Tattoo enthusiasts often get tattoos with personal meaning for them. They get designs that have deeper meanings and something that relates to them. It could signify their traits, their stories, or someone they love. But perhaps, dream catcher tattoos are one of the most personal. This is a growing trend among the tattoo industry, especially with women.
A dreamcatcher is often handmade. You’ll need some wood, preferably willow hoops as well as strings or yarns. Weave the yarns into a net of web at the center. Incorporate other sacred items such as feathers, beads, or anything that’s really important to you.
As the legend goes, hanging a dreamcatcher by your bed will help you avoid nightmares. It filters the bad and let the good dreams come to you.
Origins of Dream catcher Tattoos
- 1 Origins of Dream catcher Tattoos
- 2 Meaning of Dreamcatcher Tattoos
- 3 Cultural Appropriation
- 4 Variety of Dreamcatcher Tattoos
- 5 Popular Dreamcatcher Tattoos
- 6 Placement of Dreamcatcher Tattoos
Dreamcatchers can be traced back to Native American culture. This is where the it is believed that the Ojibwa Chippewa tribe first created it. The Lakota tribe also has their own legends as to the origin of these beautiful ornaments.
The dream catcher came from a legend of a spiderwoman who traveled the world. According to the myths, this woman visits the cradles of newborn children. She then weaves a magical web above the cradle which protects the babies from nightmares and evil energy. However, the magical web allows the good dreams to enter the child’s mind.
Since then, the tribes would create dreamcatchers and place it above their children’s bed. It’s a sacred symbol in Native American culture but it has also traveled around the world to different cultures.
Nowadays, pre-made dreamcatchers are available. But if you want to create something for good dreams, you should create your own. Native tribes believe it will be more effective if it is handmade.
Apart from being a magical protection against bad dreams, the dreamcatcher has also become a symbol for dreamers. It’s now used as talisman against evil as well in the form of tattoos. Dreamcatcher tattoos also link the wearer to his Native American roots.
Meaning of Dreamcatcher Tattoos
An actual dreamcatcher and all its parts has meanings that are tied to the natural world. First off, the shape of a dreamcatcher is usually a circle. The shape represents the circle of life. It also represents the sun and the moon that travel each day and night across the sky.
As we all know, the webs are what “filters” the good dreams. Some people believe that the bad dreams are the ones that are captured and banished into the circle in the middle part of the dreamcatcher. Others believe it is the good dreams that descend into the the person sleeping under it. Either way, it catches the good dreams and drives away the bad ones.
The feathers were originally placed to entertain the babies. But now, these are the ladders the good dreams use to go to the person. When it comes to the beads, many believe it symbolizes the “spider” itself – the weaver of the magical webs. Others believe the bad dreams that did not reach the person is immortalized as these sacred charms.
Dreamcatcher tattoos often have the same meaning – protection against the bad. But most importantly, it has become a way for some people to connect to their roots. Since it has become a great symbol of the Native American culture, tattoo enthusiasts use it to show off their pride as a member of a certain tribe.
Now, cultural appropriation is an issue with regards to getting designs like these. Some people believe that such symbols of great importance to minority culture shouldn’t be use by the dominant culture. For example, using a Native American headdress as a fashion accessory. Others believe this is a rude behavior and is disrespectful to the culture and its people.
So, should you get dreamcatcher tattoos even if you are not from any tribe?
There are objections against having these kinds of tattoos. But at the end of the day, it may depend on how you perceive your tattoo. Do you only use it for fashion, without any regards to its origin? If that’s the case, you might be offending some people.
But there are lots of other people who belong to different cultures that are fascinated and at awe with other cultures. If you acknowledge its origins, meanings, and respect the culture and its people, why not?
Variety of Dreamcatcher Tattoos
When it comes to creating a tattoo design, you can be as playful as you want. Or you can stick to the traditional ways. It all depends on your personality and your style. While some prefer loud and vibrant tattoos, others find calm and satisfaction with minimalist designs.
Nonetheless, here are some ways you can create your very own design for dreamcatcher tattoos.
- Play with the number of hoops. While the normal dreamcatcher is only made up of one hoop, you can create a tattoo with three or more hoops. It’s a simple way of making your tattoo look more aesthetically pleasing. Plus it’s perfect when you want a bigger design.
- Adding other charms apart from feathers and beads would work both in real life as well as tattoos. You can add some seashells, shapes, crystals, and more to your design. As they say, you should add the things that you hold dear or something that represents that.
- Include animals. Since it is linked to the natural world, you can always incorporate spirit animals like horses, bears, and wolves. A dreamcatcher made of an owl is also a rather popular design.
- Make a unique lace or web for the center of the hoop. You can make it look more web-like or lace-like. You can even make it look like a heart, a star, or even landscape or face.
- Instead of the regular circle hoop, you can try turning it into other shapes. It could be a heart, a yin-yang, a sun or a moon.
- Create some background for your tattoo. It could be a sky during a sunset or at night. Or you can try incorporating the watercolor style to make it look more colorful.
Popular Dreamcatcher Tattoos
As there are different ways to make dreamcatcher tattoos look unique, you’ll find thousands of pictures online. These can help inspire you with your own design.
Here are some of the most popular dreamcatcher tattoos. You can copy them or it could help you make a more unique ink.
A little dreamcatcher
One of the most popular designs is a traditional looking dreamcatcher with a smaller hoop on on of the strings. It usually has three strings with a bead and a feather on the other end. You can do this, but you can also add another smaller hoop on the middle string, and then the feather underneath it.
It can be as simple and can be done with just black ink. Or you can make it colorful with pastel shades, bright colors, and watercolor style of tattooing.
Owls have these large rounded eyes. What if you made your dreamcatcher tattoo look like one? Just create two dreamcatchers very close to each other. To give the effect of an owl’s eyes, add some feathers on top of the hoops – these would look like the “eyebrows” of the owl.
An owl is usually known as a spirit animal in Native American culture. As a tattoo, it means intelligence, foresight, and protection. It’s definitely something that would work well with a dreamcatcher design.
An added element
One of the best ways to make your tattoo unique is to combine elements. For your dreamcatcher design, you can add other elements such as wild animals. You can make the feathers on your design vibrantly colored and use that as a link to another element – in this case, an elephant wearing a feathered headdress.
Of course, you can do other designs. It’s much better though if the elements work together to make a cohesive design rather than two separate inks.
Elephants, as a tattoo, represents gentleness, motherhood, and family. It’s also a great symbol for strength and power.
Under the sea motif
If you’d rather a simpler design but still far from the traditional ones, then create a motif. One of the most popular motif for dreamcatcher tattoos is an undersea one. You can add shells and a starfish among the beads and the feathers.
Or better, you can make the entire dreamcatcher made out of seashells. You’ll also want to color it a light blue color to make it more effective.
As previously mentioned, you can use the watercolor style of tattooing to achieve a brighter coloring for your tattoo. However, this is often done with a black outline first. But you can make it more stunning and amazing by using other colors for your outline. It’s better if the outline is the same color as the fill-in color. This would give the effect of no borders – just something very colorful and eye-catching.
You can also add quotes to your design. It could be something related to dreams, since that’s what a dreamcatcher is all about.
This is the best thing about quotes – they are very versatile. You can even put a one-worded quote on the center of the dreamcatcher as if it was weaved like that. For example, you can put the word “dream” on it.
Since the dreamcatcher is a common tattoo design for women, floral accents are also popular. You can choose any kind of flower you want. By choosing a certain kind of flower, you can add a layer to your design’s meaning.
Here is a list of the most common flowers used in tattoos and what they mean:
- Lotus – generally means purity and resilience. The blue lotus is for intelligence.
- Roses – used to represent love and passion. White is for purity while blue is for something impossible or unattainable.
- Sunflowers – This flower is a representation of joy, joviality, and warmth.
- Lilies – These are for purity and innocence according to Chinese. It means sensuality for the Greeks.
Dreamcatcher with Peacock feather
Peacocks are known as symbols of pride and beauty. Even a single feather as a tattoo carries the same meaning. Adding this to dreamcatcher tattoos could add a layer to the meaning. Maybe it’s a way to signify beautiful dreams are coming or that you dream to be beautiful.
Peacock feathers are often bigger than usual ones. You’ll want to add this on the middle string for an added effect.
Eagle carrying a dreamcatcher
An eagle is a noble creature. It always had the same meaning in multiple cultures around the world. So having one as a tattoo would also signify the same thing.
For your design, it could be either the eagle was carrying the dreamcatcher on its mouth or on its feet. You can make it look realistic for a stunning effect.
White ink dreamcatcher
If you dream of something really unique, try having your tattoo with only white ink. It can make your tattoo look barely visible, but it adds to its overall look.
If you want some parts to be visible, you can add some black or colored ink as well. White ink tattoos are the perfect choice for someone who doesn’t want highly visible inks.
Placement of Dreamcatcher Tattoos
The placement plays a vital role in making your tattoo design look amazing. It’s important to find an area in your body where the tattoo will perfectly fit – that means both vertically and horizontally.
Here are a few areas that are popular choices for both men and women:
- The biceps or the sleeve area is a perfect place for both men and women. Because of the nature of dreamcatcher tattoos, it’s length can work well on the area.
- The nape is also a common placement area for women. Usually, designs here are smaller although it can be larger and extend to the back.
- The forearm is perfect for average-sized tattoos. However, it’s quite exposed a lot.
- The rib or side tattoos would look amazing on women, especially when the design conforms to their curves.