How to Make an Oje De Dios, or “god’s Eye”
This is an ancient craft, perfect for younger or older children, and a good addition to any study of Mexico.
~picture by author
The ‘God’s Eye’ is a yarn and stick craft that originated in Mexico and Bolivia with the native people their. I have found two stories of the use and making. In the first a ‘God’s Eye’ was created when a child was born and another color was wrapped onto the sticks each year until the child reached five years old. This was done in celebration of the child’s life and to encourage the god’s to watch out for the child. In the other story, a ‘God’s Eye’ was created and placed on alters in the homes as a devotion to the native gods and to help the gods watch over the people in the household, kind of like an ancient Roman making an offering to the household gods.
~A display of the ones made in my classroom, picuture by author.
To create a ‘God’s Eye’ you will need yarn of various colors (a variegated or multi color skein of yarn is a great choice if you don’t want to tie knots), at least two sticks of relatively equal length (popsicle or craft sticks work great for this), scissors and hands-two preferably.
If you are working with a very young child it is easiest to glue the two sticks together in a plus sign, but it is not necessary.
- Put the two sticks together into plus sign or cross shape, with all four sides as equal as possible.
- Using the first color of yarn, wrap an ‘X’ around the middle to hold the sticks together tightly, leaving the end under the wrapping to secure it. Wrap through the opposite corner three times, then the other to corners at least three times to form the ‘X’.
- Next, wrap around one of the sticks in a loop, going under and then over.
- Wrap around the next stick in the same way, starting under and then over, and continue in that way, wrapping each stick in a row 1, 2, 3, 4. It might help to write those numbers on the sticks to help younger children keep track of the order and so that they don’t skip one.
- When the sticks are filled, you should have a woven pattern on one side and a wrapped plus, or cross on the other.
- To finish, cut the yarn leaving about three inches. Tie the yarn securely to the last stick and then make a slip knot for a loop for hanging the ‘God’s Eye’, and tie it with the end to make it secure.
~Pictures by author.
You can do variations on this theme by using large and small sticks, some longer and some shorter. You can make very tiny ones using embroidery thread and toothpicks. You can also use three or four sticks instead of two to get different shapes, like a hexagon that look like spider webs. Any more than four sticks and it starts to get lumpy. To get different levels, have the children flip the sticks over half way through, maybe even three times before the end and you will see an almost 3-D effect. They make great gifts and fabulous decorations for any occasion. Enjoy!