Introduction: Light-Up Dandelion Doggy Costume

About: Alison Lewis is a fashion hound who loves technology and DIY. She is the producer of and the author of Switch Craft. Her work has been featured internationally and in such publications as …

This adorable costume was made for Martha Stewart's dog, Sharkey, for her Petacular Halloween Show! It can be made easily with a low cost recycled fiber optic toy, felt, and some cute little pom poms!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • Fiber-optic strands
  • Scissors
  • Electrical tape
  • Floral wire
  • Bead crimp tool
  • Travel aspirin bottle * (cylinder-shaped – we used Excedrin brand)
  • Silver reflective paper
  • 5-millimeter LED light (Link)
  • 1-inch diameter button (or same size as the base of your bottle)
  • Butt splice connectors (Link) or Crimp-on connectors (Link)
  • Red "+" wire (Link) **
  • Black "-" wire (Link) **
  • 1/2 yard of green felt (we used a nice wool felt)
  • 1/2 yard felt for lining (again, I used wool)
  • 1/4 yard of white tulle (outside dandelion puff fabric)
  • 1/4 yard of double thick cotton batting (inner dandelion puff material)
  • Adhesive Velcro dots
  • 2 AAA Batteries an holder (Link)
  • Sewing machine
  • Lengths of Velcro for straps
  • Needle and thread for hand-sewing
  • Yellow craft pom poms
  • Hot glue and gun

* The size of your tube determines the size of your bundle, so if you want to use less fibers, you can use a smaller tube like a chaptstick container.

**You don't need much wire, so an option is to open inside of an old telephone cable and pull the wires out.

Step 2: Make the Fiber Optic Bundle

Follow the diagram below for steps 2 - 6.

Start with a bunch of fiber-optic strands -- about the diameter of a nickel. Cut the entire bunch to an even 20 inches, making sure the wires are all flush on the bottom.  Then, wrap the strands with electrical tape 1/2 inch from one end to hold them in place. Finally, very tightly wind floral wire over the electrical tape multiple times to secure. Test to make sure that the strands do not fall out - if they do, tighten the wire.  If needed, cut all the ends of the fiber-optics along the bottom to ensure they are even.

[Tip: Wrap with electrical tape on top of the wire to keep the wire from moving around]

Step 3: Create the Tube to Hold Fibers

Make a tube from a travel aspirin bottle by cutting off the bottom. Roll a rectangle of silver reflective paper, the same diameter and 1/2 the length of the tube, and insert into the tube. Insert the bundled end of fiber optics halfway into tube, and secure it to the tube with electrical tape.

Step 4: Create the LED Button

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 with the LED side inside the bottle.

Follow the directions for your connector type.

For the butt connectors (SEE DRAWING): strip away the plastic on both your black and red wires leaving about 1/8” of exposed wire at the end. Use your bead crimpers to attach a butt connector to one side of the red wire to the "+" wire of the LED light. You do this by crimping the metal part of the connector. Repeat the same step with black wire for the "-" LED wire. This will create a direct current through the light once the battery holder is attached.

For crimp-on connectors: Insert the + wire of the LED into the single hole and run the red wire through the channel. Use flat nosed pliers to snap it closed. Do the same for the - wire of the LED and the black wire.

Step 5: Create the Fluffy Puff From Tulle

Cut an 11” diameter circle from the tulle and 10” diameter circle from the cotton batting. Center the cotton batting on the tulle and hand stitch 1/4”draw string around the edges.

Step 6: Pull the Fibers Through the Puff

Starting near one side, poke the fiber optic strands through the batting and tulle so that the dandelion “seeds” all extend outward in a sphere. Try to move through the fiber optics evenly from one side to the other.

[Tip: This will take some time, so sit down and watch a movie while your working. Also, if your batting is too thick, you may have to use a speeder beader (link) to pull the fiber optics through the fabric]

Once all the fibers are pulled through the fabric, push the bundle up into the puff as far as you can while simultaneously and VERY GENTLY pulling the fibers from the top. Pull the drawstring tight and tie it in a knot. 

Step 7: Measure Your Dog and Fit the Pattern

Measure your dog. The length from neck to tail, neck circumference, chest circumference, and length from the neck to the brow line. 

DOWNLOAD and print the costume pattern for the fabric part of the dog costume and adjust the paper pattern to fit before cutting out the final piece. Trace and cut the top and lining pieces. With the right side of the head piece to the wrong side of the costume body, sew the head pieces onto the top and lining.

Step 8: Sew the Body and Buttonholes

Sew the buttonholes as indicated on the top costume head, and one on the lining costume body. Sew the lining pocket to the right side of the lining body. Center the top head leaf pattern over the costume head buttonhole.

Pull the finished fiber optic bundle through the costume head buttonhole aiming the tube end towards the back of the finished body piece. Hand stitch the fiber optic puff to the top, then sew the head leaf to both the body and the fiber optic puff.

Step 9: Connect the Battery and Sew the Body Pieces Together

Attach the plastic bottle of the fiber optic puff with Velcro dots to the wrong side of the top costume body. Pull the black and red wires of the fiber optic puff through the lining buttonhole. Connect each wire to the wires of AAA battery holder, using the same crimp-on connectors as you did in step 4. Make sure connect black to black and red to red.

With the wrong sides together, add the elastic band to the head piece and edge stitch the top and lining together.  Try it on the dog and sew on your Velcro.

Step 10: Finish and Have Fun!

You can add some fun yellow pom poms and extra leaves fore the blooming dandelions or leave it as it is.

Whatever you do, just have fun!

Halloween Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Contest