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Illuminated Porcupine Dog Costume

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, October 2009


Alison Lewis, artist and editor of Switch blog, created this brilliant porcupine costume for Francesca.

Find more projects in "Switch Craft: Battery-Powered Crafts to Make and Sew," by Alison Lewis.


  • Fiber-optic strands

  • Scissors

  • Electrical tape

  • Floral wire

  • Travel aspirin bottle (cylinder-shaped)

  • Craft knife

  • Silver reflective paper

  • 5-millimeter LED light

  • 1-inch diameter button

  • Butt connectors

  • Red "+" wire

  • Black "-" wire

  • 1/2 yard faux fur

  • 1/2 yard wool (for lining)

  • Adhesive Velcro dots

  • 2 AAA batteries and holder

  • Sewing machine

  • Lengths of Velcro for straps

  • Needle and thread for hand-sewing


  1. Start with a bunch of fiber-optic strands -- about the diameter of a dime. Cut the entire bunch to an even 20 inches, and wrap with electrical tape 1/2 inch from one end. Wrap with floral wire for extra security.

  2. Make a tube from a travel aspirin bottle by cutting off the bottom. Roll a rectangle of silver reflective paper, and insert into tube. Insert the bundled end of fiber optics halfway into tube, and secure with electrical tape.

  3. Pull the wires of a 5-millimeter LED through the holes of a button; secure with hot glue. Tape to sawed-off end of bottle.

  4. Use a butt connector to attach a length of red "+" wire to the "+" wire of the LED light. Repeat with black wire for the "-" LED wire. This will create a direct current through the light once the battery holder is attached.

  5. Download and print the pattern for the sewn part of the dog costume, measuring and adjusting to fit your dog. Once you've adjusted the paper pattern to fit, trace and cut from faux fur, then trace and cut again from wool lining. Sew the head pieces to the body pieces, lining up the center marks.

  6. Cut a 3-by-4-inch rectangle out of wool and sew onto the center of the lining on three sides, creating a pocket.

  7. Secure the LED tube to the wrong side of the fabric with a Velcro dot, near the neck.

  8. Starting near the neck, poke fiber optic strands through the faux fur so that the porcupine "quills" all extend toward the back. Trim "quills" if necessary.

  9. Cut a small slit, centered near the opening of the pocket. Pull black and red wires through slit.

  10. Connect each wire to the wires of battery holder, using butt connectors.

  11. Edge-stitch the faux fur and wool lining together and sew on Velcro straps.

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