at the waist. The Wandering Bull Trading Post has everything you need to make your own Chicken Dance Bells. Use the suggested supplies here, or customize your Chicken Dance Bells with your preferred supplies. Continue reading Chicken Dance Bell Instructions

Make Your Own Bolo Tie!

Silver Bolo Tie

What is a Bolo Tie?

A Bolo TieSilver Bolo Tie is kind of a cross between a necktie and a necklace.  They are often made with a braided leather cord with decorative metal tips on the ends.  The focus of the Bolo Tie is a slide that features a decorative item like a stone cabochon, a beaded rosette, a silver concho, or other items that have a flat back that you can attach to the slide. Continue reading Make Your Own Bolo Tie!

Deerskin Lacing & Lace Maker Tool

Deerskin Lacing - Lace Maker Tool

Deerskin Lacing for Native American Crafts

Deerskin lacing is great for Native American craft-making. You can use it for stringing and tying jewelry (chokers, bracelets and more), garment lacing, making fringe, braiding a headband, or wrapping a metal ring to make a dream catcher. These are just a few examples of uses for soft deerskin leather lace. Here at The Wandering Bull, LLC we cut our own Top Grain Deerskin into Continue reading Deerskin Lacing & Lace Maker Tool

Dream Catchers

Dream Catchers

The Legend of Dream Catchers

Traditionally, the Ojibwe construct dream catchers or “dreamcatchers” by stringing sinew strands in a web around a small round or tear-shaped frame of willow. In a way, it is roughly similar to their method for making snowshoe webbing. The resulting dream catcher, hung above the bed, is used as a charm to protect sleeping people, usually children, from nightmares. Continue reading Dream Catchers

White Sage Smudging How To

Wandering Bull Botanicals

White Sage for Smudging Rituals

White Sage Smudging SticksWhite sage for Smudging can be rolled into a smudge stick or left loose in a small pile for purification and cleansing rituals. Smudging rituals are done in several ways. You may see dancers being smudged before they enter the dance circle at a Powwow. White sage is also used in purification rituals on individuals who require healing for physical or psychological illness. Rooms in a new house, or a meditation space can be smudged to cleanse them of negative energy.  Ritual items like crystals can also be smudged to clear them of negative energy. Continue reading White Sage Smudging How To