Cradleboards can be made from a wood plank or basket fibers. Wooden hoops can be attached to the top to protect the baby's head.
Native American cradleboards were made in a variety of ways, depending on the tribe. Some made cradleboards out of a basket weave while others were made of wood. Each cradleboard used leather straps to secure the board to the mother's back.
When building a cradleboard, a cloth should be attached on the inside to soften it for the baby. Parents who use a cradleboard should swaddle the baby tightly before placing her inside.
If desired, cradleboards can be made with different decorations such as beads and painted with different colors and various designs. Cradleboards may look like hiking backpacks or like traditional cradleboards. For variety, a dreamcatcher can be added to the cradleboard, as this was traditional for some Native American families.
Since cradleboards are more of a practical art form and have no religious symbolism, they can be made by anyone, regardless of their religious beliefs. No two cradleboards are the same and the builder is only limited by his imagination.
When building a cradleboard, wooden hoops should be placed at the top to protect the baby's head. Soft straps hold the infant in place, and a small bag can be added for diapers and other necessities.